2bus compressor chain question

Hey guys,

how you guys usually chain your 2 bus for printing mixdown?
let say I have a 2bus compressor on my master output.
after the 2bus is mic preamp necessary ? or just leave it +4dbu (line level) ?

DAW out > 2bus comp > ?

thank you

The DAW out is line level and should only be sent to devices that accept a line level input.
Sending a line level signal into a mic level input would most likely overload the inputs of a mic preamp.
Other problems that could crop up would be impedance mismatching between the DAW and preamp.

I’d go DAW out -> compressor -> DAW in (which is what I’d monitor) to print the mix. I’d only put other analogue gear in the chain if there was a problem of some kind or I had the studio of my dreams and wanted to sum on a decent console and print the mix to 2" tape.

You put a compressor after the signal leaves the interface but before the monitors?

Never tried that, don’t have a compressor that I would use though.

I send the output of the interface to the monitors.

My interface has monitor management built in, so I can hook up three monitor systems with different settings and switch them remotely, the main output has XLR connectors for active monitors and an active crossover for the sub.

I would have trouble getting a compressor in there.

I use a compressor on the output bus in the DAW though. Sometimes put a limiter after it.

@Cirrus, I wouldn’t do that. Unless he’s sending his stems to a summing unit, I don’t see the point in making the return loop to the DAW.

I think it would be better if @cubiclestudio strapped the 2 bus compressor to a pair of send/returns on his interface, then simply dropped the bus comp right on his master track in the DAW (as if it was a plugin). When he bounces, he has to bounce in real time of course, but you have to bounce realtime anyway when using outboard gear.

That’ll clean his process up quite a bit and make it a little easier to manage.

No No No!! -12 always!! Never go to +4 unless you have to, and in your case you clearly don’t.

Unless your compressor is specifically a bus compressor, you’ll probably want it use it for other things. In that case I’d again recommend using the i/o on your interface. If its just one compressor don’t bother with an analog patchbay to move it around. Anytime you can patch digitally, do it.

Maybe he’s referring to +4dbu as in +4db/-10db voltage reference standard for line level signals ?

1 Like

Isn’t that basically…

Unless I’ve misinterpreted something? you go out and back in to print the mix/bounce in real time?

They’re not the same.

Signal chain 1 )
Daw Tracks -> Daw 2 bus -> 2 bus sends to compressor via insert send -> compressor returns to 2 bus channel via insert return -> master fader -> print from here. -This is the way this should be done.


Signal Chain 2)
Daw Tracks -> Daw 2 bus -> Master fader -> Interface output to compressor -> Compressor returns to interface LINE IN -> Print track to DAW -> Master Fader -> Bounce again to print from here.

In the first signal chain you bounce once in realtime and you’re done.

In the second version you have to bounce one to create the print TRACK, then bounce again to send your print track to disk.

Also, in signal chain 2, you can not move your compressor around your session without manually re-patching. In signal chain 1 you can leave it permanently wired to your interface and do so with a mouse click.

Note: They will sound the same. The difference it signal flow. The monitoring chain is also complicated using chain #2. Signal chain 1 can not take advantage of offline bounce. When you have 45 min to 2 hrs of continuous audio, this matters

1 Like

No that’s not what I mean…
I mean 2 buss while mixing/printing your mixes…
Daw out back to Daw
do you put preamp after the 2buss. just for color ?

I’m in logic pro x
So I put Stereo I/O
output 3-4 -> 2bus compressor -> input 1-2

now the question… input 1-2 is set to mic preamp or line level ?

Line Level, unless the output of the compressor is struggling (ie, you’re maxing it out and it’s not loud enough coming back in).

If it’s set to mic level, the signal will probably go through an extra analogue op-amp in your interface to bring the volume up, there’s no point sending the signal through more stuff that you need to. Unless you LIKE the sound of the op-amp, of course. :wink:

1 Like

Yup. there ya go. I think you got it. Just remember you have to bounce to disk in realtime whenever the compressor is switched in.

You may already know this, but that insert can now be moved around on other bus channels. BGV, Drums, Guitars… just like a plugin.

Pretty cool :smiley: