Auburn Sounds Releases Lens Free Multiband Compressor


Auburn Sounds released Lens ($105 regular price, $49.35 intro offer), a spectral multiband compressor/expander plugin. A freeware version called Lens Free is also available, offering all the same features apart from the expander section.

We will review the full edition of Lens in a separate article later this week. For now, let’s focus on Lens Free.

Lens Free is a freeware multiband compressor with up to 64 compression bands. The plugin can perform multiband compression in the spectral domain without phase shifting in cross-over frequencies.

Auburn Sounds also included a pair of equalizers, one in the sidechain path and one on the output. These are linear-phase EQs without ringing artifacts.

If you’d like to apply some saturation to the signal pre or post-compression, the Vintage section lets you do just that. Even and Stage parameters control the saturation intensity, whereas the Min Rate and Max rate limit the number of affected bands.

Since Lens operates in the spectral domain, the workflow is a bit unusual compared to most other multiband compressors. However, it feels intuitive once you get used to it. The developer provided a “cheat sheet” that is super helpful for understanding the workflow basics.

Lens Free is a robust multiband compressor capable of subtle and transparent signal enhancement, as well as “over the top” compression. The freeware version lacks the expander section, but you can still get some incredible results with it.

We highly recommend analyzing the manual and the quick start guide to get the best results with Lens.

If you like this plugin, be sure to check out Auburn Sounds’ earlier releases. Their Graillon Free plugin is still one of the best free autotune plugins on the market.

Lens is available in VST2, VST3, AU, AAX, and LX2 plugin formats for digital audio workstations on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Both 32-bit and 64-bit plugin hosts are supported.

Download: Lens Free 


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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.


  1. took me a minute to realize what it actually meant, but waves released an update of their free studio rack plugin. the big update being that it now supports all 3rd party vsts (3 only). essentially giving a free tool to make parallel and multiband processing on any source with any plugins we have

    • Hello Rodyx, as per your support message, it is because your processor doesn’t support SSSE3 instructions. I’ve sent you a test installer that doesn’t require this.

  2. It’s an odd implementation of multiband dynamics for sure. Wish the default frequency response was flat.
    It seems more useful for stems one wants brightness preserved for, like cymbals or something.
    The SC built-in SC contour is not optimal for metal since it cuts right where you want electric guitars to have bite.
    The only other EQ i’ve seen with triangular curves like that is the one in Unfilter.
    Interesting that it uses some airwindows code.
    Auburn really has the GUI thing nailed.

    • Not really. It’s a spectral compressor just like ProAudioDSP DSM, Sonible Smart:Comp, Voxengo Soniformer etc. It works exactly in the same way as automatic EQs work (Soundtheory Gullfoss, Oeksound Soothe, TBProAudio DSEQ, Voxengo TEOTE, Baby Audio Smooth Operator), just implemented with dynamic parameters. Automatic EQs usually doesn’t let you control the attack, release and ratio, but they are basically all the same under the hood.

      In a literal sense you could call it a multi-band comp, but the way a regular multi-band comp works and how you use it is completely different. If you turn the band-link control to 100 you can use it as a regular compressor, but with the band-link at 0 all of the 18 to 64 bands (depending on your settings) are completely independent and the plug-in will try to even out the energy to create a flat frequency response out of your signal. This is why you need to shape the side-chain to roughly the opposite of what you want your signal to look/sound like.

      If you feel like it is scooping out the mids and making everything too bright it’s because your signal probably has the most energy in the lows and mids. Use the SC display to cut where you want it to compress less. You could also increase the threshold a bit and then boost the highs in the SC display instead, it would give you the same effect.

      It can take a while to get used to spectral compression, but when you’ve completely understood how it works and how to use it it’s an incredible tool that you can use on literally anything!

      If I understand it correctly, this is the first free FFT dynamics/EQ plug-in and that’s just incredible! A couple of years ago you’d have to pay $200 to get a plug-in like this, but for every new dev releasing their take on an FFT dynamics processor they have just become more and more accessible for everyone to enjoy. Bravo Auburn Sounds!

      • Really, though.

        This is similar in certain ways to DSM and other spectral compression style plugins but definitely not exactly the same. It has its own unique, quirky behavior. That’s a cool thing. The sidechain signal can be previewed to easily discover the default (not flat) curve the compression is acting upon. Super nifty that you can sculpt it to heart’s content beyond that.

        The wet signal literally cuts low end below about 50 Hz even when the compressor isn’t acting. They even mention it in the manual, so it’s obviously intended. I just… don’t prefer it. Maybe i’ll make a preset with the output EQ recovering it as perfectly as possible, and use that as a go-to.

        Starting fully dry and injecting parallel wet signal can be interesting method with this thing…

      • > they are basically all the same under the hood.

        No, all of these tools use different spectral transforms. The one that use a basic FFT overlap-add can better remove resonances, but will fail at dynamics in the high-end, and fail at tonal in the low-end.
        Also as not all compressor sound the same in broadband, it is the same with multiband… there are a lot of details to get right.

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