Using subgroups of instruments in vocals is been a time-honored way to mix, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. In this video I'm going to show you the correct technique for using subgroups that works either in an analog or digital world. So the first thing to see is right now we have a Vocal subgroup and this has all of the vocals in it, we have an Organ subgroup and that's the subgroup of the high and low of the organ, we have a Drum subgroup and the drum subgroup has all of the drums plus tambourine in it. The only thing that isn't sub-grouped here is the Bass.
The Bass is just a single channel by itself, but it's so important that we don't want to subgroup it with anything. Now finally what we want to do is group all the guitars together into one subgroup. So here is what we're going to do. I'm going to go to Track, going to say New we want Stereo and Aux Input. There is our Aux input. I'm going to call this GTRS. Now the next thing we have to do is select an input for it. So we're going to say Bus 25-26. Now we want to assign the acoustic guitar to the subgroup.
So what we'll do is we'll say go to Bus 25-26. Now Guitar 2 already has a subgroup and what we'll say is sync the output of that subgroup and let's bus it to Bus 25-26. The same with the first electric guitar, it's already a subgroup, but we'll take the output of that subgroup and say let's go to Bus 25-26. So now all of the guitars are coming out of this one subgroup. Let's have a listen -- (Music playing) That's two electric guitars that are pan left and right and acoustic guitar that's pretty much up the center.
So now what we're going to do is move this over with other subgroups and the way we do that is we click-and-drag. We're going to put this next to the Organ. So now just with these 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 faders we can mix the whole song. And the reason why is all of our channels are feeding into one of the four subgroups that we have and plus the bass cabinet. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) Now you can see all of our five channels are down so we don't hear anything.
So let's start to mix, Drums, Bass, Guitars, the Organ. And let's have a listen to it. (Music playing) And this is an easy way for us to mix just using these five faders.
Now of course we have to get an internal mix within the subgroup, but that being said we probably have that before we even made the subgroup. Because usually the subgroup comes after we make our mix with the drums or mix with the guitars, or mix with the organ whatever it might be, mix with the vocals. Now let me show you one of the principles it's really important to using subgroups. One of the things that we try to do is always keep any of our subgroups below the master fader. In other words, all of our groups here always have to be below or equal to our master.
The reason for that is as soon as we can go above the master fader it's possible to actually cause an overload, and this is either in the analog or the digital domain this can happen. So the worst case would be everything up high, the Master fader down low. And even if we don't hear any distortion, mix can get kind of heavy sounding and the tone can change and it just won't sound right. So let's have a quick listen -- (Music playing) So it doesn't sound that great, doesn't sound that bad either, but certainly we can make it sound cleaner and again, the way to do that is always keep our subgroups below the master fader.
(Music playing) So remember, make sure your subgroups are always lower in level than your master fader in order to keep the signal clean, otherwise you might not hear audible distortion, but the tone of the mix might be slightly altered resulting in smaller sounding and less punchy mix.
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