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Why have less busses than inputs on consoles?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Mauisnow13, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Mauisnow13

    Mauisnow13 Active Member

    I'm a little confused on why most consoles have less buses then inputs available, whether analog or digital. It seems much easier when I'm working on a console that has a bus for each input track, then you can separate each mic/line to it's own track in your software.

    With less buses, you have to mix down into less tracks. Less room for tweaking later on. Isn't it better to be able to tweak each drum on a set individually after it's in your software, etc?

    Why would they make them like this? I could see this being useful for mixing before going onto tape, instead of using software, since a lot of tape devices can only take a certain amount of tracks. Maybe I just don't understand how to use them correctly, so I'm trying to learn.

  2. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    a bus will feed that tape input
    24 track tape may be fed from a 24 bus mixer
    the stereo output is just a stereo bus
    another bus or duplicate could be feeding the 2trk recorder
    the effect sends are buses

    an input of the mixer can be assigned to a bus to send it somewhere
    stereo output
    recorder track
    effect unit
  3. Mauisnow13

    Mauisnow13 Active Member

    So lets say I had a 16 channel mixer but it only has 4 main buses. If I'm running it into my computer through an interface/converter, would I only be able to record to 4 separate tracks in the software?
  4. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    you didn't tell me how many input on the interface/converter

    if the mixer has direct outputs it could be possible to send the channel to the interface directly and only use the 4 buses when you need to mix multiple sources before recording

    people use patchbays

    many people now record direct to interfaces with specific individual equipment

    hence the popularity of external Mic-preamps ... Mic to Line amps
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    The kind of control you're looking for costs more money -but not in the form of 24 or 32-buses. What you want is a mixer with "direct outs" on every channel. Then every input on your console patches directly to your recording interface without going through a bus - unless you want it to. On some mixers the "direct out" signal can be configured to be post-or post the gain/eq/fader often in different combinations. (not all mixers can do this, but it's pretty handy if they do)

    Buses are for grouping multiple inputs into one or two outputs and submixing the groups. Buses add complexity and expense, so 4-bus and 8-bus are probably the most common. Probably holdovers from back in the good old days, when a lot of us only had 4 or 8 tracks of tape. [ Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, inputs HAD to be submixed and often "ping-ponged" later to irrevocably mix 6 tracks down to 2, to create 6 more free tracks. ]

    You're right: Knowledge IS Awesomeness and Studio Caliber Recording Console = Truckload of Money

    Good Luck!
  6. Mauisnow13

    Mauisnow13 Active Member

    So as long as the console has direct outs, I could run it straight into the interface and not have to even worry about buses for the most part.

    I was asking cause the studio I started interning at has a Trident 24 that has 24 inputs and 24 buses. Seems to make things a lot easier then using a less amount of buses if you don't have direct outs.

    Thanks for the info guys, any more would be welcomed and appreciated.
  7. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Yes but you add noise everytime you pass the audio through another path. By sending it to a bus and then out, you have added summing amp noise.

    There pro and cons to each.
  8. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Thats why you use a direct out, it goes straight to where you want it, like a bus without the addition of noise.

    Some direct outs are pre or post eq, check your manual. Also if you have inserts you can add signal processing to the channel before going directly out. get it?

    This is why people use patchbays, a place where all the routing to external analog devices comes in very handy. 8)
  9. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Busing or grouping of tracks also allows you another set of pans as well as inserts on most pro consoles. This allows you the ability to strap your favorite compressor across the now mixed channels of, say, the drums...Once you have your sub-mix on something like this finished and polished, then you only have two fader moves to make to mix it with other stuff. Sometimes running through MORE electronics gives you a path that hits more transformers or high-end op-amp and makes 'that sound' Yes more noise, but perhaps better sounding noise. It is the tradeoff. From my experience it adds much more dimensionality to a mix to run things through the subs.
  10. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Noise to one man's ears is music to anothers or something like that...;)
  11. Mauisnow13

    Mauisnow13 Active Member

    Good point. :D

    Thanks for the info. So, direct outs on a board is highly recommended since it makes things much easier and causes less noise. Then you can use the buses to group if you want to send something/groups to certain areas.
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    This is an oversimplification of what to do and why.

    Using only the direct outs into a stereo mix can be flat. Sure you have side to side pan but theres more to it than that.

    A good example would be several tracks of the same thing. A guitar part if you will. You pan all the individual tracks from one side to the other wanting this huge all encompassing guitar sound. AND you may get it this way. But imagine having these tracks all set for their EQ's, effects, pan and levels and then you bus them all to a separate stereo bus which also has the capacity to pan, level, EQ and effects. Now you have control over all of this as well as having outputs for all of it as well. You can effectively double the parts, layer the parts and add a nice circuit of somekind across the whole making it become a thing of its own. The sound gets bigger and more focused.

    As for noise... In a large format console, noise like this may not even be audible.
  13. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    mix yes, but he talking about running into a ADC.
    On the way in, the shorter the path the better for noise anyway.
  14. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Seems I missed that info.
  15. theycallmebrown

    theycallmebrown Active Member

    to give a few examples, in the console at my studio we have a Trident 24, it has 32 channels with mic pres, and 24 Multitrack bus groups. the 24 multitrack bus groups are normalled to the 24 inputs on our tape machine until a patch cable completes the circuit and breaks the normall (which we almost always do anyways). coincidence? i think not! the trident 24 was designed specifically for a 24 track tape machine. they give you 32 channels to accommodate larger mixes and allow you to group them to fit it on 24 tracks. or as Davedog said, you can choose to put all your drums in a stereo group and move only two faders. very convenient. another application for it would be for overdubbing.
    we only have 24 tracks to record onto and we have already used up 18 of them and we still have another 10 to go, you can group the 18 tracks onto 2 tracks and open yourself up to a ton more channels to record from via the direct output patch opening up channels 25 through 32. (in theory... user discretion is advised)

    another prime example is toft audio, who now has a 32 channel mixer with 8 group buses (which i cannot wait to get my hands on). the thing only costs just over 7 grand. obviously geared towards the crowd that cannot afford a big SSL (like me). and if your struggling for cash, you probably dont have a big 32 channel tape recorder or protools HD with 32 channels of AD/DA converters. you probably have a small 8 channel recorder/interface, so to save YOU (and me) more money, by putting less buses and electronics in the console they were albe to produce the console at lower cost to them. money in the bank baby.

    i hope that made sense. im new to these forums and still getting used to it.

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