[Ardour-Users] bus strain on computer resources

Al Thompson althompson58 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 12 13:46:43 PST 2012

Think of channel "groups" NOT as mix busses, but more like the "groups"
on an analog console, where you assign a group of channels to a "mix
group" once you have relative levels correct, and then changing the
level on any fader in that group changes them all, and keeps the
relative levels the same.  It's a slick way to do it, and was created
decades ago (when quality VCAs became available) so you didn't have to
submix things to keep their relative levels intact (since submixing on
an analog console adds noise).

As for needing separate buses so you can solo at every different point
in the processing chain, I think you are being overly ambitious.  On
just about any analog console, you have a "solo" button.  On some
consoles, you can change it from "pre-fade" to "post-fade," but that is
really just a nicety that is rarely used.  The most common place to solo
is a post-fade solo, so you can hear the signal with EQ and inserted
effects, so you can adjust those.  By the time you have even half of
your mix built, you should only be tweaking effects parameters and EQ,
so it doesn't really matter what it sounds like pre-EQ/pre-effects.  You
can meter pre-fade, so that's not a concern either, even though input
levels should have been set as the very first step in the process.  If
you're mixing "from tape" (HD), the levels will be identical every time
through, so there should never be any pre-fade/pre-EQ surprises.

As for the parallel busses where one is EQ'd, and the other is not, if
you find yourself needing to add a non-EQ'd straight signal, then I
would suggest you simply need to reduce the amount of boost/cut you are
using on your EQ, because effectively, all you are doing is negating a
portion of the EQ's influence on the signal.

About putting two busses in parallel with different compressors on each,
you could more easily accomplish the same thing by putting to
compressors in series with the channel strip.

Spreading everything out over multiple busses merely makes the entire
process unnecessarily confusing, and increases the complexity of the act
of mixing.

Instead of thinking "what possible signal paths can I patch in this
digital thing, THINK ANALOG.  You'll find that it will speed the process
up tenfold, and reduce the complexity 90%, while accomplishing the same

On 12/12/2012 04:01 PM, will cunningham wrote:
> You've answered my question; thank you.  I didn't mean to start a
> thing about bus usage in the recording process, but here is what I'm
> doing for your curiosity:
> First, I have no background in the major proprietary DAWS.  I've used
> Ecasound and Audacity for a decade, and my only point of reference is
> from old school analog live and studio mixing standards; therefore, I
> could easily be missing something fundamental.
> I'm excited that I CAN do what I mapped out to try, whether it's the
> best way to do it or not.  Ardour has shown itself to be more flexible
> than I once thought it to be; it's wonderful when you can take an open
> source app and not say 'what can it do,' but instead I can answer yes
> to 'can it do this.' I'm happy-:)
> I don't know if I'd end up with three busses per track, and it would
> depend on finding other features in Ardour I haven't yet, or the
> decisions of the the musicians/engineers I'm setting this up for.  I
> know my general idea of this adopting of the analog methods my peops
> use to digital is cherry because I started it with one of the top
> engineers here in Austin and he took my plan, found a boutique
> proprietary app that had all the features I was poking at in open
> source, and moved his entire live set-up from analog to digital.  He
> is getting raves from everyone for his clean sound in live mixing
> after the move.
> The busses are not so much for effects, except as mentioned here and
> in the docs when you want to apply an effect to a group of tracks
> efficiently.  The busses are for fading groups of tracks that may get
> piped into something else before the resulting group track is mixed
> into the stereo main, and monitoring the sound at different points in
> its path in the booth(seperate from the final out).
> As in a live mixing board, you have the sound come in through a
> pre-amp that you can listen at that point; then you can listen to it
> pre-fade,  post-fade, if it's grouped you can listen to the group
> pre-fade or post fade, and you can listen to any set of tracks solo or
> muted without affecting what goes on with the track.
> When I tried this without buses, Muting a track stops data from coming
> in a track, and the pre-fade buttons seem to be more for adding
> effects at that point in the chain then listening to them at that
> point.
> Also, what is called grouping tracks in Ardour is a group of tracks
> where the source level for each is raised and lowered where to change
> the level of one track you have to ungroup it until you've changed it
> and then regroup it, as opposed to the classic model where the group
> has it's own fader, so classic groups in Ardour are a set of tracks
> mixed to another track.  So if you have say four mics on a drum and
> you create busses to listen to all the pre, post-fade, pre effects,
> post effects etc it COULD add up.  Note here that I could be missing
> some REALLY basic things as it took a while for me to sort through
> this kind of nomenclature between what I'm familiar with and what you
> all seem to take for granted.  Also, I'm doing this incrementally, and
> will depend on the whining of my endusers, so they might not demand
> all this.
> Regardless, the doc of how this works will be on the web and I'll send
> a link when I know it works for my peops and you can tell me what a
> pathetic job I've done at missing obvious ways to do this any of you
> DAW experts know, and I'll change it.  It just has to be transparent
> to my enduser who will be mixing from a midi mixing console-:)
> I'm just happy I FINALLY have the full design working, and it'll work
> on a fairly standard computer I can set up for my peops.
> thanks again,
> Will
> On 12/12/12, Jörn Nettingsmeier <nettings at stackingdwarves.net> wrote:
>> On 12/12/2012 08:00 PM, Paul Davis wrote:
>>> 3 busses (or even 4) for 1 track ... this i can fathom
>>> but 3 busses per track ... this i cannot ..
>> well, it's one way of working, but certainly not the most efficient one.
>> for instance, the standard way of applying reverb is to create a global
>> reverb bus and feed it via post fader auxes, rather than plugging a
>> reverb into every single channel. people usually do that because they
>> can, but i don't find much to enjoy in mixes with five different rooms
>> for five different instruments.
>> parallel compression currently requires a double-bus hack with most
>> implementations (i know sampo has great-sounding one in the pipeline
>> that doesn't need it, but i think has been suffering from
>> real-life-related release slippage for several years now). but you could
>> also add a pre-compressor send to the next upstream bus if you want to
>> conserve screen space.
>> i doubt that "parallel eqing" as a technique makes sense. if this way of
>> working inspires you (i can see how the two faders provide a very direct
>> means of shaping the sound) _and_ you find musical use for the heavy
>> coloration that results from combining a zero phase signal path with a
>> non-linear phase one (the eq), then fine, but this is a rather
>> idiosyncratic way of working, and the results won't be entirely
>> predictable. i would venture than most engineers wouldn't be happy with
>> such an arrangement.
>> anyway, the great thing about ardour (and open source tools in general)
>> is that you can experiment with workflows that most people consider
>> quite weird, if you find that it works well for you.

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