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The 12 Best Multiband Compressor Plugins For Music Producers

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Out of the wide variety of compressor plugins used by music professionals, multiband compressors are some of the most technically challenging ones. Much like parametric EQs, they divide the audio spectrum into separate bands, applying compression independently to each frequency range. With new plugins being released each year, choosing the best multiband compressor VSTs can be a difficult task. That’s why we’ve spent hours devising a list of the 12 best ones. We’ve also included different price points and the pros and cons of each plugin, ensuring that there is a multiband compressor plugin specifically for your needs, on this list.

What Is A Multiband Compressor?

A multiband compressor is a type of compressor that processes audio signals by dividing them into separate frequency bands, or ranges, and then applying compression independently to each band. With dedicated crossover frequency controls, multiband compressors provide precise control over the bands, giving you more control than a standard compressor.

What Is Multiband Compression Used For/Best On?

The use of Multiband compression is only restricted by the user’s creativity. Since they work on frequency bands manipulated by crossover frequencies, they can be used to surgically treat or enhance a specific frequency range within your drums, bass, guitar, vocals, or group busses.

For example, a multiband compressor can be used to add punch and definition to a drum kit by compressing the low-frequency band of the kick drum, while leaving the high-frequency band of the cymbals uncompressed.

Similarly, a multiband compressor can be used to tame the low-frequency rumble of a bass guitar or add clarity to a vocal track by compressing the presence range and not affecting the other frequency ranges.

A lot of top engineers use them to bring out the sound and presence of room mics, which are found above 15kHz. Without using multi-bands, you generally tend to lose the room’s character in the splash and overtones of the cymbals and other high-frequency, transient-heavy audio material.

With a lot of the ones on our list that provides individual attack, release, ratio, and threshold controls for each band, you can come up with your own creative ways of using them.

What Are The Best Multiband Compressor Plugins?

Here’s the complete list of the best multiband compressor plugins:

  1. Softube Drawmer 1973
  2. FabFilter Pro MB:
  3. Waves C6
  4. Vinai XTT
  5. PSP
  6. BlueCat MB5
  7. Quad Comp
  8. MO-TT
  9. iZotope Neutron
  10. Leapwing Audio DynOne3
  11. Waves L3 16 Multimaximizer
  12. Aberrant DSP Shapeshifter

1. Softube Drawmer 1973:

Compatibility:Win10+, macOS 10.12+, Apple M1 Supported, 64bit only. Supports VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Price: $225(List price) Currently on Sale for $89

Pros

✅Allows for precise control over the dynamics of different frequency bands, letting you boost just the vocals while cutting the bass.

 The ‘BIG’ switch reduces the sensitivity of the sidechain, giving a slight boost to your heavily compressed & side-chained EDM kick.

✅‘Air’ switch modelled on the original Air circuit in Drawmer 1973, adds a little shimmer to your high-end female vocals or cymbals. 

✅ Separate threshold levels, attack and release times, and ratios for each frequency band, lets you on each band separately.

Cons

❌Can be complex to set up and use, requiring careful adjustment of multiple parameters.

❌ The sound quality of Mid-Side isn’t great. The phasing doesn’t sound musical. May require additional EQ or compression to achieve desired results.

❌May require additional processing power and CPU usage.

The Softube Drawmer 1973 multiband compressor plugin is designed to replicate the sound and functionality of the classic Drawmer 1973 hardware compressor, which was known for its transparent, smooth compression. Designed by the legendary Ivor Drawmer, the three-band FET compressor was the heart of countless recording studios in the ‘70s.

The Softube Drawmer plugin is primarily known for its “soft knee” compression curve, which gradually increases the amount of gain reduction as the input signal surpasses the threshold.

This results in a smooth and subtle FET compression rather than a more abrupt and noticeable “hard knee” response. This makes the plugin well-suited for mastering applications, where a transparent and subtle compression effect is desired.

While being transparent, the compressor still adds a lot of analog warmth and body in the low end. With the ability to dial in frequencies separately, you can sculpt the click and the thud of a kick drum, or the pick attack and melodic elements of a guitar in great detail. 

While purely digital multiband compressors do the same too, they lack the warmth and homogeneity of an analogue emulation plug-in like the Drawmer 1973.

Some additions to the original hardware unit include a switchable mid-side to stereo knob on the top. The ‘Status’ knob allows you to zoom in on a certain band, and bypass, mute, or switch off the rest.

The ‘BIG’ switch under the low-frequency section reduces the sensitivity of the sidechain. This gives a slight boost to the low frequencies. This can be especially useful when trying to control specific problem frequencies within a mix or instrument.

Under the high-frequency section, Softube has emulated the famous ‘Air’ circuit found in the 1973 hardware unit.

Something to look out for while using the ‘BIG’ or ‘Air’ switches is that they can potentially create unnatural-sounding effects if used excessively or incorrectly. It is important to carefully adjust the sidechain filter settings and listen closely to the audio to ensure that the compression sounds musical.

We also found the mid in the mid-side option to sound quite synthetic. The way in which the phasing removes the frequencies does not sound very musical. 

You would need to run it through a Vari-Mu or Tube compressor to retrieve the mids. We suggest using the stereo mode for getting the best out of this plugin.

2. FabFilter Pro MB:

Compatibility:WinVista and above, macOS 10.12+ Sierra, 32-bit & 64-bit. Supports VST, VST3, AU, Audio Suite, and AAX formats.
Price: $169

fabfilter MB 3

Pros

✅Transparency is its USP. Almost devoid of artefacts, making it great for times when you want to huge dips in your bass.

✅ Setting external side-chain on vocals lets you duck just the mid-range, allowing for new ways to make instruments fit in a mix.

✅ The global compression ‘mix’ knob can be automated to add hard comp. in a chorus, while being mild in the verses.

✅‘Minimum Phase’ processing uses analog-style crossover while ‘Dynamic Phase’ allows for an overall smooth curve, with very little plate shifts during crossover across bands.

✅ Includes the amazing Fab Filter add-ons like fine-tuned knobs, MIDI Learn, Smart Parameter Interpolation for smooth transitions, & SSE optimization.

Cons

❌Quite expensive for a multiband compressor.

❌Buying 2 different inexpensive plugins can get you the same results.

Before Compression

Full Mix

Bass+Drums

After Compression

Listen to the ‘Red’ band#5. It’s boosted by 2.19dB at 555Hz at a ratio of 4.27:1.

All bands are active & boosted. Only 4dB cut at 10kHz.

The FabFilter Pro MB is a multiband compressor plugin that has stood the test of time and has become a household name in recording studios and bedroom production environments.

The Fab Filter Pro MB compressor offers a unique approach to frequency splitting by allowing you to directly create a new band in the desired range rather than using traditional crossovers. 

The interactive multiband display clearly shows which parts of the spectrum are being affected, and bands can be snapped together to recreate a traditional crossover system if you prefer it that way. 

One of the standout features of the Pro MB is the inclusion of ‘Dynamic Phase’ processing mode, which offers the same frequency response as traditional multiband processing but with reduced latency, pre-ringing, and minor phase changes only occurring when the gain is actually changed. 

The Pro MB also offers Linear Phase and Minimum Phase modes. In addition to these advanced features, the Pro MB also includes the standard array of Fab Filter add-ons such as fine-tuned knobs, MIDI Learn, Smart Parameter Interpolation for smooth transitions, an extensive help file with interactive hints, and SSE optimization for improved performance.

3. Waves C6:

Compatibility:Win10,11, macOS 10.15+, Apple M1 Supported, 64-bit Only. Supports VST, AU, and AAX formats.
Price: $38

C6 1

Pros

✅ Used frequently on vocals in live performances, as its great for surgical noise cancellation.

✅The 2 floating bands on the wings perform like dynamic EQ. You can EQ out harsh cymbal freq. at say, 8kHz, with a precise Q, without disturbing the rest of the 4 bands’ crossover.

✅ The ‘orange’ horizontal line gives a broader perspective of the overall threshold. Constantly informs you of how individual band tweaking is affecting the overall contour.

✅4 crossover bands+2 floating bands is a great space-saver as you don’t necessarily need crossover on the 2 surgical bands.

Cons

❌ Quite complex. You need to be thorough with EQ and compression concepts individually to make the best use of it. However, you always have presets.

Before Compression

Full Mix

Bass+Drums

After Compression

The two boosted bands are highlighted on the wings at 202Hz and 1405Hz with the same Q factor of 1.65.
The two prominent dips are at 246Hz and 2.4kHz. The whole spectrum is evenly boosted at 3dB.

As an upgradation of the well-renowned Waves C4, the Waves C6 compressor is a six-band processor that combines compression, equalization, limiting, expansion, and de-essing capabilities into a single interface.

It is particularly useful for shaping vocals in live performances and for noise reduction in post-production environments.

It has a parametric interface and consists of four middle bands connected by crossover regions and two additional floating bands with dedicated frequency and Q controls. The two floating bands can be used for precise dynamic processing, like de-essing or de-popping, using a narrow Q if needed. 

One unique feature of the C6 is the Dynamic Line, which provides a real-time overview of EQ changes and allows users to observe the overall shape of their EQ as well as the gain changes occurring within each band. 

Overall, along with the FabFilter Pro MB, the Waves C6 is one of the most renowned multiband compressors on our list.

4. Vinai XTT:

Compatibility: macOS 10.15+ 64-bit only. Win8+ (32&64-bit) Supports VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.Pro Tools 11+.
Price: $39

Pros

✅ Great alternative for non-Ableton users .

✅’Link’ button solves the problem of entering a plugin with high vol. It automates input & output faders, always leaving room for the plugin to show its character.

✅ M/S tilt for separate bands widens & narrows the stereo processing. Very useful in EDM for hollowing out or emphasizing mids before a transition.

✅ Generally, Upward Downward Compression can be confusing for beginners. The vast preset list gives instant results, even if you don’t fully get it.

Cons

❌ The ‘Time’ knob which alters the attack & release across the five bands, seems to ruin your individual attack & release settings. Could’ve left this untouched.

❌ Ableton&XFER’s OTT are great due to the visual feedback with Upward & Downward bands. Vinai have lost the plot with dials, as it takes longer to mix.

XTT solves an important issue of proper gain staging within the modern DAW workflow. Since a lot of preset packs want to make their products sound attractive at first listen, they make their sounds extremely loud. 

As this signal enters your compressor at such a high decibel level, there’s hardly any room left for the plugin to show its character. Any changes you make on the compressor ends up needing a limiter or gain reduction to stop it from clipping.

While it looks like you’re doing fine as long as you’re not clipping, you’ve unfortunately not been able to experience the true character of the plugin you just paid for. XTT solves this by giving you a visualization at the input stage, which can be linked to the output in a way that the gain is compensated for.

Since the input and output levels are linked, you could lower the decibels by trimming the audio while still maintaining the character of the plugin.

While it doesn’t sound groundbreaking, it actually goes a long way in getting an accurate sound out of your compressor.

Besides this, the XTT is a downward and upward compressor, which can be dialled both ways till 200%. Just like Ableton’s OTT, the XTT can be used to rebalance your vocals. 

You can also cut down the transients of your snare and cymbals, while specifically bringing out the room sound. Since the air in a room recording is experienced at around 15-20kHz, the XTT is generally ideal at enhancing that frequency, while separating the cymbal transients that generally cloud your ears from perceiving the tone of a room.

The ‘Time’ knob can be used to move the attack and release up or down across the five bands. While you have dedicated surgical per band attack and release times, the ‘Time’ knob gives a quick preview of how it would sound if applied all across the five bands. We didn’t find it particularly useful as you lose perspective of individual attack & release settings.

However, its worth mentioning that its way more difficult to work with Vinai as compared to Ableton’s OTT, as it doesn’t have bands. We feel Vinai has taken out visual feedback where it was most needed- in Upward Downward compression!

5.PSP Vintage Warmer2:

Compatibility: Win7-11, macOS 10.10+, Apple M1 Supported, 64-bit Only. Supports VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats. Also compatible with Studio One Professional (3.5.5+) 
Price: $149

Pros

✅ Algorithm maps overload characteristics making it sound like analogue tape. The simulated saturation makes it sound extremely realistic.

✅ Rare to find soft-knee compression and brick-wall limiter in one unit. Sounds great on Wah-Wah & vocoder effects. Soft-knee allows more signal in, while the limiter squashes it.

✅ Proprietary “FAT” double sampling mode is perfect for group/master as FAT works with linear filters in the high-frequency range. This fixes most phasing errors by evading artefacts.

✅ The Low latency single band MicroWarmer is ideal for single tracks and for preserving the CPU.

Cons

❌ It’s a digital simulation & not an emulation. So precise depth and complexity of analog gear might be missing.

The PSP VintageWarmer2 is a digital compressor and limiter that aims to replicate the warmth and character of a vintage analog-style multiband compressor/limiter hardware equipment. 

It can function as both a soft-knee compressor and brick-wall limiter, making it useful for a range of mixing and mastering tasks. Since the algorithm of the PSP maps the overload characteristics and generates simulated saturation, it sounds similar to that of an analogue tape machine. The overloading is also mapped by sophisticated VU and PPM metering which help in achieving more accuracy.

The PSP VintageWarmer2 package includes three versions of the plugin. The PSP MicroWarmer is a simplified single-band version with low latency optimized for individual tracks. It’s better to use this alone if your project file is already heavy and can’t take more plugins. 

PSP Vintage Warmer2, uses a proprietary “FAT” double sampling mode, 64-bit processing for an in-depth, more accurate analog processing. Being the USP of PSP, the FAT (Frequency Authentication Technique) processing system works with linear filters in the high-frequency range. 

These filters make sure that the phasing errors caused by double sampling are fixed. This allows for smooth double-sampling operations as the artefacts that are created during sample rate conversions are evaded. It is best suited for mastering sessions or group/master processing.

One potential downside is that it is a digital simulation, so it may not capture the full depth and complexity of analog equipment. However, it still provides a warm, rich sound. The PSP is surely one of the most authentically analog-sounding multiband compressors on our list. 

6. BlueCat MB5:

Compatibility:Win7+, 32 or 64 bit. macOS 10.7+, 64-bit. Supports VST, 2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Price: $149

Pros

✅ Can detect envelopes, allowing one band to trigger a dynamic response in another. Working like an internal side-chain, its very convenient.

✅ In each band, ‘Up’ section controls compressor/limiter+expander & ‘Down’ section controls gate or upward compression. This division makes it easier to grasp.

✅ Excellent visual feedback of parameters with an advanced spectrum analyzer, input/output levels, & compression ratios means you always know what you’re doing.

✅ Great tool for intermediate producers to learn advanced Multiband moves. You can switch different sections on & off, making it digestible.

Cons

❌ Waveshaping used here is too advanced for a beginner to understand & apply.

The coolest thing about Blue Cat’s MB-5 Dynamix plug-in is that it has the ability to detect envelopes, allowing one band to trigger a dynamic response in another (internal side-chain). While reducing and increasing the number of bands, the settings of the previous bands are preserved and duplicated, making the MB5’s individual band operations extremely flexible.

The plug-in includes a brick wall limiter/clipper as a ceiling to protect the output and provide further control over the dynamics response of the inbuilt knee, attack, and release times.

It also provides visual feedback for every step of the dynamics processor, including the highly sophisticated spectrum analyzer, input/output levels, and compression ratio for each channel.

Due to its advanced MIDI and automation output capabilities, the MB-5 Dynamix can be used for advanced side-chaining, allowing you to control other plug-ins with the output of the dynamics processing stage. It can also be used for simple side-chain dynamics effects or more advanced signal-dependent effects.

When combined with its existing mid/side processing and independent channel activation, you have complete control over the signal’s dynamics for a wide range of effects. 

The only downside to it is that understanding the complex processing and waveshaping, along with the multiple graphs, might not be within the scope of beginner to amateur producers. 

However, BlueCat has dedicated presets for drums, synths, instruments, and group buses, which act as an excellent starting point for you to start tweaking the settings. 

7. IK Multimedia Quad Comp:

Compatibility:Win7+, macOS 10.10+, Apple M1 Supported, 64-bit. Supports VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Price: 79 Euros

Pros

✅ Quite rare to find a specifically designed Optical multiband compressor, modelled on an LDR-dependent compression circuit. (Like a Multiband LA2A)

✅ Slope steepness switching between 6/12/24/48db per octave doesn’t affect the filter’s musicality, which is quite surprising.

✅ More beginner-friendly than most complex plugins on this list. Also less cluttered than others with a large GR section.

Cons

❌ Can’t think of any!

We included the Quad Comp as it’s specifically an Optical multiband compressor, which means it’s modelled on an LDR-dependent compression circuit. It incorporates four fully featured Opto compressors, each one operating on a separate,user-definable frequency band. 

The Opto-type compressors provide smooth and transparent compression, but you can also achieve more aggressive results by adjusting the threshold and ratio. 

The flexibility of this processor is also augmented by the selectable slope of the filters, which can be as broad as 6 dB/Oct or as steep as 24 dB/Oct, for maximum separation. 

Even at the steepest slope the filters used in the Quad Comp always sound natural and musical, so the processing applied to each band doesn’t suffer from phasing issues.

This processor can be used in a variety of situations, such as acting like a “dynamic EQ” on the stereo master bus of a mix to control certain frequencies, or on individual tracks like vocals or bass where the frequency content may vary significantly over time.

The interface of the Quad Comp also looks much less intimidating for beginners as compared to some of the other compressors on this list like the BlueCat MB5.

8. Slate Digital MO-TT:

Compatibility:Win8+, macOS 10.14+”, 64-bit Only. Supports VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX Native formats.
Price: $149

Pros

✅ There are 2 modes besides the classic OTT setting- ‘Hip-Hop’ mode preserves more low end and the ‘Vox’ aims at preserving clarity.

✅ Additional Tone knobs aid in fine-tuning the compression – ‘high’ increases the high-mid presence & ‘low’ reinforces the bass.

✅ ‘Easy’ & ‘Advanced’ modes solve the problem of Upward & Downward comp. being too difficult for beginners.

✅ Excellent GUI. Though a little cramped, the visual movement of individual dials and their impact on ‘global’ controls makes it a great plugin to learn on.

Cons

❌ Can’t think of any!

The MO-TT plug-in by Slate Digital is based on Ableton and Xfer’s OTT plugin, but goes above and beyond the two predecessors. The OTT-style compression plugins are a must-have for electronic music production in the modern age. 

The multiband dynamics feature of this plug-in enhances the sound of whatever is run through it, making it sound more vibrant, complete, and larger than life. It also offers more customization options and easier control than its predecessor. 

MO-TT includes preset modes for quick sound adjustments and adjustable transient speeds and global macros for further fine-tuning. If you have been trying to achieve the powerful, in-your-face sound characteristic of modern EDM, the OTT preset is likely the key. 

The best part about the MO-TT, which sets it apart from the rest, is that it has an ‘Easy’ mode with a less complex-looking interface, which is a great starting point for beginners. You can discover the ‘Advanced’ mode once you’ve got your basics covered.

While most of the knobs are similar to Ableton and Xfer’s OTT, there are two extra ‘Tone’ knobs for low and high frequencies to help in additional sound sculpting along with ‘amount per band’ controls. 

There are two more modes along with the OTT mode which can add instant oomph to your sound. The ‘Hip-Hop’ mode instantly adds low-end to your track while the ‘Vox’ can add enough high-end to make your track stand out from the rest of the mix.

9. iZotope Neutron 4:

Compatibility:Win10+, macOS 10.11+, Apple M1 Supported, 64-bit Only. Supports VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX Native formats.
Price: $129

Pros

✅ The ‘Unmask’ section’s internal or external side-chain opens new worlds in EDM production with time & sensitivity controls.

✅ Visual Mixer lets you place vocals ahead of your bass, with piano & guitars on the left and right respectively.

✅ Best suited for enhancing micro-dynamics of say, the finger plucking noise in a bass guitar.

✅ XY-Pad for 4 distortion styles makes cranking signals fun and intuitive. They can be further tweaked with Classic & Trash tone controls, adding instant Mojo.

✅ Can flip between analog (zero-latency)& hybrid (transparent) crossovers.

✅ Excellent GUI with a clear Oscilloscope.

Cons

❌ ‘Tonal Matching’ your drums for example, with the Assistant is a great feature. But the result isn’t as sophisticated as some fo the other plugins here.

You can basically make anything sound punchier and more energetic with the new ‘Punch Mode’ in Neutron’s Compressor module, which allows you to control and visualize the intensity of your sounds, adding more force and impact to vocals, percussion, bass, and more.

Choose from Punch Mode, Modern Mode, or Vintage Mode to easily manipulate microdynamics and get the desired effect.

The compressor’s threshold control offers a clear visualization of how the plug-in is affecting your audio, and you can choose between modern transparent compression or vintage-style colour. 

Both single and multiband modes are available, with auto-learning for threshold and crossover frequency to ensure precise compression. You can choose between peak, RMS, or transparent true envelope detection, and the auto-release function is track-appropriate.

The Oscilloscope View in the Compressor module lets you visualize the dynamics of your audio as you set up your sidechain and fine-tune the sound. 

The Sidechain metering offers some serious control over your signal. Band-specific internal or external side-chain is also possible, allowing compression to be activated in response to incoming audio signals.

A stand-out feature that isn’t found on any compressor on this list is the ability to switch between analog (zero-latency) or hybrid (transparent) crossovers which is really cool.

10. Leapwing Audio DynOne3:

Compatibility:Win8+, macOS 10.10 Yosemite+, Apple M1 Supported, 64-bit Only. Supports VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX Native formats.
Price: $199

Pros

✅ You can add or trim gain in 1 track, in relation to the full album’s tonal balance with ‘Global Trim.’ This way you can keep your album’s sound consistent.

✅ 3 types of crossover slopes-low, ultra Q & master Q. While Ultra Q uses high CPU, ‘Low’ uses less CPU. Master Q is best for a slight boost while mastering.

✅ Having Offline rendering means you can have Ultra Q on your instrument busses and print their output in master Q.

✅ Sophisticated LUFS metering lets you calculate integrated loudness at all times. Shows diff. in dB between in & out, allowing you to make precise Multi-band gain moves.

Cons

❌ The features list is way beyond a beginner’s reach and very specific. However, it’s great for the pros.

Leapwing Audio’s DynOne 3, is a multiband parallel processor that boasts state-of-the-art processing capabilities and has an exciting addition to the standard mid-side processing.

The plugin features newly developed algorithms and filters that enhance low-level subtleties without sacrificing the fundamental dynamics of audio material. 

DynOne 3 includes an option to alter the crossover frequencies between its various bands by allowing you to switch between a ‘gentle‘ crossover slope and a ‘steep’ crossover slope between the bands. 

The newly developed proprietary ‘Center-Side’ Mode, is based on Leapwing’s ‘CenterOne’ algorithm, which enables users to process the sound in the centre of the stereo image separately from the sides. 

This feature was created in response to requests from DynOne users for MS options and with a focus on eliminating artefacts, which generally show up while working with Mid-side.

11. Waves L3 16 Multimaximizer:

Compatibility:Win10,11, macOS 10.15+”, 64-bit. Supports VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Price: $38

L3 16

Pros

✅ More specific to mastering, than for use on busses.

✅ The 3 lines-Orange for Attenuation, Yellow for choosing/ignoring freq. to limit, blue for EQ, give a bigger picture of all your moves.

✅ ARC or automatic release, lets you instantly dial analog warmth or digital clarity with the preset arc curves.

✅ The ‘Priority’ curve is great for separating high-freq. instruments from the room mics, which is generally hard to do.

✅ You can add body to your bass at 80Hz by enhancing the ‘yellow’, while having a gentle ‘blue’ 6dB/Oct EQ slope cutting the mud from 60Hz onwards.

Cons

❌ GUI is quite unattractive compared to others on this list.

❌ Mixing with the 3 coloured lines, requires thorough understanding of each parameter. Almost out of the reach of a beginner.

Before Compression

Full Mix

Bass+Drums

After Compression

Slight periodic boosts at 122Hz, 518Hz, and 8.35kHz make all the difference in terms of enhancements.
Slight periodic boosts at 139Hz, 331Hz, and 5.78kHz with a smooth low freq. roll off.

The Waves L3-16 Multimaximizer is a unique 16-band peak limiter that offers unparalleled loudness with a high level of control. Though it is a 16-band processor, it basically works inside a 6-band format.

It uses the company’s patented PLMixer Peak Limiting Mixer technology to provide precise and detailed sound maximization. The L3-16 comes with a range of sonic options, including analog warmth and digital coolness, allowing it to adapt to any genre or sound. 

It also has an ARC Automatic Release Control and IDR Increased Digital Resolution with double precision bit re-quantization and a noise shaping filter, which works great to separate the extremely high-end frequencies of the room, from the cymbal splashes and other transient peaks.

While it can be used on individual tracks, Waves recommends that it be used on the two-track master. 

The plugin also includes the L3 Multimaximizer, L3 Ultramaximizer, L3-LL Multimaximizer, and L3-LL Ultramaximizer, all of which use linear phase filtering to prevent phase distortion and provide maximum output.

12. Aberrant DSP Shapeshifter:

Compatibility:Win7+, macOS 10.10 Yosemite+, Apple M1 Supported, 64-bit Only. Supports VST3, AU, and AAX Native formats.
Price: $20

Pros

✅ At $20, it’s the most inexpensive and most colourful compressor on our list.

✅ You can vary your drive between A(Gentle) & B(Hard) and use ‘Tone’ dial for going from smooth to character-filled colourful comp.

✅ Upward floor control can help tame unwanted room noise, while transient section allows for downward comp. with ratio & threshold.

✅ ‘Asymmetry’ control creates even-order harmonics for harsher tones, making great for drum busses, bass, & distorted guitars.

✅ 64 factory presets make it easy to try for beginners, without having to know too much.

Cons

❌ Can’t think of any!

As one of the most inexpensive, experimental, and colourful (dirtiest) of our multiband compressors on our list, Shapeshifter is worth checking out.

It combines multi-band upward and downward compression to give you the ability to add depth, texture, and energy to your audio. The possibilities are endless – from subtle enhancements to intense distortion, ShapeShifter can do it all!

Interestingly, the ShapeShifter has the ability to control upward and downward compression using a single Ratio control. The Transients section offers additional Ratio and Threshold controls, allowing you to specifically shape downward compression. 

The Floor control is used for eliminating unwanted noise and an ‘asymmetry’ control lets you create even-order harmonics for harsher, grittier drive textures.

With 64 factory presets, the ShapeShifter provides a good starting point for you to start experimenting with it. 

Summary

To recap, here is the complete list of the best Multiband compression plugins:

  1. Softube Drawmer 1973
  2. FabFilter Pro MB
  3. Waves C6
  4. Vinai XTT
  5. PSP VintageWarmer 2
  6. BlueCat MB5
  7. IK Multimedia Quad Comp
  8. MO-TT
  9. iZotope Neutron
  10. Leapwing Audio DynOne3
  11. Waves L3 16 Multimaximizer
  12. Aberrant DSP Shapeshifter


Overall, Multiband compression plugins are a life-saver when you’re working with many instruments or tracks that overlap each other in a similar frequency spectrum.

Using a standard compressor won’t do the trick for you and while using a parametric EQ will let you boost or cut specific frequencies, it won’t allow for sophisticated ratio and threshold-based maneuvers.

Multiband compressors are used heavily in EDM, where multiple textures exist within specific frequency belts like the bass, kick drum, and rumble tracks in Techno productions. They also work in carving out space for vocals to sit within a dense arrangement in funk or metal.

While the Aberrant Shapeshifter is the cheapest option for beginners to get their feet wet, we would suggest going for the Waves’ C6, L3 16, iZotope Neutron, or the FabFilter MB as they can be bought in bundles easily along with other plugins.

However, if you’re looking for a single purchase, we recommend going for the one you find most useful for your specific production needs.

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