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Marcello

Output tracks should go to buses or audio interface?

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Hi there I need some help.

The audio tracks output of my guitars, drums and bass should go:

1- to the respective bus 

2- or to the audio interface and then select the tracks and right click > send to respective buses ?

Not sure what is the difference between using the "SEND" to bus option or pointing the track output directly to the respective bus without using "SEND".

If I use the 1st option when I decrease the master volume it doesn't decrease completely the sound (probably because there is still the sound left that is sent to audio int.), in this case also the song overall volume is quite higher.

If I use option 2 if I decrease the master bus volume it decreases everything at the same time, with this option the overall volume is quite lower, and if I raise the master volume over 0 it starts clipping, hence I decreased the master GAIN, is this good practice? I think this 2nd option should be the correct one, even if the overall song sound seems a bit low.

I suppose should be ok because after I should be able to increase the volume during the master, even if I hope it will be enough loud.

I'm just trying to make the mix as loud as possible and keeping it under the 6 dbs thrashold so that the master would be easier to handle.

What do you suggest?

 

OPTION1

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OPTION2

 

image.thumb.png.cd6452ea9d5c155163e487afb2f640d8.png

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You should send tracks to busses if they are part of a similar group, say drums.  You can have eq and compression and reverb affect the entire group, as well as very track volumes without resetting all the other elements too.

you should have a master buss which all tracks or busses go to.  The master buss goes to your interface output, which goes to its physical output, which goes to your headphones and your speaker amplifier input.

sends are just a another kind of buss, mostly for reverb.  In this case you have several tracks you want the same effect on with  various depths.  Different levels  of the same reverb on lead and backing vocals so they seem to be in the room ( even if your backing vox already has verb on it.). I typically have a LEAD buss for lead vocal, but slip some of the lead guitar onto it to put it into the same space with the vox.

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Cakewalk includes seven sample project templates.

ALL of them route everything (all other tracks and buses) through a master bus.

This is the model I follow.

The only deviation from this layout that I like to add is an additional bus between the master and the main hardware out.

This lets me leave the master at unity and still have a way to make adjustments for monitoring purposes, such as a headphone EQ after the mix. 

 

Without routing everything through a single bus, it is very difficult to 

35 minutes ago, Marcello said:

make the mix as loud as possible and keeping it under the 6 dbs thrashold so that the master would be easier to handle.

 

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In your first screen shot to me that is the wrong way of working. I would have never even thought of doing that.  The tracks OUTPUT is sent to either a sub bus or the master. The SEND is for effects you want to share, like reverb ( using a Bus)  or in some cases can be used for cue mixes ( monitoring) . This goes back to using a mixing console which have AUX sends on each channel to be used for monitors and effects. Some larger consoles had sub busses. In the DAW world we have a mixing console that 20 years ago would have been 20' wide and the price of a small Car. ( and people still complain) 

If you send the tracks OUTPUT to your audio interface directly you loose control. The worst would be you'd probably be clipping. Most of us keep a very sharp eye on the master bus level. A limiter is almost always recommended for this reason. 

Edited by John Vere
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Thanks a lot, I think I got it, so I have applied reverb on every single track instrument already, then routed every track to the respective bus ( with no send but from track output ), the different buses have no effects apart from some eq low pass, and I had to lower the gain to -3.0 to each bus because it was clipping, even if the general track volume now is a bit lower than before but at least not clipping, would you suggest to add other reverb on the single buses as well?

 

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It depends on the effect. Things like guitar effects- chorus etc. are put in the tracks FX bin or the pro channel effects chain. But it's best practice with effects like reverb and delay to share that effect to keep things in the same "space" and to avoid mud which can build if there are too many reverbs happening. So most create a Reverb buss and put the reverb in the bus FX bin. Then you can use a track send to control the amount and "mix" 

I took a screen shot of a typical song. Notice I use colour to match my buss to the tracks- See if you can find the routing mistake! I just spotted it. That's why it's a good habit to mute or solo busses to check your routing. 740405408_2020-12-27(6).thumb.png.335256e701e4ba14316f3c05147673e6.png2042844162_2020-12-27(5).thumb.png.133d981cfe08fc22f46ae51f69144260.png

 

I'll add here that normally there's no need to have a buss for a single instrument as in my bass and drums. But this is my method of controlling my mix. It's just the way I find works for me but everybody will have there own system. This song is not mixed yet I'm at the editing stage.  I just love the new Melodyne 5! 

Edited by John Vere
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Great thanks a lot! I got it, so I kept some guitars snd drums reverb on the single tracks but very very low. (Hope is fine) Then I created a bus reverb and instead of SENDING the single tracks to the reverb I sent the guitar bus to the reverb bus directly, I guess it’s the same. Keeping the reverb bus volume the same level with guitar bus volume.

I see you have basically routed not just guitars but also drums to the same reverb bus, would you suggest to send drums to reverb bus as well together? Consider I already applied some Room Reverb to the drums in the Studio Drummer plugin

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6 minutes ago, Marcello said:

I see you have basically routed not just guitars but also drums to the same reverb bus, would you suggest to send drums to reverb bus as well together? Consider I already applied some Room Reverb to the drums in the Studio Drummer plugin

You can, if that gets you the desires sound, stereo field and space you want form your drums and mix.

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I usually send similar tracks (drums/guitars/voices) to a bus without  forgetting that also the output tracks ares addressed to that bus. In this way I have complete control of the track(s) by means of the bus..

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It's actually rare that I would send a whole kit to the reverb. This song is more ambient and like CJ said this is a matter of personal taste in what your after in a mix. The bottom line is to use these routing options to have 100% control over your mix. 

The concept of using only one reverb is based on the fact that people are used to hearing "space" this way. All the old recordings used one reverb or in most cases it was the "room" they were in. So the listener might be confused if you put them in 5 different rooms at the same time. But we are talking traditional recording here, you can do what ever you want and experimenting is a good thing, but it's good to have a understanding of traditional recording first. 

In a studio the drums are recorded in a special "room" and the overhead mikes pick that up.  Some producers like lots of reverb on the snare and toms so that is added at the console. If you use a VST drummer most have built in reverbs and effects.  This is 90% of how I will reverb to the drums. If the VST doesn't include effects (like Session Drummer)  then you can split the parts into multiple audio outputs and apply effects the same way you do to a guitar track. Normally you don't put reverb on Bass or a kick drum as this will lead to mud.  

We have many options on routing but seems most of us follow the same path because we all grew up using analog mixing consoles. I think there's a danger for newbies to use way to many effects and tracks just because they can. You see how many instruments and vox I'm using?  Six - and that's a full sounding mix. I think I'll add a harmony. 

Didn't anybody spot the routing error yet? 

Edited by John Vere
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It's  rarely useful to set track outputs  directly to hardware outputs because now you lose control of the master mix.

Good practice is to always output to a bus and or send to an aux bus.

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Got it,

How do you usually balance the reverb for an optimal sound? I know this is quite subjective but more or less the reverb bus volume should be the same level with the guitar bus (no reverb) ?   Meaning the volume of both should be equal? 

So I have a bus with guitars (no reverb) and a bus with guitars including reverb.

I noticed that when the guitars are clean higher reverb volume sounds good but when they are distorted the guitar sound can be a bit more confusing.

What's your opinion about it?

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As you say subjective- you do what you think sound right to you. 

Generally distorted guitars are in your face with not much if any reverb. Delay is more popular,   

Country guitar uses reverb and clean effects like chorus.  

I don't even use reverb on vocals of hard rock. Just a little delay. 

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Many thank for the advices, at the end I have used the bus reverb keeping it not too loud and increased quite a lot the ones in the guitars in the single tracks plugin, this because the reverb bus plugin has an infinite kinds of reverb and it's quite difficult to choose the right one for the guitars, while the one in the single tracks plugin (TH3) it's just one kind typical for guitar amps and I like the sound more. I hope this won't create too much "mud" as you said but to me it sounds good.

Just left the distorted guitars with no reverb in the single tracks but very low bus reverb.

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Anyway for mastering the songs you should try LANDR, it's great, it uses AI to master your tracks, you just upload your songs (online) and you choose different styles of masters and boom, done! You can even upload a song of your favourite artist that you like the sound and it will make your song sounds like that.

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