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How To Use Groups Effectively While Still Processing Individual Tracks

Just got a question from Chris who’s currently taking the Mixing With 5 Plug-ins course.

He needed some clarification on bussing and grouping so I thought I’d share my answer with you.

Here’s what he asked:

Hi Bjorgvin, could you explain how the group busses work in Logic please, do you only hear tracks through the group bus once you’ve bussed tracks to them and can you still adjust settings on individual tracks. I’m using Reaper which seems to have a number of options for grouping each with problems it seems so I am trying to work out which option to use that is hopefully equivalent to your bussing method in order to practice as you are teaching. Regards, Chris

Excellent question Chris. Let’s break it down.

Do You Only Hear Tracks Through the Group Bus?

Yes, if you do it correctly. If you’re sending the output of the individual tracks to a group bus you will only be hearing the tracks through the group.

That means that if you mute the group you’ll mute all the tracks, but if you only mute one of the tracks in the group the rest of the tracks will still play. This is useful if you’re trying to create separation between the instruments in the group and you’re trying to find which instruments are clashing with each other.

However, if you’re sending the tracks to a group bus via a send, you’ll still hear the individual tracks separately because their output is still going to the master bus. So make sure you route the output of the individual tracks to the group if you want to have easy control over them.

Can You Still Adjust Settings on Individual Tracks?

Of course. Think of the group processing as the glue that holds them together and makes them stand out as a complete element of your mix.

But sometimes, you might want to bring out (or change) one of the tracks without giving that processing to the entire group.

For instance, say you have a drum group that has EQ, compression, and saturation to glue all of the drum tracks together (something I show you how to do in the Drum Mix Toolkit), but the kick drum sounds flabby. To fix it you decide to add a transient designer or drum replacement plug-in to energize the kick drum.

You would never put the drum replacement plug-in on the drum group, but rather insert it on the kick drum track. Then, that new sampled kick will get routed to the drum group for group processing glue. At this point, you might want to tweak the group processing for the new kick drum.

Adapting to Your DAW

When bussing your tracks together into groups, this is the method I recommend and the one I use during the Mixing With 5 Plug-ins course. Regardless of what DAW you use, you should be able to route your tracks the same way. Consult your manual for the minor details around each DAW.

I hope that answer helped Chris and you understand the thought process of simplifying your mix.  I love answering these types of questions for the audience, but I realize that you can only get so much info from a block of text.

Sometimes you want hands-on coaching to help you get exactly what you need. You can obviously take a course like Mixing With 5 Plug-ins, but it’s not as customized to your needs as personalized advice that helps you handle your specific audio problems.

Last week, I showed you what you can learn from working with me and the response has been great.

If you think you’re interested in getting customized coaching to take your productions to the next level, just hit reply and let me know you’re interested and I’ll send you the application details.

I’m closing down the application process at the end of this week to focus on new students, so if you’re interested please contact me before then.



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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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