Multi-band compressors are falling into disuse these days thanks to the rise of dynamic EQs, but there’s always room for a combination processor with a new approach. The RJ Studios MB3X mastering compressor plugin is a combination of a multi-band compressor combined with simple EQ and a peak limiter in one package that could be the perfect fit for your mix buss.
The MB3X is actually a software emulation of the Rocksonics MB3X hardware that was so popular with mixers in the know back in the 90s. This software version operates the same but adds a few additional tricks as well.
The best thing about the MB3X is that it’s simple to operate. There’s a master Threshold control, but you can also tweak the individual bands with trim controls. Although the Mid control works like you’d expect, the Lows/Highs is a bit different. If you turn the control towards the Lows side, it increase the level to that band. Turn it to the Highs and the same happens. There’s a Ratio control that goes from 1:1 to 4:1, and a Fast/Slow Release button. Three sideways meters show the gain reduction for each band.
After that comes an Output control followed by a Lows/Highs EQ that operates like the Lows/Highs threshold control, and a Mid frequency EQ that provides +/- 6dB of gain. Then comes a simple Peak Limiter with a Threshold control and stereo gain reduction meters. That’s followed by an Output Mix control for parallel processing. Simple, right?
A couple of other parameter controls that are easy to overlook at first stand out in practice. On the far left of the UI underneath the On/Out button is an Analogue button that adds a touch of harmonic distortion for added presence to the signal. Under that is a unique “Hilbert” button that reduces the THD of the compressor to inaudible levels over most of the audio range. One control giveth, the other taketh away.
There’s more. An A/B memory recalls two different sets of settings (and they’re both saved in memory), and there’s automatic mono/stereo channel switching for reduced CPU load when used on mono tracks in mixing. Finally the MB3X plugin will operate in some DAWs (such as Logic Pro) as a “dual mono” plugin so its output can be used with an MS processor.
If you’re looking for a simple buss processor that’s really unique, give the MB3X a try. At only $70, it’s a deal. You can find out more here.