Last week we explained the concept of mixing into a mix bus chain and how to get the most from applying mix bus processing. This week we’re giving you examples and walking you through our own mix bus chains, as well as the thought processes behind them.
We’re mixing into these chains for good reasons and have made some mistakes / not so great decisions before we arrived at the chains that we use now.
We want to help you avoid those same mistakes, give you some inspiration for starting points and share exactly why we use what we use today.
We're sharing the exact plugins/tools we use, the order we use them in and how we use them, depending in the mix we’re working on.
Download Our Free Mic Placement Cheat Sheet:
This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.
Benedikt's voice on this episode has been recorded with the Antelope Axino Synergy Core.
TSRB 120 - Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy
[00:00:00] Malcom: you'll, you'll find things that work for you. That's kind of the fun of all of this. It's a very fun thing that we love to talk about as audio engineers, because we all do it differently. So it's always exciting.
[00:00:13] Benedikt: Yeah, totally. Hello, and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I'm your host Ben at the time. And I am here with my friend and cohost Malcolm Owen flood. How are you? My com.
[00:00:37] Malcom: I am great. Happy to be talking music with you today. How are you, man?
[00:00:43] Benedikt: Doing good. Sorry. I have to laugh because you guys don't know this, but we are recording two episodes in a row. And amalgam was really, really struggling. And I totally feel for you mark. I'm like you, you've had a rough couple of weeks and not enough sleep and all of that. So it's really hard to do [00:01:00] this, um, to do this today. And you're not just looking at your tired face and make me laugh, make me laugh.
[00:01:08] Malcom: I'm like forcing a smile, like I'm happy and I am excited to be here, but I like, I, for the listener's point of view, I got like probably a total of eight hours over three days. Um, Three like intense work days of first sleep, like just getting like two hours, one night, two hours another and, uh, yeah, heavy, heavy workload. Not recommended. Don't do this to your. I don't,
[00:01:33] Benedikt: Yeah, guys, please, please, please forgive us and forgive him Alcoa. She is noticing a lack of energy in this, these two episodes. We're doing our best. I was just, I just had to bring it up because when I asked you how you are, and then you're like, I'm good. And I'm excited to talk music today.
[00:01:52] Malcom: in my head it sounds better.
[00:01:54] Benedikt: Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. I'm sure it does. No. All good. So I honestly, I'm really, really glad. [00:02:00] Um, it didn't even say last week, but I'm really, really, really glad you're back and we're doing this again. Um, I was able to, to do some other episodes in the meantime, so we haven't missed one, but it's really, really good to be back and doing these, these again with you. So I appreciate you taking the time despite you being so exhausted at the moment.
[00:02:17] Malcom: Oh, yeah, no, I'm, I'm really excited to be back to. I was like, any moment. I could, I was going on Facebook to try and check out the community and stuff and keep a tab on there. But I, yeah, it's, it's been hard to stay plugged into it. Um, so super glad you were able to keep things going while I was away. And, uh, thanks to everybody who's been listening and engaging in the community and learning. That's awesome. Yeah, we got lots of good stuff coming up.
[00:02:39] Benedikt: Yes. I was about to say, so two things, um, before we start, the first thing is we're about, I don't say I can't give you any of the details yet, but we're starting soon with a second edition of the mixes unpack series that we did. So a couple of, um, some of you already got the first one. Now we're working on a second one. It's a mixing chorus. That's mixing walkthrough. And the second one [00:03:00] is in the works and will be out pretty soon. By the time this episode airs. I don't think it will be long before you have it and, uh, or you have the ability to, to get access to it. So that's the first thing mixes, unpacked volume two is coming. And the second thing is I am currently still taking, Coaching students basically coaching clients. So what that means is I am giving away free calls still. So you can go to the self recording band.com/call and just book, a free feedback call with me. And you can get a personal feedback on your productions. You can get a roadmap to help you with. Exciting sounding music consistently. We'll talk about where you are, where you want to go and whether or not I can help you get there. I'm trying to help you on the spot, of course, but it's also sort of a discovery call to see if I can really, really help you. And I'm only taking the students that I can really, really help. Um, I think I've got, I don't even know 16 or 17 people in the program already, so there's a couple of slots left, but honestly, not too many at this point before I need to change things about the program because it can only serve so many people while still mixing full time. [00:04:00] So if you want to get in there or learn about how the program works, I highly recommend you book one of these calls. And again, it's the self recording band.com/call. And we can jump on a free coaching call together.
[00:04:12] Malcom: Awesome. Yep. Do it. And you're going to have questions for them by the end of this episode, I guarantee. So it's a perfect timing.
[00:04:20] Benedikt: obviously. Yeah, I think I, yeah, I think so. Yeah. Again, I'm basically. Picking it up from where we left last week, we were talking about mixed bus processing, mixed bus chains. Um, we talked to you, we explained to you what a mixed bus chain could look like, what that actually is, what the difference is between that and mastering how you should, um, approach mixed best processing, what to avoid, all those things we talked about that we gave you starting points. So. And this week, we're going to give you actual examples this week. We're going to walk you through our mix, best chains, the stuff that we use on our mix bus and the thought process behind the thing we're using there. So if you haven't listened to last week's episode yet, I say, you [00:05:00] should probably stop. Now you should pause. Now, go back, listen to the episode and then come back because we're not going to explain all the, all the things again that we already explained last week. So this is a good. Yeah. Good. Yeah. Just pause, go back, listen, and then come back and then listen to this episode, because this is us getting into the details of our own mix questions and giving you the walkthrough through those, why we're doing this because we've actually explained it all pretty well last week. I hope so. At least. Why are we doing this? Malcolm. And I both mix into these chains for good reasons, I think. And we've definitely, at least I have made some mistakes or maybe not so great decisions before we arrived at the chains that we used now. And we want to help you avoid those same mistakes and we want to share exactly. Y we use what we use today. So you had some, if you listen to last week's episode, you had some time to experiment and build your own chains. And now you're going to, you can compare that to what we do, and we try our best to explain why we do those [00:06:00] things. So let's go, here are the exact plugins and tools we use the order. We use them in how we use them depending on the mix we're working on. And I'm actually curious to hear Malcolm, if there is such a thing. Ah, mix bus chain that you always use with a certain order. Or if this, if this thing doesn't even exist in your template,
[00:06:18] Malcom: Yeah, it's funny because, uh, we're doing this episode after I was away for a month working away from mixing. So I'm like, what do I do? What? Um, but I, I, I would say there's probably like four things that. The four or five things that always come up. I've always got any queue. I've always got a bus compressor. And, uh, I honestly, I always do have a clipper of some kind. And then I've always got a limiter. And we did talk about how we are recommending leaving the limiter out of the picture for our listeners, but really we're talking about our chains today, um, specifically, so the limiter is going to be part [00:07:00] of the conversation. So should I how, how deep should I go here? Benny? Should I just start at the top and talk about exact plugins and what I'm doing with them usually.
[00:07:10] Benedikt: Yeah, I I'd say, uh, give us a walkthrough through your chain, uh, why you use them and then how you use them or whatever comes to mind, whatever it might be.
[00:07:19] Malcom: All right. So first up is going to be any Q and the moves that are always engaged is a low and high pass. And I'm usually like 20 K op has gone. Um, and then my default template has 20 Hertz and below gone. And I, but that gets moved around. As, as I kind of build them the low end of the mix and just find that little sweet spot somewhere between 20 and 30 Hertz is kind of where it lands. And then there is often a very broad high shelf coming into play. And that's, that's kind of like,[00:08:00] That's often it for, for the IQ. Um, I do find getting a little bit of a cohesive shine. There is nice using a high boost there, um, opposed to doing it on individual elements in the mix earlier, which is also happening. Um, I find that something, something nice happens there. Like a linear. Uh, boost essentially on the top end. I, I really? liked that. But that's not to say there couldn't be some low-end stuff happening and there couldn't be some mid carving happening, but I have found that over time I stopped carving stuff out there because if there's something that needs to be carved out, it's probably a more of an individual instrument group issue than a whole mixed issue. So I stopped scooping stuff out of my mixes cause it was kind of getting smartly facie. And, um, I'm in love with midst these days. So I like keeping them around. Uh, so, so That's kind of the Q moot fab filter pro Q is the plugin that we mentioned all the time. That's my weapon of choice there. Um, and then I'm going into. [00:09:00] Uh, a bus compressor and, uh, that is usually the, I think it's called the townhouse compressor or is it town send,
[00:09:09] I can't remember townhouse. compressor. It's plugin Alliance. Great, great bus compressor that or their vertigo bus compressor is also great. I like them both so much and. There's a lot of stuff happening here. That's again, kind of push and pull if the whole mix, um, it it's deciding how, like the transience of our two loudest elements, the kick and snare are, are hitting. A lot is happening there. The only kind of dancing I'd touch on here is that I've introduced an instrument, mixed bus. Before my vocals. So there's like instrument, vocals, and then a mixed bus. And I've actually kind of moved my primary mixed bus up onto that instrumental one. Um, and if you remember on our last episode, we talked about fighting your mixed bus processing and by moving that primary bus compressor to the instrumental [00:10:00] stem, rather than the whole mix, it means that my vocals aren't getting pushed around by it. If I'm really slamming that compressor. and, uh, and they're lets me get like attack times a little faster if I want to make it more aggressive and pumpy so, so that's kind of what's happening there, but even if I'm doing something pumpy on the instrumental bus, there's still going to be one on my mixed bus. That's a slower attack, fast release. And it's kind of just like more transparent leveling compressor happening they're doing. Do we need even less problems? After that is kind of where we get into loudness and there's going to be some clipping happening there. There is one called newfangled saturate that I like for that. Um, you can just kind of control the, the curve of the clipping and then, uh, The Sonics inflator is the other one. Which just sounds great, but you can't really tell what's happening very easily. Uh, I, that's one of those magic plugins that people say, just slap it on and as good, but I'm convinced that they're just making, they're just turning up the mix sometimes without actually using it. [00:11:00] So uh, a lot of experimentation, a lot of volume matching has to happen there to make sure you actually like it. And then fab filter pro queue, or for sorry, fat filter pro Al is my mastering limiter of choice. And that's the last thing in my chain,
[00:11:13] Benedikt: So you kind of master as you mix into the,
[00:11:16] Malcom: I sure do. Um, and again, we recommended that you, that, you. don't, uh, especially while learning. But Yeah. it comes in. Uh, once I've got drums basis and guitars in, I'm going to introduce a limiter to see what happens right then and there kind of thing. And I don't push it hard until later, but, um, I, I get real interested in what's going to happen if I want to make this loud pretty early into the process. And that's just a preference thing. And there's a lot of people that like to do that, but there's a lot of people that don't, um, like you said, Benny, you've kind of stopped. Um, so there there's not a right or wrong. But I'm just kind of like constantly checking. Is this going to let me push it as out as I wanted.
[00:11:59] Benedikt: [00:12:00] Yeah. Yeah. If you're hired to do the mix and mastering, you can definitely do it that way for sure. yeah, I just, I did it like that for a long time and I, I maybe go back to that. I just, for now I stopped doing that and, and try to separate the mastering process, but it also, it's kind of hard, honestly. Yeah, I don't want to get into that too, too much for now, but like, yeah, you can totally do that. And I think a good reason for what you're doing there is. You just, all you do is when you mix the master, you try to make whatever you're working on sound as good as it can possibly sound and that they in the mixing and mastering. So it's kind of one, one thing that you do. And so, you are, since you are one person and you can't really separate them mixing and mastering to like too well, because you know, you just do whatever you need to do in order to make it great. You can sort of build it into this one process. I just think it's pretty dangerous. It can be pretty dangerous. And it's just either just think of mastering now as a different mindset, a different set of things to do and problem solve and tools to use, which is very, [00:13:00] very hard. If you've mixed the song yourself. yeah, I, so in my opinion, you either have to really be able to separate the two and make sure you really, as, as objective and fresh and with a little bit of break in between, or you do it right away as you mix, because then it just becomes this one process of making things sound really good and also loud. So this is perfectly, the I'm perfectly fine. I think the worst thing would be to mix it then. And then in the same session, sort of master it afterwards without thinking about the mastering in the mix. So if, if you do that separately, I would definitely make it real separate in a separate session a couple of days later. But if you do it in one go, I would say, make it is, make it part of the mix like you do. I think there's, it's actually
[00:13:41] Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. It's just, every decision I make is with it, with the intention of the song being finished. There's no like, oh, I'm doing this because I know later I'll do this. You know, it's like, like, this is just how I want it to sound there.
[00:13:53] Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. And yeah, we don't recommend it because it's just, so there's so many moving parts and everything affects everything and it's so [00:14:00] easy to overlook something to miss something and to, to screw something up without even knowing. So, yeah, we talked about that last week, so interesting. That's so actually it's just, it's a fairly simple and express chain. I'd say you have the broad sort of ACU you have a compressor, um, and you have you clipping and limiting for the, the volume and maybe how hard, depending on how hard you hit the clipper, the clipper into the compressor, it gives you the character vibe that you want. And then you do the trick where you. Exclude the vocals from your mixed best so that you can push it harder. And, um, you can sort of make the vocal sit on top of that more without pumping with the music too much. And I assume sometimes maybe you would want the vocal to be, to be, to gel more with the music. And in that case, you'd routed into the mixed best probably. So that, that could also be something you want. But if you wanted to, to sit on top of them mix, um, more than you can, you can do the trick that you said. So sort of bypassing the mixed best processing with the. Or adding another, another, like subtle compression to glue them back together, as you said. [00:15:00] So that will be the most advanced move to just make the instrumental pump and didn't get that vibe right then at the vocal on top and then make it gel with another compressor sort of.
[00:15:10] Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. If you grabbed my mixes on tax module, um, w w what future there that's exactly what I did. We very pumpy song. And, uh, but we had to get the vocals still gluten. Um, at least I'm pretty sure that's what I did on that song. I need already watch my own video now. Um, but, but Yeah. and now, so that's acute compression, clipping and limiter. There might be multiple instances of those things happening. Like I might have that any cue at the beginning of the chain, but there might be one after the clipper again. Um, so like things have kind of. They changed by like the compression and stuff and clipping. And I want to like bring some life back in there or something that can happen. For sure. And one thing I did leave out that I actually use all the time is, uh, some kind of this is gonna sound funny, but some [00:16:00] kind of AI EEQ, um, we, we strictly talked about how I don't like using AI mastering things, but it's this kind of different, um, there's either SU. Which is like, uh, uh, subtractive IQ. And, and I find that that can do a better job, but picking out like harsh residences than any other tool. And then there's goal FOSS, which is both subtractive and additive. And. They're they're just faster than you can be. So there, it's not that they're mastering the song for me, but they are. And you, you can learn how to kind of dial them, uh, either attacking or adding to certain frequency ranges in a way that no other tool that I have can do, um, and maybe making things more, even in static, um, which can be useful. And, and it was also kind of allowed in this tool.
[00:16:49] Benedikt: Yeah, totally. And I'm not against using any of those AI tools. Not at all. I think technology has come so far. We should take advantage of that. And as you say these, as you said, these dynamic cues, which is basically what basically [00:17:00] what they are, they can make faster decisions than they are faster than you, which means you'd have to autumn, you'd have to manually automate all kinds of Cubans in order to achieve a similar thing with. Almost impossible and it's not going to be in
[00:17:12] Malcom: to
[00:17:13] Benedikt: It is impossible. Yeah. So it's something we can do that we couldn't do, um, a couple of years ago. And it's a good thing that we can do that now. Um, and it's not, uh, those tools are not bad as, as everything you can abuse them and make you mix worse with them, but you can also definitely improve your mixes if used correctly. And also think that there is. Um, I think it's true that there is some sort of frequency balance for most genres that most people just enjoy that most people just like that this is just the fact that it's not the same for, for every like across all genres. So a hip hop mix will sound we'll have different, you know, we'll have a different frequency balance than a metal mix, but in general, Within a certain genre. There are certain things that most people like and certain things that most people don't [00:18:00] like, there is a certain quality to the top end that we just enjoy. And there is a certain harshness that most people don't enjoy and there's a certain, there's a tight, low end, and then there's a muddy or a Wolfie low end that we don't like. And if you know these things, and if you think about that, it's actually, it just makes sense that these tools exist and that you should also use them because. They do that for you basically, they, they carve out a little bit of that harshness and they add a little bit of sheen and they make the low end a little bit bigger, but without it being muddy and, you know art subjective and we shouldn't like, I we'll we'll hopefully I don't, I don't think AI will ever replace anybody in the, in the arts, because it's art. Like it's not just science, but there is science to it. And a part of it, I think, yeah, it makes just sense to take advantage of that because there, yeah, there's no doubt that there are certain things we all like or don't like, or do this most of us.
[00:18:53] Malcom: Totally a hundred percent. Um, so Yeah. let's jump into your chain, man.
[00:18:58] Benedikt: Awesome. So,[00:19:00] Um, it's some of it is similar. Some is a little different. So I start with something that does nothing sonically, but I have to have it there. And that is a VU meter. have that open from the beginning of the mix till the end. That's always open in some corner of my screen. I always watch that basically, especially when I built my initial. Rough mix balanced, panning, and it's just volume balance. So I know a starting point and I know how hard I want to hit my mixed bus as a starting point. And then during the mix, I try hitting it harder or not so hard to see, to find the sweet spot for the song. But I have that view meter open because the view meter is the easiest. tool for me to, to, to, to accomplish that. I could look at the channel meter, or I dunno, but I want to have something at the beginning of the chain and the view meter is fast enough, but also slow enough for me to like, I don't know. It's just how I, how I like things. So what I like things to look it's similar to the new meters on w why there are view meters on analog consults it's for that reason, um, they give you a good. Yeah reference. So that's the [00:20:00] first thing then? Um, the second one is a dangerous Bax. This is a plugin by a plugin and not the hardware is the plugin, my plugging lions. And I use that for the filters, primarily. I just like how the filter sounds. So I my default is it's it's, it's set to 24 Hertz, um, low cut and 2 70, 70, 19 70 killer Hertz with the high cut. This is way above what we can hear as humans, but honestly, call me crazy. But I believe I hear this filter is probably so like such gentle. Um, slope or whatever that it goes down and makes the very top end a little smoother. I don't know what it is, but I just like it. Maybe it's a face
[00:20:38] Malcom: Cool. I mean, sure. It's there for a reason.
[00:20:41] Benedikt: Yep. So that's my default. And sometimes I pull that down to a there's 28 or 18, or like that's the lowest I would go. But like, I play around with the top end filter there, depending on the material that I'm mixing. And I also play around with the low cut. Sometimes I set it to 18 or sometimes 30, but usually 24 is my default and it works for [00:21:00] a lot of things. So that's just my filter that I use there. Sometimes I don't use it at all, but honestly, most mixes need a little bit of. At least I like to do that on a mixed person. So that's the first thing. If I feel like after my initial rough mix, that every really everything is a bit dark or everything is a bit, um, bright or whatever, depending on the room that distracting or something like that, I might use the backs also to just gently brighten it up or dark in it. Uh, because these filter the, these, um, Backs EQs are really, really musical and gentle. And you can like add three DB and without it sounding like add a 3d B, it just opens up the top and a little bit makes things a little brighter or a little darker. It's like my, my initial sort of recalibrating how everything sort of sounds that's. That's why I buy it as there. So the next. Is my actual mixed bus, which can be so what I, what I call natural and express because I have that in hardware version and I have a software version of that. So that means it's the first thing is a color tool. And the hardware is to Neve [00:22:00] 10 70 threes with transformers in them. Where I go into the line inputs, I drive the transformers a little bit to get a little bit of color and vibe. It makes the low end a little bit tighter to me lately. And, um, from there I go into my mix bus compressor, which is also a hardware, it's an SSL style, um, express compressor, and Ellen smart. Um, and then I go back into
[00:22:20] Malcom: a nice.
[00:22:22] Benedikt: and, uh, if I do it in the box, which I sometimes do, I not always mix through the hardware chain. Um, it's the same thing. It's a 10 73 plugin where I lose the front by plugin Alliance where you can just use the line. Setting also and drive it a little bit. And, uh, and after that comes the SSL native, uh, bus compressor by SSL the plugin, this is the same sort of thing. I have a couple more options, but this is just my go-to. Sometimes the townhouse is also something I like, I like to use, like you do the townhouse. I don't know how you feel about that. Malcolm. The townhouse is just sometimes a little too subtle for me to gentle almost. I don't know. Maybe that's just me, but I feel.[00:23:00] I, I dunno, I like a little bit of a pump and the townhouse, it's just very subtle. Sometimes you can bypass, you can compress three or four DB and then you bypass it and you really have to listen if it's doing anything, at least to me, depending on the settings, of course, but I like a little bit of a more grabby SSL compressor sometimes.
[00:23:16] Malcom: yeah. Yeah. I actually do find it very grabby, but only once you start ramping up the attack speed. Of
[00:23:22] Benedikt: Yeah.
[00:23:23] That's it.
[00:23:23] Malcom: on that slow attack, it is transparent.
[00:23:25] Benedikt: Yeah, you're right. You're totally right. That's the reason I like to use it with the 30 milliseconds attack. If you make it shorter, it's very grabby and yeah. Yeah. It's you're right. Yeah. So there's that. oh, I forgot one thing before I hit my mixed bus, I actually use a limiter, but not for mastering, not for loudness, but I have a pro L uh, instance there and the fab filter pro two instance to. They really grabbed the upper, I don't know, half DB or one DB maybe. And I do that because I want to grab the occasional loud snare hit or loud transient so that my mixed bus compresses sees quote unquote, sees a more even level and can like react [00:24:00] in groove and pump in a more consistent way. So it, when there's the occasional loud kick drum or snare drum, the bus compressor doesn't react to that and suddenly duck a DB or to, to be more. So I
[00:24:11] Malcom: Right.
[00:24:12] Benedikt: Like, yeah, maybe you have to be very careful with that. It's really just half a DB or a DB it's just to control what's going into my bus compressor. Um, so that is followed then by my, my saturation and my bass compressor. And then that's, that's actually basically it, everything else is totally optional. I might add another IQ, a Pultec or a Mac, um, IQ plugin to if I really feel like again, after my. Balancing is done. I introduced my mixed best. And if I really feel like the things are for whatever reason that the frequency balance overall is wrong. I add some top end or if I really want the type of top end that the Pultec for example gives me or the Maggie Q gives me sometimes there's nothing wrong with the mix, but I just think that for the overall mix, it would be great to just have. Type of sound or character to it. Then I apply a [00:25:00] little bit of top end, similar to what you described. You just like the sheen basically. And you like to add a little bit of top and in general, I like to do that as well sometimes. I just use a Pultec or a Mac, um, EKU for that usually. And then, uh, yeah, and that's, that's basically it, um, at the end there's a limiter, but I don't mix into it. I it's completely off all the time. And then when I'm done mixing, I just turn it on, bring up the volumes that I can compare it to other things, but I only do two or three to be maybe on the limiter limiter. And this actually gets me to a pretty competitive loudness already because. In a very loud way. So my, my unmastered makes us already really dense usually and really loud. So just a little bit of limiting at the end gives me plenty of volume. Yeah. And that's it. So sum it up meter filtering and basic tone shaping saturation, one DB of limiting or so to control it, then the mix bus compressor, and [00:26:00] then maybe in another, uh, Yeah.
[00:26:03] Malcom: Yeah, it's funny. Cause like we we've given out these, these are constants, but I mean I could open up a mix that would have twice as much or half as little. Right. Um, it really does go all over the place. Like we kind of both left out color plugins, like the. Plugins and stuff that we mentioned earlier, or maybe that was the last episode. Uh, but, and, and those do come into play, but, um, but it is like a tool of like, oh, I want like a softer transient and low-end top, here's my J 37 waves plugin kind of thing. And I know that it gives me that, um, and sometimes I think I want that I throw it on and it's not right, but there's all these little. Color plugins that can come into play too. Sometimes I'll throw on like a, um, like a multi-band saturater on, on them, like mixed bus. That's very rare, but it's possible. Right. I guess what I'm saying is that there's no real rules. As you can see, there's a constant theme of. Of, uh, like a Sonic IQ and [00:27:00] compression shaping happening here, but really you can do whatever you need to do to get the job done. Um, but we just want you to be careful and, uh, to know that there's often a solution that could happen earlier in the mix, then at this stage.
[00:27:14] Benedikt: Yes. for sure. And also B you said, um, the color, the plugins that can, uh, we sometimes use, or you, you we've been talking about the AA plugins. I use those too, but I need to add one more thing. I use a lot of, and we often set that. I use a lot of buses and on to the right on my, when I look at my mix window. Pinned to the right. And always there are my main sort of bat buses that all feed into the mixed bus. And that means I have a drum bus, a bass bus, a rhythm bus, elite bus, and a vocal bus. And a lot of like that, you could actually consider that bus processing to what I do that because if I use golf us or sooth or something like that, That's just me. I typically don't do that on the overall mix purse, but if I find the guitars to be a little harsh overall, I might [00:28:00] add sues on the guitar bus or if I think, um, same thing for the drums. If I feel like there's an overall harshness I might go into and look for, like, if it's in the overheads of the rooms or whatever, but I might just put two on the drummer sometimes, or. Um, if I feel like the vocals are two siblings and I have a lot of vocal tracks and backings and stacks and whatnot, I might just throw a DSR on the vocal bus or sooth or a spiff or anything like that. Um, and same with the color tools. I might want the tape sound, but I might not apply it to the overall mix. Plus I might just put it on the drum bus. And so, so my, actually my whole mix buss processing is sort of spread with more heavy handed stuff. It's spread across my, my buses, my groups, and then the more subtle stuff is happening on the actual mixed bus. So there's, I use these things too, but I just, I dunno, I use them yeah. On individual groups rather than the mixed bus most of the time, but yeah, there's no rule.
[00:28:57] Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. Uh, Yeah. I, I [00:29:00] couldn't agree more. It's like, we're talking about mixed bus, but for Benny and I we're we're bus freaks. So we've got, we've got many, many.
[00:29:07] Benedikt: Yup. Have you ever met, that's like my final question for you, Malcolm, have you ever messed with something like the rear bus? Do you know what that is? That concept that Andrew Shep's, for example uses where he, he mixes an entire, um, so the, the rear bus is. Uncertain consoles. And I think he, I, I might be wrong here, correct me if I'm, if I'm wrong, if somebody listens in and you know what, uh, the correct way to explain this, please tell me. But like, I think it, it, uh, he had this concept from a Neve console that he was mixing on like Andrew ships. And he's not the only one to use this, but he made it sort of popular. And that makes that Neve console. The mixed bus and it has a real bus or back bus or something. I think it was called real bus. So you could route all the faders to the mixed best and you could also route them to a second bus and then you could blend the two buses basically. So on that second mixed bus he added a pair of 1176. Or he'd still does that in the [00:30:00] boxer he did for a long time, maybe that has changed, but he did for a long time, even when he went into the box. So he, he has a pair of 1176 is there that are obviously not very transparent. They have a sound and very grabby and all of that. And whenever he feels like part of the mix need to be denser, need to move more, need to pump more, need more distortion, whatever he would send that stuff to the rear bus and then feed that rear bus into his mixed bus. So it's sort of an overall parallel processing thing. which I played around with it and I liked the idea of it. And whenever he does it, it sounds great for some reason. I ended up using it in like, I don't know, maybe two or three times it made it into the final mix, but I tried it like 50 times or so. And it's one of those things where it totally works for Andrew chefs. But if I it's just, I listen, I hear things differently than he does. And you know, it's, it's a cool concept that I love in theory, but it just doesn't really work for me. But so I'm curious. Have you ever tried something like that or like parallel bus processing on the mix bus in general, something like that.
[00:30:56] Malcom: I use the mix knob on my compressors [00:31:00] often like on the, on the mixed box or on that. instrumental bus, I mentioned like, if I'm pumping hard, it's definitely going to be in parallel mode. Um, so I guess I do just in a simpler manner. I do also have an outside drum bus, so I've got my main drum bus and then I've got an outside stem where I can just sneak things past my primary drum compression, um, if needed. And usually that doesn't get used, but I like just having it there because it's kind of like the perfect solution if I need to have, uh, something not getting pumped. So, so a little bit, I guess, but not, not in the way that he does.
[00:31:34] Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. And one important thing about his Rebus. I found that to be really cool. The idea at least, is that I think he doesn't send the kick and the bass to it. They go to the mixed burst to give a consistent low-end, but he sends, I think the guitars, the vocals and all of that, and maybe snare. I'm not sure about the rest of the drums, maybe drums and bass completely bypass that, but for sure, the guitars and vocals and since, and that stuff, and the reason. Um, he sends all of that to the real bus and then the real bus back into the mixed [00:32:00] best, because it does a little bit of auto mixing for him because on that rear bus, when the vocals come in, they. Duck down the guitars a little bit. And when the vocals, uh, stop the guitars, come up a little bit. And if you blend that moving pumpy thing into the mix bus, you get a little bit of auto mixing going, you know, every time the vocal comes in that guitars get a little quieter and then the guitars come up a bit and it, it, you know, that's also part of what he does on the, on the rear bus, if I understand correctly, which I found that to be a really cool idea, actually. but yeah,
[00:32:30] Malcom: yeah. I think that is like, he's a genius, right? He's one of the best ever. There's no doubt. And, and his work speaks for itself. Um, but at the same time, like it's almost like that kind of concept is exactly what we're telling our audience to steer clear of while you're learning this. Um,
[00:32:46] Benedikt: I'm not recommending this. I just wanted to ask you if you do anything crazy like that, I would not recommend doing any of that, um, uh, until you really know what you're doing. And, uh, so yeah, it could go wrong. So, so easily. I just wanted to know [00:33:00] if you do any, anything crazy like that or something, or if you have some unconventional.
[00:33:04] Malcom: I mean, I'm sure I do, but nothing like that. And, uh, but that's very cool. And again, yeah, it sounds like magic and it kind of is, but it's only a, it's a magic that only he knows how to use, you know? So, um, not that you can't try it, but don't expect it to just be a, like a silver bowl. And, and maybe you experiment and you find your own silver bullet, you know, like you'll, you'll find things that work for you. That's kind of the fun of all of this. It's a very fun thing that we love to talk about as audio engineers, because we all do it differently. So it's always exciting.
[00:33:35] Benedikt: Yeah, totally. And what's also interesting about this episode. I'm just, I'm just now noticing this is that we haven't mentioned. We don't bro. You've even brought up multi-band compression, for example. And I think that's interesting because I know for a fact that that's actually one of the most popular questions that I get when it comes to mixed best processing or mastering or making things loud. And people confuse these things all the time. But one of the most [00:34:00] popular questions is actually how to use multi-band compression on a mixed bag, or people will even send me messages or when they apply for. And they fill out the questionnaire. They, when I asked them what the number one thing is that they're struggling with, then they honestly, one of the most common answers to this is I don't know how to use multi-band compression correctly, especially on the mixed Besser and mastering. And I listened to those mixes then. And I'm like, that is not your main problem for sure. Not, you know, like, but people first, For whatever reason, multiband compression seems to be a very interesting topic and people want to mess with it and people think you have to know how to use it, or you have to use it on your mix bus. And I think it's interesting that you don't use it apparently or not often. I don't use it often if at all. And I don't see a lot of other professionals use it on their mix busses really often, but for some reason, people think you have to use it, or it's a crucial thing that they need to learn how to use. So.
[00:34:54] Malcom: Yeah, that is curious. We're going to have to do some thinking on why that is and make an episode about, do I think,
[00:34:59] Benedikt: Yeah, [00:35:00] probably. I don't know. Maybe it's in other genres more. I know that in the electronic genres, maybe the, I know that there's, there's some things there's, this Ableson M OTT thing. That's so popular that multi-band, um, preset thing and whatnot, but like, It's still, I don't think that multi-bank compression is something you should worry about, especially when you're starting out. And it's definitely not, you, not something you need on your mixed purse in order to make it sound great, or in order to make it loud or whatever. And it's so dangerous also. Yeah.
[00:35:31] Malcom: Yeah, you're you're right. You're right. Uh, so steer, well, I dunno does do clear. I really do want people to experiment and, uh, and have fun with it kind of thing. But, um, I think we've laid out some best practices within these two episodes here. Um, and, and given you some inspiration on what we're kind of trying to do with it. Um, like, so having something to aim at is useful as well, while you kind of embark and trying this out on your own.
[00:35:56] Benedikt: Yep. Absolutely. All right. Yeah. As always let us [00:36:00] know if you have questions, put it in the Facebook community, send us an email. Um, and we'll do our best to either answer them directly or make another episode. And yeah, if you have thoughts on the whole multi-band topic, that could actually be an interesting, um, topic. Like when, when let's, maybe we can talk about when and if we use multi-band processing and or compression and, and how we use. Um, if that's interesting to you, if that's something and I, I think it is that a lot of people want to know more about maybe we should do an episode anyway, let us know, post it in the community. Send us an email. We'll happy to, to answer your questions and we'll see you next week on another episode, I'd say,
[00:36:36] Malcom: For sure. Okay. Thank you. All
[00:36:38] Benedikt: Thank you. Bye bye.
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