In this article, Producer and Mix Engineer Brian Malouf (Dirty Heads, P!nk, Cage the Elephant) takes us through his process of using the Lindell 354E multiband compressor to master one of his latest projects, “Not That Sorry” by Olivia Mitchell. You can follow along with his steps by downloading the sounds from the accompanying tracks on soundcloud, linked below.
I start out by feeding pink noise into the compressor and set my crossover points at approximately 200hz and 5 Khz. These are the default settings. I then set the threshold & ratio parameters in order to achieve 3DB of overall compression per band, and set the gain controls to auto so that the make-up gain is equal to the amount of compression applied to each band.
Once those nominal controls are set, I instantiate the 345E onto the stereo main fader (bus) making sure I leave slots before and after the unit.
Here is the track I’m demonstrating with the 345E Bypassed
Now that I have audio running through the 345E, I begin to fine tune the sound using the various parameters available, focusing first on the Crossover, Threshold and Attack settings.
Now, to get exactly the amount of effect I’d like from the 345E, I begin Increase the input level knob at the top of the GUI. Here’s the level boost I settled on. Note that this caused me to further adjust the other parameters as well, mainly Attack and Ratio, along with M/S selects.
At this point I’m pretty happy with the fat sounding mixbuss, and now I experiment with the Nuke button just to see how far I can push it. Again, to get a sound I can use, I adjust other parameters, especially the Input Gain, which I have to back down.
Here I want to show you what comes before and after the 345E. I always recommend placing a peak limiter last in the chain to catch the occasional peaks that occur with additive gain compression. Also demonstrated here is the EQ I added to the final mix. Note that this EQ goes in-between the 345E and the Peak Limiter. Also note the Mid/Side choices I made for the EQ!
I hope you got something out of these words and techniques, and that you get a chance to listen to the audio examples. Thank you Olivia Mitchell for allowing us to use your song “Not That Sorry”. This is generally an example of how I approach a Master Mic Bus, but I never do the same thing twice! Usually 6 or 7 of the Insert slots are filled with small amounts of processing applied at each stage.
Please check out my Mixing Techniques series at LinkedInLearning.com