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  1. #1
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    Aux Bus and fader confusion

    I am a user of a product called METRO (related to Cakewalk). I find it embarrassing that my questions are so simple. The people at Metro do a good job of TRYING to answer, but the answer is still a bit above me.

    My basic question has to do with adding reverb to the mix. I can do it, but do not understand exactly WHAT i am doing.

    MAIN MIX

    track 1 guitar--pan is middle
    track 2 acoutic guitar--pan is about 1/3 of the way to the right.

    My tacks are already laid down. I am adding the effct before final mixdown

    Aux bus EFFECT: reverb

    I AM SHAKY ABOUT ALL THE BELOW POSITIONS
    -Send: all the way up
    -Dry: all the way down (inactive, because I reason that the MAIN MIX also has the dry signal, the main mix faders are not going to be moved anymore, -not sure if this is true, but this is why i do not have it up)-
    -Wet: all the way up.

    AUX TYPE: POST
    I don't fully understand this. It seems I want the main sound faders and pans to come into the bus to get processed. I imagine PRE is unaffected by main mix, Not sure why I would use this. Unless I somehow want the effect to be ata constant level? Anyway, it seems i want POST.

    MOST CONFUSING IS THIS--> the fact that are are two sets of functions for the aux and return mix


    ON THE AUX SIDE (I guess this sends the effect): I have
    Fader: All the way up (reasoning explained below)
    Pan: CENTER

    ON THE MIXER SIDE ( I guess this adds the effect to the tracks)

    TRACK 1-fader fairly high (add more of the effect)
    Pan set to the left to give it some breadth or depth or spaciousness as original mix pan is center.

    TRACK 2-fader fairly low because I want less of the effect, but just a little. Pan is set nearer the middle because original mix is to the right and so I reason this makes the sound more spacious.

    CONFUSION--why is there a pan and fader for effect sending AND effect receiving. It seems if I have the effect send in the center and then adjust it with the effect receive back to the mixer, that is easy to understand.
    Same with pan. I mean if effect send were panned right and effect received were panned left, i just have a hard time visualizing why one would use something like that. So (rightly or wrongly) I have effect send centered and the fader up while I control left-right imaging of the effect using the effect receive pan knob (which in the above example has no dry signal). Likewise, I control amount of effect by effect receive fader and leave fader up in effect send.

    Well, this is what I do, but I feel intimidated by my lack of understanding of the subtleties in the above example. I learn by trial and error and have a hard time with terminology....

    Does my QUESTION at least make sense?

    I think the people at METRO are tired of answering my questions because most people on the board seem to already grasp this stuff.

    Thanks very much in advance.

  2. #2
    I'm not really familiar with Sagan's Metro, but Maybe I can ask you a few questions and your answers may be key to your confusion.

    First, are you working with stereo tracks? (I'm guessing yes).

    2nd, are you using Metro's fx plug-ins, or an add-on, or an external fx processor?

    3rd, do you want to add the fx while mastering in real time, or do you want to record the fx separately and then mix them in later? (The later is standard proceedure).

    Now, send, dry, and wet.

    Send is the amount of your guitar track you are sending to the aux busses, however you have them assigned. turning this all the way up is unusual. Make sure you are not clipping the fx module.

    Dry/wet is the output mix of the fx module; dry is the amount of original unprocessed signal, wet is the effect itself without any dry signal. Your settings are correct if you are not mastering at this point, since you don't want any dry signal on the fx track.

    You want the aux busses to be fed before any eq's, and before the channel faders, so you want to select PRE (pre-fader) for aux bus type.
    This insures the whole original track as recorded is sent to the fx.

    The rest of your confusion seems to stem from not understanding some common recording practices. When adding fx to a single track the dry (pre-fader, pre-eq) signal is sent via an aux bus (or stereo aux pair) to the fx processor input(s). The totally wet signal from the processor is then returned to another track and recorded there as if it where just another track, keeping the levels high as possible throughout this chain. This gives you plenty of signal to work with later when mastering, which is where you will adjust the amount of effect, using the channel's fader.

    This differs from live fx applications, where the fx are introduced into the signal chain of an individual channel (or group)using an INSERT, where a trs cable plugged into this jack physically breaks into the circuit, sends the whole signal to the processor, and returns it to the channel to continue on, using one cable. (this is aka an effects loop).

    Also, it is generally excepted that panning for stereo spacial quality is not done untill the final mixing stage. Most tracking engineers keep all the pans centered (or L/R for odd/even recorders) untill this time.

    As for your last bit of confusion, the question of sets of pan/faders for both aux bus send AND return. I would guess that you are refering to master aux bus controls, and not individual channels (tracks). Why this would be on a virtual recorder is anybody's guess, since these control's main function is for live applications, usually having to do with stage monitors.
    'I think my intimate relationship with electronics started as a child when I was playing with a screwdriver and a wall plug, Doc, and...'

  3. #3
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    Thanks Penniesfromheaven

    Your answer is very helpful.



    First, are you working with stereo tracks? (I'm guessing yes).--->YES

    2nd, are you using Metro's fx plug-ins, or an add-on, or an external fx processor?---> METRO AND ADD ON WHICH METRO ACCEPTS (MOSTLY REVERB FOR ECHO EFFECT.


    3rd, do you want to add the fx while mastering in real time, or do you want to record the fx separately and then mix them in later? (The later is standard proceedure).---> YES, LATER


    Now, send, dry, and wet.

    Send is the amount of your guitar track you are sending to the aux busses, however you have them assigned. turning this all the way up is unusual. Make sure you are not clipping the fx module.

    WELL, THE WAY IT IS SET UP S TO BE ABLE TO APPLY THE SAME EFFECT TO MORE THAN ONE TRACK (RATHER THAN ADD THE EFFECT TO EACH CHANNEL SEPARATELY. WHICH WE COULD ALSO DO. BUT IT DOESN'T SEEM TO DO THIS. (I WILL HAVE TO WATCH AGAIN ON ANOTHER RECoRDING WHEN I GET A CHANCE).


    Dry/wet is the output mix of the fx module; dry is the amount of original unprocessed signal, wet is the effect itself without any dry signal. Your settings are correct if you are not mastering at this point, since you don't want any dry signal on the fx track.---> OK!!

    You want the aux busses to be fed before any eq's, and before the channel faders, so you want to select PRE (pre-fader) for aux bus type.
    This insures the whole original track as recorded is sent to the fx.---> I WAS TOLD THAT POST WAS BETTER THERE ON METRO'S FORUM
    (I HAVE NO OTHER PROCESSING TO THE SIGNALS BTW)--->THIS IS WHAT THEY SAID THERE--->
    " Sometimes you want the main fader tied to the effect send and sometimes you don't. If you plan on fading out the track entirely then you probably want the effect post-fader. If, on the other hand, you want the track's effect sends to be completely independent of the main fader, like in the case when you only want to hear only the wet signal, then you want the switch to be set to pre-fader. "

    SO I GUESS I AM UNCLEAR STILL. BUT POST HAS WORKED.



    As for your last bit of confusion, the question of sets of pan/faders for both aux bus send AND return. I would guess that you are refering to master aux bus controls, and not individual channels (tracks). Why this would be on a virtual recorder is anybody's guess, since these control's main function is for live applications, usually having to do with stage monitors.

    I GUESS METRO IS USED THAT WAY.....?

    THANKS!


    PAUL

  4. #4
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    oops---i tried to edit but it got erased

    But I think I understand that i have been using POSt and that means the combined tracks are all getting into the effect,

    Now it sort of makes sense that i want the effects to be free of the actual track dry sound.

    track1 voice
    track 2 voice 2
    track 3 guitar.

    So if I have the effects bus set to pre then track 1 doesn't get mixed into track 2 right inside the effect.

    Ok...I was confused about that. I will go back and try.

    Paul

    EFFECT BUS
    http://www.sagantech.biz/support/help5022.shtml


    thanks

  5. #5
    I checked out this tutorial rather quick, but I believe the answer to your question of adding one effect to multiple channels is here:

    http://www.sagantech.biz/support/Met01066.htm

    As far as post v. pre goes, I stand by what I said, unless Sagan has a particular reason for using post fader, maybe to save time, or they don't believe in old school engineering.

    Assigning all the channels to one aux bus for fx processing will definately combine the fx of those channels, and you will be stuck with that fx mix. If that is what you want then use post fader and mix the faders as you want the total fx combined to sound like as you add the fx in real time. I still say use pre and do the fx for each channel individually, then combine them later when mastering. Takes more time, but less of a headache, and you can change your mind.
    And you did say you want to mix the fx into the song later, yes?

    So if I have the effects bus set to pre then track 1 doesn't get mixed into track 2 right inside the effect.

    Incorrect: Every channel you tap and send to the aux bus for fx , will get mixed together in the fx, regardless of whether that signal comes from before or after the channel's fader.

    " Sometimes you want the main fader tied to the effect send and sometimes you don't. If you plan on fading out the track entirely then you probably want the effect post-fader. If, on the other hand, you want the track's effect sends to be completely independent of the main fader, like in the case when you only want to hear only the wet signal, then you want the switch to be set to pre-fader. "

    I didn't really want to pick this apart...
    the (...main fader...) here is refering to the individual track fader, not the L/R master fader. "If you plan on fading out the track..." refers to either fading the track in the middle of the song somewhere, or, more probably, at the end of the song (old school radio style). Now, I'm guessing that this recorder program has "flying faders", or automation, so that if you want to fade track 1 you can program it to fade the fx track at the same rate, at the same time, like in Pro-Tools, when you do the mastering.

    Again, it is time consuming to do it this way, I mean an fx track for each instrument or vocal, but in the end you will have more control over the quality of the final mix.

    If, on the other hand, you want the track's effect sends to be completely independent of the main fader, like in the case when you only want to hear only the wet signal, then you want the switch to be set to pre-fader. "

    Yes to the first part, no to the second. You want to mix the fx independantly of the original track, not just by itself.

    I hope this all helps, but keep hitting the questions; I'm learning too!

    BTW, do you know about rendering? does Sagan Metro have this mixing option?
    Last edited by penniesfromheaven; 17th Mar 2007 at 23:39.
    'I think my intimate relationship with electronics started as a child when I was playing with a screwdriver and a wall plug, Doc, and...'

  6. #6
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    Thank you!!!!!!!


    I checked out this tutorial rather quick, but I believe the answer to your question of adding one effect to multiple channels is here:

    http://www.sagantech.biz/support/Met01066.htm

    As far as post v. pre goes, I stand by what I said, unless Sagan has a particular reason for using post fader, maybe to save time, or they don't believe in old school engineering.



    Oops. I looked and it DOES say click POST and change it to PRE. Maybe I was misreading just the POST.

    But I guess the main question is whether to use the bus or direct insert.
    (See bottom for more basic question on pre and post that has me totally confused)

    Assigning all the channels to one aux bus for fx processing will definately combine the fx of those channels, and you will be stuck with that fx mix. If that is what you want then use post fader and mix the faders as you want the total fx combined to sound like as you add the fx in real time. I still say use pre and do the fx for each channel individually, then combine them later when mastering. Takes more time, but less of a headache, and you can change your mind.

    So you mean just do inserts? Actually, in Metro we do not have to create aux busses. We can just add (insert?) the effect. And no choice of pre or post. And I like that way. That is how Garageband does it (I must say that while it is nice to challenge myself, sometimes the frustration level is so high, I prefer GB's audio for dummies approach. But Garageband does have higher sampling and bit rates!!!

    But anyway, Metro suggests the busses for using less resources.

    Anyway, I see when using POST Fader you are listening to the whole mix as you want it to sound. With prefader I am not. But you say use PREFADER even though it takes more time. I think when you say more time, it is like METRO's direct insert (no aux bus). So the terminology is still a bit overwhelming:

    METRO: Direct insert (no choice or pre or post. you just hear the result of the effect on your sound on that track).

    METRO: Aux bus: choice of pre or post fader (maybe just to listen to difference?) And this definitely combines the dry sounds of all your tracks.....so it seems less suitable.

    In short, your suggestion to use PREFADER still sounds more like the DIRECT INSERT.

    DIRECT insert--open up the effect and apply it directly to THAT track.
    NO CHOICE OR PRE OR POST IN THIS CASE

    EFFECTS BUS --route several tracks through the effect.
    HERE I HAVE A CHOICE. I SHOULD USE PRE

    Yes, they have automation. But i want to stay away from that. The problem is they have so much, for someone like me with more simple needs, it is hard to pick out what to do. You help a great deal.


    And you did say you want to mix the fx into the song later, yes?



    Hmmm..Ok, simply what i want. Before it gets more confusing.

    To make it simple, I have tracks. 1: Voice, 2: Nylon Guitar 3: 12-String big booming guitar

    Old way (best way?):
    Add some reverb to the voice (effect llke big room), maybe same for acoustic, nothing for the 12 string. All separately.

    THIS IS DIRECT INSERT. What you call prefader?

    Effects Bus way: (PRE?) All 3 sounds are in the bus, add the effect to track 1 and track 2. Don't add it to track 3. But still, the combined dry sounds track 1, 2, and 3 are what are being returned in the effect.


    Right so far? In such a case, you are suggesting that the more time consuming way is the first way (no bus). I prefer it.


    " Sometimes you want the main fader tied to the effect send and sometimes you don't. If you plan on fading out the track entirely then you probably want the effect post-fader. If, on the other hand, you want the track's effect sends to be completely independent of the main fader, like in the case when you only want to hear only the wet signal, then you want the switch to be set to pre-fader. "

    I didn't really want to pick this apart...
    the (...main fader...) here is refering to the individual track fader, not the L/R master fader. "If you plan on fading out the track..." refers to either fading the track in the middle of the song somewhere, or, more probably, at the end of the song (old school radio style). Now, I'm guessing that this recorder program has "flying faders", or automation, so that if you want to fade track 1 you can program it to fade the fx track at the same rate, at the same time, like in Pro-Tools, when you do the mastering.


    Yes....his comment was not really related to my needs, which are above. That is the hard thing, you ask for something and the answer you get is so thorough that you get more confused.... And yes, they do have automation. Which I don't use.


    Again, it is time consuming to do it this way, I mean an fx track for each instrument or vocal, but in the end you will have more control over the quality of the final mix.


    it sounds like I would really only want to use the effect on the individual track.


    If, on the other hand, you want the track's effect sends to be completely independent of the main fader, like in the case when you only want to hear only the wet signal, then you want the switch to be set to pre-fader. "

    Yes to the first part, no to the second. You want to mix the fx independantly of the original track, not just by itself.


    I think he was thinking of when you are onstage and you want to route the signal before it gets to the auidnece back to the performers on stage?


    I hope this all helps, but keep hitting the questions; I'm learning too!

    BTW, do you know about rendering? does Sagan Metro have this mixing option?


    It has it in the sense that there is a MIX or RENDER track option. But they don't explain it and I have no idea what it is.


    What is it?

    I asked because in the MIX TO FILE or MIX TO TRACK option there is also a render choice. But the manual doesn't reflect it.

    They are a bit tired of my questions. I am not sure if it is a learning disability (I have a hard time understanding instructions sometimes). Sometims I am afraid to ask, because they said they alreasy explained it.

    A bit like high school math where the teacher asked why I never asked questions. And I couldn't tell him it was because i did not know which question to ask.

    Anyway, I appreciate you explanation.


    MY BIG PROBLEM
    I do have some trouble understand PRE AND POST still. When I am adding a sound with the effects bus I can PUSH pre and post.

    But first, using the stuff we have been talking about.



    So dry sound track 1, track 2, track 3 (combined)--->
    aux bus (SET FOR PRE) --->effect---. back to track 1, 2, 3

    track 1 now has 123 effect (mostly wet) added to it
    track 2 has 123 effect "
    track 3 has 123 effect "

    Why is there a pre and post choice? I have only that dry signal and the effect is the only other thing I am adding.

    I understand so far that adding all those sounds to the bus the sound could become muddy.....and direct insert on each track is better for control, though it uses more resources to do so.

    But exactly what the effect of having a pre-fader or post-fader option is when adding the sound to the effect bus. If above example was at POST, what would it be?


    It feels like a dumb question.... Thanks and if I hear about rendering i will let you know.

    paul

  7. #7
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    OH WOW. I think I am getting it---this whole business about faders,
    Metro just says IF YOU WANT-set to PRE. As if we are supposed to know what we want.

    And here I found an understandable one:
    http://www.sweetwater.com/expert-cen.../d--03/09/2005




    Pre-Fader, or Post-Fader?
    03/09/2005

    Q: "Which should I use to send vocal tracks to an Aux track to apply effects - pre-fader or post-fader?"

    A: Most DAWs let you route an Aux send signal either pre- or post-fader. When an Aux send is configured post-fader, the effect's wet-to-dry ratio is preserved as you raise and lower channel faders; lowering a channel's fader simultaneously lowers the Aux send signal level. That keeps you from having to adjust effects return fader levels in the mixer or wet/dry ratios at the effects processor every time you make a level adjustment with a track's channel fader. (In most cases, you'll want to keep the balance between a dry track and its effects relatively constant throughout the mixdown process.) As a result, post-fader effect sends are used more often than pre-fader effect sends, although the latter configuration definitely has its uses.

    As its name suggests, a pre-fader Aux send is not influenced by channel-fader moves, because the signal is sent to the processor through the Aux send before it gets to the fader. Therefore, the processed signal level from a pre-fader Aux send remains constant, no matter how you move its corresponding channel fader.

    One use for this type of configuration is to keep a vocal track's reverb level constant while you lower its dry level. Try this: set the level of reverb you want the vocal to have in the mix by turning up its pre-fader Aux send, which is routed to your reverb unit, until the effect sounds right.

    Then, slowly lower the vocal's channel fader. As you lower the fader, the vocal's dry level dips while the level of the processed signal remains constant. The result sounds as though the vocalist is walking away from you: the dry sound gets quieter, leaving just the reverberations of the room.



    I DO note that this is geared more for mix down, whereas I have been to date adding effects prior to mix down. As in the above entry from PENNIESFROMHEAVEN, I may still want to add effects individually via insert and maybe do any mixdown of the final stereo track with the effects buss to avoid murkiness from too many wet signals coming back to each indivdual track. and maybe I want to be careful not to add to MUCH effects since I am just an acoustic singer wanting to make a natural sounding collection of songs. Maybe a little room presence IS all I need.



    Anyway, if I DO use aux busses, it seems all this post stuff might be good for the studio and automation, but for me, obviously I want PRE since I am not messing with the faders as the signal goes into the aux. Ok! Feels good to FINALLY understand.

    (My normal learning style: I read a manual and get confused, so I try and then things work, then ask, and because my learning style is not standard, the explanations I get usually don't work. And then I give up). Therefore, I am like this slightly ALTERED line from a well known song (I am 54, but assume the song is not out of people's memories):


    YOU CAN'T ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW....

  8. #8
    Let me try this again.

    First: aux bus v. insert.

    Let's deal with only one track for the moment. Make it the vocal, track 1.

    Aux bus:
    The dry vocal comes from the file as track 1 where it goes into the channel strip and onward to the channel's fader. If you select pre-, the dry vocal will then split, going both down the bus, and down through the fader, where it goes out to your headphones or speakers. If you select post-, the signal wont split untill after the channel's fader.

    The vocal that goes down the bus will go to the effect, still dry. It becomes processed (wet). At the output of the effect you may mix a portion of the dry vocal (from The effect's input) back into the wet vocal. We won't, so we have just the effect coming out.

    Now, where do we want this wet vocal effect to go? If we send it back to channel one it will get mixed back in where it split off, either pre-fader or post. The drawback is if you have limited effects processors, since this method requires a separate aux bus and processor for each track. Since computer plug-ins are cheap (compared to the hardware they are modeled after), this is feasable.

    However, you can send this wet vocal to the next available track (let's use track 4) and record it there. You now have the original dry vocal on track 1, and the effect (wet only) on track 4. You can mix them together as much as you want, and if you don't like the effect, you can redo just the effect, or make multiple tracks of different effects and pick one later. This is how it is sometimes done in analog studios.

    Insert:
    The dry vocal comes from the file as track 1 to the input of the mixer channel. It makes a u-turn back out and goes to the effect. It gets processed. Now you mix the wet and dry together inside the effect. From the effect it goes back to the channel strip and continues on to the main faders. (Rendering, by the way, is a fast way to use inserts. Once you get the effect set the way you want it, select the render option and the computer will mix the whole track for you lickity-split, but the drawback is that you have now lost your original dry vocal, and are stuck with the effect and amount of effect you set up. This is great for quick demo's where you aren't worried if it's not perfect).

    As you can see, using an aux bus and returning the wet back to that channel is a roundabout way of getting the same result you would get from direct inserts. I suggest using the inserts or recording the wet sigals to thier own tracks one at a time like I said above.

    Aux buses are really used more for live mixing, where you send, say, 5 vocalists all on one bus to an fx rack, and send the output of that to the last channel on the board so you can control all the reverb on all the singers at once with one fader.

    I like the Sweetwater tip explanation,btw.
    'I think my intimate relationship with electronics started as a child when I was playing with a screwdriver and a wall plug, Doc, and...'

  9. #9
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    Thank you, again

    I see from your explanation that it is not all that complicated.

    METRO has its own way of using the aux buss, to add back to the SAME tracks. But I get it.


    I was asking them about whether the sound from multiple tracks would not make the effect in the bus muddy, but they seemed to miss my question.


    HERE IS THE THREAD:

    FROM A

    The aux bus does not return audio to any track. Adding an effect to "track 1" using an aux bus does not affect "track 1" in any way. The aux bus uses the audio from the track and outputs it without sending it back.

    FROM B
    I had previously explained to Arenson that you can think of an aux buss as an additional track of audio whereby the sound for that track is derived from the mixing of portions of other tracks. After the mix, an effects chain is optionally applied. The output of the effects chain is then mixed together with other tracks that are destined for the same audio output port.

    Internally this is how it is done.

    FROM ME

    Thanks Durumbrain and Jerm

    I guess I always get confused by too much info.
    And maybe my question is just theoretical. I don 't know.

    So to summarize, the original track itself is not affected.

    The BUS (additional track as Jerm says) is made up of sound from whatever tracks I feed to it, and I add back to those tracks in the amounts I want.

    As to the nature of the sound in the bus, it DOES sound from what Jerm says that if I add output to the bus a lot of tracks, then the bus track will also have a complex sound as opposed to if I just insert an effect on a single track.

    So I guess I have to use judiciously.


    Thank you both.




    And thank YOU Penniesfrom Heaven

  10. #10
    I gather from A and B that in Metro, nothing is really "mixed to tape" untill you do the final CD burn. You can always undo everything, or unmix it, I guess. I'm going to have to find someone in town that has Metro so I can play with it. Well, have fun.
    'I think my intimate relationship with electronics started as a child when I was playing with a screwdriver and a wall plug, Doc, and...'

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