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Starter Advice - Best Mix Possible

Discussion in 'Recording' started by haus, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. haus

    haus Active Member

    Hey everyone.
    So I had an incident recently, which I am happy to say has been resolved due to the help I found in this forum. Thank you very very much.

    (That thread can be seen here: http://recording.org/home-recording-forum/53919-completely-out-my-element-looking-learn.html).

    I had another follow up question I was hoping to get some help with though - and bear with me here, I'm a super noob:

    First off, what is a "bus"? Is it a group of tracks with one master level? Also, let's say that I have 50 tracks of audio - what is the best practice for mixing that (each track has a separate volume and EQ in Sony Acid Studio 8) to avoid clipping? As tracks stack up I find myself lowering the master volume like -6db, which makes the more involved tracks softer than the ones with fewer tracks... this is a huge topic I'm just looking for that initial starting point.

    Thanks very much.
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Yes a bus help you group tracks, to apply volume, panning, effects... in one place. It started with big analog mixers, it was easier to group the drum, guitars and voice seperatly on buses, and ride the volume from there instead of rolling your chair 6 feet left and right to reach the faders.

    Leave the master volume to 0db. Lower all the tracks instead, down to a point where only the peaks hit -6 db or less. Mixing a song is not the time to make it loud. It's the time to put everything in perspective (panning EQ and volume wise) and make sure you can hear everything.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    To add another value.

    A bus will aid, conserve unnecessary instances of a plug-in or effect. You will get less plug-in smear by centralizing one plug-in or function to do what 5 are doing on individual tracks.. Example. Applying an effect on the group rather than 5 versions of the same thing track by track. Less is more.

    Bus = Group or Stem = Reverb, delay, comp, EQ etc. If any of these can be applied on one main bus, this is a good thing.
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    To expand on what PC and Chris explained...

    The term "bus" can be used as a Noun, in that it can be a description of a group where several tracks are assigned to reside... at which point, processing, FX, volume levels, pans, etc. will effect several tracks at once in the same way.

    For example...

    We can take 6 individual drum tracks: kick, snare, 2 toms, and 2 overhead mics, and assign them all to the same bus (subgroup) ...

    Now, we can insert a compressor, or EQ, or reverb, or any type of processing - and that processing will effect all of the tracks that reside in that subgroup the same way at the same time.

    Further, when you adjust the volume on that subgroup (or bus) it will adjust the volume of everything that resides in that bus by the same amount.

    "Bus" can also be used as a Verb... to "bus" a signal means to route/send it to or through something... As in "I'm gonna bus that kick drum track to an LA2..."

    The origins of the term have been debated... some say that the term's origins are based on the description/manufacturer of the wire used, as in "Bus Wire Company".

    Others say that it refers to the "Bus Bar", an electrical term describing a conductor that carries a common signal/voltage path.

  5. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Just one more thing to point out : Using a compressor or expander or any dynamic effect on a bus with more than one track assign to it, won't make the same results than putting the same effect on individual tracks. Since they are grouped, the effect will react to the sum of the tracks. (ex : if your 8 tracks drums are compressed together, the bass drum might cause the Hi-Hat to disapear if it is hit too loud.)

    So in some cases, individual effects are better.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    No question that sometimes blanket group processing can be detrimental and that individual processing is the better choice.

    I was just trying to simplify an example for our original poster. ;)
  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    No critic intended just more precision for Hans :redface:

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