Adobe Audition Tutorial #2: The Multiband Compressor

Adobe Audition Tutorial #2: The Multiband Compressor

April 16, 2009  |  Articles, Edumification


Although I didn’t get much reaction from our members (thanks alot guys! where’s the love?) I did find out through the alchemy of modern google analytics that alot of people were coming to my blog just to read about the plugin tutorial.

The next plugin tutorial is for the Multiband Compressor. This is a plugin that I use regularly to boost the gain a little and add a little punch to some of my VOs … it also has a nice hiss remover that works more on frequances than actual data elimination.

Here is a quote from wikipedia about the technical aspects of what Multiband compression is (some of this stuff is pretty technical so either skip it or put your learning caps on to absorb all this audio nerdishness)

Multiband compression

Multiband (also spelled multi-band) compressors can act differently on different frequency bands. The advantage of multiband compression over full-bandwidth (full-band, or single-band) compression is that changing signal levels in one frequency band (such as from a sporadic low frequency kick drum) don’t cause unneeded audible gain changes or “pumping” in other frequency bands.

Multiband compressors work by first splitting the signal through some number of bandpass filters or crossover filters. The frequency ranges or crossover frequencies may be adjustable. Each split signal then passes through its own compressor and is independently adjustable for threshold, ratio, attack, and release. The signals are then recombined and an additional limiting circuit may be employed to ensure that the combined effects do not create unwanted peak levels.

Software plug-ins or DSP emulations of multiband compressors can be complex, with many bands, and require corresponding computing power.

Multiband compressors are primarily an audio mastering tool, but their inclusion in digital audio workstation plug-in sets is increasing their use among mix engineers. Hardware multiband compressors are also commonly used in the on-air signal chain of a radio station, either AM or FM, in order to increase the station’s apparent loudness without fear of overmodulation. Having a louder sound is often considered an advantage in commercial competition. However, adjusting a multiband output compressor of a radio station also requires some artistic sense of style, plenty of time and a good pair of ears. This is because the constantly changing spectral balance between audio bands may have an equalizing effect on the output, by dynamically modifying the on-air frequency response. A further development of this approach is programmable radio output processing, where the parameters of the multiband compressor automatically change between different settings according to the current programme block style or the time of day. ”

end of quote

Here is where you can find the plugin in adobe audition 3 : Effects> Amplitude and Compression>Multiband Compressor


once you have selected your audio file and clicked decided to use the multiband compressor on it you will get this prompt screen:


now as you can see there are several settings like:

  • Broadcast
  • Classical Master
  • De esser
  • Drums (for instrument audio compression)
  • Enhance Highs
  • Enhance Lows
  • Full Reset
  • etc.

Now I highly recommend messing around with this plugin.. I have a few saved settings that compliment my voice and I also generally use it to see if there is any noticeable ambient sound. I’ve also had some success with the Hiss Reduction setting.

Also … please dont go nuts with this… ask your clients if they want the voice over files raw or with compression… show them the difference or let them add it on their end … that way you kept things clean… you judge what your client needs and prefers.

That’s it for now folks… till later!


  1. Absolutely fascinating Taji.
    Great thanks.

  2. Nice post and blog! Greets.

  3. Very very nice, I hope to be a new Audition soon from Adobe