Some mixing terminology and technique question

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
seventhirtyfour
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:11 pm

Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by seventhirtyfour » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:21 pm

I've heard a lot of terms used that I am unsure of what they mean.

"bouncing down" in general, "bouncing down to audio", "rendering stems"...can anyone help me understand what these mean/why this is done when doing the final mix/master of a track (or when these terms apply if I am completely misunderstanding all of this)? And, if there are any other common terms to know...

Also, when doing a final mix I've seen people use "busses" (e.g. a drums/percussion bus, vocal bus, synth bus, bass bus, etc.). Can someone explain the exact utility of doing this/why it's helpful? Also, to do this in Live...what is your general technique--just use sends to a separate track?

Sorry for the wild barrage of questions. Just trying to get my head around this. Any and all advice/responses are much, much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

interpolate
Posts: 77
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:12 pm

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by interpolate » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:58 pm

seventhirtyfour wrote:I've heard a lot of terms used that I am unsure of what they mean.

"bouncing down" in general, "bouncing down to audio", "rendering stems"...can anyone help me understand what these mean/why this is done when doing the final mix/master of a track (or when these terms apply if I am completely misunderstanding all of this)? And, if there are any other common terms to know...

Also, when doing a final mix I've seen people use "busses" (e.g. a drums/percussion bus, vocal bus, synth bus, bass bus, etc.). Can someone explain the exact utility of doing this/why it's helpful? Also, to do this in Live...what is your general technique--just use sends to a separate track?

Sorry for the wild barrage of questions. Just trying to get my head around this. Any and all advice/responses are much, much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Roughly speaking...

Bouncing Down = Rendering to audio file (export audio)
Rendering Stems = Rendering each channel as separate wave files (this is an option on export)
Busses = send/return tracks
Drum Bus = a send track that only contains effects for drums

The reason why people render audio files separately is so that they can mix and process effects on them independently. An example of this is if you wanted to use a reverb or a delay, you might not want to use them on kick drums or bass lines.

In terms of advanced mixing, a practice some people use is to render all tracks separately as loudly as possible, then moving them into Pro Tools (or some other program to do the mixing). This has to do with not having to raise a noise floor when mixing. For example, if you had a synth really low in the mix, and it was audio, if you were to raise it loudly, you'd also be raising some noise under it. I would not worry about this concept that much for now. Especially if you are only working within Ableton.

Cheers.
Ableton Suite 8 & Max4Live

Angstrom
Posts: 14713
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by Angstrom » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:13 pm

Buses are not send and return tracks. While return channels can be considered as, or used as a sort of mix bus they are a subset not the defining mode.

Buses are a dedicated track which allow you to manage a whole heap of other tracks as one unit, in order to create a submix. They are in some ways similar to what we are now familiar with as 'groups', but on an old analogue desk these tracks sit off to the side of the main faders and you can select them as an output from each of your track faders. That's why you might use a drum bus, in order to manage a lot of drum mic's as one unit, for the convenience managing them as one unit.

Return tracks are a type of bus - but a very specialised one. Using a return track as a mix bus is just weird. You can do it, but the more usual way would be to use a bus channel
Last edited by Angstrom on Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Tarekith
Posts: 17598
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by Tarekith » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:14 pm

seventhirtyfour wrote: Also, to do this in Live...what is your general technique--just use sends to a separate track?
That's one way of doing it. Another would be to open the I/O view and specify the output of multiple tracks as the input of another audio track.

Angstrom
Posts: 14713
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by Angstrom » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:20 pm

here's an image of the bus section from an old Mackie 8 bus
note that in real life this would be covered with tape and illegible writing, I can tell you that in my experience the writing would nearly always say Drums L-R, bass, guitar, Keys L-R, FX L-R.
Aaaaand into the Adat

be glad we live in the modern world

Image

seventhirtyfour
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:11 pm

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by seventhirtyfour » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:27 pm

AWESOME. Thank you so much guys. And, if anyone else has any more input/comments...definitely welcome. Thanks again.

invol
Posts: 604
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 6:47 am
Location: NYC - Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Contact:

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by invol » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:40 am

I would just add that the term "buss" generally means a way of moving around signals around, though the big difference is when dealing with analog hardware versus software.

With analog mixers, a "bus" is tied to an output path. On large consoles you often have a record bus, mix bus, monitor/cue bus, solo bus, master bus, plus additional busses that can be used to create sub-groups.

In pretty much every DAW, a bus is just a way of routing audio within the mixer, since outputs depend on your audio interface (Pro Tools 9 attempts to tie busses to outputs to mimic large consoles). Live does not use the term bus for routing, because you can route audio in and out of pretty much any place you would want without the need for a predefined bus system as with Pro Tools, Logic, etc.

As Angstrom mentioned, Live uses the Group Tracks feature to essentially create sub groups that require routing a bunch of tracks out to a bus, and then choosing the bus as an input on an Aux (Live uses audio tracks with the Monitor set to IN as an Aux).

Also, Live automatically associates Sends with Returns, so we do not do any bussing, but in essence they do it for us.

Cheers,
Brian
MacPro DualQuad 2.8 GHz 10GB RAM OSX 10.9 • RME Fireface 800 Push Launchpad Virus TI2
Owner: Devotion - Brooklyn's only Ableton Certified Training Center
Author:The Music Producer's Survival Guide
Form Labs on SoundCloud

seventhirtyfour
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun Mar 13, 2011 6:11 pm

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by seventhirtyfour » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:39 pm

Just wanted to say thanks again for the replies. All very helpful.

102455
Posts: 1638
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 1:41 pm
Location: Location: Location:
Contact:

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by 102455 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:53 pm

interpolate wrote:Bouncing Down = Rendering to audio file (export audio)
Hmmm....

Bouncing down (in my book) means re-recording two or more tracks onto one new track.

It originates from the days of tape, when you'd need to free up a track by bouncing down (for example on a 4 track) three tracks
to the one remaining track, so that you could use the three over again.

invol
Posts: 604
Joined: Sat Dec 11, 2004 6:47 am
Location: NYC - Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Contact:

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by invol » Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:05 pm

102455 wrote:
interpolate wrote:Bouncing Down = Rendering to audio file (export audio)
Hmmm....

Bouncing down (in my book) means re-recording two or more tracks onto one new track.

It originates from the days of tape, when you'd need to free up a track by bouncing down (for example on a 4 track) three tracks
to the one remaining track, so that you could use the three over again.

Bounce to Disk is how a lot of DAWs refer to exporting - Pro Tools, Logic, etc...
MacPro DualQuad 2.8 GHz 10GB RAM OSX 10.9 • RME Fireface 800 Push Launchpad Virus TI2
Owner: Devotion - Brooklyn's only Ableton Certified Training Center
Author:The Music Producer's Survival Guide
Form Labs on SoundCloud

fishmonkey
Posts: 4186
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Some mixing terminology and technique question

Post by fishmonkey » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:49 am

interpolate wrote: Rendering Stems = Rendering each channel as separate wave files (this is an option on export)
haha, while we are busy doing corrections, a stem usually refers to a bussed group of channels/tracks also, not "each channel as a separate wave file". e.g. you might have a main vocal stem, a backing vocal stem, a lead guitar stem, rhythm guitar stem, drum stem, etc... having stems makes it possible to mix or process the main sub-elements of a mix, not every single original channel.

if you want to try messing around mixing some pro stems, there are some great downloads available from Real World Records:

http://realworldremixed.com/download.php

Post Reply