Full Breakdown of David Glenn’s Stereo Buss (March 2016)
Watch the Full Breakdown of David Glenn’s Stereo Buss (March 2016) from YouTube here
Full Breakdown of David Glenn’s Stereo Buss (March 2016)
Alright, so let’s take a look at the stereo
First off, you’re going to see it’s labelled,
Back when I did my Pro Tools Expert certification,
version 6, 6.4, I can’t remember what it was…
The instructor called it the Sub Master.
But it stuck with me.
But Sub Master, Mix Buss, Stereo Buss, all
the same thing.
My Sub Master, or stereo buss, is a stereo
aux track in Pro Tools.
That’s really, really important.
Stereo auxes are — the gain structure is
So if I come out here and I write automation
to the stereo buss, it’s not going to affect
the signal going into this first plug-in here.
It’s going to be post.
So it’s only volume after the processing,
which is huge if you’re using EQ and compression
on your stereo buss.
You may not want — in most cases, I’d say
you probably don’t want — that level to
change with automation.
I do a lot of automation on my 2buss for songs
that call for a bigger hook, a bigger chorus,
to explode and get louder.
I may drop my stereo buss -1 dB for the whole
song, and pull it up to -0.5 at the Prechorus,
and then explode it up back to 0 at the chorus.
I’m sure you’ll see that in this mix for The
I do it in just about anything that has a
So we’ll probably see that.
But if I was to use a master fader and plug-ins
on the master fader for that, then if I come
in here and drop -1 dB, well that’s one dB
less going into my first set of plug-ins,
and that could be bad.
It could be what you want.
So it just depends on what you’re going for,
but I like to make those moves as a whole
shifting the volume, not the gain staging,
Kind of a long winded, janky way to explain
that to you, but I hope you picked that up.
If not, feel free to e-mail me any time you
see any of the stuff.
Hit me at email@example.com with
So let’s take a look.
The first plug-in here is the Blue Cat’s Patchwork,
and this guy — what it does is I like to
layer a couple of different plug-ins and have
the option for more, depending upon the song
and what I’m working on, and Pro Tools gives
me 10 inserts, and sometimes, because I layer
these UAD plug-ins here for color, I can quickly
run out of inserts on my 2buss.
It’s a little bit crazy, but I don’t mind.
Judge me, it’s okay.
But I’m going to explain why.
The first plug-in in the chain is the Slate
Virtual Mix Buss.
I’ve used this for quite awhile, I like it.
If I bypass it, I definitely notice a difference.
It’s not some magic, huge thing that you have
to have, but if you have it, I like it, feel
free to use it.
For me, it’s the first plug-in in my chain.
Next up, sometimes I use a little bit of widening,
or stereo imaging.
So I have the Waves there.
This is off from the get go because I can’t
remember if I mentioned this in the All Busses,
but I like to do some widening at the All
Music Buss, so if I do it here, it’s very
Another 5-10%, depending upon the song.
I’ve been known to push it even harder, and
I know a lot of guys have to.
So that’s there.
It’s off, ready to go if I need it.
Next up after that, I used to use this in
Let me tell you why.
For those of you guys who have followed me
for any amount of time, you’ll know I used
to use the UAD Studer A-800 Tape.
There’s the preset.
I love this sound.
The problem that I’ve experienced in the last
few mixes was the Redimi2 record that I was
recently mixing, the low end for me, I was
beating my head against the wall trying to
get the low end to work, so I started going
through the different plug-ins in my chain,
the all busses on the tracks…
I was just trying to figure out trial and
error why can’t I get my low end to work?I
got to the 2buss, I went plug-in by plug-in,
and when I bypass the A-800, my low end was
So, the tracks that I was receiving and sending
in at 15 ips, there’s quite a bit of a bump
down at 30, 40, 50 Hz.
I don’t know.
You guys who are smarter than me can correct
me on that in the forum, but that to me was
making me have to work harder at the track
level to get a tighter bottom end.
I like tight, punchy kick drums in most of
the things that I mix, not big, boomy, lots
of low end sustaining.
I like the low end to kind of punch you in
the gut, punch you in the rear as you’re driving
down the road, and then get out of the way
so the bass can be the sustain or the extension
of the low end.
That being said, as a mouthful, the 15 ips
setting was kind of making that hard on me,
so for my personal taste and preference, what
I’m doing now is if I like the Studer, I’m
using that at the track level and just hitting
it harder and getting the character saturation
that I want for the individual tracks, as
opposed to using it in a top down format here.
So that’s there.
If I want to call upon it and test it I can,
but that’s a pretty drastic difference that
this is going to give you, so I recommend
trying that early with your rough mix, seeing
how you like it if you do or don’t, and then
turn it off, but keep in mind your low end,
especially if you’re like me and want to have
nice, tight kicks.
After the Studer, I have the UAD Pultec.
You can see there’s no EQ.
Sometimes I EQ, but that’s not why I put this
I put this here because Universal Audio did
a great job of emulating analog hardware,
and a lot of guys like to have Pultecs on
their stereo buss.
Well, for me, I like the color of this plug-in.
However, they get that plug-in color, the
hardware emulation, whatever they’re doing
behind the scenes — there’s a little bit
of a volume bump, but there’s a little bit
of warmth we’ll call it, a little bit of low
end that kind of gets jacked up a little bit.
Jacked up a little bit.
But this affects things in a nice way and
I like it, so I layer this one, and then the
modeling that they did for the LA-2A, the
grey, I like as well.
So I use those two.
There’s no compression here.
You can see the peak reduction and the gain
is set to continue the gain staging so that
things don’t get louder.
So there’s the first chain of plug-ins, and
then we’re going to move into VBC.
This one from — I want to say the first
week or so that it was launched, I’ve had
it on my 2buss.
It shapes the sound pretty drastically.
There’s going to be a little bit of a drop
in 100Hz, and there’s going to be a little
bit of a boost at 3-5kHz or somewhere up in
the upper mids, and there’s a schematic or
I think it’s on Sound on Sound or something
we’ll have to look up and give the proper
I like what’s going on behind the scenes.
Again, the character.
You can see the only thing that is happening
here is sound is passing through it for the
color, for the emulation behind the scenes,
Fabrice is a genius.
I love their work.
I use most of their plug-ins, and you can
see that that’s simply there.
There’s a 1:1 ratio on both of these so that
there’s no compression happening, and the
only thing I’ve done is backed off the gain
by 2 dB, because there’s a gain lift in this
plug-in just from having it on, so I want
to stay true to the gain staging, and I want
to hear a proper A/B if I ever go to turn
this on or off.
I don’t want to be fooled by the extra volume.
That’s the VBC.
Moving on in, now we’re going to get into
a plug-in that I like to do actual compression
This is my buss compressor, it’s my go to.
Sometimes, I’ll swap it for something else,
but for the most part, this is going to stay
at a 4/10 auto setting.
It’s actually not there because I just updated
my template and forgot to put it back, but
this is going to be a 4, 10, then auto is
what I would say 90% of the guys who are using
SSL style buss compressors are going to land
Depending upon the song, you may crank the
attack and go a little bit more aggressive,
you may feel it out and do some stuff — excuse
me, not the attack, the release.
Some guys will crank that up and test it out,
but for the most part I’m landing there, and
I like to use the side-chain filter — the
90 Hz side-chain filter is going to prevent
the low end from triggering the buss compression,
and it’s going to make it a little bit more
balanced, and that’s a good thing.
Buss compression, the Vertigo VSC-2 has been
a favorite of mine.
I’ve actually been using that up here on my
drum buss as well.
That’s just recently switched from the U—
not even the UAD.
The Waves dbx 160.
I’ve switched in and started using the Vertigo.
Then even that I’m swapping out all the time
on the drum buss, so.
Moving on from there, because the VBC has
a little bit of a dropoff at about 100Hz,
I’m going to go ahead and lift a bit at 100Hz
and then some, because I like to boost a little
low, a little bit of top.
I look at this sort of as my console, so if
my console has more bottom and more top, then
I hopefully have to do less work at the track
level to kind of get that Fletcher-Munson
curve where we get a little more lows, a little
bit of top.
It’s pleasing to our ears.
You can go Google Fletcher-Munson curve if
you’re not familiar with that.
After the boost there with Hoser on the bottom
end, I’ve got Revival.
Whatever the harmonic excitement is, or — I
have no idea.
It’s a secret sauce, apparently for Slate
and Fabrice, but Revival, I love this plug-in.
It’s a free one for those of you guys who
If you go to Slatedigital.com, as long as
you have an iLok, you get Revival for free
when you download VMR.
It doesn’t expire, it’s absolutely free, and
it’s an incredible plug-in.
I use it all of the time.
So I have this on.
You’ll see that in action when we get to the
phase where we setup our tracks, whatever
song we’re working on this month, whatever
track we’re doing, you’re going to see that
But a little bit of bottom, a little bit of
top to do it in stages a little bit at a time.
And again, there’s some other love going on
behind the scenes there.
Lift — there was a situation where I was
working with my mastering engineer, Joey Fernandez
was always kind of coming to me, “Man, there’s
always something at (I can’t remember what
frequency), hey, it’s bothering me, can you
There’s always something in this one frequency
range that you’re lacking in your mixes.”And
so, I remember throwing on Lift and boosting
that a little bit more than what this shows.
I don’t know, what are we at here.
I think it was like a 1.5 or something on
the mix that he called me out for, but nonetheless,
this is something that he liked.
I did that.
That was the only move I made, he loved it,
he was like, “There it is, done deal, let’s
print the master.”So I made that change
to my permanent template — or permanently
in my template, and it’s been there since.
So I’ll turn that on and off after the rough
mix, see if I like it, if I don’t — the
only consequence, I’ll say — there’s pros
and cons to different workflows — the only
consequence I’d say for adding so much top
to my template is if I decide to replace the
kick drum or the snare drum and I pull in
a sample that was Slate, the guys at That
Sound are my favorite drum samples, my buddy
Jordan has hardcoremixing.com I think is his
new site or heavymusicmixing.com, he changed
it, so forgive me, but his drum samples are
incredible, That Sound, tons of different
great drum sample companies out there.
Well, if they’re EQ’d with the right amount
of top and you boost top on the stereo buss,
when you push open that sample, you may be
fighting against the click in the kick a little
bit, so what I find is I just get to the kick
track, and I’ll pull back the click, and I’ll
shape the kick drum a little bit differently
at the track level as opposed to changing
this, because I look at the pros of having
the added lows and top on my 2buss as an overall
win — an overall gain.
A victory for the overall mix.
I’m okay with manipulating a little bit in
the kick drum to make sure that things fit
a little nicely together, but…
That’s the only thing I’ll say about boosting
the top is I have to shape kick drum samples
a little bit more, and just take some of the
click out, because it kind of fights against
So then our friend Trimmer here to pull back
the gain staging so that if I come here in
Pro Tools, we can hold Control and click on
the first plug-in, it will bypass all of the
plug-ins in the chain.
By doing that, I can listen to what the mix
sounds like — or my rough mix sounds like
without the added stereo buss love, and then
I can click back it in, take it out, put it
back in, back and forth and make an adjustment
if I need to, and it’s a relatively same volume.
After VMR, I go into the Ozone 7 Exciter.
I used to use Ozone 5 on the stereo buss with
the Multi-band and the EQ.
I swapped the EQ out for Hoser, and then — because
of the way that I routed into VMR, and then
I swapped the exciter for Ozone 7’s exciter
because I got rid of using the multi-band.
Personal preference after watching the way
I was using it.
I was compressing really hard against the
kind of 110, 120 to 500-600 range, which helped
me get louder mixes probably a little bit
easier, but I finally got sick of fighting
I love a really chunky snare, and if you’re
compressing 4-5 dB against the low mids, it
can be kind of difficult.
You’re pushing way more in that snare, and
you end up fighting against the limiter, and
it just wasn’t working out.
Long term, I’ve done a ton of mixes I felt
like sounded great.
I was happy with that in, I decided to ditch
it, and it’s just a different season.
So this is the tape saturation that is in
from Ozone 7, and then these extra couple
of plug-in inserts I’ll use for EQ matching.
If you’re not familiar with EQ matching, it’s
We’re going to see a video in that in whatever
mix I do, because I do it in just about everything.
Sometimes, I’ll use the EQ match process to
reverse engineer what the EQ analyzer shows
me, and I’ll go back.
Maybe it shows that when I reference, it’ll
take a snapshot of the frequency range from
a reference track.
If it shows that I’m way off on the low end
with a kick or the bass, or what have you,
then I may ditch that EQ match, go back to
the kick and bass, and work on it again from
there, or it may be a subtle change in the
mid-range or something that impacts the track
nicely, and I may dig it, I may live with
it and keep it.
But you’ll see that in action in the mix as
we get going through the track.
So more on that to come.
Now let me break over — I do — let me
show you the limiter I use.
The AOM Invisible Limiter.
I switched from using the Ozone 6 limiter
I haven’t tried the Ozone 7, but I love this
AOM Invisible Limiter.
It sounds great.
You’ve got the oversampling.
Crank that to 16x whenever you print.
It’s got suppress, clip, and through.
Clip is cool.
Some heavy rock stuff, I use clip.
Suppress is awesome.
The only other thing I do sometimes to make
a creative decision to do is clipping with
It just depends on who I’m mastering with
or what I’m doing there, but I use the IK
Multimedia Classic Clipper.
I’ll show you that.
This guy right here.
And I’ll go for half a dB, maybe a dB. dB
and a half, just depends on what sounds good.
If it sounds good it’s good, but we’ll take
I don’t know that we’ll be doing that in this
mix, but tons of applications where that can
be really cool.
Moving on from the actual stereo buss processing,
I’ve got my master fader here with some handy
The first one is — I’ve recently fallen
in love with Sample Magic A/B version two.
Version one was great, but there were some
things that kind of made it difficult for
me, and you may have seen in a previous video
here in the Mix Prep series that I have a
“refs” track at the top of my session.
The top of my session, that’s going to be
for the rough mix.
I’ll pull in industry references.
Whatever I feel like for the particular song
that we’re doing.
First off at the Pro Mix Academy is going
to be an Imagine Dragons track, maybe an Everclear
song or something else.
I’ll pull those in up there.
Well, as of late, I’ve been using this guy.
Sample Magic A/B version two.
I think it was like, a $30 upgrade from version
one, and you’ve got latch and you’ve got sync.
So I can pull in the rough mix, go find it
in my hard drive, pull it in, and as long
as I set it to the same starting point as
the session and sync it, I can click here
and go between A will be my mix — excuse
me, and then B will be the rough mix.
I can click back and forth, I can level match
them — excuse me again, and I can level
match, listen to mine, listen to theirs, and
make a good comparison there.
Then I can have industry tracks mixed by records
that I love, mixes by Tony Maserati, CLA,
in this case, Warren Huart…
Any of those guys that I respect their work,
I’ll pull them in, listen…
Warren has got me listening to Train, Hey
He loves Mark Endert and that vocal.
So I’ve got that in as a reference, but anyways.
There’s Magic A/B. Really, really cool tool.
Kind of blowing through this pretty quick
for you guys.
Again, if you have any questions, feel free
to hit me in the Facebook group or e-mail
If we scroll back down, we’ll take a look.
I want to show you guys my Audreio.
I just recently picked this up.
This is a — I think it was like, a $20 or
$30 app, and very straight forward.
What this does is you make it active, and
you have your iPhone or your iPad, or your
You download the app and it will find your
device if you’re on the same internet connection
or BlueTooth, or whatever.
I think it’s WiFi.
It will stream whenever you turn that on to
So you can check your mix on your phone.
I have an iPad Pro that I don’t recommend
anybody go get.
It’s a very expensive Netflix device, or in
my case, reference speakers.
The speakers on it are incredible, so if you
want an iPad with better speakers, by all
means, go spend the money on it.
But anyways, so you can reference your mixes
to your mobile devices with this guy.
Again, it’s — let me click real close so
you can see.
Go to Google, search Audreio, you will find
that, and that’s a great tool.
Next up is a version of Pro-Q2 here.
This could be — it’s on a separate screen.
Let me pull that over.
This could be any EQ for you, I just love
the Pro-Q2, so that’s my go-to.
Pretty much, I have a high-pass and a low
You’ll see me do this in the mix process.
I will take and listen to — I’ll turn this
guy on and I’ll listen to what’s happening
I just want to feel, are my subs shaking the
way that my reference track is shaking?
I’ll listen and then I’ll kind of open this
up a little bit.
5Hz at a time.
Go to 30, 35Hz.
Check out mine, check out theirs.
I’ll go up to about 50.
I’ll check mine, check theirs.
70, 100, etcetera.
Once I’m happy with my low end, this is really
going to reveal to you guys.
If you haven’t seen this, I hope this helps
you a ton, because I get more e-mails and
more compliments about this process, especially
from us home studio guys, than anything else.
So 100 Hz and below, I’m going to get my bass
I’m going to get my kick right.
If I don’t feel my kick punching as much as
I feel industry tracks, then I know I’ve got
some work to do.
If I don’t feel the sustain in the subs and
the bass the way that I feel it in the reference
mixes, I’ve got some work to do.
Once I get the low end right, I like to kind
of move this up.
150-200, and then I like to activate the high
pass filter, the low cut.
I’ll pull that up around 100.
Now, I can reference the low mids, and I can
work my way up from there, etcetera.
So once I get to about 1kHz or so, then I’ll
kind of slide that up and check up here and
work my way through the top end.
So that’s my personal way of using it.
You may prefer to do other frequency ranges.
You may prefer — maybe you want to leave
Maybe you want the whole thing and you keep
the bottom end there.
But I like to work the bottom end that would
be the equivalent of turning your mains off
and only listening to the sub, or once you
get to 100Hz, it would be the equivalent of
turning the sub off and only listening to
So I like to do that.
I find that it helps me a ton when I reference,
and you will learn more about the reference
tracks, how much low end, or low mids, or
mid is in the vocal, how much top end if you
reference yours and you click over to theirs,
and if you hear that yours is piercing in
3-5kHz, guess what.
You’ve got some work to do in 3-5kHz.
Now, it’s not a perfect science, because different
tracks, different singers, different artists,
All of that kind of stuff, but it’s definitely
going to be something that I think will help
you a ton.
My metering is iZotope Insight.
I like to use this.
I used to — Young and dumb — would be
aiming for a specific LUFS.
Now, I like to just mix the record, and whatever
I end up feeling that out at, whatever sounds
good to me, then I like to for big projects,
I like to kind of gauge that and aim for a
close LUFS, or RMS for you guys using the
RMS system — keep an eye on that for a project
and keep close.
I’m happy with -8, -9, -10.
I’m not happy with anything that pushes the
crap out of it too much further than that,
and I’ve actually noticed lately I’m doing
things to different tracks and different busses
to get volume out of them as opposed to volume
out of the entire mix, if that makes any sense.
Doing things a little bit differently.
Being a little more conservative with that,
and the final plug-in, I think I’ve already
talked about this, but it’s Sonar Works.
This is the only plug-in that if someone’s
starting out working in a home studio, I say,
“Man, go buy this plug-in.”This is a must
In my opinion, my perspective, my way of working,
this is a must have.
Yes, I’m weird, and I like to work on headphones.
It kind of came from necessity, but I also
grew up listening to music on headphones.
Kind of that generation of the iPod/Sony Walkman
transition to the iPod and all of that.
So long story short, I like headphones and
I find that this could be — even if you
have a great room, you think you have a perfect
room — there’s no perfect room — but even
if you think you have the best room and the
best setup, and the cloud, and the reflections
are covered, and everything’s great, you’ve
got your bass traps that you’ve spends thousands
of dollars in your room treating it…
Go check out the free trial of Sonar Works
and see what this does for you.
They’ve got a whole list of headphones that
work with their plug-in, and this is just
It was life changing for my mixing.
The very last thing that I’ll say about it,
just in case you haven’t heard of it, the
green line is — let me zoom in.
The green line here is the corrective curve,
you can see.
The blue, the natural curve of these headphones,
the frequency response…
I wasn’t hearing anything around 30, 40, 50Hz,
and I definitely wasn’t hearing it accurately.
So you can hear from 70Hz and below, there’s
a pretty steep increase, and what that increase
is there for is to flatten the response of
So now, when I go to boost 30, 50Hz in the
bass or a kick drum, I know when I start to
hear it and feel it well, that’s accurate,
or at least closer to accurate than what my
room would have given me.
Then whenever you see the low mids, you can
see there’s a pretty decent boost naturally.
2-3 dB or so in the low mids of these cans,
and there’s a corrective curve to help pull
some of that out and get a flatter response.
A more balanced tone from these guys.
So it’s getting late.
I’m a little bit tired, so forgive the rabbit
trail, but you can see what that’s doing.
Go look up Sonarworks.com, check these guys
They’re doing incredible things, and they
have a lot more coming.
So there it is!
Lastly, very very last thing, you will notice
in the videos, my Master Fader sometimes at
-5, sometimes at -10, that is only because
I don’t want the output clipping Screenflow,
the recording app that I use to do the screen
recording, and that is it.
There is no logical reason or method for the
audio — for the Master Fader volume there.
It is just because of the video recording.
So that was a mouthful.
I hope you guys dig that.
I hope there’s some cool things to learn in
there for you.
Please feel free again to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org,
go check out…
About The Pro Audio Files
Tutorials on mixing, mastering and producing music in Pro Tools with plugins from Waves, FabFilter, SoundToys, Softube, Sonnox, PSP, Slate Digital and more. Learn how to mix using EQ, compression and effects like reverb, delay, saturation and distortion on vocals, drums, guitar, bass and more.
Full Breakdown of David Glenn’s Stereo Buss (March 2016)
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