Academy Dashboard Forum Production Mixing Can we talk about the master bus chain, please? Reply To: Can we talk about the master bus chain, please?

Jason Davenport

    I usually don't put any plugins on my Master bus until the very end. I do my gain staging, and get a rough balance of all the tracks before I create any other busses. Then I start bussing similar instruments together, like drums, acoustic guitars, electrics, etc... I try to do most of the processing on the busses as this saves cpu by using less plugins. Then I get my balances where I want them in a chorus part or other loud dense section of the song. Then I automate the busses for verses, bridges, interludes, etc.. I have been mixing into the Master bus the whole time, watching the meters. I prefer them to be about -2db or -3db with no plugins to give me plenty of headroom to get loud without squashing the mix to oblivion 🙂 Then I would put on my SSL Gcomp looping the loudest section of the song and set the meter to gain reduction and only getting 2-3db of reduction. Next up is usually a Pultech emulation which is a high and low shelving eq. Boost 60hz and cut 60hz at the same time, it's life changing! Same thing on the highs, usually 10kish, depends on the song. Then sometimes a deesser to control the highs I just boosted. Then some form of Saturation, either tape, or some other plugin, again depending on the song. Lastly a limiter doing very little in the loudest parts of the song but bringing up the overall loudness, without squashing. Usually 2-3db of attenuation is enough to get you there if you've done your gain staging right. I always set the output of the limiter to -1db. The meters should be breathing, and not all the way slammed in the red 😉 It's a good idea to do the "Mastering" process on a different day than the one you mixed it so you have fresh ears when listening...

    Upload the wav file to Soundcloud with the native sample and bit rate. With PLAPA stuff it's always 48k/24. This saves double conversions!