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?

Guido tum Suden

    Okay, Master Bus Chain.

    EQ: I hope, I won't have to use it. Sometimes I go back to the channels and rather change things there and sometimes it's just a little tweak on the master bus. Anyway, I use the master bus EQ completely different than two years ago, because the sound that goes to the master bus is completely different after two years of learning how to mix.
    While I often did the things you see on many YT videos like adding sparkle and bass, I now often do the opposite: Cutting bass so it cuts through better and lowering the highs, because again I used too much while mixing. (SPL Passeq, Volko Q3D, Airwindows Average, FF Pro Q2)

    Compressor: Don't use it if you don't have to. Lisa, I think, this might be one of the reasons you lose some of the instruments. 2–3 dB is a lot and what ratio do you use. I often see setting lower than 2:1 here. Attack and release have a huge impact on the sound. If you're not sure, just leave it of for now. (usually Vertigo VCS-2)

    Gain Staging: I usually go for -12 to -9 dBFS peak. And there is an easy way to do that and looking at LUFS at the same time. I have HoRNeT VU Meter Mk3 for that. It's first on any channel. You run the loudest part of the song, hit Auto, and it will set the Gain for you. It can also set the gain of all channels at the same time but I haven't used that feature, yet.

    Volume: If you have lot's of headroom left, like I usually have, just put in a Gain plugin for that so that the peaks won't reach 0 dB (in modern DAW you can go above without running into problems at once, but I just don't like the little red lights).

    Tape Emulation: I think it's a good thing for most PLAP-typical songs. I use Airwindows Tape5 or ToneBoosters ReelBus 4. Depending on the plugin and how you use it, it can replace the master bus compressor and also the eq.

    Final Loudness: That will be -14 LUFS integrated in my case, because it's the average loudness for the different online platforms like YouTube, so I guess it's good for PLAP as well. To get there I use a limiter (almost always FF Pro-L2) and hopefully it just limits a few very high peaks, nothing more.
    If I already had less the -14 LUFS before limiting I guess I used too much compression on the channels.

    As you can see, I like lot's of dynamic and I try to achieve that while mixing 🙂 (Still working on it, though)