Mixing with processing on the 2 Buss

Tech talk about audio recording and live stage production.
---Hosted by Andrew MacRae & Malcolm Boyce

Mixing with processing on the 2 Buss

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed May 05, 2010 2:06 pm

Who's guilty of it? I know that I am. I thought that it was somehow wrong to do that. However I just didn't see the sense in mixing then adding something on the 2 Buss and then having to essentially remix.

Since so far 100% of my mixes don't go on to mastering, I do some compression/limiting on the 2 Buss to try give my mixes a bit of a boost. Lately I've been starting with the 2 Buss processing once I got my levels roughly where I'd want them and then I start mixing with the compression on the 2 Buss. I feel that this saves me a step down the road, but am I missing any obvious pitfalls with this method?
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
User avatar
Mathieu Benoit
Drumwaiter
 
Posts: 4707
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Postby macrae11 » Wed May 05, 2010 2:34 pm

Wow loaded question. Why do you have to be guilty if you're doing it?

I think the big question of whether you're "guilty" or not, is your reasoning for doing it. If you're mixing with compression to get some more loudness/punch, then I would say don't do it. Get loudness/punch from your mix and then decide if you need compression. Also if you're mixing an album, how do you know how much loudness/punch you need from one song to the next, unless you can compare them together ie "mastering".

If you're doing it because you feel your mix needs compression and glue, and it's helping you get the sound you want, go for it. Mixing "into" a compressor, with the compressor pushing against your mix moves gives a different feel than just slapping a compressor on after the fact.

Even though almost all of my mixes are mastered, a good percentage of them are mastered by me. Which I know defeats at least part of the purpose of mastering, but.... budget cuts ya know. Even so I have something on the 2 bus probably about 50% of the time if I feel it needs it. The type of compressor I use is dictated by the tempo of the song, how many dB's I know I want to pull etc. Generally always with a slow attach and a medium to slow release. Usually pulling less than 2 dB. Often less than 1.

Almost never any EQ(why not just EQ your tracks) and never any limiting, except maybe as a "how things will sound after mastering" check. Maybe 1 song in 50 I'll do something different like stereo widening or some such thing.
User avatar
macrae11
Andrew MacRae
 
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:12 pm
Location: Oromocto

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed May 05, 2010 3:00 pm

macrae11 wrote:I think the big question of whether you're "guilty" or not, is your reasoning for doing it. If you're mixing with compression to get some more loudness/punch, then I would say don't do it. Get loudness/punch from your mix and then decide if you need compression.

So... Am I going to jail?
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
User avatar
Mathieu Benoit
Drumwaiter
 
Posts: 4707
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Postby macrae11 » Wed May 05, 2010 4:09 pm

You tell me.
User avatar
macrae11
Andrew MacRae
 
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:12 pm
Location: Oromocto

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed May 05, 2010 4:20 pm

No, I'm pretty much okay with this, I just wanted to know other people's thoughts on the matter. :-)
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
User avatar
Mathieu Benoit
Drumwaiter
 
Posts: 4707
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Postby macrae11 » Wed May 05, 2010 4:24 pm

I was not so subtly asking which of my two categories your reasoning for doing it was. ;-)
User avatar
macrae11
Andrew MacRae
 
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:12 pm
Location: Oromocto

Re: Mixing with processing on the 2 Buss

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Wed May 05, 2010 7:07 pm

macrae11 wrote:I was not so subtly asking which of my two categories your reasoning for doing it was. Wink


Drumwaiter wrote:Since so far 100% of my mixes don't go on to mastering, I do some compression/limiting on the 2 Buss to try give my mixes a bit of a boost.


Asked and answered.
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
User avatar
Mathieu Benoit
Drumwaiter
 
Posts: 4707
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Postby macrae11 » Thu May 06, 2010 8:10 am

Ok I was thinking that your statement could be interpreted either way. A bit of a boost = more volume?

If this is what you were meaning, I would recommend against it. Are all of your songs singles, or do some of them make it to an albumish type medium? Even something like Myspace. If they're all completely one offs, then I would say add your processing during mix, but after everything else is done. Mastering style two buss compression/limiting can stomp on transients pretty good which will affect how you mix, particularly percussive instruments. Not saying you couldn't learn to mix well with this, I just wouldn't recommend it.

If your stuff is ever going to be showcased together, like I said, even a Myspace page, I would recommend taking all the songs that live together and do a "master" of them all at once. Just for consistency if nothing else.

If you do decide to do your final processing at the mix stage, just make sure you also print an unlimited version, just for future safety. You never know what future medium your work might end up on, and what the requirements might be. If your mix falls apart when you take the processing off, then you should IMVHO definitely remove the processing while mixing.
User avatar
macrae11
Andrew MacRae
 
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:12 pm
Location: Oromocto

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Thu May 06, 2010 9:04 am

Tons of good advice in here.

macrae11 wrote:Ok I was thinking that your statement could be interpreted either way. A bit of a boost = more volume?

My statement was meant to be taken however you wanted to take it, because it allows dialogue either way.


macrae11 wrote:If this is what you were meaning, I would recommend against it. Are all of your songs singles, or do some of them make it to an albumish type medium? Even something like Myspace. If they're all completely one offs, then I would say add your processing during mix, but after everything else is done. Mastering style two buss compression/limiting can stomp on transients pretty good which will affect how you mix, particularly percussive instruments. Not saying you couldn't learn to mix well with this, I just wouldn't recommend it.

This makes complete sense, and is a great reason not to do this. The opposite argument would be that since the end user only hears the compressed/limited version, what does it matter what the unprocessed version sounds like?

macrae11 wrote:If your stuff is ever going to be showcased together, like I said, even a Myspace page, I would recommend taking all the songs that live together and do a "master" of them all at once. Just for consistency if nothing else.

Is there anyway I could do this consistently in Cubase? The reason I'm asking is that soon I'll have done a few recordings that will be on Myspace or on a CD or some sort of medium where the songs are together. I've never noticed any differences in my finished "masters" before so could I just keep going down this road undetected? Or... Should I be considering getting a mastering/audio editing suite to avoid the use of this kind of thing while mixing? Any thoughts or suggestions? Maybe Wavelab 6 could handle that kind of stuff while also being able to work as a audio editing program with functions like batch conversion, audio "clean-up" functions and so on. However I'd be interested to hear anyone else's suggestions on that. I know Andrew, you use something else. I know Jef uses Wavelab, so any insight there would be great too.

macrae11 wrote:If you do decide to do your final processing at the mix stage, just make sure you also print an unlimited version, just for future safety. You never know what future medium your work might end up on, and what the requirements might be. If your mix falls apart when you take the processing off, then you should IMVHO definitely remove the processing while mixing.

That's some pretty sound advice. No pun indended. 8-)
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
User avatar
Mathieu Benoit
Drumwaiter
 
Posts: 4707
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Postby macrae11 » Thu May 06, 2010 10:09 am

Drumwaiter wrote:Tons of good advice in here.

macrae11 wrote:Ok I was thinking that your statement could be interpreted either way. A bit of a boost = more volume?

My statement was meant to be taken however you wanted to take it, because it allows dialogue either way.
Fair enough.

Drumwaiter wrote:
macrae11 wrote:If this is what you were meaning, I would recommend against it. Are all of your songs singles, or do some of them make it to an albumish type medium? Even something like Myspace. If they're all completely one offs, then I would say add your processing during mix, but after everything else is done. Mastering style two buss compression/limiting can stomp on transients pretty good which will affect how you mix, particularly percussive instruments. Not saying you couldn't learn to mix well with this, I just wouldn't recommend it.

This makes complete sense, and is a great reason not to do this. The opposite argument would be that since the end user only hears the compressed/limited version, what does it matter what the unprocessed version sounds like?
Two reasons. In theory if your mix requires copious amounts of compression and limiting to hold it together and keep it tight, then your mix wasn't that good to begin with. You should be able to get a much better sound, by having a better mix, and applying smaller amounts of compression and limiting, which should sound more open but still with impact. Even if you want the super compressed sound, I would still argue that it will still sound significantly better with a better mix.

Reason 2 I already mentioned. Potentially the consumer may someday hear the unprocessed version. For example if it gets placement in some visual format, where the re-recordist needs an unlimited, or less limited version. Then you will hear the unprocessed mix in all its glory...... or not so much.
Drumwaiter wrote:
macrae11 wrote:If your stuff is ever going to be showcased together, like I said, even a Myspace page, I would recommend taking all the songs that live together and do a "master" of them all at once. Just for consistency if nothing else.

Is there anyway I could do this consistently in Cubase? The reason I'm asking is that soon I'll have done a few recordings that will be on Myspace or on a CD or some sort of medium where the songs are together. I've never noticed any differences in my finished "masters" before so could I just keep going down this road undetected? Or... Should I be considering getting a mastering/audio editing suite to avoid the use of this kind of thing while mixing? Any thoughts or suggestions? Maybe Wavelab 6 could handle that kind of stuff while also being able to work as a audio editing program with functions like batch conversion, audio "clean-up" functions and so on. However I'd be interested to hear anyone else's suggestions on that. I know Andrew, you use something else. I know Jef uses Wavelab, so any insight there would be great too.

I really like Wavelab, and might even consider switching over now that they have a mac version. Until you're sending masters to a plant to be replicated though, you don't really "need" a program like Wavelab. For the price though, Wavelab is a great investment, and a great tool, that could make your life a ton easier.

For my mastering, I actually do all my processing in Tools, and you could do it in Cubase. If I was only uploading mp3s, I wouldn't need my CD authoring program, which is PMCD. As it is, I just use it for sequencing, PQ editing, inserting CD Text, ISRC codes, and uploading to the plant. Occasionally I'll trim some heads and tails in it, or adjust some fades. Obviously I also have to do any crossfading of tunes in PMCD as well, when I require that. If you're not doing any of those things that I mentioned, than you should be able to keep working in Cubase, and just create a "mastering session" where you import all your mixes so you can manipulate them together relative to each other.
Drumwaiter wrote:
macrae11 wrote:If you do decide to do your final processing at the mix stage, just make sure you also print an unlimited version, just for future safety. You never know what future medium your work might end up on, and what the requirements might be. If your mix falls apart when you take the processing off, then you should IMVHO definitely remove the processing while mixing.

That's some pretty sound advice. No pun indended. 8-)


:mrgreen:
User avatar
macrae11
Andrew MacRae
 
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:12 pm
Location: Oromocto

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Thu May 06, 2010 2:32 pm

macrae11 wrote: In theory if your mix requires copious amounts of compression and limiting to hold it together and keep it tight, then your mix wasn't that good to begin with. You should be able to get a much better sound, by having a better mix, and applying smaller amounts of compression and limiting, which should sound more open but still with impact. Even if you want the super compressed sound, I would still argue that it will still sound significantly better with a better mix.


They don't "need" it, but I can't compete in the loudness wars without it. Had I not done that to Feedback's single, I'd have to crank up the dial on my radio to hear RSVP after Justin Beiber just blasted through a whole hell of a lot hotter.

macrae11 wrote:I really like Wavelab, and might even consider switching over now that they have a mac version. Until you're sending masters to a plant to be replicated though, you don't really "need" a program like Wavelab. For the price though, Wavelab is a great investment, and a great tool, that could make your life a ton easier.

Soif I was to buy software of that kind Wavelab 6 is a good choice for me is what you seem to be saying?
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
User avatar
Mathieu Benoit
Drumwaiter
 
Posts: 4707
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Postby macrae11 » Thu May 06, 2010 2:44 pm

Drumwaiter wrote:
They don't "need" it, but I can't compete in the loudness wars without it. Had I not done that to Feedback's single, I'd have to crank up the dial on my radio to hear RSVP after Justin Beiber just blasted through a whole hell of a lot hotter.

No I understand about the loudness wars, trust me I do.

What I was referring to with "needing" compression on the two bus, is sometimes when using overzealous compression, the compressor will actually "hold the mix together". So if you turn the compressor off, the relative levels change fairly radically. If you can bypass your processing and still have the same mix, but a bit quieter than you're good.
Drumwaiter wrote:
Soif I was to buy software of that kind Wavelab 6 is a good choice for me is what you seem to be saying?
Exactly what I'm saying.
User avatar
macrae11
Andrew MacRae
 
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:12 pm
Location: Oromocto

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Thu May 06, 2010 2:48 pm

Y'know, you're alright!
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
User avatar
Mathieu Benoit
Drumwaiter
 
Posts: 4707
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Postby macrae11 » Thu May 06, 2010 3:01 pm

No matter what Julie says eh? :-D
User avatar
macrae11
Andrew MacRae
 
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:12 pm
Location: Oromocto

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Mon May 10, 2010 4:43 pm

A lot to comment on here.

If I know a project will see proper third party mastering, I won't mix through eq or compression/limiting on the mix. This would be without exception. I know many do regardless of future paths, but I just never think that way. It's not right or wrong either way IMO.

As Andrew mentioned, with people scrimping on budgets more and more, there is a tendency to require "mastering" by the mixer. I have been put in many situations where I knew the only processing that would be done to my mixes before public consumption was an mp3 encoder. This is what has now caused me to start checking mixes through a chain and finishing and printing through said chain. I much prefer the results than processing after the fact "completed" mixes.

When in play, my typical stereo process is PSP Vintage Warmer and the Sonitus PEQ. Simple but effective for what I want to happen.

I do disagree with those who "monitor" through a chain and then print mixes "dry" to be mastered after the fact. You will be chasing your tail trying to get back to what your mixes sounded like. However, If you do print a mix through processing for the short term, you should always print, or be able to recall and print an unprocessed version. You never know what may happen in the future with a given project.

I recently tracked and mixed a project that I knew was going to be "judged" in a radio station songwriting contest. I most definitely had to mix this track through a limiting chain knowing what it would be up against in a song by song comparison just plain old level wise. Do I think it sounded "better" than what it could have? No. Did I have to jack it up to be "commercial"? Yes. I was, however, able to fine tune the mix with the processing in the monitor chain to get the best version of a "radio friendly" product. I would never have been as happy if I had tried to "finish" it after "completing" mixing.
"Once again, it is NEVER the gear that makes a good record.
It just fills Forum pages..." --compasspnt

middleaudio.com
User avatar
Malcolm Boyce
Your Humble Host
 
Posts: 3678
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:07 am
Location: Saint John, NB

Postby macrae11 » Mon May 10, 2010 6:45 pm

So never any compression on the 2bus Malcolm? Even just a gentle squeeze to bring things together?
User avatar
macrae11
Andrew MacRae
 
Posts: 2128
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:12 pm
Location: Oromocto

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Mon May 10, 2010 6:58 pm

macrae11 wrote:So never any compression on the 2bus Malcolm? Even just a gentle squeeze to bring things together?
Just the Vintage Warmer which I find very forgiving and perfect to help things stick together in a mix.
"Once again, it is NEVER the gear that makes a good record.
It just fills Forum pages..." --compasspnt

middleaudio.com
User avatar
Malcolm Boyce
Your Humble Host
 
Posts: 3678
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:07 am
Location: Saint John, NB

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Mon May 10, 2010 7:03 pm

See? This was a good conversation. We should have more of them. ;-)
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
User avatar
Mathieu Benoit
Drumwaiter
 
Posts: 4707
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Re: Mixing with processing on the 2 Buss

Postby Mathieu Benoit » Sat Aug 13, 2011 10:42 pm

Wow...it feels like a year ago might as well have been 400 years ago.

I don't have the time/patience to read back and see all the crap I was talking about in this thread from last year but my thoughts on 2Bus processing are likely quite a bit different now. I just got done a mix that was super punchy and loud and then wanted to to try to add a bit of "je ne sais quoi" to the whole thing. I started with the STC-8 with the threshold at 5, the auto release set to C and the output gain set to 5 (very little compression) and I really liked what it was doing. I'm not looking for the compressor to do anything to make the mix louder at all, I just want to gently squeeze things together a bit. The mix was working great before and the difference is subtle but that 2% improvement was worth that 3 minutes.

I then set up the SPL tube vitalizer after the STC-8. At first I was ready to pull it back out of the chain because it wasn't doing anything impactful to the mix. But Alain suggested that I give it time since it's a foreign creature to me in general. After about 10 minutes the lightbulb went up and the mix sounded even better. Again the differences were subtle but they mattered to me. Andrew you need to try this thing out.

One of the biggest things I find this year since I've been working in the studio so much is that my resolution is increasing. I used to remember Andrew saying "Bring this up .5dB, and that down 1.5dB" and I'd think to myself how can he even know that? Well if there's anything I learned this year is that once you start getting good at getting your balances together, .5dB is a the difference between just right and it's going to drive you nuts for the rest of your life if you don't fix it.
"Volume automation takes time. You don't got that kinda time. You could be getting naked with somebody somewhere." -Slipperman

Mathieu Benoit - Fluid Productions
www.fluidaudiogroup.com
www.facebook.com/FluidAudioGroup
User avatar
Mathieu Benoit
Drumwaiter
 
Posts: 4707
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:55 pm
Location: Saint John, New Brunswick

Re: Mixing with processing on the 2 Buss

Postby Alain Benoit » Sun Aug 14, 2011 12:49 pm

Mathieu Benoit wrote:
One of the biggest things I find this year since I've been working in the studio so much is that my resolution is increasing. I used to remember Andrew saying "Bring this up .5dB, and that down 1.5dB" and I'd think to myself how can he even know that? Well if there's anything I learned this year is that once you start getting good at getting your balances together, .5dB is a the difference between just right and it's going to drive you nuts for the rest of your life if you don't fix it.


A really disassociated analogy would be this, from a hundred yards most people couldn't say whether a clothesline pole was 30' 4.5" or 30' 5 3/4", put them next to each other and the difference is easily noticeable. The point is that in a rock mix where most tracks are relatively within a 10dB of each other, 1dB does make a noticeable difference. It's all relative.
www.fluidaudiogroup.com

"No one has time to do it right, but we all seem to have time to do it twice."
User avatar
Alain Benoit
Self Biased Resistor
 
Posts: 1321
Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:21 am
Location: Canada

Re: Mixing with processing on the 2 Buss

Postby Malcolm Boyce » Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:45 pm

Alain Benoit wrote:
Mathieu Benoit wrote:
One of the biggest things I find this year since I've been working in the studio so much is that my resolution is increasing. I used to remember Andrew saying "Bring this up .5dB, and that down 1.5dB" and I'd think to myself how can he even know that? Well if there's anything I learned this year is that once you start getting good at getting your balances together, .5dB is a the difference between just right and it's going to drive you nuts for the rest of your life if you don't fix it.


A really disassociated analogy would be this, from a hundred yards most people couldn't say whether a clothesline pole was 30' 4.5" or 30' 5 3/4", put them next to each other and the difference is easily noticeable. The point is that in a rock mix where most tracks are relatively within a 10dB of each other, 1dB does make a noticeable difference. It's all relative.
Context is everything.
"Once again, it is NEVER the gear that makes a good record.
It just fills Forum pages..." --compasspnt

middleaudio.com
User avatar
Malcolm Boyce
Your Humble Host
 
Posts: 3678
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 12:07 am
Location: Saint John, NB


Return to Sounds Good...

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron