Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Discussion about MixBox and T-RackS

Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby Halma » Sun May 25, 2014 9:50 am

Hey guys,

since I obtained T-RackS the Multiband Limiter was always a mystery to me. But as someone who does not fear the unkown I spend a lot of time in understanding this unit and have to say THIS THINGY IS THE BOMB!

I know that this one has been inspired by some pretty well known hardware device (iirc Nine Inch Nailes use this on the VOX bus to keep the output of it en par with the rest of the band).

Right now this one is on every drum bus in my mixes. It adds lots of punch and makes everything unbelievable loud (in a good way like in "no other device can do that") BUT keeps the transients and the dynamics at the same time. Some people say that "the first 6db of GR are free" when they use the hardware unit which means nothing more than that if you use 6dB in gainreduction the material sounds still the same but only "better" and without loosing any character. 6dB in audio is a lot. But things are getting more interesting if pushed even further and this unit behaves pretty well.


The thing is that the promotional soundcloud example from IKM on this particular device does not help that much because it´s only some A/B and that´s it. But it can do so much more and I show you some tips how you could start in using this device:

On the left side you have the "threshold & eq" section. Leave them @ 0dB for now. You have to understand that this one is a MULTIBAND device which splits the signal into three different signals (low, mid, high) and then applies some sort of tricky algorithm in the summing section where those three signals will be combined again. In this section you can boost & cut frequencies but also set the threshold where limiting occurs.

Below that knobs you will find two rotarys that represent the crossover frequencies where the signal will be "split" into the three bands.

I have four different presets that are more or less inspired from the manual of the 1st edition HW units: 80Hz & 1.5kHz / 80Hz & 4.5kHz / 160Hz & 1.5kHz / 160Hz & 4.5 KkHz.

Those four different cross over freq settings are all you need if you wanna start fresh. Limiting the lowend below 80Hz/160Hz, limiting the high freqs from either 1.5kHz or 4.5kHz upwards and of course the mids between them.

Limiting is not compression. In compression you use your threshold as your main controller to get your comp working. The more you dial in the more quieter the signal gets. Usually you adjust things afterwards in making it louder again with the makeup gain. Limiting is exactly the opposite. Instead of "making things quieter" you start right away in "making things louder". So what you actually do is you are "adjusting the volume first" and then taking care of the rest (eg getting rid of unwanted distortion).

And for this we have DRIVE, RELEASE TIME & OVERLOAD. Drive is making things louder (of course). Now what does Overload do? With overload you have some control of how your transients behave when limiting engages (think about it like mix between a softknee clipper that can hardclip too and some tricky auto attack settings). Fully right (positive dB...iirc 6dB is max) the signal is "more clear" and more transients pass and the signal will even become more louder, fully left (negative values) it sounds more clipped and with softer transients, 0dB is somewhere inbetween and +2dB is the recommended setting from the manual of the latter unit with the variable overdive knob if someone want to achieve the original settings from the first unit.

But you have to adjust your RELEASE times as well in order to get the most out of it. I like extreme settings when I wanna find the best settings so I ususally start with the slowest (full right) or the fastest (fully left) release time and then dial in the other way.

Release timings thumprule: fast release = CAN (!!!) distort but sounds punchier and more clear, the slower the release becomes the more the limiter is working until a point where it is contantly on.

Normally I like my drums punchy and I mostly start with Overrload fully right and fastest release settings. Then I dial in DRIVE until my GR meter hits 3-6dB and adjust all three knobs until everything sound fine. I also switch between my 4 different crossover freq patches for this because every preset sounds different.

One thing you have to keep in mind: this thingy can clip (especially with fast release and positive overload settings). I normall have the output at -1dB but also use a clipper or /and brickwall after that to catch peaks.

After I have found the settings I like I usually start to raise or lower single knobs either in the threshold or eq section but most of the time the default 0dB settings are fine. Sometimes I raise bass & high freqs in the eq section a bit (3dB each), sometime I use a +3dB threshold boost on my mids in the threshold section.

I really love this unit and wanna say thanks to IKM for giving me this really unique device. And I hope some of you find this post helpful and feel encouraged in using it a little bit more if not already. :)

Regards
Sebastian
Halma
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:22 pm

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby Obitheincredible » Sun May 25, 2014 7:44 pm

I am floored and feel a bit foolish I don't use it more now! I'd love to hear some of your before and afters with it. First place I'm going to try it is on the Drum Bus now.
User avatar
Obitheincredible
1K Club
 
Posts: 4424
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:54 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby Halma » Mon May 26, 2014 8:38 am

Hey obi,

thx. I will post some examples later when I have time and I am on my rig.

Don´t feel foolish if you have not used it. It´s really a shame that IKMs products got so little attention and "indepth" reviews or tips on usage.

The thing is that I found one quote somewhere on the Classic Multiband Limiter but unfortunately can´t find it anymore where a popular producer or engineer said, that this one is some kind of secret weapon and if people would understand this unit more they would be surprised what it can do in your mix. This quote encouraged me to get a deeper understanding of the whole device.

I found a similar quote about your Classic EQ (which is freeware now, kudos for that - it´s a shame people don´t get what kind of unique sounding EQ they get for free) and after doing some more research on it (with similar results like the Multiband Limiter = nothing) I did some R&D on my own and pretty stunned about the timbre of it and how silky and smooth this one sounds. Plus it can do some really great push/pull tricks. :D

Anyway, this is about the Multiband Thingy. Funny thing is that even the HW device is pretty unknown to some people and it gets usually only some attention when somebody bought it, played around with it and shared their experience later. Similar to mine. Most of them are baffled how good it sounds and that it is so underrated. Most of them treat it as their secret weapon and use it regulary (not only in special circumstances).

I have some templates in my DAW for convinience and this one is on my Drumbus as default. I don´t use samples and I don´t work with recorded stems. I use softsynths all the time. And I have a pretty awesome Drum Synth which usually gets the job done in 99%.

I am oldschool. Doing House & Techno like in the good old days (80s & 90s) and it fits perfectly into my workflow and sound.

It is actually so easy to use. Dummy proof. I find the above mentioned crossoverfrequencies very useful. Usually I don´t change them that much. And what´s easier than making something loud if you need something loud? This one gets the job done and adds so much more (in a good way). I would not call it transparent. But it´s not a "mega colour box" either. It does some wonderful stuff. It enhances the best frequnecies from the source somehow. Simply wow. :) I can not live without it anymore.

And the best thing: this device is pretty unique. I am not aware of a similar device from another manufacturer but I am not 100% sure about it.

I have not used it on my master yet. I use it mostly on busses or single instruments. And I think that´s the main problem why people could ditch this particular unit: since everybody is caring about dynamic range and how to avoid the loudness war nobody wants to compress and to limit anymore. But I think that´s wrong.

As soon as someone asks about compression or limiting in a forum they usually get answers like "don´t compress", "don´t use a limiter because your Mastering Engineer will take care of this" blah blah bla...

This might apply on a production style that relies mostly on pre processed samples. But not for people who are doing stuff manually. Some of my sounds have such a huge dynmaic range (a peak/rms difference of 20dB and more is not unusual) that I have to compress and limit to get them tamed. And in the end most of my compressed and limited stuff even has a greater DR than most pre processed samples.

I compress and limit BECAUSE I CARE ABOUT MY DYNAMIC RANGE!!! :) Otherwise my stuff would sound completely out of control.

And this is where this device is getting interesting for me. It get things done. Pretty quick and easy. What do you need more? :)

I will post some A/B perhaps later this week. Maybe earlier. Not quite sure when I find time.

Regards
Sebastian
Halma
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:22 pm

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby tanzmich » Tue May 27, 2014 9:30 am

"unbelieveable loud is not always unbelievable good" ( Mike Senior)
tanzmich
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:02 am

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby Halma » Tue May 27, 2014 11:00 am

tanzmich wrote:"unbelieveable loud is not always unbelievable good" ( Mike Senior)


Hey tanzmich,

perhaps you misunderstood me. That´s why I wrote "in a good way" and I also wrote that it keeps the dynamics and transients. Your quote does not help here. In fact it can confuse other people that are not that deep into mixing and audio. Anything else why you think that this one applies here?

Have you tried it on your own? I can get 3dB - 6dB in gainreduction without any noticeable bad effect. I am gainstaging my stuff properly. My already wellbalanced drumbus has an RMS of -18dBFS and peaks @ -1.2dBFS. After I have applied the Multiband Limter my peaks are sitting between -6dBFS & -9dBFS according to the settings I use where my RMS still sits @ -18dB RMS. That´s more than two times louder now. I call that "unbelievable loud" and I still have more than 9dB - 12dB in dynamic range I can work with plus I gained another 6dB of headroom. And it sounds mostly like before. Only a little bit better. Subjectivly.

I know that a lot of people are using samples that are already "dead in dynamics" and if they apply some more limiting it is getting even worser. But that does not apply here. No samples used. Only good old synthesizer kung fu and some knowledge in physics and math.

Regards
Sebastian
Halma
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:22 pm

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby Peter_IK » Tue May 27, 2014 3:20 pm

Yes, and we understand too which is why we've had a statement about loudness in our T-RackS manual for some time and we also offer the sometimes unheralded hero "COMPARE" and the knob that allows you to compare what T-RackS is doing to your audio at the same level to remove the loudness from clouding your mixing or mastering judgment.
IK Multimedia. Musicians First.
YouTube - Facebook - Twitter
Need help? Our support team will be happy to help and can be reached at this link.
From the rules: Moderator decisions are not a matter for forum discussion and are final.
User avatar
Peter_IK
Kingpin
 
Posts: 19647
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:40 pm
Location: Everywhere

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby Obitheincredible » Tue May 27, 2014 5:01 pm

tanzmich wrote:"unbelieveable loud is not always unbelievable good" ( Mike Senior)

Great advice, but he also doesn't use the word "Never". So, technically, there are times loud is good. Not to say everything needs to be squashed like mashed potatoes, but the more I play with the Classic Multiband Limiter, the more I keep asking myself why I waited so long?

I'm with you in that train of though. I never cared to use these types of compressors because of how other engineers would almost trash talk them because people would abuse them. But when you have learned the basics and try them out, they're actually really useful.

With all that said, thanks Halma! I wouldn't have tired this out on my recent mixes with out this thread! Kudos! 8-)
User avatar
Obitheincredible
1K Club
 
Posts: 4424
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:54 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby glewan » Tue May 27, 2014 7:15 pm

I bought the MBL as a single along with the Fairchild model as part of a multibox deal. The MBL is amazing at beefing up tracks. I've used it on drums a lot too, but it also shines when accepting more complicated program material. I've actually used it on the master bus a couple of times, although usually not moving the needle more than a db or so.

It's definitely the unsung hero in the T RackS lot. That and the Clipper.
glewan
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:11 pm

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby Obitheincredible » Tue May 27, 2014 7:29 pm

I do love the Clipper on a lot of stuff. Perfect on so many different things. A main stay on my bass and heavy tracks.
User avatar
Obitheincredible
1K Club
 
Posts: 4424
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:54 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby beeflin » Sat May 31, 2014 1:49 am

I've never figured out how to get anything much from the Classic Compressor, however. During the decade when I used the Classic yellows on my master bus and for remastering old stereo recordings, I gradually dropped the Compressor from the chain.
--
"Reality is anything you can get away with"
User avatar
beeflin
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:51 pm
Location: Totnes, Devon, England

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby Halma » Sat May 31, 2014 8:33 am

Yeah the clippper is dope too. I have some of them at my disposal but the Classic Clipper gets the most usage. The quality of it is top notch. And compared to others it´s a breeze to use: turn big knob, turn small knob, adjust output, rinse & repeat, done.

The Classic Comp is a different thing. It does not get that much usage overhere as well because I have some other non IKM that I use besides from the good old red Opto which is one of my favourites too. But there will be some love for it in the future. After I have finally figured out most of the Classic Multibandlimiter I will check the Claaic Comp now. Iirc it has mostly pretty gentle options like maximum ratio of 6:1. The few times I used it I and sticked with it I was pleased with the results. Mostly on my drumbus. I really liked the internal HP SC option. But more often I use either the Opto or one of my other three "goto" comps. All freeware btw. :D

Guys, try the Classic EQ please. The Calrec deserves it. Until now I have only found two other "analog modeled" EQs (both freeware again) that come with such nice curves. I am not talking about digital EQs here. That would be another topic.

Regards
Sebastian
Halma
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:22 pm

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby beeflin » Sat May 31, 2014 11:24 am

I completely agree about the Classic EQ. I use it for everything. Its only limitation is the lack of curve options, so if I really need to I sometimes use Linear Phase EQ. And of course there's the Pultec, but that's really more of a mastering effect - I couldn't imagine using it to select specific details.
--
"Reality is anything you can get away with"
User avatar
beeflin
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:51 pm
Location: Totnes, Devon, England

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby Obitheincredible » Sat May 31, 2014 8:53 pm

The Classic EQ is definitely in my favorites folder, but lately I've been using the new EQ 73 and EQ 81 a LOT. Pretty cool sounding EQs, but the Classic EQ is definitely a winner. Countless tracks of mine have it across tons of stuff. Its usually my go to for Low/Hi Passing tracks too.
User avatar
Obitheincredible
1K Club
 
Posts: 4424
Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:54 pm
Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby DigitaLWizarD » Thu Aug 30, 2018 1:10 pm

Thanks for this topic, it was the only one in the whole internet that best describes this wonderful plugin.

I searched for a long time for a deeper description of it, but after reading this topic I was encouraged to use the plugin.

The plugin is part of the "Classic" package, it must have been one of the first to be developed by the manufacturer, but unfortunately it was and it still is very neglected. It's a superplugin, extremely flexible and effective! Too bad it's not so popular!

I know thousands of multiband processors, including limiters, but this one we're talking about - in my convinced opinion - far surpasses everything I've tested (so MANY plugins tested).

The Classic Multiband Limiter quickly became the absolute holder of the last slot in my master's chain. It is the lord of the ultimate protection and refinement.

The quality of my masters has reached an extremely nice standard and I am extremely grateful and surprised by everything this plugin can offer.

Classic, old perhaps, but still unbeatable in its category.

As long as it is well understood and managed, it is worth many. Many!
DigitaLWizarD
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:24 pm

Re: Classic Multiband Limiter "How to use"

Postby auggybendoggy2 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:08 pm

I know it's been a while someone commented on this, but I found the MBL to be really impressive. I'm new to audio mixing because my daughter began song writing and is quite good. So being I want to start recording some demos, I'm venturing into home recording. I dabbled with it over the years but nothing too serious.

I was even telling Peter how much I liked the limiter and he encouraged me to also try out the MBC. So what the hell, I picked up 3 of the quad series, and the de-esser (it's interface shares the same as the quad series).
User avatar
auggybendoggy2
 
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:21 am

Next

Return to Mixing & Mastering with T-RackS and MixBox