Mix/master lingo

How are we doing? Just started the mixing foundation course and it’s somewhat a vocabulary overload. Hope you can help me out:

  • Bus, channelstrip and send. Does the term bus refer to both individual channels and send. Or is it just either one?

  • MMW. What does that mean?

A ‘Bus’ is used to send one or more tracks to a particular place for further processing.
A bus is technically the route rather than the actual ‘Aux’ but we just say bus. For example you could have a synth lead and an arp on two separate tracks. You may want to process them together, instead of using 2 EQs, 2 compressors etc on both tracks, you would send the output of both tracks to say ‘Bus 1’, which would route to an ‘Aux’ track that you could process these tracks as one. In addition, lets say you want to use the same reverb on multiple tracks but with different send levels. Instead of inserting several reverbs on the inserts of each track, you can easily utilise the ‘Sends’ on these tracks to send to an ‘Aux’ that has a reverb plug-in inserted. Lets say you used ‘Bus 2’ for this purpose.
Buses have lots of great uses but don’t want to overload you with too much infomation, we can have plenty of discussions about advanced busing in time :slight_smile:

MMW means Mix Master Wyatt and it is the old name of this school. I assume it was referring to the MMW Channel Strip? This simply means it is @Danny’s channel strip system, which really is worth the time learning and understanding.

Let me know if you have any further questions, always happy to help.

Another way of putting it:

Bus: the path a signal uses to move within the mixer from its source to either the Stereo Out or to one or more Aux channels before continuing to the final destination of Stereo Out.

Channel Strip: the vertical configuration a channel has on a mixer that the track’s signal traverses downward to get to the fader which is the effective end of the strip. Typically a strip has a series of inserts through which the track’s signal passes each of which can have a plugin that incrementally modifies the signal as it moves through.

Sends: Typically after moving vertically down through the inserts of a strip, the track’s signal can have exact copies of it be split off peripherally to aux/effects channels where the copy is modified then sent on to be blended with the original signal after both have passed through their respective faders towards the next destination, that often being the Stereo Out. The term ‘send’ is usually paired with the term ‘return’ in that the copy is ‘sent’ to a channel that effectively ‘returns’ it to the eventual path of the signal that is being affected by the plugins in the Return channel.
Note that a send can be set as ‘Pre-fader’ or ‘Post-fader’. If it is Pre, then the signal is sent on to the Aux channel before it reaches the fader in its own channel which means that the movement of its fader will not affect how much of the copied signal is sent to the Aux. If it is Post, then the signal is sent on to the Aux after it reaches its own channel’s fader which means that the fader will thereby control how much of the copied signal is sent to the Aux.

It may help to say that inserts are a ‘serial’ path in that the signal enters into each insert then comes out to the next one. Sends are ‘parallel’ paths in that the signal is copied off to be affected at the same time as the original.

All of this is basically under a general concept of Signal Routing that can either be carried out as simple implementations or as fairly complex ones. Danny’s Mixing Foundations should help a great deal to sort this all out for you over the term of the course. And everything Paul said is absolutely correct but I thought maybe two different ways of explaining would help to make it clear.

Personally I always keep in mind an analogy with plumbing with signals traversing through busses represented by water going through pipes. That makes it easier for me to grasp.