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?

Just Lisa

    24bit/48kHz. It does seem to be the best version, so I won't mess with it anymore. Finally got Studio One and my computer to agree about the audio quality settings, that'll help.

    Now, in theory, I've been trying to do like you wrt gainstaging, rough balance, buses, etc. Automate volume on buses according to song sections.
    Perfectly sensible.

    I'm thinking about just volume here...
    When you are gainstaging, do you go for a specific input level like -18dB across all of the tracks?
    And when you say -2 or 3dB on your Master, that's the whole mix at the loud part, right?
    But then a compressor for -2 or 3dB on the loud part for sure. (now meters read -4 to -6dB, right?)
    The the limiter before putting it out there, lifting the whole thing (artfully) to about -1dB.

    I'm troubleshooting.

    Everything is going well, I've done everything according to this general set of rules, I get to a point where I think I'm in the home stretch...
    My Klanghelm SDDR has been sitting there doing its happy tube-master thing all along. It's pressing down about 2 or 3 dB with compensotory make up gain.
    Feeding the mix bus is the usual suspects, All Vox, All Percussion, All Gtrs, etc. as well as a couple of reverbs and a parallel compression bus (generally bass, kick and snare). Let's say those are all adjusted right, with sends or effects automated the way I want them to be.
    I turn on the compressor for the first volume boost, about 2 - 3dB reduction.
    I listen through it, find I need to adjust some volume automation. I do that.
    I listen again, need to do different things. I do them.
    These are usually just little things.
    I listen again, and suddenly, I can't hear stuff I could hear before. Vocals and guitars that weren't competing are suddenly a blurred mess.
    I turn the compressor off again and now the kick and bass that sounded so amazing at the beginning have disappeared altogether. And I try to fix it and then everything cascades into disaster.
    Where did I go wrong?

    : )