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  #1  
Old 03-22-2019, 10:48 AM
danevaz danevaz is offline
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Default Inactivating Master Track

Hi All,

Been using PT since mid 2000s. WIN 10, Apollo Twin USB. This may sound like a "noob" question - but I'm confused.

Doing home recording, light jazz/pop/folk/bossa singer songwriter style music. Mic'd vocals and acoustic guitars, VIs for sweetening and percussion.

I always set up my audio and instrument tracks to O/P to MON1/2 (my interface's main stereo outputs).

I always added a Master track, and also set it's output to MON1/2. Then I'd insert my "mixdown" plugins on the Master Track.

Well...

I recently demoed a new interface and while hacking around, I set the Master Track's output to "no output" (which I had never done before).

So I'm hearing the summed stereo output of all my tracks/channels at my interface's Main Outs (MON1/2) - *minus* any plugins that were on the Master Track.

I also tried "inactivating" the Master track - and same result - hear my mix (minus any Master Track plugins) summed in stereo to my interface's Main Outs.

OK.

So, I get to thinking, then why do I need a Master Track? Why don't I set up an Aux Track (call it "Pre-Master" let's say), and put my "mixdown" plugins on that bus?

Without a Master Track, everything appears to still get summed to my interface's Main Outs, and the "mixdown" plugs on this "Pre-Master" bus get applied to the output signal.

Is the only reason for the Master Track then just a "convenient" way to raise/lower the overall output level? I always leave the Master Track fader at 0dB, and adjust the individual tracks/channel to get the appropriate level I'm going for on the Master Track VU meters.

So what am I missing - if I use that "Pre-Master" as a mixdown bus, why do I need a Master Track?

Thanks,
Danny V.
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2019, 12:04 PM
originalscottyg originalscottyg is offline
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Default Re: Inactivating Master Track

Using an Aux track as your "Master" is actually a pretty common, and preferred, way to do it. The inserts on the "Master Fader" are post-fader, so if you automate a fade out on your master fader, you are lowering the signal into any compressors and limiters on that Master Fader, changing the way the compression/limiting is affecting the audio. Also, any latency caused by plugins on the Master Fader, is not compensated by delay compensation, whereas it is compensated on Aux tracks. I usually do keep a Master Fader visible, with no plugins on it, to monitor the level hitting the physical outputs on the converters.
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Old 03-22-2019, 12:45 PM
amagras amagras is offline
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Default Re: Inactivating Master Track

The Master track is useful to insert the spectrum analyzer and other measuring plugins. That's the reason I use it.
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Old 03-22-2019, 02:05 PM
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64GTOBOY 64GTOBOY is offline
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Default Re: Inactivating Master Track

The I/O setup determines where the output is routed from/to, not a Master fader(you can have more than 1 master fader). I believe on average most people create and Aux "Mix" bus or "2" bus that everything else feeds into and gets all the "final" plugins, glue compression , etc.
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Old 03-22-2019, 02:06 PM
originalscottyg originalscottyg is offline
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Default Re: Inactivating Master Track

Quote:
Originally Posted by amagras View Post
The Master track is useful to insert the spectrum analyzer and other measuring plugins. That's the reason I use it.
Good point. I sometimes put a Durrough or other meter on the master. But, since I work to picture most of the time, I have to be careful with un compensated latency that would affect sync to picture, and remove or deactivate, before outputting mixes or stems.
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Old 03-22-2019, 03:49 PM
the.engineer the.engineer is offline
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Default Re: Inactivating Master Track

The master track as some have pointed out is pre the inserts on master track. This is both useful and not useful, it allows you to pull the overall level of your mix down if you find you’re too hot (can happen fairly frequently) but also you then can’t do a fade without affecting the level into your mastering chain.

Again, as others have said, using an aux track is a good way to get round this AND you can still use a master track (just assign it to the same input bus as your ‘master aux track’ and then voila, you can still adjust the overall level of your mix going into your aux track.

You may also notice that you can create master tracks during playback without PT glitching. That is because the master track is there in the background anyway, the fader is just master volume control.

...i think that makes sense!


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Old 03-22-2019, 03:59 PM
BScout BScout is offline
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Default Re: Inactivating Master Track

You don't assign an "output" to a master track. You are actually just assigning what the master track is. A master track is a representative of an internal bus that already exists. That's an important distinction between a master track and other tracks (other than VCA which is also assigning an existing group to a fader)

The main reason for a master track is a post-fader/pre-record insert. Notably DITHER. Dither needs to happen post fader but also printed down. So if you need to apply dither on an audio print, assigning that input bus that is going to the record-audio track to a master fader allows you to control the level being printed and put the dither after level adjustments but before it gets printed to audio.
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Old 03-26-2019, 12:17 PM
danevaz danevaz is offline
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Default Re: Inactivating Master Track

Thanks for all the responses, exactly what I wanted to find out.

Where would you put something like "Sonarworks" - last plug on the PT Master Track?

Thanks,
Danny V.
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Old 03-26-2019, 01:06 PM
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K Roche K Roche is offline
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Default Re: Inactivating Master Track

Quote:
Originally Posted by danevaz View Post
Thanks for all the responses, exactly what I wanted to find out.

Where would you put something like "Sonarworks" - last plug on the PT Master Track?

Thanks,
Danny V.
Not familiar with Sonarworks but it depends on if you want the FX to be pre-fader, or post-fader (as per BScout) Anything on the Master fader is post fader
any plugin on an Aux track will be pre-fader
I always use an final ( Aux track) which I label "2 Mix", that all tracks or sub bus tracks in the session are routed to via a bus labeled the same "2 Mix", so there is never any confusion ....it sits at the far right next to the Master Fader
I put any Mastering plugins on the 2 Mix track because I want them pre fader
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:01 PM
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JFreak JFreak is offline
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Default Re: Inactivating Master Track

Quote:
Originally Posted by BScout View Post
A master track is a representative of an internal bus that already exists.
Almost correct. There is a master fader for every output in the mixer, whether internal buss or a physical output.

As said, they are just not visible by default, and by default there are no (post-fader) plugins assigned and the fader is at unity. If you need to control the level of the output or want to use some plugins, you can set the master fader visible and do your trick. But even if you don't see them they are there.
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