You'll find it on every single mixing console (usually as the last channel on the right side). It won’t turn a crappy mix into a great one. Mix bus compression is the act of adding compression to your entire mix. Whenever you’re mixing into processing, keep an eye on your gain staging. Try not to think of a bus and a fader that is controlling it as the same thing. Same thing applies. Is this ringing any bells? Meanwhile, the mix bus is a separate group of channels that can be used for any number of reasons. Levels often creep up during a mix, which can quickly lead to over-compression. So you start “experimenting.” Adding plugins without purpose. Splitting a mix into multiple bands and processing them independently can create phase problems and artifacts. But in most cases (especially when mixing into compression) slower attack times are a better choice. Products, practices, and stories about the profession or hobby of recording, editing, and producing audio. On the other hand, don’t hit it too quietly. Read on, and you’ll be processing the master bus like a pro in no time. Subtlety is key. It will quickly become impossible to remove, since all of your decisions will be molded around it. You solve one problem, but create half-a-dozen others. There’s no need for three EQs, several saturators, and a few compressors. If you’re a mixer, it has no place on your master bus. Click here to get my, 5 EQ Mistakes That Are Destroying Your Mixes. Depending on the software, it’s also called the master bus or stereo bus. Somewhere along the way, engineers started thinking heavy-handed master bus processing was the key to achieving radio-ready mixes. no. Your mix usually ends up sounding smaller. What processing do YOU like to use on your master bus? Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. So if those mastering guys use it across a mix, we should too…right? There’s no reason to strap a multiband compressor across your master bus. Small moves make a massive impact. In those cases I often check routing before assuming what is assigned where. The mix bus is another name for the output of your DAW. You’ll get the benefits of dynamic control, while retaining the punch and impact of key tracks. In this case one (fader) controls the output voltage of the other. Throwing processing on tracks for no reason. Gearslutz members passionately debate it. In fact, mistakes made here can easily tank a great mix. It could be controlling a secondary mix or hell, what can you dream up? Multiband compression has serious downsides. Instead, apply master bus processing early on. This is crucial when mixing into dynamics-based processing like compression, saturation or tape emulation. If you have a spare iPad handy, you can use it as a second screen to keep key plugins open. There was a reason he assigned all the tracks to a mix buss aux instead of the master. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the audioengineering community. Every guest on Pensado’s Place gets asked about it. However, you (the sound guy) want to hear the guitar in the mix. For example, there will be a "master" strip for the master buss, and there will also be a master Aux section (often not a strip, but a section at the top of the mixing board) with an aux output and input and level control. If your mix sounds bad, figure out what’s wrong. And where’s the one place you’ll likely add the most? Regardless of how many busses are present on a mixer, there will always be a master-level control somewhere on the board. If you spend any time around a newer digital console this will be perfectly clear. If you do mix into compression or limiting, keep a close eye (and ear) on it. But since posting this I found a video on youtube (can't find it now) that was talking about the mix buss. That is the honest answer. Be gentle. Yes, there are exceptions. Press J to jump to the feed. Adding master bus processing at the end of a mix can upset the delicate balance you’ve spent days crafting. If you spend any time around a newer digital console this will be perfectly clear. Mix into it. It had something to do with FX and automation. A fader (a controller) is a way to adjust the level of a signal or a bus. Great mixes aren’t built on the master bus. Avoid these 5 pitfalls, and you’ll have nothing to worry about. Often times, it hurts. I see. But the circuit can have inserts and sends and all sorts of other fun things. The most popular mix bus is the basic main stereo mix bus (also called the "master bus"). Let me know by leaving a comment below! Your Gain Staging Is Incorrect. I get it—the master bus is seductive. The master fader could be assigned to adjust the level of anything. Longer answer: The master fader, on most analog boards, controls the sum of individual channels. I know that sometimes in broadcast, consoles get set up in very bizarre ways. You would control the main mix (master fader) and the monitor mix (mix bus) separately so that the you (and more importantly, the audience) can hear the guitar, and the singer can hear himself through his stage monitor. In practice folks talk about them as if they are interchangable: "throw a compressor on the master fader", which is semantic nonsense. For instance, the lead singer could probably care less about what the lead guitar is doing; they just want to hear themselves. Don’t add more processing to cover up a problem. A bus is a a way of grouping signals (routing). It’s also one of the best places to screw things up. Here's one use-case: mix buses are used to control what is being fed to on-stage monitor speakers so that musicians can hear themselves. Ready to learn how to use mix bus compression like a pro? Master bus processing is not a quick fix. Sometimes, this is what you want. They are related but different, and you just get used to the way people talk about it because at the end of the day a hit single doesn't care about which term you use. The master fader could be assigned to adjust the level of anything. It is most common that the primary mix bus is routed to the 'master' fader. To add to what you've already covered - "buss" means "circuit", and a fader is a potentiometer. The stereo/main mix might not necessarily go to the 'master' fader. Is an aux always an fx send? A mix bus (also spelled mixbus) is where all those combined tracks are routed and merged together so you can take collective action on them. You’ll get all the benefits, while avoiding unwelcome surprises down the line. What is a master bus? “What’s on your master bus” has become a pickup line among engineers. Yes—mastering engineers use multiband compression. Sometimes, this can help. Whenever you’re mixing into processing, keep an eye on your gain … You think you’re making things better, but you’re actually making them worse. In fact, many pros don’t use master bus processing at all. They’ll annihilate punch and impact, leaving you with a mix that’s flat and one-dimensional. It’s the channel that all of the audio from a session flows into. They control transients effectively, which can initially make a mix sound tighter and more balanced. And in general, the more processing you send a mix through, the smaller it will sound. If you crush things, there’s often no way back. Stick to conventional, single-band compression instead. It can also destroy the natural dynamics of individual tracks. Remember—many plugins (particularly those that model analog gear) have a sweet spot. But for the most part, this advice will hold true. Stuff you do there affects the whole mix. Make sure you hit them at the correct level. When a mix is messed up and a remix isn’t possible, mastering engineers use multiband compression to fix it. A bus is a a way of grouping signals (routing). Also, be careful when applying compression and limiting to the master bus. The stereo/main mix might not necessarily go to the 'master' fader. Don’t slam the master bus. This way, you can ensure you’re hitting them at a proper level. A fader (a controller) is a way to adjust the level of a signal or a bus. So again, normally the mix bus is assigned to the master fader.
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