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August 16, 2018 by Geoff Manchester

Tips for Mix Bus Processing

In this tutorial we cover tips for mix bus processing, including using Ozone’s Multiband Compressor to glue and frame the mix bus, and adding harmonic excitation to blow the lid off the mix.

This article references previous versions of Ozone. Learn about the latest Ozone and its powerful new features like Master RebalanceLow End Focus, and improved Tonal Balance Control by clicking here.

In this tutorial we explore different options for how to treat the mix bus—the main left/right stereo output bus in your digital audio workstation. Follow along with our mix bus processing video tutorial below!

1. Dynamically balance the EQ spectrum before adding compression and excitation

In the first section of the video, we demonstrate how to harness the power of Ozone 8’s Master Assistant to ensure a smooth and tonally balanced EQ curve before adding compression and harmonic saturation further in the mix bus processing chain. We show you how Master Assistant places the nodes at in the Dynamic EQ at peak frequencies to reduce potential distortion or resonances which might carry over when further processing is introduced. By parking Dynamic EQ first in the mix bus chain, you can ensure that future processing won’t highlight timbral problems.

2. Use Ozone’s Multiband Compressor to glue and frame the mix bus

Next, we demonstrate how to transparently glue the entire mix using Ozone’s Dynamics module, a powerful multiband compressor. Using the Learn button, you can use intelligent DSP to instruct Ozone’s crossover bands to detect frequency energy and settle over portions of the spectra that represent low, mid and high areas of the body of music. From here, we engage the band link function, which will ensure that any moves made on one parameter will be mirrored in other parameters. This technique can often lead to a more transparent, smooth compression effect across the whole track.

After this, we walk you through how to set up the compressor’s threshold, attack, release and make-up gain settings.

3. Use harmonic excitation to blow the lid off the mix

In this section of the video, we demonstrate best practices for using the Exciter module to awaken the mix bus and strategically spotlight key aspects of the arrangement like the singer, snare track, etc. Using all four bands of the Exciter with the Tape algorithm, we show you how to position the location of the bands and where to leave the intensity of each band’s parameter to ensure the proper amount of harmonic excitation.

Finally, we offer techniques you can use to ensure that you don’t over-process your mix bus with saturation.

4. Gut-check the tonal balance

In the final portion of the video, we demonstrate how to ensure a successful distribution of spectral energy and low-end hygiene using the Tonal Balance Control plug-in. Ensuring the mix is tonally balanced is often the key to confirming successful track translation, meaning listeners will enjoy a consistent listening experience no matter the playback format.