In this episode of the show I’m going to demonstrate how to use master bus compression. When used correctly, this mixing technique has the power to glue your mix together as one cohesive project. I highly recommend using this type of compression on your master bus.
How To Use Master Bus Compression
by David | 18 comments
I appreciate the reply. You confirm my expectations of how this SHOULD work, however it seems the program (Digital Performer) directs me to the sound control panel of Windows. Here I am able to choose the L-20 ZOOM board as the input device (which I have selected) and the RealTech sound card as the output (which I also have selected).
Currently I have a mic channel feeding sound into the board with levels coming in and I am able to hear the mic output via the headphone jack on the L-20. Where I am stuck is how to see these levels within the software itself.
The L-20 claims to serve as the interface between the inputs and the DAWS software. This was the primary motivation for choosing this board. I am going on the assumption the issue is merely a software setting…somehow the board is not designated as the input or there is a work screen I have not discovered where the incoming levels appear as an on-screen representation of the channels I am using.
The L-20 has 6 headphone monitor outputs which I intend to use as playback to the studio performers. I mean to be able to playback tracks to these outputs while recording others. For example, a singer can sing and be recorded to a new track while listening to the playback of say a guitar or other instrument.
I am on a 30 trial with Digital Performer as it was recommended to me by a friend has a home studio. We have an arts and cultural centre here in Jasper where I hope to establish a recording studio for students to learn the recording process as well as allow local musician to record their music.
I will investigate Reaper as you suggest. I should mention I am also attempting to use a PC tower as the computer for this purpose. It exceeds the spec requirements of the software and was provided to us for this purpose.
I am more accustomed to working with Apple (MacBook Pro) where almost everything you plug into them seems to just start working.
Again, hope this helps provide a few more details and I appreciate your help in advance,
Check the manufactures website to see if there are windows drivers for your device. In the Windows world, often software drives must be installed for hardware to been seen by the OS and used.
I am just starting out in the realm of digital audio recording setups. I have mixed live music and shows using analogue gear. In fact I have he ZED 14 as one of my smaller gig boards. I have recorded the stereo outputs to a small ZOOM HN4 recorder.
Presently I have purchased the ZOOM L-20 board as an interface for a DAWS. So far I am stumped as to how this all should work…
I am working from the point of view that the incoming mic and instrument signals can be brought into the DAWS via the ZOOM L-20 as an interface and then mixed, played back in groups or individually as well as output as a mix or as separate tracks.
Any hardware/software advice would be greatly appreciated.
So in a nuttshell, Zoom L-20 connects to your computer via the USB. Your DAW software (I use Reaper myself and highly recommend.) will then see this mixer and an audio interface allowing you to insert new tracks and assign their inputs/outputs to the corresponding tracks on the mixer.
Hi David, I have used Reaper for a few months now but am unclear what sort of bus to use for groups. The forum seems divided on the issue and there seem to be pros and cons to each type, folders, VCA’s etc. What’s the best to use and is there anything to be aware of when using it. Thanks, Chris
Hi Chris, in Reaper you can use track outputs and inputs to route any track (or tracks) to and from any track (or tracks). Folders are fine for grouping says all your drum mics into one track, this also auto groups them without having to manually configure the in/outs. However, I typically do both folders and then manually setup my in/outs for each track. This is somewhat redundant but makes it so I know exactly what is going where. Here is a post I did that talks about how I use my routing in Reaper. https://homemusicstudio1.com/how-should-my-tracks-be-routed-inside-my-daw/
Hey Dave do I use this style of compression on my band/ drum and vox busses?
Sometimes I do light compression on my drum buss, but this specific example is Master Buss only. Nothing wrong with doing compression else where just be careful not to over compress.
Nice tutorial. You can really tell the difference when A-B’ing the comps. Definitely more glue to make your mix sound cohesive with just a touch of a lift.
Hello Dave.Thanks for the confirmation that using compression on the master buss is good. I’ve been doing that for a while now.Thanks for all the helpful the vids.
I’ve used a local guy to do my mastering. He always asked me to pull the master buss compressor off the mix. Are there reasons that you can give as to why the mastering engineer would want that?
Mastering engineers often don’t trust your mixing is why. This is understandable for those who overcompress in pre production which makes a mix more difficult to master.
Hi Dave great vid as always… just a quick question when your mix is complete would you pull down the master fader so you are at 6 db? I’ve been told never pull the master fader down always leave it at 0 db is this the wrong advice and is it ok to pull down the master fader?
So what I didn’t have time to show in this video is all my typical. I actual have a mix bus before my master fader. I would actually pull this down till the master peaked at -6db to prep for mastering. Your corrected in that I don’t typically pull my master fader down. Thanks for the question!
I get your email blasts and often paid them no mind. I watched this because its something I have recently been trying with some of my mixes and I enjoyed the video. Also your in MI..Im down in Detroit YOU HAVE MY FULL SUPPORT.
Thanks, I think ;) ha ha. Glad you’ve found it helpful and appreciate the comment!
Nice video. Compression on the master bus is something I have thought about, but haven’t tried. I am going to play around with it and see how my mixes sound.
Thanks Jameul, appreciate the comment!