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The quickie guide to mixing, Part 5

Back in the prehistoric times of the Large Formatus Consoleasaurus, creating subgroups was a smart move, since it meant less faders to move. For example, one fader could control the level of an entire submixed drum kit. Even though we have intensive automation capabilities in DAW software, it’s still a wise move to create subgroups for drums, background vocals, and sectional instruments such as trumpets, saxes, or entire horn sections. Once you have a good balance, this allows you to change overall levels in the mix without having to go back and change each individual track separately. There’s also the added advantage of conserving CPU resources when adding effects processing to a subgroup, since you only need one instance of the plug-in. For example, background vocals generally should sound like they are coming from the same ambient space. Therefore, using the same reverb for all voices is perfectly legal. First, create an aux channel and insert the reverb plug — use your personal custom preset if you have one. If not, once you’re happy with the ‘verb, this would be the time to make one. For each track in the subgroup, create a bus to send the signal to the reverb aux channel. Now, when you change the level of the group, the effects will change accordingly.

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