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Submixes and Busses

So you’ve brought in all of your dialogue, all of your SFX and all of your music.  Since they’re all grouped together in one huge mix, you find that you want to make changes to the groups separately. So for instance, we want to hard level all of our dialogue in a scene but not affect any of the other aspects of the scene.

We can do this using submixes and busses.

So, what’s a bus? Think of it in real world terms. A bus takes a group of people from one place to another. It’s no different in your DAW. The bus is a pathway for your audio to travel to the master.

What we’re going to do is create submixes by routing or what we’d call bussing all of our dialogue to one bus. Our music to another bus and our SFX to another bus.  These individual busses are referred to as “stems” or submixes.

If this sounds confusing let me show you.

So at the moment we have all of our audio clips that we’ve brought in and we want to separate them into various submixes by sending our audio to a bus.

The first thing we’re going to do is to add a Stereo Bus

And give the bus a name usually representing what you’re sending to it exactly.

Now we’re going to add two more Stems for Effects and Music

Now that we’ve have these three stems we’re going to “send” or route the audio from each of our individual tracks to the various stems in accordance to their use.  Also note that the place where we send the audio is also referred to as a return.  The return is the channel that receives the effect processor’s output.

In Adobe Audition the top arrow is your input and the bottom is your send. We’re going to send all of these tracks now to our submixes.

We click on the send option, note that right now it’s going to the master, and then we’re going to twirl down and select the buss we’re sending it to.

Now all of our audio is being bussed to the various submixes and we can make adjustments to the entire group without affecting anything else.

So if we wanted to put a hard limiter on all of our dialogue we could simply add one to the Dialogue Stem.

So now this hard limiter is only affecting the dialogue.

The hard limiter is used to prevent the audio from rising above the point specified so here it’s -3 and you can use the input boost to raise the level of the audio by the number you enter. Just remember, keep an eye on your levels.

Also keep in mind that too much of a hard limiter is a bad thing you don’t want to apply it to Effects or Music normally when in reference to editing for film or video.  It is great for dialogue and it is very common in voice overs for audio books.

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