[Ardour-Users] Current best method for multi-band compression within Ardour?

Seablade - seablaede at gmail.com
Sun Nov 18 07:10:27 PST 2018

> if you do audio engineering instead of measurements.

While the rest of your email has some merit about mixing what you hear and
using what you hear in artistic ways, this statement is just wrong.

This is about more than just measurements.  I will back up Robin, I have
stopped using Calf more multiple reasons and yes what Robin mentioned is a
big part of one of them, significant phase smearing that is very audible
and in many cases not what you really want.  Like Robin I believe that the
default settings (Supposedly no-op) should be at least reasonably flat, and
they aren't.  Now it may be you want the distortion to the sound this
brings, but often times it is not what I or many others are looking for and
there are better options out there like Robin mentioned.

Sadly it doesn't look like OvertoneDSP has released a recent version of the
LinuxDSP multiband compressor that I used to use as well.  I could cause
some audible phase issues with it, but had to use it in some odd ways for
it to be an issue, which I consider a good thing.  Compared to my
experience with Calf, LinuxDSP was much better.  Then again Calf is done by
volunteers, and while Mike probably doesn't make anywhere near what he
should, it is a living for him.  Similarly the Harrison XT-MC Robin
mentioned is fantastic and is now my goto.


On Sun, Nov 18, 2018 at 2:09 AM Ralf Mardorf <ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net>

> On Sun, 18 Nov 2018 04:48:24 +0100, Robin Gareus wrote:
> >Calf's multiband compressor may be nice to sculpt some interesting
> >synth sounds, but it is likely not very useful for any serious work.
> >The cross-over filters are not flat (even if the custom GUI shows it as
> >flat), and there are various 180deg phase-shifts across the spectrum,
> >easily measured: default, supposedly no-op, settings look like [4].
> >Zamulticomp and XT-MT handle this correctly.
> It could be used very well for excellent good stereo sum compression
> in a Peter Gabriel alike style, if you do audio engineering instead of
> measurements. I don't know if his engineer actually does use multiband
> stereo sum compression, but it's possible to imitate this sound doing
> it. I actually used it and I replaced Fons' EQ with your EQ based upon
> Fons' EQ. Your EQ version 20161230 (yes outdated) is useful, even while
> there is an algebraic sign error.
> Most free as in bear software has got some issues, but sometimes it's
> possible to ignore those issues.
> We worked with dirty phases when using EQs for decades and lot of those
> analog recordings done with odd EQs do still sound better than any
> "done with Linux" recording I ever heard.
> I remember that you once posted a link to a double bass recording, where
> you were unable to get it as present as you wanted. This is were Calf's
> multiband compressor works very well. The pros and cons of what I call
> Peter Gabriel alike style stereo sum compression could be discussed. I
> also don't claim that Calf's multiband compressor is good, but since
> it's not easy to find usable plugins among the trillions of completely
> unusable Linux plugins, IMO Calf's multiband compressor is not that bad
> as you claim.
> Dirty phases are an issue for all kinds of recordings. It's better if
> the used gear (or software) does cause as less as possible dirty
> phases, but by one way or another audio engineering always has to
> struggle with dirty phases.
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