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since 1 month i'm now trying around with mastering with the C4. i've read some manuals about multiband compression but somehow i dont get in there. (i think) i know how to use my eqs and my compressors but when it comes to multiband compressors i'm totally unsure. a change here, a change there.. hm... sounds better.. really? ah i dont know... ;)

can anyone give me like a good link to really learn on what to listen to with a multiband compressor? or can anyone give me some clues i've been missing?

for example on the low compression. do i have to put the ending frequency to 80-100 or higher? how do i figure that out which frequencies for what compressor? i'm totally lost ;)

i dont know but most of the time i think my mixes running through the L1 sound a lot better then what i did with C4 hehe ;)

please help... i'm lost...

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anonymous Fri, 09/12/2003 - 06:21

First of all, if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. If your stuff sounds like you want it to sound already, don't go messin around with multiband compressors. In my short-lived experience with them I can tell you that you can do more harm to your precious songs than you can imagine.

I once read a 'guide' to using the C4 for some general compression on a different forum that basically mentioned these steps:

1. set all parameters to ineffective values, meaning that nothing will in principle happen. Range controls to 0, thresholds to 0, etc.

2. find a section of the song that is 'loudest' and loop this.

3. Take a look at the peak indicators (the orange thingies) and adjust the thresholds to the peak levels for each band. Still nothing will be compressed since the range is still set to 0.

4. Set the range of all bands to -6 dB, that will give you enough room for manoeuvre. You may notice that some compression is applied at certain peaks in the music, but still not a lot.

5. You can now use the master threshold to apply compression to all bands simultaneously. You can make up the gain loss with the gain fader.

6. Adjust attack and release settings for each band, use your ears, and the solo buttons if preferred. Longer attacks generally for lower bands, shorter attacks generally for higher bands.

Remember, this is just a starting point. To give you some direction in using the C4. Blindly following these steps and cranking down the thresholds will not give you the desired result. Deviating from these guidelines will be more rule than exception.

About the crossover freqs. That really depends on what you want to separate in my opinion. The rule of thumb for the C4 that was in that guide was something like:"use the preset setting, it's a good one", or something like that. But I have found out that that's not always true. In some cases, I got a lot more punch in by low end by extending the freq range of the low band a bit higher. In other cases, a similar setting messed up some of the other instruments. This really depends on listening. I find the solo buttons a very useful tool to determine the crossovers.

Also read the thread on the C4 in this forum, some interesting thoughts there as well.


joe lambert Fri, 09/12/2003 - 08:42

I rarely use multi band compression in my mastering chain. I use it more to fix things. For example if I am trying to bring out a vocal or gtr solo. I can focus just on that area. I think I have mentioned before that I especially don't like having different attack and release times on songs with drums/percussion. It can ruin the groove of the song.

As always if you like it use it. But don't just use it because you read a review that tells how "powerful" it can be. They want to sell you gear. If you need it or not.

If you do use it I suggest setting the attack and release times the same for starters and go from there.

anonymous Fri, 09/12/2003 - 11:32

You are correct, the C1/C4 is a tricky plugin. I've had the Waves Gold bundle for over a year now and I'm just learning "multiband compression".
The C4 is a "precision" instrument and should be use very carefully. When use correctly it will be your best friend!!

I too love the L1 Ultramaximizer, it's really the only/last thing in my is a must use plugin!! No mix should go without the L1.
Are you using Wavelab??
If not, you should be. It's the single best software you can have on your computer.

Here is a link to the Waves tips site. Hope this helps some!


apbarkey Mon, 09/15/2003 - 04:34

thx for the info. yeah i definitly needed a starting point.

no i dont use Wavelab. i had it when i was running on a pc. but now i'm owning a mac and i found out there's really no good editing programm for mac. after testing out a lot i finally bought peak... but that's just so i have something... nothing on mac can be compared to wavelab. i'm really missing it ;)

hm since today i was always just mixing my track. recording it back into logic and run it through the L1... my mixes were loud but i dont know. that can't be mastering. it's just maximizing the music. i mean i mix a track without (final) compression. then i compress it... that changes the whole mix. that's why i think i need a multiband compressor so i can "maximize" it with better results...

btw after u use C4 do u still run it through the L1 or do u use C4 as the last thing in the chain?

mjones4th Mon, 09/15/2003 - 07:51

I use the C4 and then the L1.

I find that each of my songs has its own 'sound' so there is no one way to set the C4. The best advice I can give you is to think of it as 4 compressors.

Solo the Bass band (the left most band). Change the corssover to capture most of the kick and bass. Even out the signals gently.

Solo the low mid band. Un-solo the bass channel. Change the crossovers to capture the body of the song. In my opinion this is the most dangerous band, so tread lightly. Apply gentle compression so that the vocals make everything else duck slightly. Re-solo the bass channel and listen to them together.

Next move on to the high mids. Solo and adjust the crossovers. This band should capture all the harsh highs. the sibilants, etc. This is usually the band where I apply fast attack and heavy compression. After that I pull the levels down about 2-3dB. Don't forget to check your results together with the low mid band

And on to the high band. Same procedure. What I normally like to do here is to be gentle, but have a fast attack and release.

After you adjust each band it is important to check its effect on the neighboring band. That's my humble tip of the day.

You will use the C4 differently in every song, so its not so much how to use it, but what it does to each band that matters.

anonymous Fri, 09/19/2003 - 01:59

Yes Guys,
The L1 is a "dithering" processor, it should be the Last thing in the chain, as all dithering is the last plug-in!
If you have the L1, it MUST be placed in the "dithering pane", period!
It is NOT and "effect", and should never be used as one. Go into the "preferences" and move it to the dither pane, that's where it belongs.

C1-C4 areplug-insthat are used in the "effects" pane, above the Master pane and above the dithering pane.

Please remember, Dithering is the LAST process. Thus, put your dithering plugins in the dithering pane (the bottom), and do ALL the other processes above this and the master pane as well.

There is a "strict" order ofplug-ins don't follow them and you will not benefit from the great things they can do!!

This is SO Important..........!!!!


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Guest Fri, 09/19/2003 - 17:04

You are correct, the L1 is a limiter, the L1+ is a limiter with built in dither. Also, it should always be the last thing in the chain for a number of reasons.

1. Dithering should be last...always

2. Any time you're doing compression, eq, or any other effects, you're messing with your headroom. The L1 Limiter is going to maximize loudness by cutting out the peaks and bringing up the average level of the mix. For that reason, it should be last in the chain. If you cut your peaks, and then do compression, you're in essence going to bring down the maximum level of the mix. If you don't have a limiter after that compressor, you're going to be pushing up the output of the compressor to make up for the gain lost in compression. Since most compressors like the C4 do not have limiters on the output, you're going to clip the output on the peaks, even if you've already used the L1 earlier in the chain. If you bring it down to a level where it's not clipping, you will not be getting the maximum output that the L1 will provide.

Always limit last...well at least most of the time. I wouldn't put a classical mix or a jazz mix through the L1 or any limiter for that matter. It is dependent on material too.

[ September 24, 2003, 07:49 AM: Message edited by: Jay Lison ]