limiting busses in rock music - digital

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FNM
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limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by FNM » Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:13 pm

Do you guys tend to limit instrument or vocal busses, like really give 'em a good bit of squash with the 'ole L2 (voxengo elephant or TBbarricade in my case)? I rarely ever do until I hear someone talk about it and then I'll try it, the idea just never comes to me naturally. I don't really have the setup for THAT critical of listening, so it can feel like I'm making things louder and then mixing them back down (and can be a pain to A/B in that regard), but I listened to an old mix I tried it on (everything but guitars I think) and it had a really cohesive quality to it. Of course I'll try to experiment with it on my own further, but just wondering if that's like a thing that people do more than I think. I've been always so focused on compression (which I would still use in this case) with limiters always just being a mix-buss faux-mastering thing, maybe I've been missing out.

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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:10 pm

I pretty much never do it. The few times I've tried it I didn't like the results. Veeeeeeery occasionally it's useful if say, the drummer's kick is just all over the place dynamically.

But in general, nah.

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losthighway
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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by losthighway » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:24 pm

I might set up a bus as parallel compression that sits next to some more dynamic versions of those same drum tracks.

Closer to your question: I think group compression has its role. If you had some big choral sections with a lot of voice layers, it might make sense to put a stereo compressor over those voices as a 'section', that might hit a shared stereo reverb next. I doubt that would be a limiter for me though, more likely some moderate compression. In a digital platform a bus is an efficient way to do that work, either by strapping a plugin across the bus, or sending it out together to a hardware comp.

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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by digitaldrummer » Mon Jan 11, 2021 5:43 pm

losthighway wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:24 pm
I think group compression has its role. If you had some big choral sections with a lot of voice layers,
I'll sometimes do that with harmonies/background vocals just to conserve plugin power, but I don't limit. just compression, EQ, sends, the normal stuff. typically the only limiter would be on the master. only once in a while would I use limiter mode on a plugin (or an actual limiter) on a track or bus - it has to be way crazy with dynamics (that are not wanted). but if its needed, it's needed
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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by Magnetic Services » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:37 pm

I'd say limit it to two buses max - one for the band and one for the crew. Any more than that is just extra pollution!

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by Nick Sevilla » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:29 am

The craziest compression thing I ever did was:

Route drumkit to a limiter.
Route all backing vocals to a different limiter.
Route all electric guitars to a different limiter.
Route the entire mix to yet another limiter.

That said, each limiter was doing only a LITTLE BIT of limiting. Not ever mass quantities of processing.

This enabled me to basically deliver a "mastered" mix, that could not be rtuly mastered much more, as far as EQ and level.

It is not what I normally do, but what the client wanted. Got the mixes to 99% of the final result like this. It took far more work mixing, because I had to keep all these limiters in mind.

Result? They hated the mastered versions, and ended up using my mixes instead. They choose a shitty ME, who was a moron. Their words not mine, and I do not recall who it is.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:44 am

But it wasn't me. :D

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Studiodawg
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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by Studiodawg » Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:50 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:29 am
Route drumkit to a limiter.
Route all backing vocals to a different limiter.
Route all electric guitars to a different limiter.
Route the entire mix to yet another limiter.
This can be accomplished quite easily in Harrison Mixbus.

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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by Nick Sevilla » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:10 pm

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:44 am
But it wasn't me. :D
Nope, you did not need all that to sound great. ;)
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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A.David.MacKinnon
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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:44 pm

Compression yes. Limiting almost never.

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losthighway
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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by losthighway » Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:03 pm

Studiodawg wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:50 am
Nick Sevilla wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:29 am
Route drumkit to a limiter.
Route all backing vocals to a different limiter.
Route all electric guitars to a different limiter.
Route the entire mix to yet another limiter.
This can be accomplished quite easily in Harrison Mixbus.
In a DAW I'll put any tracks that I might want to turn up or down together in a group on their own bus. Guitar bus. Drum overheads bus. Vocals bus. If I wanted to process this way, it would be quick. Don't think I'll be throwing a bunch of limiters on those buses though ;-)

Now someone explain to me why my buses are a bad idea. Seriously, I wonder sometimes- it's been my workflow for many years, but I like to be open minded.

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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:28 pm

losthighway wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:03 pm

In a DAW I'll put any tracks that I might want to turn up or down together in a group on their own bus. Guitar bus. Drum overheads bus. Vocals bus. If I wanted to process this way, it would be quick. Don't think I'll be throwing a bunch of limiters on those buses though ;-)

Now someone explain to me why my buses are a bad idea. Seriously, I wonder sometimes- it's been my workflow for many years, but I like to be open minded.

No harm there. You must have spent time doing live sound in the pre-digital era. It seemed to be standard practice there.

I do it quite often on projects with a gazillion tracks. It lets you do automation on say 2 of the 35 guitar tracks and then gives you global control over turning them all up or down. You can also put all the sub mixes on the same area of screen and then focus on mixing without having to scroll back and forth searching for tracks. It's a must on any project with more tracks than screen real estate.

On a regular mix with a sane track count I usually only have a drum group going and handle other elements by grouping tracks.

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losthighway
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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by losthighway » Tue Jan 12, 2021 8:04 pm

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:28 pm

No harm there. You must have spent time doing live sound in the pre-digital era. It seemed to be standard practice there.
Not really, I'm just weird. I think it's a visual thing and maybe particular to my software. I can always see a row of buses, but have to scroll to see individual tracks. I like being a conductor that can just make all the guitars a little quieter, or the toms a little louder without searching.

FNM
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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by FNM » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:40 am

Nick Sevilla wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:29 am
The craziest compression thing I ever did was:

Route drumkit to a limiter.
Route all backing vocals to a different limiter.
Route all electric guitars to a different limiter.
Route the entire mix to yet another limiter.

That said, each limiter was doing only a LITTLE BIT of limiting. Not ever mass quantities of processing.

This enabled me to basically deliver a "mastered" mix, that could not be rtuly mastered much more, as far as EQ and level.

It is not what I normally do, but what the client wanted. Got the mixes to 99% of the final result like this. It took far more work mixing, because I had to keep all these limiters in mind.

Result? They hated the mastered versions, and ended up using my mixes instead. They choose a shitty ME, who was a moron. Their words not mine, and I do not recall who it is.
This is pretty much exactly what I'm talking about. The mix I did it on ended up really good in a different way, I'm just not sure if that's the reason. Ocassionally, when I'm going through a youtube phase I feel like I'll hear one of the pros talk about doing this, but I dunno maybe I made it up. I suspect some of those guys just need to be sending out mixes with that brickwall kick/snare squash in order to make their clients happy. I tried it again tonight and really liked it on the vocal bus and the bass. I spent some time with drums and I ended up preferring a nice parallel compression, but I could see it working on a different song. This isn't getting mastered so I mixed with a limiter on the bus too.

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Nick Sevilla
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Re: limiting busses in rock music - digital

Post by Nick Sevilla » Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:35 am

FNM wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:40 am
...
I suspect some of those guys just need to be sending out mixes with that brickwall kick/snare squash in order to make their clients happy.
...
Yes, very much this is the case.

I remember Metallica's awful "Death Magnetic".

What a POS sounding POS.

Thankfully, that really began the end of the Eternal Squash.
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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