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Manolo

Abouts busses to lowering volume of a mix

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Hello,

My mix is near the 0 dB on the Master Bus. All tracks go to busses and some tracks have Send to a Reverb Bus. I just would like to know what is the right way to reach the level I want :

- lowering  all busses including the Reverb one

- lowering all tracks

Thanks

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There are several ways to do this. You have mentioned two and either of them will work. You could also explore Offset Mode. Just be sure to turn it back off after you finish the edit.

However the easiest way is to just lower the gain control of the Master Bus.

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Thanks for your answers.

Another question either on lowering Gain control or using a limiter : the fact that the sum of what entering in the Master Bus is above 0 dB is not a problem as long as the final output is under 0 dB to avoid clipping ?

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Manolo said:

Thanks for your answers.

Another question either on lowering Gain control or using a limiter : the fact that the sum of what entering in the Master Bus is above 0 dB is not a problem as long as the final output is under 0 dB to avoid clipping ?

Yes and No. The key word you used is the "SUM"  as long as no tracks or busses are clipping this is correct. The master is where you set your ultimate output level.  At that point it becomes a personal preference of how you want your mix to sound and most importantly the overall loudness or LUFS. as that is a common standard for pop music on the internet.  Peak is only a small part of mastering.  

In this screen shot you can see how I set up my Master bus and use these 4 tools to figure out visually what is going on. You can't always trust your ears or monitoring system. Looking at this I see I need to adjust my bass as it is pushing the Multi band Low MId band too much.  I also see my true peak level is past my -0.8 which is  what I set the limiter for.  My goal is to only see random action on the compressors. My LUFS is just a little more than my goal of -14 as a result. So I start here and will work my way back first to the sub busses and then  to the tracks to fine tune the mix and the balance of frequencies.

In other words just using peak level is not going to result in a good mix. Peak is just what you need to keep an eye on track by track, bus by bus to make sure there is no RED showing.

The trick with compressors and limiters is learning how to not over use them.  You might want that compressed sound for vocals, drums and guitars, but generally that's a bad idea on a whole mix. I can simply turn down the input gain of the Multi band which is the same as turning down my master, but as you see the other frequencies would then become too quiet. The multi band is only 5 bands so that is why I use Span to pin point hot frequencies. You can really see the hump in the low end getting flattened which verifies why the multi band is working hard on that band. My bass is being over compressed and hogging the loudness.  I can move Span to the top of the stack or even put a second instance there to investigate further. But these tools to me are indispensable and I've had real good results since I adopted this a year ago.  

My stack is 

LP Multi Band ( came with Sonar but there are lots of these around) 

The BT Brickwall set at -1.0 Also a Sonar freebie but the LoudMax might work.  Mike of Creative Sauce videos fame seems to like it a lot. 

You lean Loudness meter- free to use but has a few features disabled so I paid for it.  https://youlean.co/youlean-loudness-meter/

Span this is free.  https://www.voxengo.com/product/span/

Screenshot (55).png

Edited by John Vere

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I like using the Input Gain control on the Master bus. This allows for the output of any mastering dynamics plugin to still deliver the same output level. As an example... using Waves L2 and setting the Out Ceiling to -1db... your peaks will still be limited to -1db.

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One thing I do before I start to mix is set all tracks to infinity. Then I adjust each track to fit with each other making adjustments as needed. I also use the bus pane to organize instrument types together and will adjust those as well.  My master bus has as its last plugin a limiter. 

I do all this with a control surface. It really goes quickly.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks all, I'm gonna lowering all tracks using the grouping control. Special thanks to John Vere for his detailed post.

Edited by Manolo

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28 minutes ago, Manolo said:

Thanks all, I'm gonna lowering all tracks using the grouping control. Special thanks to John Vere for his detailed post.

This will work provided you don't have any volume automation on your tracks

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Posted (edited)

Exactly why I leave my tracks alone. If nothing is peaking and the mix is very close to my liking and then all that automated stuff as well as  level sensitive effects. Example if you pull down the vocal track and it has a send to the reverb bus you have now changed th e send level as well. It should be proportional but there's never a guarantee of this in my experience. 
No, better to use sub busses for backing off on a mix. 
I will only return to tracks to balance a sub mix or deal with EQ issues. 

Overall there is a zillion ways to get to the same place so one just has to find a way that works for them. Ultimately you need a firm understanding of the signal path because making adjustments in one place has a different result than when you might do it somewhere else. This is especially true of the effects bins, Pro Channel and sends.  My method works for me on hundreds of mixes.  They are far from perfect but they meet my needs and expectations. 


I didn’t mention this in  my first post as it was already turning into a novel. I also put Span on my sub busses. It’s a light load and at the master stage you can always push your buffers up.  
Actually I just drag Span and Youlean from bin to bin most times 

Edited by John Vere
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