2nd master buss

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by linguos, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. linguos

    linguos SS.org Regular

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    I'm really new with using DAWs, specfically Reaper, and I'm trying to create a 2nd master buss to separate the instrumental from vocals. I have my guitars, bass and drums all in their own busses and so far have failed to route them to a 2nd master buss. Can anyone help?
     
  2. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I've always found the easiest way to manage routing in Reaper was to just group things into folders. Everything in a folder gets routed to it's parent track instead of the master. So I'd setup a folder hierarchy something like this:

    Master
    - Drums
    - - Snare
    - - Kick
    - - Overhead
    - - - Left
    - - - Right
    - - Etc
    - Guitars
    - - Left
    - - - Mic1
    - - - Mic2
    - - Right
    - - - Mic1
    - - - Mic2
    - Bass
    - - DI
    - - Hi
    - - Low
    - Vocals
    - - Lead
    - - Backing
    - - - 1
    - - - 2
    - - - 3
    ....etc....

    Edit: Tried to space it out nicely, but the forum ate the whitespace, so we get dashes instead.
     
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  3. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Are you doing your routing via track folders or just using the matrix? It's pretty easy to click on the I/O for each track and add a new receive input for each one of the busses you already have going, you just have to make sure those busses aren't sending to your "new master channel" and the "master output channel". Personally I think the folder suggestion above is the easier way to do it for mixing until you're 99% of the way there, just because having ALL your instruments in one buss and ALL your vocals in the other means you're going to be going back and forth between all the sub-busses when you make adjustments anyways. (i.e. turn up/re-EQ some backing vocals, you might need to adjust just the guitar, or just one guitar, or just your bass "grind" track) negating the usefulness of having instruments on one channel and vocalson the other. With folders you can collaps everything down and easily adjust stuff. My $0.02.
     
  4. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I mean, I personally wouldn't bother with this, since if you already have the vocals on their own bus, then you already have a way to manage them independent from the rest of the mix...

    ...but there's no reason you can't nest busses within busses in Reaper. So, take your drum, bass, and guitar busses, and route them into a "instruments" bus, and then route THAT bus to the master. I'm not sure exactly what you'd gain by doing this, but it would certainly work.
     
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  5. linguos

    linguos SS.org Regular

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    --------
    I'll try this thanks, I was already doing it with smaller busses maybe I'm just overthinking it.

    I didn't know this existed I'm like two weeks deep in DAWs. Thanks for the heads up I'll Google and Youtube the concept.

    It's a concept from Nail the Mix. Make an instrumental buss and sidechain comp the snare signal through it which is exactly what I'm trying to do. I succeeded with kick and bass now on to this.
     
  6. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I mean, certainly give anything a try... But the things I'd be concerned about with this approach are:

    1) If you're doing this on top of a mix where you're already sidechaining the snare against the rest of the mix, then when you start stacking compressors on top of compressors, being driven off different things, your dynamics could get pretty smashed.
    2) A snare is a very "peaky" dynamic instrument - tons of attack, fairly modest sustain. A vocal is the complete reverse, not a heck of a lot of attack but a huge amount of body annd sustain. This isn't a reason you can't do it, but you'll be hitting the rest of the mix with a very different sort of compression, and sort of "ducking" the dynamics a lot more than you would with a sustain, and I'd be worried how that might sound.

    If you really want to go down that road, I'd think you might be better off figuring out what exactly the vocals are getting masked by, and then either using a sidechain compressor to dial back the dynamics on just that one part of the mix when the vocals come in... Or, maybe better, just use volume automation to knock that part of the mix down a db or so when the vocals are in, and bring it back when they're not. I don't think you should have to do anything to the, say, kick and snare to help define space for the vocals, but the rhythm guitars I could see fighting for some of the same space.

    I mean, I guess the better question is, what IS the problem that you're trying to solve by sidechaining the mix with your vocal track?
     
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  7. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I'd also be really worries that if you have compressors on compressors and sidechains everywhere etc., then when a dynamics issue creeps up it could be a huge pain to debug. When you suddenly hear some kind of weird pumping effect and need to track down what's causing it..... I try to hold pretty firmly to the idea that the simplest approach that accomplishes your goals is the way to go.

    In other words, don't choose your approach "because Nail the Mix does it". Identify your problem, identify the approaches you can take to get there. Eliminate anything you don't quite understand. Eliminate anything over complicated. Go with whatever is left. :2c:
     
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  8. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    That's actually a really, really, really good point, too. :lol:

    I think generally when you hear really good engineers talking about process, one of the things they come back to is trying to get from point A to point B in as few steps as possble. The Systematic Mixing Guide, at least, I recall making that argument, and that thing is excellent. This is one of the reasons for that.

    But, yeah, I'm 100% in agreement with Ted here - for me, mixing is all about problem solving. Set levels and pan, play back, and listen for problems. Then, find some way to solve them. Don't start with solutions looking for problems.
     
  9. linguos

    linguos SS.org Regular

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    I'm not sidechaining vocals, I'm sidechaining the snare in the non vocal buss.

    Also I'm super new and have no clue what the hell I'm really doing. I'm simply following Nolly's method from nail the mix. In order to even begin the experiment I had to succeed in creating the instrumental buss and I did.

    It did create some weird issues like my individual drum tracks won't play IF they're in subfolders under a drum buss which itself is within the instrumental buss. So for now i dont put the drums in subfolders. Baby steps here.

    Thanks for the compression tips when I'm off work I'll read them more carefully and try to learn the concepts.
     
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  10. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Whenever I hear stories like this, I become really curious what the content of Nail the Mix really is, because it seems to lead to people trying to just duplicate someone else's process out of context instead of learning how to solve problems. I don't know if that's because this is the message that comes across in programs like that, where it's sort of suggested that "this is way to do this", as opposed to diving into the "why" and trying to teach the problem solving skills you need to do this kind of work.

    All that to say that - I know nothing about nail the mix, but I think it's important to take any tutorial as a sort of guide rather then rules or set methods. Don't ask "how did they do that" ask "why did they do that", so that you can apply the same thought process when it's applicable.
     
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  11. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Honestly, if you're brand new to mixing/recording I'd not even worry about all the side-chaining, multi-bussing, etc. Work on getting your tracks to balance and understanding how EQ and dynamics are being used on each individual instrument before you start sending your kick to your bass and your snare to your guitars and your vocals to multiple busses.
     
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  12. linguos

    linguos SS.org Regular

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    I am using it as a guide and that was certainly how Nolly came off as well. All I know is that elsewhere in life I'm usually fairly competent, yet when I made the decision to plunge into recording as a serious hobby a couple weeks back I have never experienced so much overwhelming confusion. Sure it's not difficult to YouTube some things and perhaps to buy the Systematic Mixing Guide, but neither of those things really leave you with a sense of confidence in problem solving or a workflow. I wanted to see people who have had good results or who are professional in real action, and I did with quite a lot. September gave me 4 videos and two others were cheap. Six separate professionals if you count Nolly is enough to give me a sense of problem solving and they're all very different personalities of the four I've watched.

    But I seriously want to learn and quickly, so hands on is best. If I can go from nothing to mixing and mastering raw tracks to something fairly close to an official Periphery release in a matter of weeks, while that doesn't necessarily give me a broad toolkit nor real world problem solving skills, it's not exactly nothing either, far from it. It teaches me a variety of skills and elucidates exactly what I'm most ignorant of and also what I'm doing right. No wasted months, just smooth sailing. Of course I supplement it all with voluminous YouTubing and forum scouring, but often I have basic questions because I can't use DAWs worth a shit yet, questions whose obstacles impede hands on experience.

    So thanks again, I'm sure I'll be asking a ton of other newb questions soon if y'all have the patience.
     
  13. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I think this is part that might be your biggest obstacle. This is, in my opinion, the kind of skill set that takes years of experience and experimentation to get right. Certainly not weeks. I say that as someone who is not a professional, and has not gotten it anywhere close to right yet, but who has been off-and-on mixing and recording things at a hobby level for.... a decade? And I feel as much like a noob at it as anyone else.

    To me, it sounds like you're on the right path, but maybe it's a much longer path than you've hoped for.
     
  14. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, TedEH beat me to it, but... This is a guitar forum. How long did it take you to get to the place where you could play guitar like a pro? Years, right? I've been a home recording nut for... God, it was probably 1999 when I made my first recordings on my laptop. Ive learned a LOT in that time, but I still don't think I'm a "pro" simply because I haven't logged the time mixing that a lot of the guys who do it for a living have spent. All the same, it's not a thing that you're going to master in a couple weeks.

    You're trying to run before you can walk, basically.

    I suspect what Nolly was doing in that mix was with respect to a very specific problem, or to try to create a very specific sound. Either way, what you're trying to do is not what I'd consider a very "standard" approach for a mix. Kind of echoing TedEH again here, but I would worry about the basics of mixing first - panning and setting levels, using EQs and compressors on individual tracks to improve the sound of the mix, etc - before you worry about more complicated stuff like that, and even then, I'd be way more interested in WHY Nolly used that approach (and its a little unclear here, was he side-chaining the instrumental mix against the snare, like you'd mentioned originally, or was he also doing it with instrumental tracks and a vocal track?) and why he thought that was the answer, rather than the fact he DID do it.

    For now I wouldn't worry about stuff like this, because these are what I would consider pretty extreme approaches. Get the fundamental down, and then, maybe a couple years down the road, when you start thinking about stuff like this... The why matters way more than the how. Learn the why. You can make up the how.

    Also, re: drum sub-folders - something's wrong with your routing, you should absolutely be able to nest multiple levels like that. Maybe just for practice see if you can solve that problem first, less because I think you should be bussing your drum tracks and your non drum tracks separately for sidechain compression, and then bussing your vocal tracks and everything else separately for sidechain compression, and more because it's just a really good way to learn how routing works in reaper. Sort of picture it like there are patch cables running from track to bus, and think about where the audio leaves one track and enters the bus, and then where the audio from the bus leaves and then enters the next, etc.
     
  15. linguos

    linguos SS.org Regular

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    The drum buss thing was so wonky that I actually took to posting in the Reaper forums.

    Nolly definitely explains why he does things he's actually an incredibly good teacher unlike, say, at least for a newb, Jens Bogden who produced Watershed and demonstrated Heir Apparent.

    I'm definitely learning the basics lol, you can hear when you fail, or at least 6 plugins deep you admit you have no fucking clue what you're doing. I'm definitely running before walking here but that's my style, you can pull it off if you got perseverance and don't hit burn out too quickly. That remains to be seen but oh well I'm going hard as fuck for now.
     
  16. linguos

    linguos SS.org Regular

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    I should also note that Nolly's philsophy was to apply things gently, very minimal compression and such unless it demanded it. He reiterated it many times, don't do anything unless you have to. There was a joke in there that he wouldn't even cut 4k, but he did some light sidechaining for sure.
     
  17. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    See, that's kind of the same thing.... why 4k? What does 4k have to do with anything? I don't understand the joke. There are no magical frequencies for things. There are no universal workflows or eq curves or sets of techniques, etc. There's no "eq curve for metal" or "way to compress things for jazz". Example: I have never - in any song I've released anywhere - used anything that really resembles sidechain compression. There are other ways to accomplish the same thing that (to me) are easier to understand and apply.

    And again "apply things gently" is not bad advice, but at the same time... it's not universal and maybe doesn't address why. There are certain situations where I apply things super aggressively, on purpose. I smash the bajeezus out of the dynamics of bass and vocals.

    Nobody is saying that shouldn't hit the ground running and dive in - if that approach works for you, then keep going.
    BUT
    Recognize that you're not going to go from zero to pro or semi-pro in a matter of weeks. You might stumble upon some good mixes without knowing why (that's basically my process in a nutshell :lol:), and maybe I'm wrong and you'll be a pro in no time.... but just be careful about setting unrealistic expectations.
     
  18. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Yeah, I don't doubt Nolly is a great teacher - he's a very smart, thoughtful, articularte guy, and has always struck me as extremely knowledgable.

    I guess where I'm going, though, is that sidechain compressing the instrumental bus with the vocal feeding the compressor is a pretty convoluted solution to a problem. There are probably a whole bunch of other ways of solving that particular problem, and this would almost certainly NOT be the first thing I'd try. So, in this situation (and probably elsewhere in his mixes), I'd be way less interested in how he's solving problems, than in how he's identifying problems and training your ears to "hear" those problems.

    Like, if you're sidechaining the instrumental bus with the vocal, and you don't know WHY you're doing this, and what sounded wrong to you before you did that, then you're wasting your time. Does that make sense?

    The bit I bolded... If you want to go hard as fuck right now, don't waste your time on stuff like sidechain compressing elements of the mix vs the whole mix. Go hard as fuck on learning to use your tools. What "style" of compressor are you using? Why are you using that kind of compression? How are you setting it? Why are you using those settings? How exactly is it impacting your raw audio files? Are you hitting the peaks but leaving the sustain? Are you letting the peaks through but clamping down on the sustain? Are you sure the compressor is even doing anything? If it is, are you sure it's making things better?

    I wouldn't worry at all about things like sidechain compression or parallel compression or any other "tricks" like that, until you've really got a handle on using compressors and EQs directly on tracks. If you can take raw tracks and shape them into a pretty good mix with minimal missteps and minimal rework, then at that point I'd say you're starting to learn how to use your tools. I'm guessing, though, if you're only a couple weeks into this, that you don't have these fundamentals down yet, and if you really want to make progress in learning how to mix, then this is where you're going to want to spend your time.

    It's like, oh, idunno... As a cyclist myself, it's like you decided three weeks ago that you want to race in the Tour de France, so you spent the ensuing three weeks worrying about aerodynamic posture and the best way to shave another quarter pound off your bike. Yeah, at the grand tour level, that shit matters... But, if you show up at a race, all the weight savings and aerodynamic efficiency won't mean jack shit when you line up at your first amateur race against a bunch of guys with obscenely strong legs and unreal cardio fitness, who spent their time building fitness, not worrying about "marginal gains..."

    EDIT - and I hope I'm not coming across as being an asshole here, because I'm really not trying to be and I'm coming from a good place - I really enjoy recording and mixing music, I think it's awesome you want to get good at this too, and I want to help set you up on the right path to get there. It's just, right now, I think you're not on the right path, because you're very focused on very "fancy" and complex solutions that aren't going to help you make better mixes nearly as much as simply just really learning how to use compression directly on a track would, or developing your ear to learn how to identify places where an EQ boost or cut would help, and then dial in that EQ tweak.
     
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  19. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    If anything, lately working on some material outside my usual genre has convinced me I've been too gentle with EQ and compression in the past, and that being a little more heavy handed than a couple dB boost or cut in either direction isn't necessarily going to be a bad thing.
     
  20. linguos

    linguos SS.org Regular

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    I do appreciate the advice and everyone being said is true I do not have fundamentals down yet. I can say that if guys are spending 6 to 10 hours live mixing a song they definitely brush up on why, for example, they use a multiband compressor on this track and not that and what frequencies to hit and why the settings/knobs are what they are. Maybe they don't give a profound explanation, but also I don't have illusions that I'll be awesome in weeks or months either, so like I said I will supplement it. Plus Nail the Mix has an enhanced service whose first month is $20 and includes normal Nail the Mix. So if Nail the Mix is $20 and then my second month and only for that month I have the promotional pricing on Enhanced to get access to those like 2 hour long videos each on all the basics like compression, gain staging, etc. then I guess it's my game plan. Can I sit here at this PC and no life the shit out of Mixing and watching these Nail the Mixes and the supplemental tutorial videos they offer and actually apply it hands on and really try hard to understand what all the knobs on the plugins do.

    Maybe I can also challenge myself, for example, after having mixed the Periphery song doing exactly what Nolly did, try to recreate that mix as best as possible using only stock Reaper plugins. It sounds nice on paper as I try to defend my overambitious attitude will I actually do that? Eh, I dunno.

    Perhaps what it all means to me is the real point. A long while back I used to write a lot of music when I was younger in my early 20's, back then I had never heard of bedroom musicians and the djent / amp sim scene hadn't exploded yet doing all the instruments themselves, I didn't know there were others like me composing entire songs in Guitar Pro. I didn't make much money but began to lust for certain equipment and got it in my head to bring these songs to life but then my fiancee and I had a very nasty breakup that crippled me financially for a while, followed by autoimmune medical problems on my end. Now I'm 30 years old and trying to relive that passion, I have the finances to get the gear at last. I'm not getting any younger want to make up for lost time, and also to justify the money already spent and to be spent in the future. I know I can't rush things too much but at the same time I want to go as fast as possible.

    Hopefully the personal explanation isn't too weird on a forum, but that provides context.

    Also this isn't relevant to anything and is aimed at Drew, not important at all but it's driving me crazy because you keep saying sidechaining the vocals, dude it's the snare through everything except the vocals :p
     

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