20 Best Multiband Compressor VST Plugins 2024

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A multiband compressor is basically a group of multiple compressors, with each operating on distinct sections of the audio spectrum.

Multiband compression offers considerably more flexibility than your average compressor, but because you need to be intentional about the frequencies you want to compress (and how), it’s also considered more advanced and difficult to control.

Nevertheless, they are especially effective when you want more transparent sidechain compression, or when you’re looking to target problematic frequency regions.

In this guide, we look at the best multiband compressor VST plugins.

Drawmer 1973 Multi-Band Compressor by Softube – Best Overall

Drawmer 1973 Multi-Band Compressor by Softube – Best Overall

You can probably tell, from its appearance, that the Drawmer 1973 Multi-Band Compressor is related to the Drawmer S73 Intelligent Master Processor, also seen later in this guide. It’s of the same quality, to be sure, but it is a separate product, with different functionality.

The Drawmer 1973 Multi-Band Compressor is a versatile and great-sounding plugin. This plugin allows for the micromanaging of dynamics. From making your mixes louder and wider to taming out of control bass guitars, there are a ton of functions this baby can perform.

Based on the original 1973 Drawmer hardware, this plugin was created in collaboration with Drawmer, and was even approved by Ivor Drawmer himself.

With three frequency bands, you can take complete control over your mix with this compressor, whether it’s adding some sheen, or tightening the low end. Regardless of acoustic guitars, basses, or vocals, you can draw out the exact character you want out of individual tracks while reducing unwanted frequencies.

Softube went ahead and added a few extras to the original concept, like mid-side processing and sidechain, as well as presets from the Drawmer S73, along with new additions.

The Drawmer 1973 Multi-Band Compressor is our best overall pick but trust me when I say it was a close call. You’ll find plenty of other great options in this guide at a variety of price points.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Neutron 4 by iZotope – Best Premium Option

Neutron 4 by iZotope – Best Premium Option

iZotope’s Neutron 4 is certainly up there in terms of premium options, and it’s considered a “channel strip” of sorts (the reasons should become apparent soon enough).

The latest version of Neutron (Neutron 4) comes with an AI powered assistant, target library for matching references in real time, unmask module (for uncovering masking issues in your mix), trash mode (the infamous iZotope Trash distortion functionality is built in), and punch mode in the compressor module.

Altogether, Neutron 4 comes with a sculptor, compressor, equalizer, exciter, gate, transient shaper, and unmask modules, each with their own parameters. So, as you can tell, it’s considerably more than just a multiband compressor.

Essentially, Neutron 4 is a powerful mixing suite. If you have all other jobs covered and are looking for multiband compression specifically, this is not your ticket to freedom. But if you want to create killer mixes as you never have before, Neutron 4 is a must see. This makes it our best premium selection.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

ShapeShifter by Aberrant DSP – Best Budget Option

ShapeShifter by Aberrant DSP – Best Budget Option

Aberrant DSP calls their ShapeShifter a character compressor / dynamics remodeler. It’s been designed to let you shape and mold your sounds as you see fit. It blends multi-band upward and downward compression and can handle anything from subtle to extreme settings.

Altogether, ShapeShifter comes with a transients section (ratio, threshold), upward compression floor control, envelope shaping (attack, release), tone adjustment, drive control with A (gentle) and B (hard) modes, asymmetry control, dry / wet mixer for parallel processing, and a custom preset system featuring 64 presets.

ShapeShifter can do considerably more than you might expect. And at this price point, it’s a shoo-in for our best budget selection.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

FabFilter Pro-MB by FabFilter

FabFilter Pro-MB by FabFilter

FabFilter’s FabFilter Pro-MB is a true powerhouse multiband dynamics processor. Some even consider it the best of its kind!

This plugin lets you create a band at the frequency range you want to alter. No crossovers (unless you want them)!

The superb plugin comes with up to six processing bands (which can be snapped together to create a more conventional crossover system), dynamics processing (compression, limiting, expansion, gating, etc.), dynamic phase processing mode, and linear phase processing mode.

It also features a minimum phase processing mode, up to 4x linear-phase oversampling, customizable bands, adjustable steepness of crossover slope, attack and release curves, global dry / wet mix, retina interface, frequency analyzer, freeze feature, and much more – all the goodies FabFilter is known for!

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

C6 Multiband Compressor by Waves

C6 Multiband Compressor by Waves

Waves’ C6 Multiband Compressor is an extension of their landmark C4 Multiband Compressor. They took the best aspects of the C4 and added two more floating bands as well as sidechaining functionality. This is an excellent selection for both live and studio use.

Whether it’s de-essing, de-popping, or any other kind of taming, the C6 Multiband Compressor is a handy tool with internal / external sidechain per band, Listen mode per band, four crossover bands, two floating bands, dynamic EQ, compression, expansion, and double precision bit resolution processing.

Learn more: Waves

C4 Multiband Compressor by Waves

C4 Multiband Compressor by Waves

Waves’ C6 Multiband Compressor was met with rave reviews. But that doesn’t make the original (and more affordable) C4 Multiband Compressor any less of a treat to work with.

C4 comes with four parametric bands of up and down expansion, compression, and limiting, standard and dynamic EQ, and ARC auto release control.

This compressor is great for sculpting vocals, accentuating drum kits, shaping entire mixes, and a great deal more.

Learn more: Waves

Multiband Compressor by Vengeance Sound

Multiband Compressor by Vengeance Sound

Just as it sounds. Vengeance Sound’s Multiband Compressor is the perfect solution for creating a loud, dynamic, punchy mix. This compressor gives you the option of using anywhere from one to four band modes, as well as 6 to 96 dB filters, along with four independent compressors and limiters.

Altogether, Multiband Compressor comes with four modes (one, two, three, and four band), up to four independent compressors (one per band), hard / soft knee mode, optional autogain, optional auto release, and graphical ratio / threshold curve display.

You also get up to four limiters (one per band), one mastering limiter (sum) with auto release, New York compression (mix knob), live waveform scopes per channel, real time FFT analyzer, dynamic pattern compressor, anti-distortion filters, presets, and automatable parameters.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Multiband Sidechain3 by Vengeance Sound

Multiband Sidechain3 by Vengeance Sound

Sidechain compression is all the rage with electronic producers in virtually every genre, especially dance and house. Vengeance Sound’s Multiband Sidechain3 may well be one of the best of its kind, and it can even act as the “glue” in your mix.

If you’ve been having a tough time trying to figure out how to make the most of sidechain pumping in your tracks, then Multiband Sidechain3 is well worth a look. It can get you to desired results in just a few clicks!

This plugin gives you the ability to split your sound into two bands with different settings on each. This is perfect for adding some grittiness to higher frequencies while keeping lower frequencies clean. German music producer Manuel Schleis himself created 32 presets for this plugin.

All in all, you’ll find two independent sidechain channels (low and hi), three filter types (digital, notch, steep), two-band EQ with smooth FFT, 32 presets, graphical visualization of sidechain effect, configurable main display (with eight predefined scenes), and multiple options for trigger (audio signals, MIDI notes, host sync).

Finally, Multiband Sidechain 3 also comes with the plugins VPS Transmitter and VPS MidiBay.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

AVA Multiband Compressor by Harrison Consoles

AVA Multiband Compressor by Harrison Consoles

Harrison Consoles’ AVA Multiband Compressor was based on the same world renown multiband compression algorithm used in productions all over the world – video, film, broadcast, high-end music, and more.

This plugin features an analog processor converted to digital, to offer the most analog sound and feel possible.

The main display comes with controls for four band frequencies and depths, along with an RTA analyzer for pre or post EQ adjustments and a decay knob.

AVA Multiband Compressor also comes with input threshold, band pass, band solo, band frequency, band depth, attack, release, knee, makeup gain, auto solo, expander, key input, and sidechain EQ controls.

Overall, this compressor comes with an intelligent algorithm, band solo and auto solo features, RTA analyzer display, up to 12 dB reduction, sidechain key input with dedicated EQ, zero latency processing, expand mode, bypass, UI configuration settings, and an alternative vintage theme.

Its zero-latency design even makes AVA Multiband Compressor a capable live tool.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Drawmer S73 Intelligent Master Processor by Softube

Drawmer S73 Intelligent Master Processor by Softube

Multiband compression has never been simpler with Softube’s Drawmer S73 Intelligent Master Processor, a plugin that captures the very essence of the classic Drawmer sound with clarity, punch, and character.

The problem with multiband compression? When it isn’t used the right way, it can cause more issues than it solves. The Drawmer S73 Intelligent Master Processor was created to solve this very problem.

As you can see from the interface, there aren’t that many choices to be made. You can turn the amount dial to control the effect, turn the air on or off, and choose from five Clean styles, two Bass Control styles, and three Spatial controls. Finally, there’s an output section (with mix and gain) for fine tuning.

This is an excellent plugin for anyone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of multiband compression, or simply those who are looking for a plugin with a fast-mastering workflow. That’s what I like most about it.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

MC2000 Multi-Band Compressor HD v7 by McDSP

MC2000 Multi-Band Compressor HD v7 by McDSP

MC2000 Multi-Band Compressor HD v7 is a versatile piece of kit, capable of delivering both modern and vintage compression sounds.

MC2000 is, in fact, three plugins – MC202 (two-band compressor), MC303 (three-band compressor), and MC404 (four-band compressor).

As a multi-band dynamic compressor, you get control over all the standard parameters – threshold, output (makeup gain), compression (ratio), attack, and release. There are some additions, though, with the knee and BITE controls specifically.

MC2000 also features multiple peak detection circuit types and 24 dB / Oct crossover filters.

In total, with v7 you get a new UI, new presets, zero latency algorithms, double precision processing, phase controls, compression curve modeling, multiple peak detection circuits, adjustable crossover filters, analog saturation modeling, multi-band control linking, as well as mono and stereo versions.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

XTT by VINAI by W.A. Production

XTT by VINAI by W.A. Production

W.A. Production’s XTT by VINAI was created in collaboration with Italian brothers Alessandro and Andrea Vinai, well-known for their big room EDM.

This baby features five bands with adjustable crossovers, tweakable threshold, a makeup gain dial, optional surgical shaping per band, upward and downward compression (simultaneously dialing possible), and a Time control (macro for attack and release times for all five bands).

It also comes with a built-in brickwall limiter with Boost setting, linked in and out faders, bypass and master mix, visual feedback, and presets.

Producers say XTT takes the mystery right out of multiband compression, with great presets and fast results.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

DynOne by Leapwing Audio

DynOne by Leapwing Audio

The DynOne smart parallel multiband dynamics processor comes with five bands, an adjustable filter, and intelligent attack and release settings.

While it does much of the heavy lifting for you, the plugin doesn’t remove creative decisions from your shoulders entirely. It lets you take full control of the metering and controls to dial in your ideal settings.

So, if you like the idea of having a little bit of assistance while maintaining overall control over the result, this plugin is for you.

In total, Leapwing Audio’s DynOne features high-quality FIR filters, variable RMS vs peak detection, stereo link control, weighting algorithm, and a Retina design.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

MDynamicsMB by MeldaProduction

MDynamicsMB by MeldaProduction

MeldaProduction’s MDynamicsMB is more than just a multiband compressor – it’s a multiband dynamics processing effect. This plugin was originally designed for mastering, but thanks to its zero-latency design, it’s just as suited to mixing.

MDynamicsMB also comes with six independent bands, two compressor / expander units, and an advanced custom processing shape editing feature for maximum sound editing power.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Blue Cat’s MB-5 Dynamix by Blue Cat Audio

Blue Cat’s MB-5 Dynamix by Blue Cat Audio

Yet another multiband dynamics processor, Blue Cat’s MB-5 Dynamix works as a gate, limiter, multiband compressor, expander, waveshaper, or a combination thereof.

MB-5 Dynamix comes with five bands, envelope detection, advanced stereo features (mid / side processing, independent channels activation), brick wall limiter / clipper, visual feedback, a streamlined interface, inter-bands controls, and MIDI and automation output capabilities.

With this multiband compressor, you can also take advantage of various advanced sidechaining features.

This version of Dynamix comes with reworked algorithms, external sidechain input, gain reduction control, new interface with zoom, lock, and faster loading, spectrogram settings and history, presets manager with MIDI program and bank messages support, and much more.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Dragon Fire by denise

Dragon Fire by denise

denise’s Dragon Fire may well be one of the most unique plugins on this list. Dragon Fire is a tonal compressor with Shape technology. Shape lets you control both the behavior and tone of the compression. This was their first goal with the plugin.

Their second goal was to make multiband compression simpler and more versatile. The push-pull technology makes it possible to target specific elements in the mix with the compression.

In total, Dragon Fire features Shape technology (from transparent to vintage and shades of gray in between), RMS and knee functions, interpolation between slow and fast release curves, adaptive saturation, push-pull graph, transparent clipper function, classic mode (single band compressor), as well as an array of presets for drums, guitars, bass, and vocals.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

SKYE Dynamics by Signum Audio

SKYE Dynamics by Signum Audio

Not a multiband compressor specifically, Signum Audio’s SKYE Dynamics is a transparent, multi-stage dynamics processor. It’s made up of a compressor, limiter, and expander specifically.

This processor comes with five preset envelopes, adaptive auto release, bypass for each effect, gain staging, individual sidechain, and channel linking.

The user interface makes it possible for you to make all adjustments from a single view.

In summary, SKYE Dynamics features three dynamics effects (expander, compressor, limiter), ultra-transparent processing, envelopes (linear, natural, transparent, smooth), adaptive auto release, individual sidechains, individual bypass, channel linking, gate staging (at any point), and a resizable plugin window.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Linear Phase Multiband Compressor by Waves

Linear Phase Multiband Compressor by Waves

Waves’ Linear Phase Multiband Compressor features a five-band design (user definable), linear phase crossovers (for multiband compression), automatic makeup gain, adaptive thresholds, and finite response filters.

Learn more: Waves

Multipass by Kilohearts

Multipass by Kilohearts

Those looking for standalone multiband compressing solutions should give Kilohearts’ Multipass a “pass,” but otherwise it is quite the fascinating entry.

Multipass is a multiband modular snapin host – basically, you can create multiband “anything” with it. It splits your signal into (up to) five frequency ranges. This gives you the ability to add effects chains to each frequency range separately, and they can even be modulated.

You can create just about any effect you want with Multipass, whether it’s a multiband compressor / expander, or a combination reverb / distortion / compression effect (applied at different frequencies).

If you’re worried about having to download / purchase a whole bunch of snapins to take advantage of Multipass, don’t worry – it comes with a ton of essential effects (though advanced effects are sold separately).

The modulation section is also insanely versatile, from mangling to precise envelopes and LFOs, you can add movement to your tracks in a near limitless number of ways. Synth players should love this!

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Weiss Compressor/Limiter by Softube

Weiss Compressor/Limiter by Softube

User beware – Weiss Compressor/Limiter is not a multiband compressor specifically. It just so happens to come with some functionality that can have it perform similar functions.

This baby is perfect for mastering, especially when you’re looking for a more transparent sound. It was modeled after the Weiss DS1-MK3 digital dynamics processor, a favorite among some of the best mastering engineers the world over.

Once your mix has been finalized, you only have one more chance to get your music sounding right, and that’s the mastering phase. It can be a nerve-wracking experience if you’re not confident you have the right tools to get the job done. But with the premium Weiss Compressor/Limiter you can rest assured knowing last-minute adjustments will not only be possible, but sublime.

This unit will give you control over knee settings, ratio, attack and release times, filters (low pass and band pass), threshold, and more.

Not surprisingly, Softube went and added two new limiter algorithms to give you even more flexibility.

If you’re looking for a simple but effective mastering tool that can speed up your workflow, the Weiss Compressor/Limiter may well be worth the price of entry.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In A Multiband Compressor VST Plugin?

We’ve looked at some of the best multiband compressors and mixing / mastering compressors on the market. But unless you already know what you’re looking for, choosing the right product for your needs may prove a challenge.

Multiband compression is great for fine-tuning and final adjustments, sometimes for other creative uses as well. But of course, it would be a good idea to get a multiband compressor that can deliver on key functions before we even start thinking about using the effect creatively. This is a good thing to bear in mind.

Beyond that, here are some key factors well worth exploring:

  • Sound quality
  • Simplicity / ease of use
  • Features
  • Budget

He’s a look into each.

Sounds Quality

It’s always a good idea to confirm that you can achieve desirable results with a specific plugin. Having sorted this out, it’s okay to go a little more granular, identifying whether you like the exact character of the compression, saturation / transparency, functionality, and so on.

Listening to audio samples and watching video demos and reviews is a good way to get a feel for each plugin you’re considering. Don’t forget, though, that your ears can get tired after a while, and it can become harder to hear the differences between plugins after a while.

If you’re suffering from ear fatigue, take a break, and return to the task later. There’s no pressure to decide which product to purchase now.

But one of the top-ranking factors is inevitably sound quality. So, even if you’re drooling over a multiband compressor that seems to have all the goods, it’s in your best interest to hear it in action before deciding.

Multiband compressors can be used in a variety of ways, but they’re generally used for very specific tasks. It would be wise to ensure the compressor you’re thinking about buying can perform the necessary functions it’s supposed to before worrying about its creative uses.

Simplicity / Ease Of Use

Some producers know what they’re doing and can get exactly the results they’re looking for with multiband compressors. But because it’s kind of a complicated effect, it can be a little intimidating and difficult for newbies.

Fortunately, there are different options for producers at different levels of their development. The Drawmer S73 Intelligent Master Processor, for example, is easy for anyone to operate. You can simply choose a style, adjust a few dials, and be off the races. XTT could be another solid option for beginners.

If you’re new to multiband compression, then it might be in your best interest to select a beginner friendly option. This will give you gratification without all the hard work and analysis.

Then again, if you want to grow into it, you might want to purchase a more sophisticated multiband compressor, so you can learn the ropes as you go. It could be a long road, but it will be worth it long term.

There are different ways of approaching the issue, to be sure. But simplicity and ease of use is a factor some producers should be factoring into their purchase.

Features

As we’ve already seen, multiband compressors and dynamic processors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some feature a natural, transparent sound. Others come with a grittier, warmer sound. Still others can do it all.

Most multiband compressors come with your standard attack, release, and ratio controls, but some come with additional tone sculpting features, be it EQ or filters. And when it comes to dynamics processors, they can do considerably more than your average compressor because by design they are like multi-effects or channel strips.

Quite simply, there are a vast array of options to choose from, and it’s either a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it. Sound quality should generally be prioritized over features, but it’s safe to say some features are desirable enough to make the leap.

Comparison shopping is going to require a bit of homework, admittedly, but that’s going to come with the territory. From easy-to-use multiband compressors to more sophisticated and complex ones, no two options are exactly alike.

Budget

You should expect multiband compressors to cost anywhere from $20 to $400, depending on the option you’ve selected. But you can find plenty of great options in the $80 to $200 range.

Having considered all other factors – sound quality, simplicity and ease of use, and features – it would be in your best interest to filter your purchase through one final criterium – your budget. In the absence of any other considerations, it makes for a great decision-making tool.

If money’s not an object, then you’re free to choose whatever you want. Otherwise, we suggest spending conservatively. And please avoid going into debt. We do not recommend financing a VST plugin (or multiple plugins) on your credit card.

Top Multiband Compressor VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

Compression is a practical necessity for all types of studio projects. Multiband compression is generally used for fine-tuning and pinpointing at the mixing and mastering stages. Because of that, it isn’t necessarily a must-have. You may already have other tools that can help you perform the same job or get similar results.

But if you’re shopping for a multiband compressor, you’re probably more advanced than most. So, you probably have a better idea what you need than I do. Do your homework, review the options, and choose a multiband compressor that matches your needs.

With that, I wish you all the best on your recording journey.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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