A few weeks ago I got to spend a day with Andrew Scheps for a Mix with the Masters class. I was asked to share his mix bus, so here goes...
Puremix has a video that you can purchase and with it comes Andrew Scheps' Pro Tools template. I highly recommend this if you have a real interest in what he's doing. I noticed that the template on PureMix is different from what he showed in the class, and he said it changes over time.
Between him, CLA, and Brauer I've come to realize that these guys use their plugins -whether hardware or software - as presets. Scheps has some buses set up with effects like verb or parallel compressors and he doesn't mess with the effects - he simply sends a signal to them as they are set up and if he likes it he uses and if not he doesn't. CLA doesn't lean back and mess with all his gear - he has specific pieces for specific purposes, like his LA-3As that he uses for guitars. They either work or they don't. So Scheps doesn't appear to mess with the 2bus plugins. For the most part he just has them set up the way he likes and he runs through them.
1. In the video, he talks about first having some sort of harmonic distortion like the Crane Song Phoenix or the UAD Fairchild. He is not compressing with the Fairchild, only using it to add color. From what I gathered, he doesn't do this anymore but basically try each and if you like them great, if not leave them disabled. Only use one.
Here's his Phoenix setting (by the way, I think this is the single most expensive plugin I've ever purchased)
Here is his Fairchild setting
2. The next thing in his chain is the bx Digital Plugin. He used to use this before a compressor (Neve I think) so he reduced the lows here to trigger the compressor less. After the compressor he would use a Pultec to add back the lows and highs. He has since stopped using the bus comp, and doesn't appear to cut the lows anymore but still boosts them with the Pultec (explained below) and does add a slight boost to the highs in the sides with this. Note on this plugin he uses the widener. I've heard him say that 120 is the safest you can go without possibly effect the low end but if you are mindful of what it's doing to the low end and compensate, you can go higher. His template and his video have the widener at 140, the screenshot below was from our actual session with him - pick which works for you. He did say the only think he might adjust on this other than the widener is the bass shift, which can shift the low end emphasis and sometimes works.
SIDEBAR: In the past, he would have this bus comp here but no longer. It's still in his template that you can download but not in his current template. If you are interested, here are the settings:
3. Next is a Pultec to add back the lows and highs. He likes to have these boosted and mix into them - it means less EQ on individual channels
4. Finally, he mixes into a limiter. He has used different limiters in the past. I think his template that I downloaded uses the Sony Oxford, but he is now using Newfangled Audio Elevate. The screenshots I took were poor - I would like to have explored this more with him but I think I got it close. This thing ROCKS! He has a master fader set up for this Aux on this so he can tweak the sound gain into the 2bus chain to control the limiter. He says that he hits 6 to 8db off the kick and snare peaks mostly but sets it to taste - he "wants it transparent"! I have set up this way and keep the master fader on my Avid Dock fader so I can always adjust it. It's sweet to be able to do that periodically as you notice your levels to your 2bus climbing or you hear the limiter working - and he uses master faders like this in his template so that you don't have to go in and trim a track, just pull down the master.
He will send a print of this to the band as well as to mastering - he does it all this way so "the mix is the mix" - if he didn't mix into a limiter and let a mastering engineer limit for him, it would change his mix and he wants it as his mix when it's done.
I hope this was helpful to some of you, and I'm happy to answer any questions if I can.