The Buss Theorem

It was 11pm, I was struggling to get a mix buss sorted. Specifically the drum buss. There were about 5 stem parts, each playing their role in the drum’s cohesion. Eventually, through some aggressive equalization, moderate toning, and dynamic shaping, I was able to get the stems into acceptable form. Once the 5 were ‘gelling’, I bussed them to a single fader where I would have global control (VCA) and be able to manipulate the preceding moves on a macro level. (i.e add compression to the mix buss as a whole, eq the mix buss as a whole, stereo image as a whole, limit as a whole…etc). Conveniently, it presented an interesting analogy to how we create on a whole.

In continuance of my analogous ‘shtuff’,  I began to see a similarity. Our efforts are in many ways a summation of channels being routed into a buss. We mix and match intensity, tone, eq, dynamics, width, and overall level to make a composite signal that eventually routes to a single fader. If we approach our work as a composite of ourselves, balancing the influence and input, we can better communicate a clearer intent. Try too hard, you overload the buss. Under deliver, your noise floor increases. Striking a balance is difficult, but once you do, and find a way to leave a little headroom, the work achieves a better communication line to the listener.



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