Community Tip - Using Multiple Master Faders

10-10-2013 10:00 AM

With the support of iLok, more tips & tricks from the community. Here is one from Juan Francisco Marcenaro Arellano….
I’m from Lima-Peru, 24 years old and about to graduate from Full Sail on Recording Arts bachelor! Anyway, here goes the tip: Most of the students that are months behind us ask me why I use so many master faders in my PT sessions and why do I have 2 “Main Master Faders”. Here is the answer to that:
It is important to understand that a Master Fader, unlike any other track (Audio, Aux, VCA), can get rid of distortion. If I send 10 mono drum tracks to a single stereo Aux track, then I am most likely clipping/distorting the input of that track. The solution is to create a stereo Master Fader in order to use it to control the input level of the Aux track or Sub Group. Once the Master Fader has been created, the only thing left is to assign the correct “bus” to it. In this case, we would assign the same bus that goes to the input of the Aux track where the drum tracks are going to. Now, this is the most important part.
Why do I use two Master Faders as my main faders? I use a “MIX bus” to assign the outputs of all of my Sub Groups first. This bus is also controlled by a “MIX Master” track. Then I feed a Stereo and a Mono Aux tracks with that same MIX bus in order to have both mono and stereo monitoring options (just as any console does). The output of these 2 Aux tracks goes to the Main-Out. Now I create a new Master Fader called “Main-Master, which will serve to control the Main-Out.
Here are some step by step instructions…..

  1. Create 2 New Master Fader tracks, 1New Stereo Aux track, and 3 New Mono Aux tracks.
  2. From left to right, place 1 Master Fader as the first on the left and the other one as the first on the right side. Place all 4 Aux tracks in between those 2 Master Faders.
  3. Place the Stereo Aux right next to the Master fader starting on the left. Place the remaining Mono Aux tracks next to the Stereo Aux track.
  4. Now that your tracks are in order, please re-name them as follows: Main-Master, Stereo-Mon, Mono-Mon, Mono-L, Mono-R, MIX-Master. “Mon” as in “Monitoring”.
  5. Bring down by 3dB each the Mono-L and Mono-R tracks.
  6. Go to I/O Setup and create a stereo bus called “MIX”.
  7. Assign the MIX bus to your MIX-Master track.
  8. Select the Mono-L and Mono-R tracks at the same time, press and hold SHIFT+OPT+CMD, go to the input of your Mono-L track, look for the “MIX-L” bus and select it. Let go off the keys and you should now have your inputs MIX-L and MIX-R assigned individually to your Mono-L and Mono-R Aux tracks.
  9. Keeping the previous 2 tracks selected hold SHIFT+OPT, go to the output of 1 of the tracks and look for the menu “To Track”. Once found, select your “Mono-Mon” Aux track as your destination. You should now have both Mono L and R going out to your Mono-Mon track. This will allow you to monitor your stereo mix in Mono.
  10. Go to your Stereo-Mon track and assign it’s Input to the MIX bus. It’s output should default to the Main-Out of the session.
  11. Make sure your last track, Main-Master, is assigned to the Main-Out. This track will control the final level of whatever comes out of your Stereo-Mon track.
  12. Finally, HIDE (don’t make inactive) your “Mono-L” and “Mono-R” Aux tracks.

Now you have full control of the level that comes out of your mix as well as how mono-compatible it is.

Mike - I wrote about using Master Faders on Aux sub groups and how and why it works in the June 2010 issue of Sound on Sound so if anyone wants to know why it works better then you can read about it there. It is especially effective on the old HD rigs that don’t have floating point processing for the PT mixer.
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