What's on your Master Bus ?

Discussion in 'Mixing, Post-Production, and Effects' started by whitewasteland, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Dr.Quest

    Dr.Quest Senior Member

    I'm a little confused as it looks like you're comparing the Fab Filter Pro-Q to the A.O.M. isn't the Pro-Q an equalizer? Why compare that to a limiter? Or am I missing a hidden feature?
  2. OP

    whitewasteland Senior Member

    Ahah, I just meant the Pro-L, which is a limiter. Shame on me !
  3. Kony

    Kony Bad ape

    Jul 29, 2016
    I was confused by that as well but assumed it should be Pro-L instead - typo?

    EDIT: dang my comment was posted as the same time as the reply above - but I was right though!
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  4. j_kranz

    j_kranz Active Member

    Nov 23, 2011
    Oh yeah, forgot about Insight... I usually check that before bouncing!
  5. jmauz

    jmauz Member

    Just for some light saturation. Sometimes I use KramerTape as well but I like the added multi-band control that Saturn offers.

    Truth be told I get bummed out working with lifeless samples all day long so anything to give them some organic life helps.
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  6. davidgary73

    davidgary73 Active Member

    Dec 27, 2012
    Softube Tape or AlexB R42 Tape (RND 5042)
    Sonnox Inflator > just a little to enhance overall volume.
    Acqua Water EQ (WSW 436511 solid state passive equalizer) > little top end and bottom end.
    Acqua Magenta 4 Compressor (Stereo Variable Mu Compressor) > 1-2db compression.
    AlexB MFC Console (AMS 88RS Console) > everything sounds good thru this console :)
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  7. labornvain

    labornvain Member

    Feb 9, 2014
    I used to do top-down mixing until I discovered the glory of track presets. I mean I have no integrity at all. If I find a kick bass combo that sounds good in more than two cars, I'm going to use it again and again and again.

    It really is a dream to get a good sound on something and be able to save it as a track preset. Then a year later, I pull up a project and think, you know this needs that snare I used on that other song. Boom. I can just load that track preset and I have that snare.

    The only problem is, if you have a lot of stuff on your master bus, then that preset isn't going to sound the same. Of course you can save master bus presets too. But that is a dubious proposition.

    So I try to do everything up-stream so to speak. And the truth is I don't really use processing on the master bus anymore. I do everything with aux buses and groups.

    But after all is said and done, and the mix is sounding like I want it, it is fun to throw a few things on the whole thing. One of those for me is the Kush Clariphonic. I don't know how it works, but this little thing will give your mix four dimensions in addition to the other three. But it's a preset killer so I usually save it for the very end.

    I do, however, always mix into a brick wall. I know it's a bad habit. But I like it. It gives you kind of an elastic, Michael Brauer sort of thing like mixing into a rubber sheet. I usually opt for the Pro L2, sometimes the Mcdsp 4000. But most compression, saturation, and other goodies I save for tracks or groups or aux buses.

    I have to say, though, in all my years it has never occurred to me to put a reverb on the master bus. But hey, I'll try anything.

    I get a similar effect, I suppose, in another way though. A little trick I've been using for years. I'll find a room reverb I like, and then fix it so I can only hear the returns from that reverb. And then using the sends to that reverb, I'll mix the song inside of it.

    This has the lovely effect of making everything sound like it was recorded live in that room. I can't wait to discover that all this time I could have just slapped a reverb on the master bus and been done with it.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  8. Saxer

    Saxer Senior Member

    Mar 30, 2008
    I'm lazy in mixing... mostly on orchestral stuff it's Ozone 8 with this preset:

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  9. jneebz

    jneebz Senior Member

    Sep 28, 2013
    Portland OR, USA
    UAD Pultec - color + air
    ProQ 2 - surgical or M/S or both
    TDR Kotelnikov - light transparent comp
    ToneBooster ReelBus - tape emulator
    Oxford Inflator - every mix
    Ozone - Limiting, sometimes Maximizer
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  10. ghandizilla

    ghandizilla Active Member

    Amen to that ;)

    bx_control has been quoted here and I agree it's one of the best tools available to deal with the stereo image. Do some of you use other brainworx tools as well on their master? I'm thinking about tools like bx_XL.
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  11. Waves NLS (colour 1)
    FabFilter ProQ (clean up)
    FabFilter ProC (light comp)
    Waves J37 (colour 2)
    FabFilter ProQ (shaping)
    FabFilter ProMB (control)
    Waves Abby Road Vinyl (Colour 3)
    FabFilter ProL or something else by T-Racks

    Sometimes change things up using Slate Revival or Waves SSL Comp oh and not to mention Sound-Toys Decapitator .
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
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  12. OP

    whitewasteland Senior Member

    Well, everything has been carefully mixed with different mic perspectives (close, tree, room) before hitting that master reverb :)

    That final touch isn't there to simulate a space but to add a last touch of "glue". It is very light :) I think I see this the same way I would see compression in a full mix (well, not on orchestral one, but let's say a pop mix) : every element that needed compression has been treated before the master, and the dynamics are already taken care of. But one last soft touch of compression on the master bus can add a final sense of cohesiveness and vibe to the track.
  13. Nick Batzdorf

    Nick Batzdorf Moderator

    Sep 14, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Cytoic The Glue.

    I put other things in as needed, but that compressor is really great.
  14. Henu

    Henu Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2017
    Bus compressor (software or hardware) when mixing contemporary music and Sonarworks Reference. Everything else is spared for mastering, which I guess most people skip due to their amount of processing in the bus.
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  15. tmhuud

    tmhuud Brown Belt

    Nov 19, 2006
    Love it too.
  16. Ned Bouhalassa

    Ned Bouhalassa Senior Member

    Sep 30, 2004
    EQuality -> Satin -> Elephant.
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  17. germancomponist

    germancomponist Senior Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    If I use only one, then:
    1. (Sonnox)Limiter
    2. EQ
    3. Sonnox Inflator
    4. Waves L3
    But mostly I use more than one, especially when I mix orchestra. And also there I use automation to control the eq's, the effects and the output volume, to create the most possible range from ppp to fff. This is very useful for my goals.
    Dynamic is the most important thing, if u ask me.
    As a side note: You can fake so many things in your master track(s)!
    And, when I talk about automated dynamic, I not only speak about the loudness, I also mean controlled dynamic frequencies, stereo field e.t.c. . .
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
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  18. Pantonal

    Pantonal Member

    Nov 9, 2017
    Waves had a video on mastering a (R&B) song in which they promoted their Infected Mushroom Pusher. At $29 it seemed a steal, and indeed it's a very capable plugin. The PAZ analyzer was also on sale, and I got an extra discount for buying more than one. Ran into a bit of trouble because my other Waves plugins were version 9 and they're now on version 10, but they had a fix for that. I can see how these plugins would be useful for orchestral music, I've been concentrating on other areas lately.
  19. SBK

    SBK Active Member

    Aug 24, 2016
    Stam audio SA-4000+ analog master bus compressor!
    It makes the sound much more powerful. I use plugins to do mixing but the master bus is in need of analog compressor. I find Softubes compressors the best!
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  20. Henu

    Henu Senior Member

    Nov 17, 2017
    SA-4000! <3 It's what I also use nowadays. (not the modded version though- ordered it first but accidentally got sent the wrong one...long story, hah!) I usually tend to mix into an SSL- plugin until we are at the stage we're working with the final mixes with the client when I rig the hardware on. "Could you raise the bass and add some snap to the kick drum at fast parts" is just not worth to real-time-bounce four times a day. :P
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