FabFilter Pro-MB: Looking for advice

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
User avatar
KVRAF
3736 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Fri May 14, 2021 5:08 am

Currently, I don't have a good multi-band compressor in my folder.
- I have Maximus as part of FL Studio, but I don't like using it.
- I have Waves C4, but not sure if it is worth using.

I am used to FabFilter Pro-Q 3, Pro-C 2 and Pro-L 2, so I thought if I am to get a multi-band compressor it has to be Pro-MB.

But the big question is do I really need a multi-band compressor?

- Might sound a bit basic, but how do you know when to use it and what do you use it for?
- Do you use it often enough?
- Mixing or mastering or both?
- Is it most useful for hard-hitting genres EDM and techno genres (I am doing neither)?
- Pro-Q 3 does dynamic equalisation and Pro-C 2 offers a good choice of styles.I do understand that with MB you can split the band and process each one separately and have more flexibility, but is Pro-MB really worth it especially when you have these two? How often do you reach for MB?

I am looking for some justification and gain more understanding before taking any decision, because MB compression seems to be a bit complicated.

Sorry, not looking for any other multi-band compressor plugin recommendations. Only looking for advice relevant to Pro-MB from plugin point of view, but of course, general MB compressor advice is appreciated.

KVRist
177 posts since 11 Jul, 2016

Post Fri May 14, 2021 6:07 am

Do yourself a favor and check out fabfilters product videos by Dan worall. He shows almost all practical use cases you can think of.
The biggest thing for me is, that you can compress just specific frequency ranges in an unobtrusive way. Most MBC’s alter the sound in the crossover ranges while pro-mb has the ability to only act if some compression has to be applied.

Cheers
Marcel

User avatar
KVRAF

Topic Starter

3736 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Fri May 14, 2021 7:16 am

hlecram wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 6:07 am
Do yourself a favor and check out fabfilters product videos by Dan worall. He shows almost all practical use cases you can think of.
The biggest thing for me is, that you can compress just specific frequency ranges in an unobtrusive way. Most MBC’s alter the sound in the crossover ranges while pro-mb has the ability to only act if some compression has to be applied.

Cheers
Marcel
Thank you. I wonder how I forgot about checking Dan's videos! I think those should help me, but most likely I will end of wanting it after watching. :hihi:

Good to hear that Pro-MB is transparent.

User avatar
KVRAF
6632 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Fri May 14, 2021 7:27 am

Definitely a good call on Dan's videos. I have Pro-MB and it's very useful in many ways, ranging from practical (fixing frequency-specific problem areas) to very creative. Yes, it can be transparent, but it can also be applied heavily for some really intense (i.e., not transparent) effects. Whether or not you *need* it is another question altogether IMO. Waves C4 is a fine MB compressor as well, but if you're anything like me, you may find that you are just comfortable with FF products' workflow, so it will probably seem more intuitive and you'll likely have a tendency to use it more.

User avatar
KVRian
1129 posts since 24 Jul, 2008 from England

Post Fri May 14, 2021 8:56 am

I slept on Pro-MB for ages, but having studied the videos put out by Dan Worrall, & the concepts actually clicking, I've used it a lot more e.g. I needed to tighten up vocals only in the lower registers, & was able to expand just the mids and leave the intelligible parts in the high end untouched. You can't do that with a dynamic eq, as you'd be cutting frequencies. I wasn't cutting, merely tightening the lengths they rang out for. One can apply such tricks to full range sounds like a drum kit or a mix; tightening or blooming certain frequency areas in a natural way. Honestly, Pro-MB is the only multiband compressor I've got along with and use regularly.

I could likely live without it, but I'm glad I have it (& know where to use it).

User avatar
KVRAF

Topic Starter

3736 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Fri May 14, 2021 10:26 am

cryophonik and audiosabre

Thanks a lot for your inputs. I think you guys have sold me on it. I will watch some videos and even try to demo it before taking the final call.
cryophonik wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 7:27 am
Waves C4 is a fine MB compressor as well, but if you're anything like me, you may find that you are just comfortable with FF products' workflow, so it will probably seem more intuitive and you'll likely have a tendency to use it more.
audiosabre wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 8:56 am
I slept on Pro-MB for ages,

I could likely live without it, but I'm glad I have it (& know where to use it).
EXACTLY. I do need to make sure I understand how to apply it, though.
Last edited by LoveEnigma18 on Sat May 15, 2021 3:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

KVRian
962 posts since 16 Jan, 2018 from Portland, OR USA

Post Fri May 14, 2021 11:10 am

LoveEnigma18 wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 10:26 am

EXACTLY. I do need to make sure I understand how to apply it, though.
In case it's helpful, in my personal opinion, I only use it as a last resource. If I can make something better without using MB compression, I rather go that way.
Having said that, sometimes (very few times) it's the only thing I can do, then I'm glad I have it.
“In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.”

User avatar
KVRAF

Topic Starter

3736 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Fri May 14, 2021 11:41 am

escalona wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 11:10 am
LoveEnigma18 wrote:
Fri May 14, 2021 10:26 am

EXACTLY. I do need to make sure I understand how to apply it, though.
In case it's helpful, in my personal opinion, I only use it as a last resource. If I can make something better without using MB compression, I rather go that way.
Having said that, sometimes (very few times) it's the only thing I can do, then I'm glad I have it.
Thanks for your opinion. I do get your point, and for this very reason, I have avoided MB compression (and Pro-MB). For me, it is one of the most difficult plugins to apply and to know when to apply.

User avatar
KVRAF
9048 posts since 3 Feb, 2003 from Finland, Espoo

Post Fri May 14, 2021 12:05 pm

Just think of it as compression. Don't over think it.

If something is "frequency wise too dynamic" then use a multiband compressor. If it's frequency wise too much overall gain (or too little) then use an EQ.

If the overall sound is too dynamic, use a single band compressor.


Example:

A bass guitar amp recording that is really "nailed" in every way it can be, except a single frequency range that is randomly "poking" too dynamically due to the way the bassist plays. Use a MB to keep that area under control.

Consider a similar scenario but one where the poking frequency is constant in volume, meaning every time the note that triggers the poking note is at same volume, use an EQ to solve it.

3rd scenario being the whole bass guitar part itself being uneven in volume at this one specific note.. then use a compressor.


Example 2:

A kick drum where the mids and highs, aka the "click" is perfectly in control and awesome but where the lows are too dynamic from hit to hit. Use a multiband compressor to keep the highs as they are while reducing the dynamics of the lows.


Example 3:

A vocalist that triggers the "boom" of the proximity effect of a microphone on certain notes at certain levels but otherwise is nicely controlled. Use a multiband compressor instead of an EQ to keep the phatness but reduce the overall dynamic unevenness.



Also worth noting that Pro-MB is absolutely brilliant at "gating" stuff (not a full gate though, more of an expander). I actually use this mode the most in Pro-MB. If something is too static and doesn't feel lively enough dynamics wise in a certain frequency range, you can use Pro-MB to give it very precisely controlled extra dynamics and movement.
"Wisdom is wisdom, regardless of the idiot who said it." -an idiot

KVRAF
3808 posts since 26 Nov, 2015 from Way Downunder

Post Fri May 14, 2021 1:07 pm

Pro-MB is absolutely brilliant. I use it a lot for expansion too.

Here's an example of a use case for me: You have a mix stem with lots of hiss/white noise in the high end. You setup a high frequency band and CUT it a lot, so the hiss is subdued to where you like it. Now everything in the top end including the hihats are quiet too. Solution: Use expansion and set the treshold so that the hihats trigger expansion, pushing only the hihats up. Now you can have the hiss reduced and the hihats still bright and popping out.

Another scenario is receiving a "kick and bass stem" - and you want to reduce the volume of the bass, but not the kick. Do it with expansion.

Pro-MB is stupidly transparent. I migrated from Pro-Q to Crave, but nothing replaces Pro-MB for me. It solves some really tricky problems with ease. Maximus is a totally different beast entirely - I think of it as a multi-band maximizer specifically suited for absolutely crushing electronic music. Pro-MB can be a lot more gentle than Maximus - but it can also do some heavy masterbus lifting too.

User avatar
KVRAF

Topic Starter

3736 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Sat May 15, 2021 3:16 am

bmanic: Excellent tips and way of thinking, thank you so much for your time to write them. Appreciate the various examples. :tu:

MogwaiBoy: Even more excellent ideas, thank you so much. I am a bit scared about using expansion, simply because I have not understood it fully and then applying for sake of it is risky - these tips will help to approach it with more confidence. I agree about Maximus, it always sounds too sharp/bright to me and gives the feeling that it is made for EDM stuff.

Thanks everyone. All these tips will be useful during the demoing. Need to watch the videos first.

KVRAF
3839 posts since 17 Dec, 2009

Post Sat May 15, 2021 5:21 am

There's a lot of areas where i stopped using Pro-Q3 dynamic facilities in favour of very gentle and bandlimited soothe2 action.
bmanic's example1: The bass amp example, is what i'd Soothe2 instead of multiband comp first.

Also example3. I prefer de-booming with soothe, pro-mb feels too "broad strokes"

What i do use MB compressor for (and often) is more in the lines of "split band" compression rather than multiband compression.
Pro-MB, Voxengo Drumformer (it has saturation per band which is a plus) and Weiss DS1-mk3.
I like to i.e. slam the vocals from 2khz and up and compress hard only that range to bring vocals closer.

I'd also use a sidechained multiband comp to i.e. notch out a snare out of a kick.
i'd do a multi-band sidechain when i like to keep a more level "feel" (no obvious sidechaining) but scoop a little space nonetheless. I often use it (sparsely) on masters.

I do use Pro-MB as a multi-band expander often. I.e. in mastering to bring some punch into low end, on vocals to reduce mid-range boominess by expanding the peaks instead of simply notching everything out.
Remember, it has 4 modes, so it's more than just a multiband "compressor".

edit:
also, i'd kill for the new transient detection algorithm implemented as a transient design into Pro-MB.
JUST DO IT FABFILTER
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
PA sucks

User avatar
KVRAF

Topic Starter

3736 posts since 12 Jan, 2018

Post Sat May 15, 2021 7:26 am

Ploki: Thank you for sharing your tips, much appreciated. Those graphs are helpful too.

One thing for sure, this is a specialist tool useful mainly for problem solving. Perhaps it is more useful for recorded/live material.

This video by In The Mix demonstrates a couple of good examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg2xN8_dcW0

KVRAF
1646 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Post Sat May 15, 2021 7:38 am

wha-da-you na-eed a multi band fawor?

KVRist
443 posts since 10 Mar, 2020

Post Sat May 15, 2021 11:19 am

bro I have 2, I never use them. I master stuff myself and basicly its for dealing with issues but when you can go back to your mixing its even better to fix them there. moreover using a multiband comp is pretty difficult and can do more harm if you dont fully understand it and it takes a lot of practice to use it right. If you dont do mastering for a living imho you dont need it. I wish I could give my pro-mb back but its NFR bc I really dont need it and the other one is included in ozone. The only one I somehow use is the free OTT and maybe to split a sound in 3 different frequency bands to process them differently but for that you dont need a multiband comp.
TL;DR:
in my opinion: Probably for a standard musician and even for the majority of pros its not really usefull and a must-have and dynamic eqing is probably sufficient. If you are a mastering engineer you will need it to fix problems of other‘s songs.

Return to “Effects”