Are you going crazy with too many tracks?
It’s so much fun to individually manage 20 vocal tracks isn’t it?
I didn’t think so either.
Instead of going through each doubled track with the same processors, try routing them to a single stereo bus instead. Not only will it make your mixing easier, it will also save processing power.
There are a few ways you can simplify your mixing. The most effective way is routing and subgrouping.
Use routing when you have a whole group of instruments that fit together, like synths or strings. If there are many guitar parts to a song, try to route them all to one bus so you only need to move one fader.
The trick is to balance all the individual channels before you route them to a separate bus. Make sure they sound great as a whole before you route them. It’s counter-productive to try to make things easier if you haven’t balanced the tracks together.
Say you have 2 rhythm guitar parts that were recorded in stereo. That means you have 4 individual tracks to worry about. Instead of compressing and EQ’ing them separately, you can bus them to a stereo bus and process them together. Given that the tracks are similar enough this can be a very effective way to get a good sound while saving processing power.
And it has other benefits as well.
Tell me, which uses less power…
One compressor compressing a group of 8 drum tracks.
8 compressors individually compressing in unison?
One set of stereo EQ and Compression uses a lot less CPU power than 5 – 20 individual compressors that are mostly doing the same thing.
Your computer is gonna thank you.
Keep it Simple
Routing a group of tracks into subgroups is the #1 way to make a large mixing session seem smaller. I’ve taken 24 tracks and routed them into only four or five subgroups.
In addition to a few reverbs and delays I end up with a session that’s much more manageable and easier to work with. Just imagine how much easier you can make your 100 track mixing session with only a few subgroups.
Make Up Your Mind
The Beatles used four-track recorders, but their records had way more than four tracks. They made decisions on the fly and bounced them together to new tracks. What they decided was what they were stuck with.
If you’re recording a bunch of different sounds because you can’t decide on one, take a step back. Approach your production differently and decide on what sounds you want before you waste your energy on recording the same thing over and over.
Make a recording decision and stick to it. -Click to Tweet!
Streamline the production process with routing. Just get the individual levels right and then route them to one track. Routing makes the mixing process so much easier.
Controlling bass can also be a tricky issue when you’re overloaded with too many tracks. You need to make sure all those tracks really need bass, and if they don’t you can cut it out.
It’s crazy how much space you can free up in the mix by just filtering out the lower frequencies in instruments that don’t even need them in the first place.
If you’re drowning in too many tracks and can’t figure out how to make them all fit, check out this interview: How to Mix When You’ve Got 100 Tracks.
What You Can Do Today
If you can, go back to one of your busiest mixes. Open it back up and try to reduce the track count as much as possible. Group them together if you don’t want to send them to a separate group. That way you just move one fader and all of them move at once.
Logic and other DAWs let you select which parameters follow the “group setting” so if you also want to solo them all at once by only selecting one track then that’s possible as well.
But if you really want to reduce your 48 track session to 8 tracks then I seriously suggest getting familiar with subgroups.
- Decrease Drum Tracks – Route your 16 drum tracks into one subgroup to easily adjust levels at later stage of mixing
- Adjust Stereo Tracks – If your DAW doesn’t create simple stereo tracks then you can do it yourself and save some processing power.
- Vocals – Individually adjust all the vocal tracks, then group them all together and send them to the same reverb to glue the vocals together.
And more of course. Just ask yourself every time you’re struggling with too many tracks:
Can I somehow make this mixing session simpler?
Next time we’ll have our hands full with written content, video tutorials and a really cool video mix review session with an up and coming mix engineer. Lots of goodies to look forward to so I’ll see you then.
If you don’t have any big sessions with multiple tracks, I know two guys that will give you a new professional song to mix every month.
And the best part?
They even teach you their professional mixing secrets to each of those songs.
Learn some cool mixing secrets right here: