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I know it's not very polite to ask about non-Voxengo plugins in these forums, but here it goes...

I've been using a mastering chain like this:

Multiband Compressor (Waves C4) -> EQ -> Tape Saturator (Steinberg Magneto) -> Limiter (DSP-FX Optimizer).

I got some good results with that chain, but I was using the cracked plugins (sorry about that).  Now I'm going legit with all my software.  I have purchases Voxengo Crunchessor, CurveEQ, and Elephant.  So I was thinking my new mastering chain would be:

Crunchessor -> CurveEQ -> Elephant

The main difference here being that instead of a multiband compressor I will be using a broad band compressor.

I know there is Soniformer out there, but to be honest, it's too complex for me.

However, I've just received an offer from db Audioware.  I can get their plugin pack for $69, which includes a compressor, a de-esser, a multiband limiter, and a mastering limiter.  The mastering limiter can't touch Elephant, but the compressor is the only one I know of that has true sidechaining (I use Sonar) - it achieves sidechaining using a trick, but it works.  The de-esser could also be useful since I don't have a dedicated de-esser plugin.

And I was wondering if the multiband limiter could be useful in the mastering stage.  It's a 3-band limiter with a very simple interface.  I was wondering if it could give better results instead of Crunchessor (before CurveEQ and Elephant).

I'm going to do some tests tonight, anyway.  I just wanted to see if anyone had other opinions.  If the multiband limiter turns out to be useful, then the db bundle would be worth it to me.

Thanks in advance.

I tried a makeshift multi-band limiter using elephant, see:

The result was, after careful review, not ideal, just as AV said it wouldn't be.

I think that soniformers multiband compression is sufficient, you said you found it too complex, but I just use it in a very simple way, maybe I am not getting the best out of it, but I just drag down the threshold till it is just under most of the peaks, set the ratio of around 2 (Both just straight across), ramp the attact from about 40ms down to about 5ms (in a straight line) and set the release to about 1/3 of that.  I use the stereo width function ramped from 90% up to about 120% (bass to treble).  And I set the Wet mix to about 85%.  All straight lines.  Oh, and I use around 4bD per octave, not the default 3.  You can easily adjust this setting to balance the bass/treble at any time without having to adjust anything else.

That is my basic setup.

That may sound complicated, but check the manual and it takes less than a minute to do once you know where to click.

My mastering chain, at the moment is:

Soniformer -> CurveEQ -> Elephant -> PSP MixSaturator -> Cubase Stereowizard

I know the limiter is supposed to be last, but by accident I found out that adding the saturator after Elephant adds a nice sheen, and can put back a little of the bass that limiting can remove.  I doubt this approach would work if Elephant was not such a transparent limiter.

Having said all that, I gather that a lot of people use a single band compressor for mastering.  I would suggest you mix some of the original signal in with the compressed signal and use slow attack/decay settings.  And you probably don't want to compress very much, making sure individual tracks are already compressed where required, though I suspect you probably know that already.

In short, I think that miltiband limiting is probably a sales gimick for a product that is not transparent enough to work as a broadband limiter.

I usually try not to need a multiband compressor in the mastering stage.  If you do find that you need a multiband comp in the master you could try to solve the problems again in the mix by lowering the problem frequency materials or compress them in the mix more.  This usually gives much better results.  You'll also find that most known mastering engineers don't really use or like multiband compressors, analog nor digital as they are always compromise fidelity with the crossovers.

However, if you really MUST have a multiband compressor I highly recommend Soniformer 2.  It really is not that complex at all.  I think if you purchase soniformer 2 you'll also have access to the old Soniformer 1 which is highly simplified but with nearly the same sound.  Maybe a flash tutorial of using the Soniformer 2 would be in order?  Anybody know how to easily create flash tutorials?



It's all good advice... maybe I'm just lazy, though I am getting less lazy as I go along...

Still, I find that Soniformer actually gives some definition to my mix.  Far from giving it a squashed sound, it actually sounds a little more 'spacious'.

I actually find that mixing out any peaks is a cure worse than the disease...

First, I mix to a state that sounds good to me.

Second, I start up Soniformer... and I usually see peaks on the bass and treble (about 1/4 in from each end) with a dip in the middle.

Third, I use soniformer to level out these peaks, using simple settings.  Nothing too surgical.

And I find the result sounds much better than if I try to level out those peaks back in the mix.

Any anomalous peaks left after soniformer are quickly delt with by CurveEQ which usually has very little left to do.

Thanks guys.  I think I should give Soniformer another try.

As for the db audioware pack, I might just buy it anyway.  I find the compressor with its sidechain very useful for ducking/gating effects.  The de-esser might come in handy, and the limiters work in some apps where Elephant doesn't work (ie.- Cakewalk's Kinetic), which is useful for live stuff.

Well it doesn't sound like too bad a deal... the regular price is $99 for the pack you mentioned, if they sound okay. (I wouldn't know.)
This topic was created before release of the latest product version, and it may contain details irrelevant to this version.  Replying is disabled for this topic.