When you compare your music to your favourite CDs, does it sound as good?
Does it sound as loud, as clear, as punchy and exciting?
Or do you feel like it’s lacking something? Despite all the hard work you put into recording and mixing it, maybe it still doesn’t have that professionally mastered edge?
The difference could be a technique known as multiband compression. Maybe you’ve heard about it and wondered what all the fuss was about.
You might have heard that it’s a professional mastering technique and tried it on your music, but not been able to achieve the results you wanted.
Or perhaps you’re already using multiband compression and would like some solid advice on how to get really great-sounding results?
Multiband compression is often referred to as a magic ingredient
to achieving professional-sounding masters for your music.
And it can be – if you use it right.
If you use it wrong though, it can be the quickest way to ruin all the hard work you just put into recording and mixing your song or album in the first place. It’s so easy to come out with a crushed, flat, confused mess instead of the powerful, warm and punchy result you were looking for.
So, what’s the difference? That’s what this eBook will tell you.
I needed help getting started, too
My name is Ian Shepherd – I’ve been a mastering engineer for over fifteen years now, and I’ve used multiband compression on hundreds of the albums I’ve mastered during that time. I needed help with multiband compression to begin with though, just like you! The sheer number of parameters, bands, options and settings confused the hell out of me, and I really struggled to get the results I wanted at first.
Luckily, I had some great, experienced engineers as mentors, who quickly taught me exactly what multiband compression was, why I would want to use it and the best techniques for getting the results I needed.
Years later I still use those guidelines every day, and I honestly think that if I hadn’t had that early support, I might never have got to be using multiband compression as successfully, or with the more advanced techniques that I do now.
I want you to have that same guidance
As a mastering engineer myself, in in an ideal world I’d recommend you get your music mastered by a professional!
But I’m also a realist, and I know that these days many people would prefer to do their own mastering – perhaps you want to learn the skills yourself, or don’t have the budget for mastering, or maybe you’re actually interested in becoming a mastering engineer yourself.
My goal is to help you achieve that – I’d far rather you make a great job of mastering your own music, than damage your mixes because you’ve been given poor advice or from a lack of information.
That’s why I’ve written an eBook on using multiband compression for mastering. I’ve put everything I’ve learned over the years into one comprehensive guide – that’s over 10,000 words, or the equivalent of more than 20 blog posts – of advice, explanation and guidance, including:
What is multiband compression, how it works – and why you would want to use it
My “default settings” – a great starting-point preset for beginning to work on almost any genre of music
Simple “rules of thumb” – straightforward methods to avoid common mistakes and get great results
Detailed, in-depth discussion of all the parameters - how many frequency bands to use, how to choose crossover frequencies and what ratio, attack and release times to use
How to listen to multiband compression – what to listen for, how much is too much, and why level-matching is critical to making good decisions
Compression versus limiting – how to balance the two for ultimate dynamics control
Troubleshooting tactics – suggestions on how to solve common multiband compression problems
Advanced techniques – using EQ with multiband compression to shape the sound of the master, and how to achieve deep, punchy bass or soft & smooth high frequencies
“Don’t even THINK about touching that Multiband Compressor until you read this fantastic guide…TWICE! This book will help scores of folks who are mystified by this powerful tool (me included). Good stuff Ian, great job!”
Allen Wagner, Big Toe Studio Proprietor & Project Studio Network Podcast Host
What’s In The Book
This eBook will get you up-to-speed with multiband compression, even if you’ve never used it before. If you’re already an experienced user, there are plenty of advanced tips and tricks to expand your tool-set. Here’s a breakdown of the topics covered:
WHAT IS MULTIBAND COMPRESSION, AND WHY USE IT?
- What is multiband compression?
- The top three reasons to use multiband compression
- My rules of thumb – and why you must keep it simple
QUICK START – MY DEFAULT SETTINGS
- My personal “starting position” preset, including
- Default values for all the parameters and the reasons why I’ve chosen them
- The most important control a multiband compressor can have
MULTIBAND COMPRESSION TECHNIQUES
- Why you should always use a limiter
- Why you should set the input level before the compressor
- How to avoid changing the mix
- Measuring Loudness
- Learn by overdoing it
- How to chose crossover frequencies, and how they affect the sound
- What ratio to use
- How to choose attack & release times
WHAT TO LISTEN FOR WITH MULTIBAND COMPRESSION
- Using band solo
- Why you must always, always, always level-match – always
ADVANCED MULTIBAND COMPRESSION TECHNIQUES
- Gentle thickening to add density
- Parallel compression
- How to get deep, punchy bass
- How to soften and smooth high frequencies
- When to go easy on the mid
- Damage limitation – EQ and heavy compression for fixing problems
What to do when:
- The compressed version has less impact
- The compressed version sounds “crunchy” or “grainy”
- The bass sounds “flabby” or un-focused
“I already use multiband compression in my mixing and mastering, but this eBook made me realize I’d been taking some things for granted. Reading it I gained new strategies, a greater understanding of the parameters and new ideas I can implement into my mastering projects right away” Jon Tidey, Audio Geek Zine
Common Questions Answered
Is this only for beginners experienced engineers?
My goal was to cover both. There’s plenty of introductory stuff for people who are new to mastering, but there are also advanced techniques for when you’ve mastered the basics – or, for more experienced engineers.
Don’t I need thousands of dollars worth of equipment, monitoring and acoustic treatment to master my music?
Yes and no! Like I said, to get the best results you should definitely go to a pro. But the truth is, if you have decent speakers, a decent room and good ears, you can get great results mastering your own music, and save hundreds of dollars in the process. Multiband compression can form a key part of your mastering skill-set.
Can’t I get this information for free?
Well, there’s lots of free information available out there, but none of it is from professional mastering engineers. So some of the advice is good, some of it is OK, and a lot of it is just plain wrong! You could spend hours sifting through it all and trying to make sense of it all – or, you can just follow my suggestions and start getting great results now.
Will this teach me how to to make my music stupid-loud ?
No. Well actually… yes, if that’s what you want! But there’s always a price. The only way to get your music “loudness war” loud is to crush and distort it, and that’s not the way I do things. If that’s what you want, multiband compression can be a useful way to help you get there – but my focus is on making things sound great – and that means with plenty of dynamics. Don’t get me wrong, I master things loud, and I’ll show you how to, too – but not at the cost of damaging your music.
I’ve worked as a pro mastering engineer for over ten years and this eBook scares me a little! Ian is revealing so many trade secrets here, if he goes on like this I’m worried he’ll put us both out of a job…
Simon Murphy, Mastering Engineer
Bonus Video Tutorial
While I was writing the eBook, I talked to the readers of my email list, asking them exactly what they needed. Lots of them asked for a video demonstration so that they could hear how the techniques I describe sound in practise, and I decided it was a great idea.
So, I’ve recorded a one-hour video tutorial that covers all the main points of the eBook, and clearly demonstrates them on an example song. You get to see and hear:
The benefits of multiband compression - how it can pull the mix together
How much compression is too much
The effect of changing the frequency bands
The difference between compression and limiting
How to shape the mix using EQ and multiband compression together
Bonus Audio Examples
I’m also including before-and-after examples of the mix so you can try the techniques out for yourself, listen carefully on your own system and really get a feel for how multiband compression sounds in practise.
I’ve had such a great reaction to the eBook and video from everyone who has seen them, I’m certain you’ll find them useful too. I want you to be completely happy though, so if you’re not satisfied for any reason, just contact me within 30 days for a full refund, no questions asked – and the eBook and video are yours to keep.
Ian takes the mystery out of Multi-Band Compression. A lot of engineers won’t share their knowledge with the rest of us. Ian’s different. You have two choices: (1) You can spend HOURS trying to figure out multi-band compression…and still be confused. Or (2) You can buy this eBook and get started on the right foot. (Hint: I recommend #2.) Joe Gilder Home Studio Corner
I know this eBook will help you get the great-sounding results you want because as a professional mastering engineer, I’ve used all the techniques and strategies myself on both independent and major-label releases. This eBook and video will give you practical advice you can use today to start making your music sound great. click here to get started!