Tutorial + Download: Multiband Mid/Side Compressor Mastering Rack For Ableton Live

So you want a free Ableton Live rack that features a multiband mid/side compressor ideal for mastering? You're in the right place. Here's how to use it, build it... and you can download it for free!  

In this tutorial I will show you how to set up your own multiband mid/side compressor mastering racks. The one we will make will have full control over 3 frequency bands for the middle audio and 3 frequency bands for the side audio—though you can easily add more or less bands. This setup will deliver an incredible amount of control over your final sound!

Watch the Mid/Side Mastering rack in action:

I have also provided two racks for you to download. One uses the regular Compressor and the other uses the Glue Compressor. I did this for two reasons. First, so that Live Intro users can have access to at least one great sounding rack. The second reason is that the compressors work and sound differently and it is a good thing to have both setups available!

Download the Mid/Side Mastering Rack for Ableton Live here.

The racks themselves only use devices native to Ableton Live. 

Compressor Rack *available in Live intro package and up

  • Audio Effect Rack
  • EQ 8
  • Compressor 
  • Limiter

Glue Compressor Rack *available in Live standard package and up

  • Audio Effect Rack
  • EQ 8
  • Glue Compressor 
  • Limiter


Building the Racks


audio effect start setup

The first thing you should learn how to do is set up your frequency splitting racks. I won’t be covering that part here, but I have done so here on Ask.Audio already. So, go learn how to do that—recommended—or download the finished rack from the bottom of that page. Then come back to this one. 

Next, place a new audio effect rack onto a channel. Then add two EQ 8s on their own chains. Rename the chains—Mid, SIDE. It might be a good idea to rename each of the EQ 8s as well to avoid confusion later on.

The audio on the channel will now be split up and sent to both EQs equally. We want to filter the MID chain to just output the central audio and the SIDE chain to output just the stereo field audio. To do that we need to switch the mode of the EQs to M/S. That stands for MID and SIDE.

Switch EQ 8 to mid side mode

M/S mode by itself it means that you can EQ the mid band and the side bands differently. However, we want to do much more than that. So we are just going to filter out all of the side audio for the MID chain and all of the mid audio for the SIDE chain. 

For the MID chain make the following changes to its EQ 8.



For the SIDE chain make the following changes to its EQ 8.


Now when the audio passes through the two filtering chains and comes out the other end it will sound exactly the same. This is where the fun begins. 

Get the 3-band filtering rack we made in the other tutorial and drop one on after the MID chain’s EQ 8 and one after the SIDE chain’s. It will look like this.

3 band filter placement

Now we can add a compressor to each of the bands. You can add the regular Compressor or the Glue Compressor, or mix and match. Also, feel free to use some of the presets as starting points if you would like.

I added 6 total compressors. One to each band. 

adding compressor

The last thing you can do is add a limiter to the end of the MID and the SIDE chains, after the Audio Effect Racks used to split up the frequencies. Be careful to add it to both the entire MID and SIDE chains and not the individual frequency bands.

adding limiter

Now you can set out mapping any frequently used parameters to macros. I left most of the compressor parameters unmapped, because I knew I would need to get into each one for each track later anyway. Feel free to use my racks as road maps in terms of macro mappings.


I also placed one final limiter outside the entire rack to catch any audio peaks caused by the filter crossings. 

Don’t be afraid to get in there and EQ the MID and SIDE chains’ EQ 8s, adjust the frequency crossover points, and, of course, each one of the 6 compressors individually. Also, this project is specifically for compressors, but you can use this idea for many things. Like, reverb, or saturation, or everything at once! 


Download the Mid/Side Mastering Rack for Ableton Live here.

Learn more about mastering in Ableton Live in the AskAudio Academy here

Joshua Casper is an accomplished live performer, DJ, producer, and music educator. His specialties are centered in and around Ableton Live and Native Instruments. His educational material has been featured on Ableton.com and Maxforlive.com as well as a myriad of large music production websites. His music has been featured on Dubstep.ne... Read More


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