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Mix Bus Plugins and Mixing Tips

This week, I was very excited to be asked to create a video for the incredibly popular and brilliant Produce Like A Pro YouTube channel and rather than picking just my favourite handful of plugins, I thought I'd go a little more focused and share my mix bus plugin chain.

When making the video I realised that the plugins on my mix bus can be gathered into to two different reasons for being there:

- Mix bus glue

- Faux mastering (fairy dust!)

Check out the video to get the picture of the plugins I use and why I use them and how they fall into these two final phases of mixing.

You can also grab the FREE MULTITRACKS from my session by going to the Pro Mix Academy website courses page and locating the Mixing Indie Rock course by Phil Allen.

I've been using this plugin chain for a few years now and today I want to go through each one and explain what they do and why I use them. I'll start off with some raw, unprocessed multitracks so you can hear what each plugin is actually doing in isolation at the very start of the mix.

Then I'll demo them on a finished full mix.

These plugins don't change regardless of the style of music I'm working on, and each one is there as part of my two phase finisher Mix bus system, so let's jump into it. Okay, so the mix I've got here is not finished. In fact, it's not even started to be honest. So the reason for this is because I wanted to use a really simplified session layout rather than my usual more complicated template so that you can hear the Mix plus plugins without being coloured by any other processing that might be happening before the audio gets to the mix bus.

I normally use buses as like a gathering place and treat them almost like one sound almost.

But in this session I've left those out because obviously there's a lot of coloration goes on in those buses and I didn't want that to take away from these plugins and what they can do. I like to think of audio like water in that it always flows downhill all my tracks, filter, through various collection points, those buses as it makes its way to the mix bus and I apply EQ dynamics and effects all along that path. And the collection point that has the biggest impact is my mix.

Plus, the plugins I use are in many ways the starting point of my mix because they're always on right from the start of the mix, so they're always colouring the sound in some way and therefore impacting on my mixing decisions. Once I get started into the nitty gritty of the mix, I like to think in broad strokes initially and get the most bang for your buck if you like, by using the group buses and the mix bus to apply EQ compression, et cetera.

And then if I feel as though I need to dive deeper into a particular sound and I can go and find out at the track level and fix it. And for me, the mix just seems to happen quicker this way, and it's also a really popular way to mix before I get going. If you want to use these tracks yourself, then you can download them for free from the Pro Mix Academy. Just look for the Mixing indie Rock course by Phil Allen, and the link will probably find its way into the description below for good measure here we are at my mix bus and you can see that I've got more bypassed at the moment. 

Watch the video to hear the plugins in action!

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