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Zen and the Art of Mixing Advanced mixing techniques

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Old August 30th, 2009, 08:52 PM
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Default How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

Just wondering how you guys decide which plugins to use for buss compression or how to test which ones sound the best.

I know alot of you guys would automatically say try them out, but my mixes aren't going to be the same every time i mix through a different one (and I don't mean because of the compressor I mean, the second time round i might go, hmm actually I want more top end on that kick drum and ill put a high pass at 200hz on it sort of thing)

As for the plugins i have
PSP OldTimer
IK Fairchild 670
McDSP Compressorbank cb4 (emulations of allll the popular compressors, la2as 1176s dbx etc etc)
IK Opto
Bombfactory BF76

I know that the best place to start settings wise is slow attack and release and only taking a couple of db with GR then make it up as best as possible. Just wondering how to choose. Should I just get say 8 recordings from one band and then try each of the different ones (obviously compressorbank will take up quite a few) and then see which ones I like the best? I suppose that brings it back to the I probably won't mix the same way twice problem.

Oh yeah, as for style of music, its mainly rock, punk, hard rock and metal, but sometimes I do acoustic stuff and the odd bit of soft rock.
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Old August 30th, 2009, 09:14 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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Originally Posted by TehGuitarist View Post
Just wondering how you guys decide which plugins to use for buss compression or how to test which ones sound the best.
If you like the sound of a compressor on the 2-bus, then it follows that you also have an idea of what you want this compressor to accomplish.

A lot of people would apply a compressor on the 2-bus because they read on the internet that this is "what a pro does".

Cart before horse.

Start with the sound you are going for, and form a mental image of that in your head. THEN find the compressor that gets the sound you're hearing.

Doesn't have to be anything fancy-schmanzy either. I could probably use, say, the Pro Tools Digirack 3 or the Logic channel compressor and get most anything I need from that.


otek
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Old August 30th, 2009, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

first do no (or as little as possible) HARM to the mix


that rules out most of those

I suspect you could 'put together' something in the McDSP that is tolerable
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Old August 30th, 2009, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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that rules out most of those
Have you tried them all?
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Old August 30th, 2009, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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Have you tried them all?
except for the Ik Fairchild.

but I don't like a REAL Fairchild on the stereo mix either
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Old August 30th, 2009, 11:39 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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but I don't like a REAL Fairchild on the stereo mix either
Aw, Weedy, the plugin is nothing like the real thing anyhow.

(Yeah I know. You just lobbed that one easy enough for a smash.)


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Old August 30th, 2009, 10:36 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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Doesn't have to be anything fancy-schmanzy either.


Aren't they the successors of these guys ?


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Old August 30th, 2009, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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Originally Posted by TehGuitarist View Post
(and I don't mean because of the compressor I mean, the second time round i might go, hmm actually I want more top end on that kick drum and ill put a high pass at 200hz on it sort of thing)
??
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Old August 31st, 2009, 11:43 AM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TehGuitarist View Post
Just wondering how you guys decide which plugins to use for buss compression or how to test which ones sound the best.

I know alot of you guys would automatically say try them out, but my mixes aren't going to be the same every time i mix through a different one (and I don't mean because of the compressor I mean, the second time round i might go, hmm actually I want more top end on that kick drum and ill put a high pass at 200hz on it sort of thing)

As for the plugins i have
PSP OldTimer
IK Fairchild 670
McDSP Compressorbank cb4 (emulations of allll the popular compressors, la2as 1176s dbx etc etc)
IK Opto
Bombfactory BF76

I know that the best place to start settings wise is slow attack and release and only taking a couple of db with GR then make it up as best as possible. Just wondering how to choose. Should I just get say 8 recordings from one band and then try each of the different ones (obviously compressorbank will take up quite a few) and then see which ones I like the best? I suppose that brings it back to the I probably won't mix the same way twice problem.

Oh yeah, as for style of music, its mainly rock, punk, hard rock and metal, but sometimes I do acoustic stuff and the odd bit of soft rock.
Hey TehGuitarist,

I was in the same boat as you once. What I did was just read a lot of interviews with pro mixers to find out what they used. That gave me a good starting point. For instance, while you could try the CB4 emulation of an LA2A in limit mode, I don't think many have used two LA2A's on the mix buss.

So, as a starting point, why not try:

CB4: Tube 1 (Fairchild), Tube 2 (Manly Varible-Mu), or British (Neve 33609)

IK Multimedia OPTO (this one is awesome, I own it and love it on the 2buss) I have a hunch it's an emulation of a Focusrite Red 3 (think CLA), but I could be wrong.; Vintage Comp (670) I prefer this one over the McDSP, personally.

You may also want to get the Waves SSL bundle to have the buss comp, or get McDSP's Channel G which has the SSL emulation as well as the EQ and comps for Neve and API.

In the end, you really do have to experiment a lot, use your ears, and learn the sound of each comp.

Hope that helps!
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 06:27 AM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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Originally Posted by TehGuitarist View Post
I know that the best place to start settings wise is slow attack and release and only taking a couple of db with GR then make it up as best as possible.
I haven't liked a slow release on 2 buss compressions that much, actually, and I've gotten away from using auto release, though I still use it on some things. The two comps I tend to use are the UAD 4K and 33609 (and sometimes the Precision Buss Comp) and they usually are set to "medium" release and slow to medium attack. I never compress more than 4:1. I also have started using a high threshold, particularly on the 33609 model. The comp is just gently caressing the peaks, but it seems to make a difference I like.
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

Isn’t compressing everything at once encroaching on the mastering process to some extent?
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 06:58 AM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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Isn’t compressing everything at once encroaching on the mastering process to some extent?
I would say there are ways the mastering process could encroach on the mix, but by my definition, not the other way around.

You could say that it could possibly limit the options for the mastering process, but really the mix is what it is.


otek
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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You could say that it could possibly limit the options for the mastering process...
No pun intended, I assume.

Anything you do to the whole mix will effect the product with which the ME has to work. Maybe that's a good reason to go easy with 2 buss compression but it seems to me if you think it helps the mix come together, why not use it?

I mean, let's face it, unless you are working with a Turn Me Up! certified ME, they probably aren't going to be screaming "This mix isn't dynamic enough!".
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Old September 2nd, 2009, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

I think I got it in my head at some point that doing stuff to the entire mix was best avoided, or at best a quick fix for other problems. Probably read it on the interweb somewhere…
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 10:56 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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Originally Posted by TehGuitarist View Post
Just wondering how you guys decide which plugins to use for buss compression or how to test which ones sound the best.
It's pretty simple. Final answer Regis: C. by using them.


I just mixed something with a plug in bypass, then did a recal a few days later with it on. Once my ears unclog I'll tell you which one I like best but both were in the dark so to speak.

Funny thing, I have a few "go to" scenarios that I've found but i also have as many, nah something else or nothing is better scenarios as well.


And I like Fairchilds on 2 buss sometimes. Setting 4, threshold around 1 and unity gain with about 1db of compression. It acts like an expander in many acoustic and sparse style mixes. On dense stuff not so much. BTW the UAD one creates a similar but not as holistic effect.

1176(8) 20:1.

Try the shit out or it'll be trying you out.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 11:58 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

Interesting thread

As someone who is not a pro and mixes ITB...

I visualize comp on the 2 buss as a M/S kind of thingy. It Catches the biggest peaks of the M signal ( mono ) and adds density to the S signal ( sides )

I more then Often use the Kjearhus GCO-1 because of all the possibilities it offers. I had to make my self some presets cause it can get prety time taking to set up all the parameters everytimes.

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Old November 3rd, 2009, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

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How do you choose the Tone settings if you haven't yet started the mix?
By not "setting and forgetting". After getting my balances right, and doing some basic EQ:ing, I will set a subtle amount of compression (at unity gain). I return to the compressor many times during mix, bypass it, change the parameters, etc.

Btw, the API's "tone" settings are for the detector circuit, not the audio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alxi
I visualize comp on the 2 buss as a M/S kind of thingy. It Catches the biggest peaks of the M signal ( mono ) and adds density to the S signal ( sides )
The "M" in "M/S" stands for Mid, not Mono.

But that's probably irrelevant because I am not getting your analogy at all.



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Old November 3rd, 2009, 02:30 AM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

Sure, and the tone chosen really depends on how the mix is going. But I get your point of not forgetting the compressor there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by otek View Post

Btw, the API's "tone" settings are for the detector circuit, not the audio.

otek
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Old November 3rd, 2009, 12:55 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

Listening to your CAPE mix, otek, I think I can hear why you like to mix through compression on the 2 bus.


That, of course, is most likely your cue to tell me that you didn't use any 2 bus compression on that particular mix...
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Old November 3rd, 2009, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: How do you choose which plugin to use for a mix buss compressor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by otek View Post



The "M" in "M/S" stands for Mid, not Mono.

But that's probably irrelevant because I am not getting your analogy at all.



otek
Oups ! Mid, right

Maybe it's got alot to do with the way i mix and what i mix ( I do a lot of Hiphop and RnB ) I tend to put Kick/Snare/Hat and Lead Vox dead center and i dispose the other elements around it. This way most peaks are coming from the center, instruments are pushed back on the sides and aren't trigering the 2 buss comp as much.

So mid to catch the peaks of the main drum elements... sides to had density to the instruments. It makes sens to me even if ( i know ) i'm not using it as a M/S device.. it's the way i visualise it.

What are you guys aiming for when setting up the 2 buss comp... aside from the comp color. Are you trying to catch peaks... are you using a low ration/treshold to add density ???

-Alxi-
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Last edited by Alxi; November 3rd, 2009 at 05:35 PM. Reason: typos
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