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What's on your master bus? (2 buss processing)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author What's on your master bus? (2 buss processing)
BailyDread
What's everyone using on their master bus and why?

Mine at the moment (w/ presets I made that I tweak per track -- usually not much):

1. Klanghelm MJUC - Mk1 mode w/ 300 hz sidechain, slow attack, low threshold, med ratio, 9% wet
2. Klanghelm MJUC - Mk2 mode w/ 160 hz sidechain, med attack, med threshold, low ratio, 13% wet
3. Klanghelm MJUC - Mk3 mode w/ 80 hz sidechain, fast attack, high threshold, high ratio, 37% wet
4. UAD Neve 33609 - unlinked mode w/ med threshold, slow attack/fast release limiter; med threshold, fast release, 1.5/1 ratio compressor
5. UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor - unlinked mode w/ opto turned off, slowest attack, fastest release, "flood" ratio, med high threshold
6. Plugin Alliance Maag EQ4
7. [optional] bx_subsynth (for high passing side signal)
8. [optional] bx_refinement (high freq smoother)
9. [optional] elisia museq master

All plugins are on from the very beginning of mixing, and are "mixed into".

Stoked to see what everyone else is using smile
Michael O.
That is a whole lot of signal processing- is this a mastering chain or is this really what you’re using on the output of your stereo buss/mix buss?

In my work I’ll rarely use anything beyond a bit of subtle compression from relatively clean/uncolored processors (e.g., API, SSL, Drawmer), if I use anything on the stereo buss at all. A mix (pre mastering stage) shouldn’t require much if any 2buss processing to sound good if the individual components are treated properly. Generally anything beyond that is better left to the mastering engineer rather than the mixing engineer.
Hainbach
Analog:
Bugbrand Stereo Compressor
SPL Vitalizer Jack
Telefunken M15

Digital:
Klanghelm MJUC
Ableton EQ
Tritone Digital Neumann EQ
Voxengo Elephant
Valhalla Plate or Room
BailyDread
Michael O. wrote:
A mix (pre mastering stage) shouldn’t require much if any 2buss processing to sound good if the individual components are treated properly. Generally anything beyond that is better left to the mastering engineer rather than the mixing engineer.


It's not like if I take these plugins off the mix disappears... The needles are barely moving in most cases. Stacking compressors with complimentary time settings allows for a more complex and natural sounding gain reduction in my experience. 1 compressor doing 4 dB gain reduction tends to sound much more dramatic than 4 compressors each doing 1 dB gain reduction. There's also the tonality and harmonics they impart, and the subtle stereo emphasis that comes from unlinked compression. These factors play a huge role in the sound of my reverbs, for example. Just gotta have them all set and on from the very beginning so your mix decisions are complimenting the 2 buss processing into a unified whole.

Are you familiar with Andrew Schepps? I take a lot of influence from his approach.
depth of field
I only use Sound Toy's Decapitator on my master. I have a little roll off of the highs and lows and some light, bright drive. My mix is at 65%. It just gives my tracks a little saturation and makes them a touch brighter.
Michael O.
BailyDread wrote:
Michael O. wrote:
A mix (pre mastering stage) shouldn’t require much if any 2buss processing to sound good if the individual components are treated properly. Generally anything beyond that is better left to the mastering engineer rather than the mixing engineer.


It's not like if I take these plugins off the mix disappears... The needles are barely moving in most cases. Stacking compressors with complimentary time settings allows for a more complex and natural sounding gain reduction in my experience. 1 compressor doing 4 dB gain reduction tends to sound much more dramatic than 4 compressors each doing 1 dB gain reduction. There's also the tonality and harmonics they impart, and the subtle stereo emphasis that comes from unlinked compression. These factors play a huge role in the sound of my reverbs, for example. Just gotta have them all set and on from the very beginning so your mix decisions are complimenting the 2 buss processing into a unified whole.

Are you familiar with Andrew Schepps? I take a lot of influence from his approach.


Of course I’m familiar with these techniques and concepts and agree that they’re extremely useful, but generally this sort of processing exists in the realm of mastering rather than mixing. Any mastering engineer worth their salt will be applying combinations of these techniques. The magic in mixing though comes mostly from the careful treatment of individual tracks and group busses that comprise the stereo mix. If the 2buss is not appearing as a unified whole then something more fundamental is amiss in the mixing process, and 2buss processing acts as a sort of bandaid in that situation. I think there’s a lot of blurring between the lines these days, and so the distinction ends up seemingly like a merely semantic one, but I know I began making the mastering engineers I work with a lot happier when I started applying less stereo buss processing to my mixes.

I’m speaking very generally here, and having said all that, there are no invariable rights or wrongs. Ultimately if it sounds right it is right, and what works for one tune/album/style does not necessarily work for another.

Also I totally respect Scheps and appreciate his work, but it’s not my cup of tea. I dug his Adele mixes most of all, which I found a lot more dynamic and natural than most of his other work.
Panason
Somewhat irreleveant to talk about what's on your master unless genre/style is mentioned. I don't leave compression for the mastering stage as I work with it while I write and mix the music.

+ 1 for Klanghelm for beat-based stuff!
BailyDread
What kind of settings do you like to use on the API/SSL/Drawmer when you do decide to use 2 buss compression? And how do you decide when to turn it on... In the middle of mixing or towards the end? I am thinking about it, and there hasn't been a mix where I didn't start with some 2 buss compression on in quite a while. I bet it would be a good exercise to switch it up a bit. When you stopped using 2 buss compression so much, did your approach to mixing change at all? I used to use a lot of "precision" eqing on the 2 buss, but since then I've found that only using the Maag eq as my 2 buss eq for 2 dB "air band" bump and maybe .5 dB of "sub" and - 1.5 dB @ 140 gives more natural results. But now I'm kind of wondering why I consistently have build up at 140 that warrants the cut... Good points all around hihi
Entrainer
Foote Control P3S

Pro-L2 but auditioning alternatives
matthewjuran
Lately I’ve been recording over air with a Behringer C-1 condenser microphone and two speaker boxes (M-Audio AV40) with percussion on the right and synthesizers on the left. It adds reverb, gives me microphone experience, and the recording can be closer to what I’m hearing while playing.
Michael O.
BailyDread wrote:
What kind of settings do you like to use on the API/SSL/Drawmer when you do decide to use 2 buss compression? And how do you decide when to turn it on... In the middle of mixing or towards the end? I am thinking about it, and there hasn't been a mix where I didn't start with some 2 buss compression on in quite a while. I bet it would be a good exercise to switch it up a bit. When you stopped using 2 buss compression so much, did your approach to mixing change at all? I used to use a lot of "precision" eqing on the 2 buss, but since then I've found that only using the Maag eq as my 2 buss eq for 2 dB "air band" bump and maybe .5 dB of "sub" and - 1.5 dB @ 140 gives more natural results. But now I'm kind of wondering why I consistently have build up at 140 that warrants the cut... Good points all around hihi


These days I’d say I have a compressor on the stereo buss about a quarter of the time, and most often when I’m mixing tunes that other people engineered rather than the ones I engineer in-house, and more often on electronic instrument-heavy material. I usually know off the bat whether I’m using it or not, and when I do I do so very sparingly (nearly imperceptible amounts of compression). I like a very soft-knee onset, and generally a fast attack (in order to catch the transients, say in the 2-5ms range, as opposed to a slower attack when one wants to accentuate the transients), and I prefer a program-dependent release in this context. I almost invariably use a hpf in the sidechain to avoid over-compression of bass material- this has the added benefit of helping to reduce the sort of artifacts/distortion that can show up when using fast attack times. There are always exceptions to these practices, but I generally try and avoid gimmicky uses of compression unless the material really calls for it. This is not to say a mix can’t have oodles of compression on individual busses or tracks (compression is after all a large part of the sound of recorded music, and who doesn’t love a good Bonham-esque drum pump or pinned bass now and again), but I try to shape my overall mix by shaping the constituent transients rather than the overall. Geez, I apparently have a lot to say about something that is now more-or-less thoughtlessly automatic for me lol.

To addresss the other points: if there’s unwarranted frequency buildup I identify the culprits and adjust accordingly rather than a global dip on the stereo buss. I also avoid global eq bumps and opt instead to accentuate individual components (e.g. maybe a touch of parallel encode-only Dolby A on vox, additive eq on a snare, etc.). I find it’s especially dangerous to add sub bass in pre-mastered material and leave any final adjustments there (if necessary) to the mastering engineer/myself in a mastering room.
noisejockey
What's on my master buss for mixing is totally different than what's used for mastering. And it's different almost every time, or if not every time, certainly per project and often per instrument.

My most used master buss controls in the studio, however, are digital: DMG EQuilibrium, Essence, and Limitless; FabFilter Pro-L; Cytomic The Glue. Everything else I do on a per-channel basis, unless it's a live performance; my outboard API 2500 and Summit Audio EQP-200B stereo Pultec-style EQ might see some use there.

Live I'll use a FMR RNLA compressor just in case, or a Eurorack compressor like the MSCL on the master buss, depending on my live rig setup.

Since I am also a mastering engineer, I see the mastering process as very strictly different from mixing, so that process and tools are different, and I don't over-process my mixes, even if live, so I can have some objectivity and greater processing latitude in the polish phase. Then we're talking vari-mu compression, pentode/triode distortion, transformer coloration, and mid/side hardware EQ...but there's no standard flow there. It has to be different each time.

BTW, big fat +1 on stacking compressors and EQ, especially in interested orders in the chain.
mt3
BailyDread wrote:
What's everyone using on their master bus and why?
1. Klanghelm MJUC - Mk1 mode w/ 300 hz sidechain, slow attack, low threshold, med ratio, 9% wet
2. Klanghelm MJUC - Mk2 mode w/ 160 hz sidechain, med attack, med threshold, low ratio, 13% wet
3. Klanghelm MJUC - Mk3 mode w/ 80 hz sidechain, fast attack, high threshold, high ratio, 37% wet
4. UAD Neve 33609 - unlinked mode w/ med threshold, slow attack/fast release limiter; med threshold, fast release, 1.5/1 ratio compressor
5. UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor - unlinked mode w/ opto turned off, slowest attack, fastest release, "flood" ratio, med high threshold
6. Plugin Alliance Maag EQ4
7. [optional] bx_subsynth (for high passing side signal)
8. [optional] bx_refinement (high freq smoother)
9. [optional] elisia museq master


I like and use many of these and similarly.
Curious about the Klanghelm MJUC. Can you summarize what about it you find appealing?

The 33609 and Shadow Hills, agree. Especially unlinked!

"Mastering distortion" is a variation of compression. Try:
HG-2
Culture Vulture
VSM-3

Other stuff to append to the end:
bx_digital V2
Pultec EQP
Dangerous Bax
API 2500
Chevron87
I really like the UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor.

I also use

BX Digital V3 EQ
BX Digital Control (Mono them bass freqs)
UAD Manley Passive (For different flavour)
Ozone 6 (Occasional widening and Exciter)
Soonox Limiter
Fabfilter Limiter 2
BailyDread
mt3 wrote:

Curious about the Klanghelm MJUC. Can you summarize what about it you find appealing?


sure! applause I love the MJUC b/c it has very complex program dependent attack/release times, particularly in mode 1 (emulation of a Fairchild, I believe). This makes it respond very dynamically depending on what is being fed into it -- it will smack down the peak of a snare with a lot of attitude, but then immediately after, gently hug the reverb of said snare to give it a wonderfully thick sustain. The saturation and built in EQ sound exceptionally good, and it has that "smokey" tube type flavor when you lay into it with bass freqs... It's a little difficult to put into words but it seems to take low-mid freq content and build harmonics that suggest almost a sub-octave kind of effect without interfering too much with the actual sub freqs. Like many of these plugins, I find I have best success when I work the compressor into a cool "effect" type sound and then blend that signal in usually below <20% wet. Stacking multiple MJUC's in their different modes w/ varying dry/wets creates a really neat signal. It's like: (((dry + 10% wet mode 1) + 15% wet mode 2) + 17% mode 3), with each successive MJUC embellishing on the effect of the contribution of the MJUC before it.

I find it really easy to dial in a sound that "makes it sound like a record" this way.

Since I started this thread, I've started trying some different techniques WRT master bus... I'm now taking the whole chain, putting it on an aux, and then sending the entire mix bus to it, and blending that to taste. This way I'm just barely kissing the signal with these effects... So far this has given even better results! nanners

I've been meaning to try the HG-2... What kind of settings do you like on it?
StrangeAttraction
This is a typical chain on my master bus - it's a digital-hardware hybrid:

1. Good digital EQ (Fab-Q) - First, to shave off/boost lightly anything that has to be "fixed". Second, to do some basic MS processing (mainly I cut anything below approx 150Hz on the Side channel). Sometimes I'll use two EQs, one with a Linear Phase response to process mids and highs, and another with a Natural Phase to process lows (linear phase EQ would introduce ringing in the bass freq - you definitely want to avoid that!) ->
2. Digital Multiband Compressor (FabFilter-MB or Elyssia, etc) - some very light compression using 3-4 bands, mainly compressing up to 3db max for each band, depending on the frequency profile I want to achieve, I mainly want to make sure mids are nicely packed and bass freqs are tamed. I try not to compress highs to much at this stage ->
3. Good digital clipper plugging, shaving 1-2db max, to tame only the highest peaks in order to make the job easier for the compression/liming chain that follows ->
3. Hardware SSL Bus Compressor clone (IGS Bus Compressor 500 series in my case), very light bus compression about 1-2db max, parallel compression at about 70%, using very slow attack (30ms) and usually the fastest release I can get, compression ratio 4:1 ->
4. Hardware Looptrotter Monster Compressor (stereo 1176 clone with tube stage) - I do this one to shave off another 1-2db max from the signal and do some very minimal tube saturation (not always). Sometimes I don't even do any compression at all, just let the signal pass through the compressor supposedly never hitting the threshold, though I think it does its own saturation/compression thing nevertheless. Parallel compresssion at about 50-60% ->
5. Some kind of Digital Imager (Izotope Ozone) to spread the mids and highs a bit, i.e. fill in the image space ->
6. Digital Saturation, if needed, such as BrainWorx saturator or some kind of tape saturation (Kramer, FF Saturn, etc.) - again depends if it's needed based on how saturated the sound is to begin with, typically adding only 20-30% parallel saturation anyway, so feel free to cook your signal to taste ->
7. Digital clipper to tame 0.5db max just to make things easier for the final limiter ->
8. Final Digital Limiter - I've tried tons and my favs are FabFilter Pro-L (fav) or Izotope Ozone Maximiser. I try to do as little limiting at this stage as possible. Hopefully by now your signal is nicely saturated, well balanced, and compressed enough to compare to commercially released mixes. This limiter often just gives about 1-2db reduction. Make sure you have ISP selected. I master to somewhere at -0.5 to -0.7dB, to give a bit of room during digital conversion for MP3s and streaming sevices.

Using this chain gives me pretty good control over the final sound, I can EQ the most offending stuff out, control the dynamics and add hardware/tube flavor and saturation if needed, and get an adequately loud master.

Most of all - listen to the master on as many different systems as possible.
I actually use 4-5 different headphones (pro headphones and earphones I'm used to listening music on), monitors, but recently I've been getting great results from tweaking the master on Macbook pro 15" speakers. These babies are so good at showing you whether you have too much/not enough upper bass, show how compressed and tired mid-range is, and how much highs you have. A lot of music is listened to on this kind of speakers as well as earphones, so make sure that your mixes sound good both on studio monitors but also on as many cheapo speakers and systems as possible.

Hope this helps.
BailyDread
I love monitoring on laptop/phone speakers as well. SlayerBadger! I have a pair of the IK iLoud micro monitors and an Avantone active mixcube and I love them both. the Avantone is absolutely fantastic to popping the mix in mono and dimming the output to just a few hairs above the volume level of like, a hard drive or something. For sure the QUICKEST way to arrive at tonal EQ settings and general level balance between elements. It's kind of like getting a look at your mix from very far away, like how a painter walks away from the canvas to get a good look at the overall composition. The iLouds are indispensable for checking the bass, esp problem areas between 100-200hz where a lot of speakers seem to get "thuddy" and indistinct. If it rattles the iLouds, it's gonna sound like a boxy, boomy mess in a car or on headphones.
StrangeAttraction
Exactly this!
Great tip about IK iLoud micro monitors...didn't know they existed.

BailyDread wrote:
I love monitoring on laptop/phone speakers as well. SlayerBadger! I have a pair of the IK iLoud micro monitors and an Avantone active mixcube and I love them both. the Avantone is absolutely fantastic to popping the mix in mono and dimming the output to just a few hairs above the volume level of like, a hard drive or something. For sure the QUICKEST way to arrive at tonal EQ settings and general level balance between elements. It's kind of like getting a look at your mix from very far away, like how a painter walks away from the canvas to get a good look at the overall composition. The iLouds are indispensable for checking the bass, esp problem areas between 100-200hz where a lot of speakers seem to get "thuddy" and indistinct. If it rattles the iLouds, it's gonna sound like a boxy, boomy mess in a car or on headphones.
BailyDread
Do you have a recommendation for a clipper? I've heard the Limitless plugin has a setting to emulate clipping an A/D converter
mt3
BailyDread wrote:
I've been meaning to try the HG-2... What kind of settings do you like on it?


That's not what it does, which is the beauty of it.
Just turn the knobs up until you think it's too much, then just turn the knobs down a touch. Perfect.
I'm quite certain it's anti-settings that there's no option for loading presets or saving presets.
w00t
StrangeAttraction
BailyDread wrote:
Do you have a recommendation for a clipper? I've heard the Limitless plugin has a setting to emulate clipping an A/D converter


I use:
- StandardCLIP (cost a little)
- Limiter No6 (free) - has a clipper section and a really good multiband mode

Both are ace.

What I go back into the computer from processing the hardware, I might experiment with how much I can push the level into the A/D converters. I wouldn't overdo it though...
justin3am
I use a couple hardware and software pieces for bus processing but I don't often put anything on the Master.

Hardware:
API 2500
2x Hairball Lola pres
Elysia Kompressor 500
Elysia Karacter 500
Elysia XFilter 500

Software:
Eiosis Air EQ
DMG Equlilibrium
Sonalksis Stereo Tools
U-He Presswerk
McDSP ML-4000

Of course I don't use all of those things at once. hihi
Panason
It's been a long time since I did my music tech course.

Why do some people write "buss" and not "bus"?

In fact, where did the whole "bus" thing come from?
justin3am
According to Merriam-Webster:
Quote:
The plural of bus is buses. A variant plural, busses, is also given in the dictionary, but has become so rare that it seems like an error to many people. ... Until 1961, 'busses' was the preferred plural of 'bus' in Merriam-Webster dictionaries. But the word 'buss' is a synonym of 'kiss'.

lol

I've seen it both ways but I always felt like 'buss' is incorrect.
This SOS article made me laugh because they use 'bus' and 'buss'.
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/sos-guide-mix-compression

Anyway, sub-mixes on a console are usually called buses but I don't know where that started. I suppose it comes from 'omnibus' (comprising several items) but I can't be sure.
nostalghia
justin3am wrote:

Anyway, sub-mixes on a console are usually called buses but I don't know where that started. I suppose it comes from 'omnibus' (comprising several items) but I can't be sure.


Apparently it does. Confirmed here:What is a bus (physically) in digital design? (Electrical Engineering Stack Exchange)

More background relevant to studio consoles/mixers: Recording Review: Using Auxes and Buses
"Let’s first define what a bus and an auxiliary track are. Unlike an aux track, a bus is a connection of many different signals, seen sometimes as a channel strip’s send. The send controls however much of the signal you want the bus to send or “transport” to a specified location, such as an auxiliary track"
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