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 achieve a balanced relationship. From which point they were bussed into a single fader for global control (VCA) and for the option to manipulate each individual move, proportionally, 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, I began to see a similarity in our own lives and how we try to create on a whole.

That is, 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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