Multi-band dynamics processors are pigs - there is that<G>!
The optimal number??? Geez, I don't know, I do quite well with three or four most of the time, but the temptation to have more (and finer) control is tempting. Really tempting!
My machine finds this plugin to be a bit of a resource hog, so one of the things I need to do before the trial expires is play around with fewer bands. Which should not be a huge deal I suppose.
Look at it this way - when I had a stereo crossover driving a pair of compressor pairs I thought I was king of the world. When I later adopted a gently used broadcast processor (Durrough DAP) I thought I'd hit the jackpot.
Then along comes software.
If you aren't used to 26 bands of control (and the real kicker would be independent control over 26 bands for each channel!!!!) then I don't think you are going to miss it. Machines will get more powerful, at which point you can start to ratchet up the number of bands you use.
Still, even at around $100 this feels a little bit like something I'd like but don't necessarily need, since I'm going to have a difficult time using it to it's maximum effect. On the other hand, band count is not the only metric, and it sounds good, and it has some nifty features, and, and and!
I will probably make the investment because I think it will let me shape a stereo mix nicely. But I have to back to my other multi-band tools to see if it really offers me a big advantage, once again not so much for the money, but for the time I KNOW I'll lose learning to use it.
Other tools that may or may not be appealing to others here:
- Izotope Multi-Band Compressor - sadly it doesn't appear to be available any longer, and the version I have is locked to Sound Forge V9, so I will be replacing it when that stops working entirely (still a 32 bit application).
- UAD Precision Multi-Band Compressor - I like it, but sometimes it is just a little too precise? That might sound silly, and it is always likely I haven't figured out how to use it properly.
- FabFilger Pro-MB - tried it, really liked it, but didn't/don't need it until I can't use the Izotope plugin, or at least that was my reaction at the time.
- Brainworks - just about everything they make is cool, and I think they have a couple multi-band dynamics processors, but I haven't really looked.
- Waves - one of the first developers to really take advantage of multi-band processing, many of their compressors and limiters offer the feature, and they work well, are relatively easy to understand, and sound good.
And don't overlook the fact that you can get some pretty cool results using a cross-over feeding multiple compressors or limiters!