Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools
Illustration by Richard Downs

Bouncing the mix


Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

with Brian Lee White

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Video: Bouncing the mix

So I'm sure by this point, you've bounced a mix out of Pro Tools using the File > Bounce to > Disk command, but I want to share with you another way of printing or bouncing your mixes internally inside of Pro Tools using the Mix Bus. So remember what I'm doing here in this demo session is I'm taking everything, and anything that's not already been submixed is been mixed into the Mix Bus bus that I named.
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  1. 14m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. The past, present, and future of mixing
      6m 20s
    3. Strategies for mixing and mastering
      5m 38s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
  2. 40m 24s
    1. Mixing "in the box"
      5m 9s
    2. Setting up the studio: Speakers and acoustics
      13m 12s
    3. Staying organized: Effectively prepping the mix
      10m 50s
    4. Managing system resources during mixdown
      11m 13s
  3. 41m 38s
    1. Introducing the Pro Tools Mixer
      2m 23s
    2. Understanding mixer signal flow
      3m 42s
    3. Using inserts and plug-ins
      7m 4s
    4. Working with plug-in settings
      5m 1s
    5. Using sends and creating FX returns
      6m 55s
    6. Submixing with aux tracks
      4m 30s
    7. Using groups while mixing
      3m 46s
    8. Using master faders effectively
      8m 17s
  4. 21m 12s
    1. Conceptualizing the mix and making a plan
      7m 45s
    2. Using volume and pan to balance the mix
      11m 18s
    3. Knowing when to process: Mix problems vs. mix solutions
      2m 9s
  5. 1h 3m
    1. Understanding the mechanics of sound
      3m 53s
    2. Learning the basics of EQ: Frequency-specific level control
      4m 29s
    3. Using DigiRack EQ III
      16m 3s
    4. EQ strategies in mixing: Corrective vs. creative
      7m 18s
    5. EQ workflow example 1: Kick drum
      5m 39s
    6. EQ workflow example 2: Filtering loops
      5m 10s
    7. EQ workflow example 3: The "telephone" effect
      3m 7s
    8. Mixing tips and tricks for EQ
      17m 36s
  6. 1h 16m
    1. Understanding dynamics and dynamic range
      2m 1s
    2. Working with dynamics processors
      2m 57s
    3. Using the DigiRack Dyn III compressor/limiter
      10m 6s
    4. Balancing and shaping track dynamics
      3m 19s
    5. Using gates and expanders
      9m 23s
    6. Using de-essers to eliminate sibilance
      5m 47s
    7. Dynamics workflow example 1: Vocals
      10m 0s
    8. Dynamics workflow example 2: Drums
      9m 29s
    9. Mixing tips and tricks: Dynamics
      11m 37s
    10. Building parallel or "upward" compression
      7m 53s
    11. Reviewing dynamics concerns: How much is too much?
      3m 28s
  7. 47m 49s
    1. Using time-based effects to add depth and width
      3m 23s
    2. Using DigiRack D-Verb
      14m 27s
    3. Using the DigiRack delays
      9m 18s
    4. Mixing with reverb
      7m 59s
    5. Mixing with delays
      6m 19s
    6. Mixing tips and tricks: Creating mix depth
      6m 23s
  8. 18m 8s
    1. Working with the Creative Collection
      9m 8s
    2. Building distortion and saturation
      9m 0s
  9. 37m 33s
    1. Understanding automation
      4m 10s
    2. Recording real-time automation moves
      7m 6s
    3. Viewing and editing automation
      10m 17s
    4. Automating plug-ins
      7m 36s
    5. Automation strategies for mixing
      8m 24s
  10. 29m 31s
    1. Understanding the characteristics of a great mix
      7m 2s
    2. Working to reference tracks
      4m 35s
    3. Avoiding some common pitfalls
      7m 50s
    4. Building healthy mixing habits
      3m 36s
    5. Crafting your mix from start to finish
      6m 28s
  11. 1h 5m
    1. Understanding mastering
      4m 15s
    2. Bouncing the mix
      7m 9s
    3. Working with general mastering strategies
      8m 50s
    4. Using limiting and compression to maximize track level
      10m 57s
    5. Working with multi-band compression
      7m 9s
    6. Understanding sample rate, bit depth, file formats, and dither
      7m 30s
    7. Using Pro Tools for CD track sequencing
      10m 11s
    8. Compressing audio for the web
      9m 41s
  12. 44m 51s
    1. Tips for evaluating plug-in processors
      6m 51s
    2. Using EQ plug-ins
      5m 35s
    3. Using dynamic compression plug-ins
      11m 3s
    4. Using reverb and delay plug-ins
      10m 46s
    5. Reviewing additional plug-ins
      10m 36s
  13. 57m 18s
    1. Effectively using saturation/analog style effects
      13m 40s
    2. Setting up side chains
      7m 5s
    3. Master buss processing
      5m 34s
    4. Creating and using mix templates
      6m 54s
    5. Surround mixing
      6m 22s
    6. Dealing with plug-in delay and latency
      6m 26s
    7. Drum sample replacing
      11m 17s
  14. 32s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools
9h 18m Intermediate Aug 20, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Once recording and editing are finished, audio engineers can take advantage of the training in Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools to punch up the final output. Digidesign Certified Expert Brian Lee White covers all the basic mixing tools that every producer and engineer should know, from using EQ to add clarity and focus to using compression and limiting to maximize track levels within a mix. Brian stresses the importance of setting up a solid mixing plan prior to any work in Pro Tools, and gives advice on the best plug-ins for each stage of the process. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Using the Pro Tools Creative Collection to add clarity, punch, width, and depth to a mix
  • Recording real-time automation moves for future replication
  • Building healthy and profitable mixing habits when putting a final mix together
  • Knowing when to process the audio of a track
  • Using saturation effects to capture that "analog" sound
  • Working with limiting and multiband compression during the mastering process
  • Dealing with plug-in delay and latency in a mix
Audio + Music
Pro Tools
Brian Lee White

Bouncing the mix

So I'm sure by this point, you've bounced a mix out of Pro Tools using the File > Bounce to > Disk command, but I want to share with you another way of printing or bouncing your mixes internally inside of Pro Tools using the Mix Bus. So remember what I'm doing here in this demo session is I'm taking everything, and anything that's not already been submixed is been mixed into the Mix Bus bus that I named.

Now all of that is making it's way down here to the end of this session and filtering into the Mix Sub aux track. So you can see this aux track is picking up everything that's coming off of that Mix Bus and funneling it down onto this single fader. Now we also have a Master Fader that's set to that same Mix Bus and that's allowed me to get a sense of how those signal are summing together.

Remember, I could trim that Master Fader down to prevent clipping at output, and I'm also going to attach any effects that I'm working with here on the Master Fader. Now what I want to do is I want to capture everything from that Mix Bus and I want to capture into a new audio track. I'm actually going to run the mixed down in real-time recording that into another track in my session. So how I'm going to do this in this scenario, so I'm going to take and create a new Stereo Audio Track and I'm going to name that TMD-bounce.

Everybody has their own sort of naming system for the song. You might choose to name it the whole song name with the artist. Do whatever works for you? Then I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to take the input, I'm going to set this to bus > Mix Bus. So now both of these tracks are actually going to be listening to that Mix Bus. So what I can do is I'm just going to Mute the aux track now and I'm going to record enable this track, and I'm actually going to record in real-time onto this new audio track, the entire session.

And because I have my Master Fader pointed to the Mix Bus, any of these plug-ins here are going to make their way onto this track. Now if I was using plug-ins directly on the aux track here, and I want to print those, I would need to bus this out to yet another bus and then pick that up on the stereo audio track. Now because I'm going to work with the Limiting later on in another video, I'm going to bypass the Maxim plug-in and we'll add that back later at the mastering stage.

So I'm just going to reset this back to the start of the song, and then I'm going to go ahead and bring up my Transport. Record and Play. (Music playing) (Male singing: Trouble bound.) (Male singing: We hit the town.) (Male singing: And I'll never forget that so--) So what we have here on our Edit window is a bounced out version of the song.

Now some of the reasons why we do this. First off, sonic quality. You'll hear on message boards and around from the other Pro Tools users that it sounds much better when you bounce over the Mix Bus into a new track rather than using the Bounce to > Disk engine. There is a lot of controversy over this, but bottom line this is what I do. I feel that it works for my workflow. You can use some tests and listen to whether or not it helps you or not. But basically the argument is that there is some inaccuracies if your session has a lot of automation.

So the resulting levels of the output of your mix can be changed slightly by maybe a fraction of a dB, which can kind of affect certain mixes. Now the main reason why I do this aside from the sonic quality is that now the bounce lives on the session. I have bounced out version of the song in this session. So when I need to make changes to the mix, if it's just to change to like I need to push up one word in the bridge, I don't need to re-bounce the whole song, I can just bounce that section.

And to me if I think about bouncing a whole album of five minute songs, it might take two hours to bounce everything down, because Pro Tools only supports real-time bounce. You have to listen to the song in its entirety. So this can actually save you a lot of time in the long run by having a full bounced version in your session. Now once I have this, how I'm going to get it out of my session? There are actually two ways you can get this out. If you're concerned only about sort of the sonic qualities of the Bounce to > Disk engine, you could actually re- bounced just this track, I could solo this up, and just re-bounce that using Bounce to > Disk, and that's what I do, if I want to add any Dither there at the truncation stage.

We'll talk about that in another video. However, what I generally like to do is just export it directly from the Regions list. So I'll select that Region, I'll right- click and I'll choose Export Regions as Files. Now what I'm going to do here is because I'm going to bring it back into Pro tools, I would just leave it as (Multiple)Mono. That's going to give me a left side and a right side as separate files. Because I'm going to bring it back in from mastering, I'll leave it at 24 bits. If you're going to burn it to a CD immediately, you choose 16 Bit Stereo and 44.1K.

But again, I'm going to bring it back in the Pro Tools, so I'm going to choose 24 Bits 44.1 k. When you're exporting something for a mastering engineer, you want to leave it at the highest Bit Depth and Sample Rate possible. That doesn't mean you should up-sample it. The mastering engineer will do that, if they need to do, but you don't want to down-sample or truncate any bits. Now here I'm going to choose my Destination Directory, and I'm just going to go ahead and choose the Exercise Files folder, and I'll hit Export.

Now if I go and look on my hard drive, I can see the TMD-bounce left and right, sitting right there. Now I could go ahead and rename these, if I needed a better name. Again, there is a lot of controversy of whether or not the resulting sound from this Bounce method is different. But again, I personally would do adjust for the flexibility of having the bounce in the session all of the time.

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