Alright, so normally when I write a song, I simply make a master track bus--nothing else (I use Cakewalk SONAR 8.5 Producer). But I actually want to try and organize my mixing a bit more, so I was wondering if there was a "proper way" (inb4 anythinggoesaslongasitsoundsgood) to set up and arrange your buses, and what effects (compression, EQ, phasing, modulation, etc.) on each.

Normally I go by instrument, but in general, my songs only have 4-5 tracks of the same stuff. So if there's more than one guitar, I'll put all the guitars in a bus called "Guitar" and then Drums will have it's own bus which I call "Drums"--Bass will have a bus called "Bass" and anything else will have it's own bus, which is all routed into a master track bus called "Master", in which I throw EQ, Phasing, Compression, Limiting, etc. on (normally in that order).

I realize this is an extremely ineffective way of setting up my buses... and I was wondering how a professional would arrange their buses. I'm trying to make my song's mix sound good, so I can make the overall song sound good before being mastered--and so that during my self-done (crappy) mastering stage, I don't have a lot of work to do.
EQ should really go on individual tracks, not on the master, if they need any EQing. It's best trying to get it sound good without EQ, and only use it if you really have to. Also double/quad track guitars and vocals.
Last edited by Ascendant at Jul 9, 2010,
Well yeah, of course. I EQ each track individually, but then I have an overall EQ where I just roll off all the frequencies I don't need.
busses wont really help your mix sound any better the way you're talking about them.

every professional has his own way of organizing everything to work best for him, so there's no "proper" way.

here's what i do...

all my effects on separate aux sends. my drums on one stereo bus, my bass in a stereo bus (even though it's mono), my guitar pairs (double tracked guitars in one bus, but lead and rhythm in separate busses) in a stereo bus, keys in one, vocals in one... you get the picture. and then i set up a (in protools) stereo aux that i label "master", color it red, and rout everything through that.

i get all my tracks sounding as good and as much like the original source as i can before i worry about busses, but after that's taken care of, i focus on just the busses to make it easier. stereo placement is still left to the individual tracks, but as far as level and some dynamic effects go, it's all on a bus. a lot of compression and gating still needs to go on individual tracks, so i guess i'd have to say that i only use busses for maybe the last halfish of the mix.

i personally dont see any way that would be easier than that. or at least for how i personally work... but if you come up with anything good, more power to you.
Typically, I end up sending Modulation, Reverb and Delays out to separate bus tracks. All my compression, limiting and EQing goes on the main track since thats where it should be.

Its all going to come down to personal preference really but through trial and error, you'll find something you like.
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