Question on bus levels as impacted by individual track levels.

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SonicExplorer
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2018/12/24 17:13:06 (permalink)

Question on bus levels as impacted by individual track levels.

Hi,
 
Pardon if this is considered an obvious question but I'd like to better understand any nuances of the digital realm when it comes to individual track levels feeding a bus....
 
Consider this scenario:  Let's say within a DAW project there are a dozen audio tracks that are all peaking within 6db of clipping and being sent to the same bus. The bus is then clipping.  What's the difference between simply lowering the bus level or instead lowering the levels of all the tracks feeding the bus ?   Is one method more appropriate/preferred over the other ?
 
Thanks,
 
      Sonic
post edited by SonicExplorer - 2018/12/24 17:58:05

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    scook
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    Re: Question on bus levels as impacted by individual track levels. 2018/12/24 17:56:55 (permalink)
    Practically it does not matter but I would lower the input gain on the bus rather then adjust the level on the tracks. Lower the level of the bus happens after the bus FX bin so the input gain may be a better choice than the bus volume fader.
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    bitflipper
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    Re: Question on bus levels as impacted by individual track levels. 2018/12/25 00:42:37 (permalink)
    99 times out of 100, scook's answer is correct; just lower the bus input gain and you're good.
     
    However, it's that 1 time out of 100 when it's not the right solution that'll bite you. Things will just sound bad and you won't know why. Some plugins don't handle signals > 0 dB properly, so it's good practice to just make a habit of keeping track levels low enough that you're out of the red when they're summed. Faced with your scenario, I would make a quick group of the tracks going into that bus, and lower them all by 6 dB. Even though it's a hassle, perhaps not worth the effort, it's just good practice.
     
    It's like making a habit of always using your turn signals, even when you don't see any other cars around. 99 times out of a hundred, not signalling won't be a problem. It's that 1 time out of a hundred when you get blindsided by a garbage truck - that's when you make signalling an automatic habit.


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    #3
    SonicExplorer
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    Re: Question on bus levels as impacted by individual track levels. 2018/12/26 07:09:42 (permalink)
    Thanks for the replies.
     
    One level further though: What if this scenario involves a very dynamic instrument like a drum bus where a plug-in such as a tape saturator or tube compressor resides?  Would it be preferable to leave the incoming bus signal level overly hot & peaking for the tape sim or comp to work their "magic" as would be typical thinking back in analog school days, or is it generally always wise in a DAW to try and reduce the incoming bus signal below peak before hitting those types of plugs?

    Sonic

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    John
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    Re: Question on bus levels as impacted by individual track levels. 2018/12/26 09:29:46 (permalink)
    I do just the opposite. When I start a new mix session I will lower all faders to infinity bringing each one up to hear the track at the right level. I have found this very helpful. This does not mean I don't tweak the tracks later. I rarely mess with gain. I do so only if a track is too low for the fader alone to handle. 
     
     

    Best
    John
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