Best Multiband compressor plugin?

I am looking for a really high quality and transparent multiband compressor. A plus if the GUI is scalable and clean modern design.

Any suggestions? :slight_smile:

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My favorite is still FabFilter Pro-MB. Fully scalable, nice and clean UI, and band split options are close to EQ territory, so it’s quite flexible.

I’d also like to mention kiloHearts Multipass and the snapin ecosystem, which allows you to build your own multiband dynamics processors - and that’s only a tiny subset of what it can do. Just slap additional units into the bands for all sorts of multiband processing. It’s also recursively nestable these days, so you can build any number of bands you like, if the five band Multipass isn’t enough.

BTW, Pro-Q 3 has dynamic bands as well, so it overlaps slightly with Pro-MB. (It’s quite similar to Pro-MB, for obvious reasons.) However, Pro-Q does not have exposed dynamics parameters (attack, release etc), and it “only” has one sidechain input.

On that note, I’d also like to mention the Steinberg Multiband Compressor that comes with Cubase Pro and Nuendo (v11, IIRC), which is “limited” to 8 bands, but does have dynamics controls (like a proper compressor), and also separate per-band sidechain inputs! AFAIK, it’s not available separately, though. :confused:

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Just ran into another option that seems really interesting; again, a dynamic EQ, but this one has proper dynamics controls on the bands, allowing it to reach way into multiband compressor territory, and it also has an output limiter. Free trial available, and currently on sale.

(As multiband compressors and dynamic EQs grow more advanced features, they’re essentially becoming equivalent, apart from the defining implementation difference: Whether most of the analysis and processing is done entirely in separate bands [multiband compressor], or on the full bandwidth signal [dynamic EQ].)

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Thanks David. I am currently mainly considering the softube drawmer 1973 as I am a fan of both analog modeled plugins and of the classic analog style GUI.

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I’m just going to mention a wildcard option because you mentioned you like classic analog style GUI - PSP oldtimerMB. It is something for more specific use, I would say when you need a gentle warm approach to multiband compression, this is a great option. The curves are smooth, and the saturation is also, it is basically 3 warm compressors crossfaded together.

Honestly to cover more bases though, the Drawmer looks great - the interface is one of the best I’ve seen on a MB compressor. Very easy to read visually and feel your way through. Good luck and I hope it makes things better for your music! You got me interested in the Drawmer now haha. Let us know how it goes :slight_smile:

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Pro-MB is exactly what you are looking for.

I tried out the Drawmer and have to say I didn’t get it to do what I wanted.

Multiband compression is useful at times, but I also feel that when applied as a broad stroke to busses etc. that its strongest benefit is telling you what’s wrong with your mix, and what you need to go back and rebalance. If you are using it on low end a lot, then it might be that your system isn’t reproducing the bottom end in a way that you can perceive effectively. I have used it on stereo mixes that had issues before, but where it is most useful to me in practice is on things like percussion busses, where things get lumpy because someone recorded an 80-inch bass drum and “enhanced” the boom in it (I’m looking at you, Damage 2) or something like that, where I want to keep the dynamics of the more transient aspects and just tame the rest of it, or in a string section that resonates on specific notes due to insistence on far too many microphones (still a stopgap gimmick to me). Often, though, one can use a dynamic eq or even a versatile de-esser for these things. The single band of dynamics in the bx_digital v.3 eq solves little issues like this all the time for me - making acoustic guitars less honky and so on - and also can add a little dynamic boost at certain frequencies, which is handy if the source is a little lifeless but dynamic. I have used the bx DynEQ and also the Waves Linear MultiBand on a snare that was dull but dynamic, so that as it got louder it also hit brighter. Sparingly.

As a side thought - I was spending a lot of time on an animated series I worked on called “Beach Buddies” in headphones, and at a certain point I tried out a SubPac device that you fasten to your chair that reproduces sub frequencies mechanically and fairly quietly (other than the buzz of the device), and though I won’t say it was an absolutely faithful low-end reproduction I will say that it was incredibly fun and always let me know what kind of energy was going on in the lower range, and inspired me to listen at a lower volume in the phones because I could still experience the visceral impact of bass. It also allows a composer to bypass the need for a sub in what is likely a smaller room - if you can work out the time-alignment, which really isn’t a big deal if you are not using the Bluetooth functionality, it will essentially allow you to have a broader apparent frequency response when using smaller speakers. And your neighbors won’t want to have you murdered when you have to do chase scenes.

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