Vegas Buss Mixing Tutorial!

stakeoutstudios wrote on 4/12/2002, 3:46 PM
Based on some of the confusion people seem to have recording and mixing with vegas,
I've put together the way I would go about it from start to finish. This may not work for everyone, but I find this makes Vegas really quick for mixing big multitrack projects!

The plugins used means that a very fast CPU Athlon XP 1700+ and upwards is required,
for slower CPU's, you'll have to substitute alternate plugins!

This is based on a rock band with the following instruments:


Microphone / positioning rough guide. (Change microphones according to taste!)
-------------------------------------

Each instrument has a sub listing of what is miked up.

Drums -
Kick (AKG D12E / D112)
inside drum, not too close to the skin that gets hit.


Over Snare (Shure Beta 58 (sounds better than Beta 57 for some reason))
Angle from edge of snare pointing towards centre. Nice and close.


Under Snare (Shure SM57),
Close as possible, pointed at snare wire (try clamping the mic to the snare drum stand!)

Hi-Hat
Quite Close, above hats. NOT THE SIDE, avoid air blasts! C1000 / C451
Try and get the drummer to keep the hi-hat's quite high up, to avoid spill onto the snare mic.


Left Overhead (RODE NTK), Right Overhead (RODE NTK)
Spaced overheads. About 1 meter above. The off-axis frequency response of
really good condenser mics can sound horrible. Places with low celings can sound
horrible due to reflections into the back of the microphone.
This can result also in a muddy stereo image. Try taping pillows directly above
the back of the microphone, or even better, acoustic foam.


1st tom (Shure SM57 or C451), 2nd tom (same), 3rd tom, (mic with good low freq. response). Microphones close, point directly at the edge of the skin if poss, to avoid spill.


Bass - good bass guitar, and nice sounding cab.

DI'd signal - try find one not too noisy. Behringer surprisingly good.
Mic'd cabinet - RODE NTK - center speaker.


Guitar 1 rhythm - good guitar setup... example PRS or ESP - 4x12" cabinet Marshall, with Peavey 5150 head -

Mic up one speak centre cone very close. RODE NTK / good condenser.

Mic up another speaker, edge of cone AKG C3000 / 414.


Guitar 2 lead - Similar setup, DIFFERENT GUITAR at least.


Lead Vocals - Again, watch reflections into back of microphone.
put pillow / mattress / acoustic foam on the wall behind the microphone.
Not too close so that it sounds unnatural.


--------------------------------
The Sonic Foundry Vegas Setup
--------------------------------

Multi-input soundcard such as M-audio Delta 1010
Quick computer. Up to date / good drivers etc.

8 buss mixer / preamp outputs feeding the Delta 1010.

---------
Plugins
---------

Waves Native Gold 3.2
Sonic Timeworks Milennium Bundle
Cakewalk FX2 FX3
Native Vegas Plugins
PSP Stereo Pack (and VST adapter to make them work)
TC Native Reverb

---------
Project
---------

Start a new vegas project.

Close the video preview pane which we won't touch. Make sure the buss mixer is visible.

Change the properties: Project tempo, and depending on computer speed,
record 24bit 44.1 or whatever.

--------
Busses
--------

Create BUSS A, name it overheads.
plugins: Waves Renaissance Compressor, Sonic Foundry Track EQ x 2
(for 6 bands fully parametric)

Create BUSS B, name it Kick
plugins: Waves Renaissance Compressor, Sonic Foundry track EQ x 2 ,Timeworks Mastering Compressor, Waves Maxxbass.Create BUSS C, name it Snare
Plugins: Waves Renaissance Compressor, Sonic Foundry Track EQ x 2

Create BUSS D, name it Toms
Plugins: Sonic Foundry Track Gate, Track EQ x 2

Create BUSS E, name it Bass
Plugins: Sonic Foundry Track EQ x2, Waves Renaissance Compressor, PSP Pseudo Stereo, Waves Maxxbass.

Create BUSS F, name it Dist. 1 (Distorted guitar 1)
Plugins: Sonic Foundry Track EQ x 2

Create BUSS G, name it Dist. 2 (Distorted guitar 2)
Plugins: Sonic Foundry Track EQ x 2

Create BUSS H, name it Clean (Clean Guitars)
Plugins: Sonic Foundry Track EQ x 2, Waves Renaissance Compressor.

Create BUSS I, name it vocals
Plugins: Sonic Foundry Track EQ, Waves Renaissance Compressor

Create Buss J, Name it Reverb
Plugins: TC Native Reverb, Sonic Foundry Track EQ

Create Buss K, Name it Delay
Plugins: Sonic Timeworks Delay 6022

Record the drums on tracks one to eight.
Submixing the toms to inputs 7+8 on the delta 1010

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Tracks: label everything! Most the time leave track faders untouched.
Apart from a few cases, i.e balancing Over and Under snare mic levels.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

drums - record the drums to a metronome,
so looping and editing is easy in beats + bars mode of Vegas.

Track 1 - Kick. Route to BUSS B
Track 2 - Over Snare. Route to BUSS C
Track 3 - Under Snare. (phase inverted) ROUTE TO BUSS C
Track 4 - Hi-hat. Route to BUSS A, and mute it - probably won't be needed.
Track 5 - Left Overhead. Route to BUSS A, pan left.
Track 6 - Right Overhead. Route to BUSS A, pan right.
Track 7 - Left Toms. Pan Left, Route to BUSS D
Track 8 - Right Toms. Pan Right, ROUTE to BUSS D

bass

Track 9 - Bass guitar DI, route to BUSS E
Track 10 - Bass Guitar Microphone, route to BUSS E

distorted guitar - double track the same parts! If a lead part is there,
try putting down the middle to fit it in. Use PSP Pseudo Stereo or another
stereo width plugin if needed.

Track 11 - dist. guitar 1 L, pan left, route to BUSS G
Track 12 - dist. guitar 1 R, pan left, route to Buss G
Track 13 - dist. guitar 2 M, pan central, route to BUSS G

Track 14 - Clean 1, route to BUSS H
Track 15 - Clean 2, route to BUSS H

Now the music's done, setup a few tracks, and route them to the vocal channel
for really easy drop ins!

Enjoy the quality of the plugins, and the ease of use of vegas - compress and EQ
things together on the busses, and suddenly mixing becomes very fast!

Always try to think of where things are going to fit in a mix.

Think that if you are going to add a new part, you will have to cut something from
the mix to make it fit in.

i.e Bottom end is provided by the bass, so cut a lot off the guitars.

Most important is getting the bottom end of the mix right, as this is where most of
the power from the mix comes from. Keep cutting frequencies until the parts fit.

Look at emphasising the click of the kick drum,
(boost around 2.6 - 6khz, don't be frightened) Because of the two track EQ's we have six bands fully parametric, so you can stack EQ spots for really extreme EQ!

Usually, when EQing, try to cut instead of boost. Boosting can spoil a mix very easily.

If an instrument is not meant to be low end, i.e snare, vocals, guitars, cut the very bottom EQ off. This is often known as a high-pass filter. Don't go too far with this, as most instruments need some low end, but a microphone will typically capture some subsonic
rubbish!

On the Drum overheads... cut out most of the boxy mid-range. (now it's on a buss, this is sooo easy!)

Compression is essential. The presets in Waves Renaissance Compressor are a good start, but really fiddle around with the attack ratios, and watch the output!

Incidentally, put some kind of mastering compressor and EQ on the master buss which all the other busses are routed to. I usually use Waves Renaissance Compressor, and Then Timeworks Mastering Compressor (sometimes two of those with different ratios!)

Use the reverb and delays as aux sends, (Click on the pan, and the list of busses will come up, then you can feed a little signal from any track you want to any of the busses!) Use envelopes on the tracks to control this.

This is a very versatile FX automation, and for most purposes is perfect.

I may update this at some point... but for now, my hands are tired of typing!

Comments

Vocalpoint wrote on 4/12/2002, 3:59 PM
Webpuppy,

This is by far, the best piece of info I have ever gleaned from these forums. Thank you for the effort and attention to detail...I am off for a educational experience!

Cheers,

Cuzin B
SHTUNOT wrote on 4/12/2002, 4:28 PM
Great job dude!
SHTUNOT wrote on 4/12/2002, 5:46 PM
Keepin mind that the Universal Audio card drivers has been updated a few times recently and is running pretty well. With the newest Vst-DX adapter from FXpansion you could be using MANY more high quality eq's,reverbs,compression,etc... in your mixes while keeping your native cpu low.

Checkout:
www.uaudio.com Site with info on the card.
www.chrismilne.com/uadforums/ User forums.
www.FXpansion.com Vst-DX wrapper...Version 3.3. Version 4 should be out soon. Ua will be updating their drivers fort the card soon as well.

I've read a couple of posts of people using Sonar and getting nearly 90% out of their Ua card+a couple of native plugins to boot which only had their host cpu up to 40% or so. Its only going to get better!!! Later.
cifactor wrote on 4/13/2002, 12:49 AM
If you dont mind....I need a lil clarification. there is no way to process effects while recording is there?
stakeoutstudios wrote on 4/13/2002, 8:37 AM
OK.. sorry, just to clarify. Not ALL the tracks are recorded at the same time, rather, they are layered. I.E, record drums first to a click and possibly guide track, then record bass, then record guitar etc. This means the delta 1010 has enough inputs at any one time. And this frees up your best resources (micophones) for each instrument.

thanks for the tips rednroll, but I've tryed all manner of dynamic mics on guitars cabs, and I usually find they sound tinny or thin. When I get a few more types I'l have another shot at it.

I find I get a lot of low end guitar out of my Rode NTK valve condensor mic. I use the bite from the centre speaker, and mix in the warmth from the side of the speaker! When recording guitars, the two microphones are mixed down into one signal at tracking on the mixer, to save tracks in vegas.

sorry if there's some details missing, it was a lot of info to try and write down!

Jason
stakeoutstudios wrote on 4/13/2002, 8:45 AM
incidentally, I like using the two microphones on a guitar cab because I can use the comb filtering effect and phase cancellation to significantally alter the sound,and get it to fit better in the mix. The positioning can be a bit hit and miss tho.

The two mics, I'd love to try on guitar cabs would be an audio technicha 4050A condenser and a shure SM7 dynamic. Just haven't got my hands on them yet. I bet that SM7 would be great for getting the grunt out of the cabs!

I have experimented with othe stero mic techniques for overheads, but I find that this one gives the widest stereo image for rock music. Country, folk and blues I tend to use coincident mic spacing. Also some techniques work better in different room acoustics.

MacMoney wrote on 4/13/2002, 10:16 AM
Very Good work Webpuppy

George Ware
stakeoutstudios wrote on 4/13/2002, 11:40 AM
hehe, it feels like school homework.
PipelineAudio wrote on 4/13/2002, 1:50 PM
Great job webpuppy!

One thing to be VERY aware of when using vegas' busses, is that the buss insert fx are POST fader.
If you have a compressor in that insert fx, then turning the volume up on that buss is the same as lowering the compressor's threshold, and the same as turning up the volume of the tracks going IN to that buss.
Hopefully they fix this soon
doctorfish wrote on 4/14/2002, 2:32 AM
Seems like a great way to mix
especially since I see some people complaining about
the horizontal faders being awkward at best.
I'm still back in the stone age of Vegas 2.0
so I don't have a master buss to make all this
possible. Perhaps, I should upgrade.

Also, the PSP plugins are now Direct X too so registered users
should be able to rid themselves of the VST wrapper.

Dave


Rednroll wrote on 4/14/2002, 5:08 PM
PipelineAudio wrote on 4/15/2002, 3:31 AM
Im still waiting for you to correct sonic foundry on their placement of the buss fx post fader

didnt think so

and it takes a real video guy to think he has some "audio secret"
kinda like van halen doing his tapping with his back to the crowd, as if they hadnt seen ritchie blackmore doing it 20 years before
stakeoutstudios wrote on 4/15/2002, 8:59 AM
I like the way the busses are insert FX only... othewrwise we'd have to have another set of auxes for the busses! you just have to remember to use the makeup gain on the compressors!

PipelineAudio wrote on 4/15/2002, 12:51 PM
Webpuppy, its fine that they are insert fx, BUT, being that the fx send is POST fader, it is inconvenient tio turn up or down a group. The channel inserts are pre fader, which would be nicer for the buss fx as well.
But youre right, you can get along with turning up the gain on the last plugin in the fx insert.
pwppch wrote on 4/15/2002, 1:09 PM
I agree. This should be an option. On my list.

Peter
Rednroll wrote on 4/15/2002, 5:00 PM
PipelineAudio wrote on 4/15/2002, 5:19 PM
from the horses mouth on another vegas forum I quote you

"You also wouldn't have to have an insert post fader in Vegas either, since most plugins have an input gain control. Can you tell me the name of one of those consoles that has a Post Fader "insert"? I would definitely like to write the manufacturer of that console and tell them that their terminology is incorrect."

you want some salt with that foot ?

Instead of insulting people all the time, maybe trying to answer the questions they ask in the topic would be of some benefut to you. If you dont know the answer, that doesnt mean you have to insult the person who asked.
PipelineAudio wrote on 4/15/2002, 5:22 PM
And I DO have a mixing board, but that has little to do with the problems I have routing wise.
Mixing externally negates a lot of vegas' benefits.

From time to time when I feel I do need to mix on the console, the routing issue comes up, where if I want to send track 1 out to D/A 1 I need to pan it hard left, which means that any dx fx that that channel is going to will only go to the left side.
SHTUNOT wrote on 4/15/2002, 5:40 PM
Rednroll...have fun with this forum and not just bash/brag about how much coooool outboard gear you have and how much smarter you are for using a real mixer. Christ back from happy hour already? What we have to screen all our comments to be posted here on the audio forums page to fit your standards? Shutup please!

If you guys read 3 posts down from the top of this page there is a link to the universal audio web site. This card and cards like it will be the future of how things are done IMHO. All this need for a mixing board and thousands of dollars in outboard gear[+space] will hopefully be a thing of the past in the near future. Not to say a mixing board of some sort isn't necessary but not one of those 32/8 buss mackies to route all those signals to and fro.

Lets keep it civilized in here and not bash opinions.
Rednroll wrote on 4/15/2002, 6:02 PM
PipelineAudio wrote on 4/15/2002, 6:20 PM
Shutnot there was a form letter at recording.org where we would copy paste and email UA that we would love to have the UADSP running in direct x so us vegas users could try it. Its been about 4 or 5 months since the letter was first made, not sure what they are thinking nowadys but it certainly wouldnt hurt for you to email them as well.
Hopefully theyre getting a flood of emails letting them know they could make a much larger customer base if they gave us DX users a crack at it.
PipelineAudio wrote on 4/15/2002, 6:24 PM
I never bragged anything, only said that yes I DO know my stuff. It was in repsonse to you saying I had never used a mixing console. I dont understand this grunt working for another studio business. None of my favorite engineers have or would ever dream of owning their own studio. I made my self an exception by having my own, which I do now. And I dont know quite how you think, but having a chance to work at a place like Vintage Recorders, at the age of 22 was not something I was going to pass up EVER! Experience never hurts. Living in a self imposed vacuum isnt a good thing. Now I have my own place where I can put that experience to use, but hopefully Ill still be able to see goings on in other places and not bury my head in the sand.
stakeoutstudios wrote on 4/16/2002, 7:05 AM
lets not get all personal now... thought the purpose of this forum was to pool knowledge. No matter what experience / facilities you work at, no single person can know EVERYTHING. That's what I love about audio. I learn or improve on something every single session I do.

Besides that I have great respect for all the guys that post on this forum, whether I agree or not. like the saying goes... there's more than one way to skin a cat.

My studio is all digital computer based mixing, with a load of new nice analogue preamps for input. Sometimes I use a Neve Desk with 24-track tape... (not my studio tho), it all depends on which band and what mood i'm in!

Incidentally.. the time has come to go pro on A to D's... anybody got any high end suggestions in compliment with digital cards that will work perfectly with Vegas in Win XP?

Jason
PipelineAudio wrote on 4/16/2002, 12:29 PM
We are trying to go with a economical solution to ditching our tape machines. We looked at swissonic, Lucid and RME. We chose the RME ADI DS converter series mainly because they are both A/D and D/A and that they have both TDIF and ADAT I/O making them compatiable with any projects we may still need to add to on our TDIF tape format. The only two audio card manufacturers I really trust, RME and Soundscape, were a big part of this decision as well. Soundscape has been bought by mackie, so that and the way that the RME hammerfall handles 96khz has made me switch to two RME hammerfall 9652's instead of the soundscape mixtreme's.

RME just came out with an anniversary edition converter set for a very low price, though the converters dont spec out as well noise wise as their other units. But could be a great deal.