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Logic 9 Mastering, but keeping the individual channels?

Discussion in 'Logic 9' started by Hagroth, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Hagroth

    Hagroth New Member

    This is my first master, and since the song is going to be on Rock Band, I'll need to export the different channels separately (bass drum, snare drum, tom 1, guitar 1, guitar 2, bass guitar etc.). So is it possible to keep the channels from the mix, and without doing a mixdown, put the channels through a "semi-master" bus before going to the "stereo output"/"master" bus, so I can add compression, EQ etc. to all channels on the semi-master the same way I would to the mixdown in a regular mastering approach?

    Is there any way to make the applied effect on the semi-master bus apply to the different individual instruments the same way, when all channels are bounced, and when only one channel is bounced individually?
    E.g., make the semi-master bus inserts affect the guitar channel the same way when bounced together with all the other instruments and when bounced individually?

    Thanks in advance!
  3. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    If I am understanding your question correctly, this is a simple matter of outputting all of your tracks to a final bus before they are sent along to the stereo output. This is the way I work by default. Here is a screen shot of my defautl startup template routing. I have all tracks outputting to a bus that I call "master bus" (that's the one that is highlighted) and then from there it goes to the main output.

    So, any processing instantiated on the master bus channel strip will be applied to any/all tracks that are not muted; weather they are solo'd or not.

    I think this answers your question?

    Attached Files:

  4. Hagroth

    Hagroth New Member

    Exactly, but it won't sound the same if I bounce all channels together as if I'd bounce the channels individually and then put them together, right? Or maybe it will, I'm not a very experienced user.

    You see, I'm going to bounce the channels individually to be able to use them in "Rock Band". My intention is to make the result, that is when "Rock Band" puts the channels together, sound exactly the same as the master.
  5. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    It should work. If you put processing on the master bus, and bounce down each track individually, they should sound the same when all played together as they would if you bounced the entire mix down. As long as you don't change any levels when bouncing. And keep your master bus and main output at 0.00 db.
  6. Hagroth

    Hagroth New Member

    I was thinking mostly about the compressor - since it acts depending on the volume of the channels that aren't muted, it should respond differently when bouncing all channels and only bouncing one, right? The volume gets higher when all channels are played back, compared to when just one is. So I'm wondering if you could perhaps get around this somehow. Like making the compressor work as if all channels are played back, but still only make one channel audible.
  7. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    You're right. I hadn't thought of this. I think the best way around this is to just use individual compressors on each of the channels instead of on the master bus. If you are using Logic's compressor it shouldn't be a problem, they are fairly easy on the CPU. Depending on how big your sessions are, you'll probably be okay with most third party compressor plug-ins too if you have a modern Mac.

    You would be sacrificing master bus compression. But OTOH, you probably don't really want it if your goal is to export a bunch of individual tracks that are destined to be mixed together outside of Logic (in Rock Band?)
  8. Hagroth

    Hagroth New Member

    Exactly, they'll simply be put together on top of each other in the game, so it would've been really great if there was a way to set the master compression, limiting etc. with all channels enabled, and then bounce the channels individually but let the compressor, limiter and other volume-related inserts one might use in mastering as if the channels were bounced together.
  9. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    I can't think of a way to do this. I'd be really curious, if anyone else can jump in here, to see if there is a way to do this.....
  10. Hagroth

    Hagroth New Member

    I think I got the answers I was looking for here:

    I'm not very experienced in Logic Pro, so I don't know what "stems" are, but I'll check it out in the manual.
  11. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    Why do you specifically need to have each and every voice in your mix as a separate audio file?

    On a side note, the term mastering implies working with a collection of finished mixes in the form of two track stereo audio files, (or another option- stereo files of stems that make up the mix).
    - The songs are put in the desired playback sequence
    - The gain levels (before any processing ) are adjusted so that the listener is not jolted by sudden decreases or increases in playback volume.
    - Gentle wide Q equalization and gentle dynamics processing create the impression that the tunes are from the same source, and of a similar tonality (cohesion if that's desired), but at the very least, ensuring that the listening experience is smooth and consistent from tune to tune.

    Your original question is really not by definition, about mastering but about splitting out the individual elements of your final mix such that playback of all individual audio files (one for each voice in your mix) will sound identical to your final mix.

    Eli's recommendation to apply processing as desired to the individual tracks is the only way to accomplish what you've asked for. Tweaking the parameters of each tracks eq, dynamics, and fx so that the sum of all tracks results in the desired blend for your mix. Bouncing each and every track will produce a separate audio file, the sum of which when played back together will sound identical to your final mix.

    Working in this way based on what you emphatically stated as your criteria, is not a limitation of Logic. Present the same scenario over at and see what kind of responses you get.

    But now it seems like your criteria are changing as the concept of "stems" has been introduced to you. Stems are not Logic-specific but an approach to sub mixing (and creating stereo mixes of those sub-mixes for the purpose of efficient final mixing and for "stems mastering"). This approach can be used with Cubase or any other Mac or PC DAW.

    Again, do you really need to have each and every voice in your mix as a separate audio file? Or will a stereo audio file of your drums sub-mix(with panning, track eq/dynamics, etc) plus some gentle sub-mix bus compression for "glue" be sufficient? Sub-mixs (stems) can be created for all bass instruments, another for the lead vocal or instrument, and another for all other instruments.

    What exactly do you need? Asking a clear question will result in a a clear answer.

    Best of luck.

  12. Hagroth

    Hagroth New Member

    I think I've found my answer actually. First of all, the reason why I need to do it this way is because the song's going to be featured on the game "Rock Band". The game will put all the tracks/channels/instruments on top of each other. I want this to sound like my final master.

    The answer seems to be side-chaining all channels to one bus, and then side-chain that bus into the compressor and limiter etc. I'm using for my master. This way, the volume-dependant master inserts will always process the audio the same way.
    Then I can just bounce each channel individually, one at a time, and let the master compressor (which are processing according to the side-chained bus) etc. act on each channel just as they would if all channels would've been bounced together.

    What I refer to as "mastering" here is treating the final mix as a whole. Compressing it a bit, perhaps adding some EQ, and maximizing the volume. And trimming of course.
  13. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    Good to hear that you found your solution.
  14. Hagroth

    Hagroth New Member

    Well, I haven't tried it yet, but from what I've seen on tutorials it should work. If you have any suggestions or know any reason why it wouldn't work or anything, you're welcome! Is this what you would've done? Or maybe you always bounce as mixdown before mastering (I know this is a pretty unique situation)?
  15. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Hi Hagroth,

    Glad you found a solution. The side chain routine discussed in that logicprohelp thread that you describe is a very creative work around. I think it should work.
  16. Hagroth

    Hagroth New Member

    Ok, thanks! :)

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