Bussing channels to a pre-master channel. Yay or nay?

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KristianLeo
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Post 09 Feb 2018

Some nice fellow once told me I should avoid bussing all channels/group faders in the mixer to a "pre-master" bus. Is this still a thing, or is it all bs?

I mean, all I really seek to do is lowering the entire relative mix as it is, but seeing as they haven't implemented the possibility to move multiple faders at once, I'm not sure what's the best way to go about doing this.

So what I'm wondering is: Is there a difference, whatsoever, between
a) lowering ALL the channel faders in the mixer by, say, 3 dB and
b) bussing ALL the channel faders in the mixer into a single pre-master bus, which is then lowered 3 dB

Cheers, and sorry if this topic is already covered.

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MikeMcKew
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Post 09 Feb 2018

Interesting question. Maybe someone with more Reason-centric knowledge can chime in, but on most DAWs the faders have higher resolution surrounding the 0dB point, which leads me to think it'd be better to bus them all together and turn that one "submix" down. That way you can enjoy the higher resolution of the faders on each individual element, while having full control over the overall volume. In theory, your mix balance shouldn't go out of whack by doing this. EXCEPT, if you are using global sends and/or master inserts, I think you can potentially run into problems.
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QVprod
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Post 09 Feb 2018

Generally pointless in Reason. As mentioned above, the fx returns are routed to the Master channel which could cause some problems should you change the level or apply processing to that bus. This idea of doing this in DAW comes from a ProTools workflow prior to offline bouncing where you needed to record a finished mix in real time. That required use of a mix bus before the master fader. Should you want to do parallel processing on the entire mix, it can easily be done in the master inserts. Even reference tracks can be manually routed to bypass the master compressor and inserts.

I've done this in other DAWs (Pro Tools, Studio One) as it was how I was taught in Audio school, but I've personally never noticed any audio quality improvement from doing so. Only benefit was for parallel processing but then in other DAWs routing send fx to a pre master bus is a lot easier, while parallel processing on master inserts is often not as easy as it it is in Reason

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Kalm
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Post 09 Feb 2018

I personally never heard of people "avoiding" it truthfully, but submixes are generally a concept for summation mixing. In regard to adjusting levels of a track it wouldn't make a difference as you'll either tediously lower every channel in the mixer by 3 dB or the sum on the premaster by 3 dB.

Your biggest concern would be your fx routing if set to pre or post. By default your routing is post fader which will adjust the level of your send level. If pre-fader, you might want to rebalance those as well.
Last edited by Kalm on 09 Feb 2018, edited 1 time in total.
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selig
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Post 09 Feb 2018

MikeMcKew wrote:
09 Feb 2018
Interesting question. Maybe someone with more Reason-centric knowledge can chime in, but on most DAWs the faders have higher resolution surrounding the 0dB point, which leads me to think it'd be better to bus them all together and turn that one "submix" down. That way you can enjoy the higher resolution of the faders on each individual element, while having full control over the overall volume. In theory, your mix balance shouldn't go out of whack by doing this. EXCEPT, if you are using global sends and/or master inserts, I think you can potentially run into problems.
Mouse resolution should not be confused with audio resolution!

Yes, there are more steps per dB around 0 dB when you move the fader with a mouse. But the question really should be, how much resolution do you use? What is the smallest movement you tend to make on a fader?

If you are regularly moving faders by less than 0.1 dB, you have about 80% of the fader travel (down to below -30 dB on the fader).

If you are more like me, and move faders by smallest amounts more in the 0.5 dB range, you have 95% of the fader to work with (down around -70 dB!), pretty much down to where it's almost touching the bottom.

So the real question is, how much mouse resolution do you REALLY need? Reason probably has you covered more than you realize!
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selig
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Post 09 Feb 2018

QVprod wrote:
09 Feb 2018
Generally pointless in Reason. As mentioned above, the fx returns are routed to the Master channel which could cause some problems should you change the level or apply processing to that bus.
This would ONLY be a problem when using pre fader sends, as Kalm mentions above.

This is because Reason compensates for sends when using busses, something some folks like (me!) and others do not. Doing so eliminates 'ghost send' issues, such as pulling down the bus master and still hearing the FX returns. Again, in Reason if you pull down a bus fader, the sends will follow THAT fader too (but again, not pre fader sends).
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househoppin09
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Post 09 Feb 2018

I almost always use premaster busing, sometimes even two or three channels deep. It's a nice way to get a clean visual and conceptual separation between different stages of processing, rather than having to pile everything up in the inserts of a single channel. This also allows for a "mix processing -> SSL master compressor -> more mix processing" signal flow, which can't easily be achieved otherwise. No issue with FX returns as long as pre-fader sends aren't used, as selig pointed out.
QVprod wrote:
09 Feb 2018
Should you want to do parallel processing on the entire mix, it can easily be done in the master inserts.
What do you have in mind here, out of curiosity? An audio splitter inside the master inserts, feeding two or more separate processing chains stacked vertically, then a line mixer to rejoin them? That sounds more than a little unwieldy, but perhaps I'm completely misunderstanding what you meant.

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QVprod
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Post 09 Feb 2018

selig wrote:
09 Feb 2018
QVprod wrote:
09 Feb 2018
Generally pointless in Reason. As mentioned above, the fx returns are routed to the Master channel which could cause some problems should you change the level or apply processing to that bus.
This would ONLY be a problem when using pre fader sends, as Kalm mentions above.

This is because Reason compensates for sends when using busses, something some folks like (me!) and others do not. Doing so eliminates 'ghost send' issues, such as pulling down the bus master and still hearing the FX returns. Again, in Reason if you pull down a bus fader, the sends will follow THAT fader too (but again, not pre fader sends).
Forgot Reason's busses work differently than in any other DAW. I rarely have need to use them so that nifty feature slipped my mind
househoppin09 wrote:
09 Feb 2018
What do you have in mind here, out of curiosity? An audio splitter inside the master inserts, feeding two or more separate processing chains stacked vertically, then a line mixer to rejoin them? That sounds more than a little unwieldy, but perhaps I'm completely misunderstanding what you meant.
As mentioned above, I forgot Reason busses compensate for send levels (unlike any other DAW) so my initial thought was the need to re route the send returns to the premaster bus. With that in mind it's actually less complex than I was thinking. You're right with my thought being a splitter in the master chain. A pre master bus in this instance would in fact be easier provided you want the parallel bus to run through the bus compressor or ignore the bus compressor altogether . If you want the parallel bus/processing post compressor you would need to do it from the master inserts.

househoppin09
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Post 09 Feb 2018

QVprod wrote:
09 Feb 2018
As mentioned above, I forgot Reason busses compensate for send levels (unlike any other DAW) so my initial thought was the need to re route the send returns to the premaster bus. With that in mind it's actually less complex than I was thinking. You're right with my thought being a splitter in the master chain. A pre master bus in this instance would in fact be easier provided you want the parallel bus to run through the bus compressor or ignore the bus compressor altogether . If you want the parallel bus/processing post compressor you would need to do it from the master inserts.
Okay, that all makes sense, thanks. I'm having heart palpitations at the thought of setting up, say, an extensive three-channel parallel processing arrangement entirely within the master insert combinator though! :lol:

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QVprod
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Post 09 Feb 2018

househoppin09 wrote:
09 Feb 2018
QVprod wrote:
09 Feb 2018
As mentioned above, I forgot Reason busses compensate for send levels (unlike any other DAW) so my initial thought was the need to re route the send returns to the premaster bus. With that in mind it's actually less complex than I was thinking. You're right with my thought being a splitter in the master chain. A pre master bus in this instance would in fact be easier provided you want the parallel bus to run through the bus compressor or ignore the bus compressor altogether . If you want the parallel bus/processing post compressor you would need to do it from the master inserts.
Okay, that all makes sense, thanks. I'm having heart palpitations at the thought of setting up, say, an extensive three-channel parallel processing arrangement entirely within the master insert combinator though! :lol:
Lol. There is that benefit of routing that way

KristianLeo
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Post 12 Feb 2018

Thank you all for responding.

If I understand you guys correctly, I would have no problem using a pre-master bus as long as no send on the bussed channels is pre-fader, correct? I never do that anyway (maybe because I never got the hang of it, or why I even should), so it seems I'm fine.
Though I might try to do that now, just to hear/see what happens.

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selig
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Post 12 Feb 2018

KristianLeo wrote:Thank you all for responding.

If I understand you guys correctly, I would have no problem using a pre-master bus as long as no send on the bussed channels is pre-fader, correct?
I would say yes (no problem) - in fact, you could add 10 busses in a row if you like and nothing would happen to your audio signal (unless you intentionally changed something, of course).


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normen
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Post 13 Feb 2018

You can bus all the way you like as Selig said but you should be aware of a VERY quirky thing in Reason: When you send a channel to a bus then the BUS FADER controls the CHANNEL SENDS like a VCA.

This is only practical in one situation (which arguably is a pretty common one): When you have your subgroup channels (e.g. drum channels) routed to the bus but the reverb for that subgroup is NOT going to that bus and is fed from the channels directly. That way the amount of reverb will reduce with the bus fader, which it wouldn‘t normally (if you do this kind of routing).

So if you „just“ bus ALL your channels to one bus DO NOT MOVE ITS FADER FROM THE 0dB POSITION OR YOUR MIX WILL BE MESSED UP!

Edit: Duh, should have read more of the thread - this was mentioned already :)

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selig
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Post 13 Feb 2018

normen wrote:You can bus all the way you like as Selig said but you should be aware of a VERY quirky thing in Reason: When you send a channel to a bus then the BUS FADER controls the CHANNEL SENDS like a VCA.

This is only practical in one situation (which arguably is a pretty common one): When you have your subgroup channels (e.g. drum channels) routed to the bus but the reverb for that subgroup is NOT going to that bus and is fed from the channels directly. That way the amount of reverb will reduce with the bus fader, which it wouldn‘t normally (if you do this kind of routing).

So if you „just“ bus ALL your channels to one bus DO NOT MOVE ITS FADER FROM THE 0dB POSITION OR YOUR MIX WILL BE MESSED UP!

Edit: Duh, should have read more of the thread - this was mentioned already :)
Not sure I follow (are we talking about the same thing?)

If you bus all your channels to one bus in Reason, you CAN move it’s fader and your mix will NOT be messed up, specifically thanks to the feature you mention.

At least at the time this was introduced, Reason was the first and only DAW I’m aware of that effectively solved this issue (there may be others following their lead today).


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normen
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Post 13 Feb 2018

selig wrote:
13 Feb 2018
Not sure I follow (are we talking about the same thing?)

If you bus all your channels to one bus in Reason, you CAN move it’s fader and your mix will NOT be messed up, specifically thanks to the feature you mention.

At least at the time this was introduced, Reason was the first and only DAW I’m aware of that effectively solved this issue (there may be others following their lead today).


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Yes it will if you have a return channel for your reverb.

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selig
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Post 13 Feb 2018

normen wrote:
selig wrote:
13 Feb 2018
Not sure I follow (are we talking about the same thing?)

If you bus all your channels to one bus in Reason, you CAN move it’s fader and your mix will NOT be messed up, specifically thanks to the feature you mention.

At least at the time this was introduced, Reason was the first and only DAW I’m aware of that effectively solved this issue (there may be others following their lead today).


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Yes it will if you have a return channel for your reverb.
But only if you send any Mix Channel returns through the bus - there’s no need to do this if level control is the only function of the ‘master’ bus being discussed.

So if you leave the “returns” out of the master bus everything works for the intended purpose of “lowering the entire relative mix”, correct?



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normen
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Post 13 Feb 2018

selig wrote:
13 Feb 2018
normen wrote:
Yes it will if you have a return channel for your reverb.
But only if you send any Mix Channel returns through the bus - there’s no need to do this if level control is the only function of the ‘master’ bus being discussed.

So if you leave the “returns” out of the master bus everything works for the intended purpose of “lowering the entire relative mix”, correct?



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Yes. I‘d still rip my colleagues head off if he‘d link the desk sends like that for a show without telling me :P

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selig
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Post 13 Feb 2018

normen wrote:
13 Feb 2018
selig wrote:
13 Feb 2018


But only if you send any Mix Channel returns through the bus - there’s no need to do this if level control is the only function of the ‘master’ bus being discussed.

So if you leave the “returns” out of the master bus everything works for the intended purpose of “lowering the entire relative mix”, correct?



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Yes. I‘d still rip my colleagues head off if he‘d link the desk sends like that for a show without telling me :P
I can only imagine the headaches that working live involves, as my experience is 90% studio, and stuff like this USED to drive me CRAZY. So glad for it to not be an issue in Reason, but can totally understand others would prefer it not to be this way (or at least to have the option to turn it on/off).
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