Recording - June 2016 - 13

7

or a live echo chamber. A Subgroup is a
special bus that, in addition to its own output, can become an input to the main mix
bus. Subgroups are typically used for
sources that work together in the main mix,
such as background vocals. See Figure 7.
In an analog studio, bus outputs are
either hard-wired to their usual destinations
or, for more flexibility, to a patchbay. In a
DAW, you create buses with a few mouse
clicks, as you need them. They serve the
same function as physical buses and work
in the same way, except that the signal
never leaves the computer. DAW buses can

have plug-ins, so if you want to add reverb
to your drums, assign them to a bus and
drop in a reverb plug-in. But if you need to
get to the outside world, for example to
send a mix to a headphone amplifier, you'll
need to create a place to plug in the
'phones by assigning the bus outputs to
physical outputs on your interface.
One thing that helped me to understand
buses in a DAW is that there really isn't
much difference between a bus and a
track-you can think of a bus as a track that
takes its input from other tracks, but doesn't
get recorded. And like a track, its output
can be routed almost anywhere-to the
DAW mixer's main bus if it's an effect bus,
or to a physical output of your audio interface if it's an auxiliary monitor bus. How to
do it is different in just about every DAW.
Break out the manual.

recorder while tracking the basics. When filling out the mix, you'll find more creative
possibilities inside the DAW, and your mixer
becomes little more than a monitor volume
control, but even that's handy.
One way to get the feel of working with
a hybrid system, in case you've never used
your interface's built-in mixer (they're becoming more common), is to put it to work when
tracking. The monitor mixer's user interface
tends to be less cluttered than the general
DAW mixer, usually providing tabs to select
the mixing controls for each individual output. This helps me to think like a recording
engineer rather than a computer operator. In
addition, it's not necessary to fuss with buffer
settings in order to get acceptably low input
monitor latency. You could even drag the
interface's mixer window to a second monitor and pretend it's a console.

The hybrid approach
For projects that are built around loops,
beats, and samples, there's no better tool
than a DAW. But when it comes to recording players live in the studio, without a powerful DAW system, the tracking and mixing
workflow can sometimes bog you down. A
hardware mixing console, even a modestly
sized one, can speed up tracking because
everything you need for the task is right in
front of you. Plug in your mics, set up your
monitor mixes, and use your computer as a

The wrap
If you find yourself too often thinking,
"There must be a button on here somewhere
that does this," try the old-school way. It has
helped me a lot, and perhaps it will help
you, too. Give it a try... whether it's with real
hardware or just in your mind.
Mike Rivers (rivers@recordingmag.com) is a
studio and live sound engineer, gear design
guru, and educator. Learn more (lots more!)
at mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com.


http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com http://www.primacoustic.com http://www.primacoustic.com/hearthedifference

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - June 2016

Contents
Recording - June 2016 - Cover1
Recording - June 2016 - Cover2
Recording - June 2016 - 1
Recording - June 2016 - 2
Recording - June 2016 - 3
Recording - June 2016 - 4
Recording - June 2016 - 5
Recording - June 2016 - Contents
Recording - June 2016 - 7
Recording - June 2016 - 8
Recording - June 2016 - 9
Recording - June 2016 - 10
Recording - June 2016 - 11
Recording - June 2016 - 12
Recording - June 2016 - 13
Recording - June 2016 - 14
Recording - June 2016 - 15
Recording - June 2016 - 16
Recording - June 2016 - 17
Recording - June 2016 - 18
Recording - June 2016 - 19
Recording - June 2016 - 20
Recording - June 2016 - 21
Recording - June 2016 - 22
Recording - June 2016 - 23
Recording - June 2016 - 24
Recording - June 2016 - 25
Recording - June 2016 - 26
Recording - June 2016 - 27
Recording - June 2016 - 28
Recording - June 2016 - 29
Recording - June 2016 - 30
Recording - June 2016 - 31
Recording - June 2016 - 32
Recording - June 2016 - 33
Recording - June 2016 - 34
Recording - June 2016 - 35
Recording - June 2016 - 36
Recording - June 2016 - 37
Recording - June 2016 - 38
Recording - June 2016 - 39
Recording - June 2016 - 40
Recording - June 2016 - 41
Recording - June 2016 - 42
Recording - June 2016 - 43
Recording - June 2016 - 44
Recording - June 2016 - 45
Recording - June 2016 - 46
Recording - June 2016 - 47
Recording - June 2016 - 48
Recording - June 2016 - 49
Recording - June 2016 - 50
Recording - June 2016 - 51
Recording - June 2016 - 52
Recording - June 2016 - 53
Recording - June 2016 - 54
Recording - June 2016 - 55
Recording - June 2016 - 56
Recording - June 2016 - 57
Recording - June 2016 - 58
Recording - June 2016 - 59
Recording - June 2016 - 60
Recording - June 2016 - 61
Recording - June 2016 - 62
Recording - June 2016 - 63
Recording - June 2016 - 64
Recording - June 2016 - 65
Recording - June 2016 - 66
Recording - June 2016 - 67
Recording - June 2016 - 68
Recording - June 2016 - 69
Recording - June 2016 - 70
Recording - June 2016 - 71
Recording - June 2016 - 72
Recording - June 2016 - Cover3
Recording - June 2016 - Cover4
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