How To Set Up a Mix Bus Chain
Ben Lindell demonstrates how he sets up his mix bus processing on a nearly finished mix. Using Universal Audio UAD plugins, Ben takes this dance-pop track from sounding good to great!
The goal with processing on the mix bus (aka 2-bus, mix buss, master fader, etc) is to deliver as close to a finished, mastered sounding mix to the artist. The closer you can get to achieving the sound and vibe the artist wants to hear the easier it will be for your mastering engineer to add their finishing touches.
It is critical to know how to achieve a coherent, rich, and clear sound at the final stages of the mixing process in order to deliver a mix that blows your clients away.
As always with pureMix, Ben details the purpose and function of each of these plug-ins, as well as the specific settings used. Apply these techniques to your own mixes and give them the finished, professional sound your clients are looking for.
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- 00:00 - Start
- 00:43 - Cambridge EQ
- 01:33 - Fatso Jr. Compressor
- 02:52 - Digital EQ V2
- 04:27 - Precision Maximizer
- 05:28 - Pultec EQ
- 06:38 - A/B Comparison
Hey, how's it going? I'm Ben Lindell.
Today, I'm gonna be taking you through my 2-Bus processing on a mix that I did.
This is a dance/pop kind of song, so I'm gonna be doing a little bit of EQ, compression, and just general beautification to my mix.
Now, this isn't mastering, but what I like to deliver to my clients is as close to a mastered sound as I can get.
I did all my processing on this mix using UAD plug-ins.
Let's get started! Since I already finished this mix, all my plug-ins are already set.
What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna walk you through each plug-in, explain a little bit about why I chose it, and what function it's serving, and give you a little before and after.
The first plug-in in my chain is the Cambridge EQ.
I'm not using it for a lot. I'm just using the high-pass filter, set at 24 dB per octave and around 30 Hz or so.
What this is doing is it's cutting all the extra fat that I don't need at the bottom, and giving me a tighter, punchier bottom end.
Let's check it out. Without.
It's a really subtle difference.
If you're listening on laptop speakers, or earbuds, you're probably not gonna hear it. But in the mixing studio, where I have a subwoofer, or large main speakers, I can really hear the difference in the tightness of my bottom end.
The next plug-in in my chain is the Fatso Jr.
This is a tape simulator/compressor plug-in.
But since this is a dance track, I don't need any tape simulation.
I don't need the song to sound any softer, I need it to pump a little bit more. So I'm gonna turn of the Tranny, turn off the Warmth setting, and just use the Buss compressor setting, which is a slow attack, a fast release, a gentle knee, and about a 2:1 compression ratio, and just hit that a little bit, to make my song breathe a little bit more. Here's without.
And here's with.
And again, without.
As you can hear, the Fatso is bringing my whole mix forward a little bit.
It's not really doing anything to the transients, but everything else is pumping up a little bit more, and is just a little punchier, which is exactly what I was looking for.
The next plug-in on my 2-Bus is the Brainworx Digital V2 EQ.
It's a mid/side EQ that allows me to expand the stereo width of my mix and also find any problem frequencies that are bunching up.
Let me show you what I'm talking about.
I'm using the Auto-Listen function of this plug-in a lot.
It allows me to sweep around and find problematic frequencies easily.
Check it out! So you can see, right around 128 Hz, I hear a little too much going on there.
So I notch it down between 1 and 2 dB, and then I go to my Stereo Width knob, just to open it up a little bit, and now let's check out what this sounds like before and after.
So I feel like my mix is basically there.
These last couple of plug-ins add just the little finishing touches, just a little bit more prettiness to my mix.
The first one is the UAD Precision Maximizer.
I don't really use this plug-in for any of its limiting functions.
I just like the way the Shape knob sounds.
It just adds a little more excitement to the mix.
Check it out! First, without.
Once again, this is a very subtle difference.
It's adding a little bit of harmonics that extend the top end a little bit.
Check it out! Again, without.
You can really hear it on the claps and the vocals.
And finally, the last plug-in in my chain is the Pultec EQ.
I really love how this just gently lifts the bottom and top of my mix.
I'm just going up a little bit at 30 Hz and a little bit at 12 kHz.
Check it out. First, without.
Again, without the Pultec.
As you can hear, all my processing on the 2-Bus is just subtle little enhancements.
I consider this to be part of the mixing process.
I'm just trying to give my clients the best sounding mix possible and make my mastering engineer's life as easy as possible.
So now, just for fun, let's listen to my mix without any of my 2-Bus processing, and then with.
First, without any of my 2-Bus plug-ins.
And now, with all my plug-ins reactivated.
Again, with no plug-ins on my 2-Bus.
And with all my plug-ins enabled again.
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UAD Plug-ins used :
- Cambridge EQ
- FATSO Jr. Compressor
- Brainworx Digital EQ V2
- UAD Precision Maximizer
- UAD Pultec EQ
By Tatiana Owens
Ben is a NYC based producer/engineer who has worked with artists from MGMT to Soulja Boy, Bebel Giberto to Lloyd Banks, Ryan Leslie, Olivia, Tony Yayo, Red Cafe, Edie Brickell, Carole Pope and hundreds of other artists from around the world. He grew up in Iowa and then attended the University of Miami.
In addition to being a fantastic musician he is also a tremendous geek when it comes to anything technical, be it software, plug-ins, microphones or outboard gear. It's this marriage of musical creativity and technical know-how that makes him an in demand producer/engineer.
Ben is also the Director of Marketing at pureMix.net, feel free to reach out to him directly, firstname.lastname@example.org