Routing question, re: parallel busses

I’m curious how you guys do your routing of instruments to parallel busses.

So, let’s say I set up a drum grit buss (say, with a bit of disortion/saturation, etc.) and a PBuss, also with some saturation/etc., and I want all instruments besides drums to go to the PBuss.

So, would you route, say, all electric guitars individually to the PBuss, or route the guitars as a group to the PBuss (i.e., the EG guitar folder in REAPER, or maybe a buss that all EG’s are routed through).

Same with drums: in REAPER all my drums are in a folder; would you usually just route the folder or each of the drums?

I know, I know, there’s no right way, and if it sounds good it is good, and it depends on how much flexibility you want over the individual tracks going to the Drum Grit or PBuss. But I’d be interested in how you guys commonly prefer to do your routing.

Also, I’m not sure how the routing works in REAPER: if say my kick drum is sent to the drum grit buss as a post-fader send, what happens when I decrease the volume of the folder’s fader? Would that also decrease the volume of the send as well?

I usually go with whatever method works with the least amount of clutter. While it’s certainly possible to have control over every detail when routing stuff around in reaper, I have found that when I do that in a mix, it’s way to easy to get the the point where making adjustments just becomes too much work.

So wherever possible, I route single tracks as little as possible and do as much work as possible on the bus level.

If the bus routing isn’t working, then I’ll go in and do more complicated single track routing, but I try to avoid it whenever possible. It gets even worse when you have to step away from a project for a couple weeks and open it back up and have to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out what you were actually trying to do.

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As boz said, a lot of this is about what’s necessary to organize. Completely agree there.

The only other 2 things I’d account for is automation and bus processing. If we’re talking about an electric guitars group bus for example, you want to make a decision ahead of time. You may not even necessarily need a parallel bus. You could just send them directly TO the bus. Then run a parallel bus off that bus. So:

Guitar ----> All guitars channel output to Guitar Bus —> To main 2 bus
Guitar… … … … …VV
Guitar… … …(Feeds parallel bus) ----> To main 2 bus


Guitar (send to aux1)
Guitar (send to aux1) … —> All guitars out to Main 2 bus L/R
Guitar (send to aux1)
Guitar (send to aux1)
Aux 1 … … … … … … … … —> To main 2 bus L/R

Either way works

Not sure… you’d probably just have to try it. DAWs handle folder sends a bit differently, but a folder channel usually functions just like a normal bus track.

I’m pretty sure in that case that only the kick drum fader would affect the send, the folder (I assume you mean the Drum folder) fader shouldn’t affect the kick drum send, only the overall level of all direct sound from the drum tracks. I would say I’m certain of this, as I have seen track sends used for side-chain ducking continue to work when the folder fader is turned down, though I don’t think Reaper can show a level meter of a send or receive. I have only seen the side-chain level meter on a plugin on the receiving track continue to receive signal. I hope that makes sense.

That makes sense and is kind of how I’ve been thinking. Keep it simple and have a good reason for running individual tracks to pbuss.

I’m curious as to favorite plugin chains some of you guys use on a pbuss?

For which instrument?

Separate Pbuss each for:

El Guitars

Parallel - usually a fast FET -> Slow opto on the parallel. If parallel, usually a clean VCA on the bus itself.

SSL bus comp

Doublers/Wideners, and parallel EQ. Roland Dimension D and Eventide are the go-to for electrics for width and spread. Sometimes use multi-band compressors and transient designers on this parallel chain in order to control frequencies, accent transients, or shave off and tighten up rhythm tails.

I often process the dry signal then run a processed dry signal to a parallel amp simulator. UAD ampeg and UAD Fender for rock stuff, UAD Dave Eden or UAD Gallien Krueger.

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I would send stuff individually,I dont use group buses much.

Update: no, the folder volume only decreases the volume of the tracks beneath it; however, it does not effect the sends of those tracks. Best to leave faders on folders alone if the tracks beneath them have sends.

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