Multiband Limiting splits the input audio signal into multiple frequency bands, each with its own Limiter. The main advantage of a multiband is that a loud event in one frequency band won't affect the gain reduction in the other bands, that means if something like a loud kick drum will cause low frequencies to be limited, but the Mid and High-frequencies won't be effected. This allows you to get a more controlled hotter signal with far less limiting with the typical Single-band Limiter. Here's how it works. In this case we're going to be looking at a Waves L3 MultiMaximizer, and, as you can see, it's broken down into five bands: 2, 3, 4, 5.
And we have Very Low, Low, Mid, High-Mid, and Highs. Now the first thing we are going to do is set our Output Ceiling, I like to set it -0.2 because I like that extra little bit of headroom that you get from it. And you don't hear the difference anyway so that kind of works from me better. But -0.1 is what a lot of pro-mastering engineers use. Now the Threshold Control will control the threshold for all five frequency bands at the same time, and let's hear what it does. (music playing) Now the beauty of this is you can actually see what's happening in each band, and it's graphically showing you which band is being affected at the same time.
Now a couple interesting things we can do with this is, we can use this as a Tone Control and watch what happens as I increase the different bands, you can hear different sets of frequencies increase, and they sound very natural, sounds a little bit better than if you were to use any EQ. Have a listen. (music playing) What we are doing, in fact, as we raise the level there, we're actually decreasing the threshold, in other words there is less limiting that's happening in that particular band.
The other thing we can do is we can affect where the crossover point of the band is in other words, how many frequencies is this band actually affecting at the same time. So that's one type of Multiband Limiter that you'll see. Here is another one just as an example, this is from T-RACKS, and, as you can see, this breaks down into three bands instead of five like we saw, so there's a little less variation that you can get, but you can still get quite a bit. And take notes, things are a little bit different, input drive here really means that it's the overall threshold control for all the three bands.
So let's have a listen to this. (music playing) Now again, you can hear how it acts as a Tone Control as we increase the level, what we're actually doing is causing less limiting in that particular frequency band.
We can also control where the crossover points are. So for instance, have a listen as we change the low frequency Crossover Point. (music playing) And you can hear that, in fact, there are more frequencies that were affecting at one time, which is what the Crossover does. It either provides more or fewer frequencies that, that particular band will affect.
The Multiband Limiter provides a lot more precision than what you get from a normal Compressor or Limiter, increasing the level while keeping the sound natural. If you are only going to use one processor doing mastering, this should be the one.
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