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  #1  
Old 08-10-2022, 09:22 PM
take77 take77 is offline
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Default Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

I recently read an older article in Sound on Sound regarding the use of more than one Master Fader.
This answered my question as to why this would be put into practice.

The article is from 2010 and can be read here:
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniq...m-master-fader

My question now is: How to determine if or when I would need an extra Master Fader in my basic home recording/demo mixes?

What I'm gleaning so far is that I would create an additional Master fader in the event that a large group of signals starts to exceed the normal limits going into an aux channel.
And that would enable me to "taper" the signal going into the aux to avoid clipping.

That's what I'm getting so far. Still learning about the logistics of this method.

Clarification:

I had omitted part of my original question asking if this info was still valid in recent versions of Pro Tools.
I did refer to the current reference guide and there is a section on pg. 1081 that mentions using a Master fader to trim the input of a submix.
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Last edited by take77; 08-12-2022 at 02:31 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-11-2022, 08:20 AM
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albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

My 2 cents:
#1-the article is 12 years old and lots of changes have come to pass(see #2).
#2-If you are concerned about clipping, work in the 32 bit mode for the massive increase in headroom.
#3-some general stuff; Pro Tools can make multiple master faders, but only 1 can be assigned to any path. So, I often have 1 for the mix(as most everyone does anyway) and I sometimes add a few for my headphone mix outputs. If you want to have "sub-masters" for groups of tracks(like drums, keyboards, BGV's, etc), you would not use actual Master Tracks, but instead would use bussing. Bussing used to be done by setting track outputs to a bus and feeding the bus to an Aux track, making the Aux track fader act as a "sub-master" for that batch of tracks. These days, most will use a Routing Folder track for the same purpose(the Routing Folder Track becomes a "sub-master" for tracks in that folder). These 2 methods work the same, but have different advantages. Routing Folder advantage; you can collapse the tracks to clean up your screen(very handy for those running hundreds of tracks). Aux Track bus routing advantage; the Aux Track can be moved independent of other tracks so you could choose to move them around(maybe you want to have all your "sub-master" tracks together for mixing). VCA tracks can perform the same "sub-master" control, but can't take plugins to process the tracks under their control
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  #3  
Old 08-11-2022, 01:56 PM
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Ben Jenssen Ben Jenssen is online now
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Default Re: Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

Albee knows his stuff. I'll just feel the need to boil it down somewhat.

A masterfader in PT is a visualization of a physical output. If you have only stereo out on your interface, more than one stereo masterfader is pointless.

You can have a session without any masterfader(s), it just means that you won't be able to control your stereo output level, or insert plugins on it. All tracks routed to the output will work even without a masterfader.

I've always used an aux as my master. I route everything thru it and it goes to my main outs. I could have not had a masterfader at all, just the aux, but I usually crate one just to have a volume control, any "masterfader plugins" goes on the aux, and I keep the aux fader at -0db.

It has several advantages, plugins being pre-fader, more flexible routing ++.
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  #4  
Old 08-11-2022, 10:35 PM
take77 take77 is offline
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Default Re: Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

Thanks for all your thoughts on the subject.

I was mainly wondering because I usually get by just fine with my Aux channels/sub-mixes, mix bus and one Master fader without any clipping issues.

Moreover, the example used in the article used a high signal count into an Aux/sub-mix.
So if I'm ever doing extreme layering of vocals like Mutt Lange & Def Leppard or Queen, I'll know how to apply the method of trimming a sub-mix with an added Master fader.

See: Current PT reference guide, pg. 1081. "Using a Master fader to trim a sub-mix".

I appreciate the rest of the advice and reminders.
Glad to hear others approach & logistics from those who may still use this method.
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Last edited by take77; 08-12-2022 at 05:19 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-11-2022, 11:56 PM
nednednerb nednednerb is online now
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Default Re: Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

I used to have nothing on the master fader, working at home with one stereo output.

Recently, I've been putting a whole bunch of meter/level/spectrograph plug-ins on the master channel. None of them are doing any processing (theoretically! "shouldn't be")

It works well because I have plenty of plug-ins on my "master bus aux track" already, so splitting off the metering/monitoring plug-ins made perfect sense.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2022, 03:23 AM
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Default Re: Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

Quote:
Originally Posted by take77 View Post
I was mainly wondering because I usually get by just fine with my Aux channels/submixes, mix bus and one Master fader without any clipping issues.

Moreover, the example used in the article used a high signal count into an Aux/submix.
So if I'm ever doing extreme layering of vocals like Mutt Lange & Def Leppard or Queen, I'll know how to apply the method of trimming a submix with an added Master fader.

See: Current PT reference guide, pg. 1081. "Using a Master fader to trim a submix".
OK, I see. (I found it on page 1095, I guess we have different versions.) It explains a way to use a master fader that I didn't mention. And that's simply because, as you imply, it's not very often one would need it:

Let's say I have a bus populated by so many different track/groups that it would be impractical to select them all and lower the outputs/sends, and I need to lower it because I can't, for some reason do the correction on the recieving end on the bus. (remember, in a 24 or 32 bit session, the headroom is so high that a bus that goes into red doesn't necessarily mean that it distorts. It's perfectly fine to lower the recieving end.)

So I can create a master fader, set it to control the bus in question, and I have a control for the bus level, wherever it's coming from or going to.

I never need that, so I never use it.
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2022, 04:42 AM
take77 take77 is offline
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Default Re: Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

Thanks for the additional reply Ben.
I do concur.
I've also yet to really need an extra Master in my home/demo sessions.

What had gotten me curious in the first place is when I had read about utilizing additional Master faders.
Especially since each can only have one designated output path.

And as you mentioned in your first reply, I was also curious about why individual tracks are still audible even though I may not have created a Master fader yet in a new session.
So this made me wonder if a Master fader purpose is make the mix engine more efficient at handling multiple signals.

Then I started thinking about the internal mix engine and what was defined as "wordlength" in the article I referenced.

And it's also been informative to know that additional Masters can be used for headphone mixes and additional outs to external destinations.

Empowering research indeed. But ultimately for me 1 Master is suitable with my modest setup.

It was a good reminder about the difference between pre & post fader inserts.
I took note of the tip in the ref guide to create an aux before the Master if pre-fader processing is desired. Say, for example, a fade out.
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Last edited by take77; 08-17-2022 at 03:49 AM.
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  #8  
Old 08-12-2022, 04:59 AM
take77 take77 is offline
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Default Re: Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
My 2 cents:
#1-the article is 12 years old and lots of changes have come to pass(see #2).
#2-If you are concerned about clipping, work in the 32 bit mode for the massive increase in headroom.
#3-some general stuff; Pro Tools can make multiple master faders, but only 1 can be assigned to any path. So, I often have 1 for the mix(as most everyone does anyway) and I sometimes add a few for my headphone mix outputs. If you want to have "sub-masters" for groups of tracks(like drums, keyboards, BGV's, etc), you would not use actual Master Tracks, but instead would use bussing. Bussing used to be done by setting track outputs to a bus and feeding the bus to an Aux track, making the Aux track fader act as a "sub-master" for that batch of tracks. These days, most will use a Routing Folder track for the same purpose(the Routing Folder Track becomes a "sub-master" for tracks in that folder). These 2 methods work the same, but have different advantages. Routing Folder advantage; you can collapse the tracks to clean up your screen(very handy for those running hundreds of tracks). Aux Track bus routing advantage; the Aux Track can be moved independent of other tracks so you could choose to move them around(maybe you want to have all your "sub-master" tracks together for mixing). VCA tracks can perform the same "sub-master" control, but can't take plugins to process the tracks under their control
Always appreciate the time you put into helping others on here.
You're one of my favorite members. :)

It's also nice to have the option of routing folders. When that feature was first introduced I had let my plan expire. By the time I reinstated so many other features had been added and I've yet to catch up on that feature. In the meantime, I've been creating sub-mixes the familiar way via aux channels.
Will be reading up about those next!

Also looking forward to brushing up on VCA's which I had a handle on at one point but will need to delve in for a refresher on how to configure/group them again.
But I do remember what they are for and why & when. As well as the difference between VCA and Aux options.
Namely, that the Aux channels pass audio and allow for processing while VCA's do not pass audio but are more for coordinated control of a sub-mix levels.
I remember the first time I watched those sub-mix fader levels ascend and descend together in tandem...
It was like watchin' a Blue Angle's air show! Wow...

Cheers Dave:)

Mike
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Last edited by take77; 08-12-2022 at 06:32 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2022, 06:23 AM
its2loud its2loud is offline
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Default Re: Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

Every Bus and Output in Pro Tools automatically has a Master Fader internally. It’s built into the software. Creating a Master Fader is only allowing you to visually see the Master, adjust it, or add plugins to signal flow.

Therefore, “creating” more Master Faders simply means visually showing the Masters that already exist for every Bus out Output.
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Old 08-12-2022, 02:36 PM
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Default Re: Intermediate question regarding the use of more than one Master Fader

Thanks for the kind words Mike!
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