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Brauerizing: A How To Guide | Brauerizing: Techniques and Concepts

Brauerizing: Techniques and Concepts


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Brauerizing: A How ToGuide


Posted on March 19, 2014

Brauerizing:AHowToGuide
Introduction
Brauerizing is the name given to a mixing mentality honed by Grammy award winning mixing engineer Michael
Brauer, feeding audio into compressors and equalizers in order to impart harmonic content to the input signal, as
well as utilizing subtle group compression to glue audio together through an audio phenomena known as
counter pumping. This how to guide will explain the three stage process of Brauerizing; Multi-Bus
Compression, Multi-Vocal Compression and the utilization of dual parallel 1176s for extra cushion in the mix.
MultiBusCompressionIntroductionandAnalogy
It is common practice to utilize compression across the stereo bus in order to compress the entire mix in an effort
to add tone, attitude or knit the mix into a more cohesive product. The problem with stereo bus compression is
that the compressor will react based upon the wide range of input material it receives, which when utilizing a
compressor with a particular frequency response can soon lead to particular frequencies compressing more than
others and begin to detriment that mix you worked so hard to perfect.
The origins of the Multi-Bus Compression technique harnessed by Brauer are rooted in an Aretha Franklin mix.
Brauer found that he was at the limits of the mix, but when instructed that the bass guitar needed pushing higher,
pushing it caused the vocal to suddenly drop in volume due to the stereo bus compressor now reacting to the
louder bass. Counter pushing the vocal up caused the bass to drop and therefore a new mixing mentality was
required in order to achieve the maximum volume musically, without causing issues at the stereo bus.
MultiBusCompressionCalibrationandRouting
The introduction of Multi-Bus Compression to Brauers mixing allows for multiple sources of audio to be routed to
desired busses; alphabetically named ABCD to correspond with the centre section of his SSL, where carefully
chosen compressors compliment the input material. At this point it should be mentioned that Brauerizing is not a
form of Multi-Band compression; often misinterpreted as, though in dividing the material to the four busses, the
technique is more Multi-Vibe compression.
OTB (Out the Box) Brauer utilizes the SSLs routing matrix in order to take the individual channels of the mix to
the ABCD busses and sets the routing to post-fader, allowing any channel fader movements to affect the input of
the ABCD busses. The ABCD busses are then routed to the Stereo Bus. In assigning the routing matrix to post
fader, it allows the mixing engineer to push into the compressor patched across the bus, allowing for a familiar
sweet spot to be recognized and replicated with each mix, where pushing too softly or too hard into the bus causes
the sound to thin, whereas the sweet spot adds glue and attitude. A diagram for this routing; along with Brauers
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channel routing and equipment utilized, can be found in Figure 1.

Figure1:MultiBusCompression
OTB
To replicate ITB (in the Box) it is recommended that equivalent plug-ins are utilized to achieve similar
characteristics to Brauers OTB set-up, one that stresses on the importance of using the compressors as tone
generators. It is possible to replicate the routing ITB by directly outputting the individual channels to the desired
ABCD busses, though as not all DAWs have the capability of multi-outputting channels it is better practice to
utilize a dummy bus; emulating taking the channels our of the stereo bus, for the channels output and utilizing
the channel sends set in post fader to replicate the functions of the SSL routing matrix. A diagram for this routing;
along with recommended plug-in equivalents, can be found in Figure 2.

Figure2:MultiBusCompression
ITB
The above plug-ins are personal preferences as the Brit-C models the Neve 33609 compressor, the Puigtech
models the Pultec, the CB303; on the harmonic distortion preset, models the Distressor and is sent to the
Decapitator for further harmonic saturation, the API 550A has appropriate fixed band choices, the VBC FG-MU
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models a Vari-Mu/Tube compressor; which the Pendulum ES-8 is, and the V-Comp in limit mode with the S1
stereo imager emulate the configuration of the D Bus; as Brauer has the width knob on the compressor set to
maximum. It is important to mention that Brauer has his compressors set unlinked; where each side is
independent, and therefore recommend utilizing plug-ins in multi-mono mode and unlinked; where applicable.
In order to calibrate the compressors ITB you will need a signal generator and VU meter. Insert the VU meter at
the end of the insert slots and the signal generator at the top, and ensure that the signal generator; set to sine
wave, reads at 0VU. From there, follow Brauers notes on calibrating the Multi-Bus Compression set-up found on
his website at http://mbrauer.com/qna2.asp
Once calibrated, begin mixing and have fun with the ABCD busses! The golden rule (or metaphor) for the MultiBus compression technique is to treat the gain reduction like an elastic band; theres only so far you can push an
elastic band before it snaps, and be conservative with the amount of gain reduction; averaging around 1 1.5dB.
Once familiar with the sweet spots, youll begin to experience counter-pumping caused by varying compression
rates between the four busses, causing the compressors to add subtle rhythm to the mix that allude to the mix
breathing. This is a sign of successful Multi-Bus Compression!
MultiVocalConfiguration
As you may have noticed from the aforementioned figures, the lead vocals arent typically routed to the ABCD
busses and go through a different process all together. The lead vocal channel is multed; outputted in multiple
instances, to two faders where one will be affected for the verse and another for the chorus. The vocal is then
routed to five different compressors alike the multi-bus compression; again for the cohesive glue and tone, and
returned on five faders. This stage of parallel compression is very effective in achieving a solid vocal sound, due to
macro-compression being multiplied by five. A diagram for this routing; along with Brauers equipment utilized,
can be found in Figure 3.

Figure3:MultiVocalCompression
OTB
In order to replicate ITB, it is once more recommended that the equivalent plug-ins are utilized. The Federal is a
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Vari-Mu/Tube compressor and therefore opted once more for VBC FG-MU, the STA Level is often likened to an
LA2A and therefore utilized Waves CLA-2A emulation as well as their CLA-76 to emulate the 1176 of Comp #3.
The CB303 was once again used on the Harmonic Distortion preset to emulate the Distressor and the Waves
Puigchild 660 was the closes emulation to the Fairchild 666 of Comp #5. Similarities between the Multi-Bus
Compression routing ITB and the Multi-Vocal Compression routing are obvious, with the Dummy Bus utilized
to mimic removing the individual channels from the Stereo Bus and the sends used to emulate the SSL routing
matrix post-fader mode. Selecting post-fader allows for the channel faders to be used to push into the sweet spot
of these compressors, much like with the ABCD busses.
Unlike the ABCD busses, there isnt any calibration for the Multi-Vocal set-up and through experimentation have
found any gain reduction in excess of 3dB to be detrimental. In having 5 compressors reducing gain by 3dB, 15dB
of Gain Reduction is achieved overall that sounds natural, as opposed to how choked and revealing a singular
insert of 15dB would be. A diagram displaying the routing of the Multi-Vocal set-up ITB along with recommended
plug-ins can be found in Figure 4.

Figure4:MultiVocalCompression
ITB
Parallel1176GlueFestival
Multi-Bus Compression and Multi-Vocal Compression; as discussed above, should get you well on your way to a
cohesive, punchy mix, though if it doesnt Brauer has another ace up his sleeve. A pair of unlinked 1176s are
utilized in order to send any aspect of the mix; utilizing a stereo cue send, for further glue. It may be desired to
send the entire mix there as a parallel, or the ABCD busses and the Vocals, or maybe your mix works without
using it at all. Its there as a final crutch for gluing the mix together. The 1176s are set to all buttons in mode and
its once more recommended that the gain reduction is tickled, as opposed to pinned. The routing of the 1176s
OTB can be seen in the diagram of Figure 5.

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Figure5:Parallel1176OTB
To replicate ITB, simply set-up a stereo auxiliary with your choice of 1176 emulation inserted and send desired
audio to the bus. As Brauer utilizes the Stereo Cue, it is important to ensure youre sending in stereo ITB; where
you can pan the send. In Pro Tools, it is recommended to utilize the Follow Main Pain function as this will
automatically pan your send relative to its pan position on the channel itself. As no two pieces of analogue
equipment sound identical, in order to truly replicate the effect of two separate 1176s ITB, try using two mono
auxiliaries panned hard left and right with separate 1176 emulations on each. Set the input to the auxiliaries to
adjacent busses (such as Bus 1 for the left and Bus 2 for the right) and send channels to Bus 1 + 2 for the fullest
effect. See Figure 6 for an ITB routing diagram.

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Troubleshooting

Figure6:Parallel1176ITB

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You have now gone through Brauerizing as a whole and are now aware of the power behind utilizing
compressors for the tone and attitude they have as opposed to their dynamic control, you can subtly counterpump material to keep adding energy and dynamic to your mix, the stereo bus is not choking for once and the
multiple stages of macro-compression have added up to an RMS lift, making your mix louder in a musical way
or maybe not and you need some Troubleshooting!
If you cant get to grips with the routing (remember, its not in parallel!), Id recommend spending more time with
the diagrams and accompanying text as they explain concisely exactly what gets routed where and is then
displayed. I cannot recommend Brauers website http://www.mbrauer.com enough for the Q&A section, where
you will find all of the information harnessed for this guide.
There are no hard and fast rules regarding what channels should be routed to what busses for the Multi-Bus
Compression stage, just as there are no rules for the amount of compression, so experiment until it sounds good!
The above is merely a guide to get you started. However, if your mix is lacking to begin with, Brauerizing will
expose this further and cannot be used as a substitute to good mixing. It can aid to finalize, but not replace
mastering.
ToneBoxes
Just incase theres any doubt as to the harmonic injection plug-ins can have here are the 5 busses (ABCD and
the B Grot box) with a 1 kHz sine wave routed through the plug-ins.

Figure7:ABusMcDSP6030Brit
C+PuigtecEQ

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Figure8:BBusMcDSPCB303
(HarmonicDistortion)+API550A

Figure9:BBusGrotDecapitator

Figure10:CBusVBCFGMU

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Figure11:DBusVComp(Limit)
+S1Imager
BlindListeningTest
Brauerizing as you will now be aware makes up a large part of my University Degree and I have been collating
individuals to partake in a Double Blind Listening test to judge whether or not the mix that has been Brauerized
as opposed to utilising other finalising techniques is favoured. If youd like to partake, listen to the SoundCloud set
in the link below and leave a comment on your favourite of the four. Maybe one feels more punchy, or one seems
to convey emotion and dynamic more than the other three. Individual levels have not been adjusted between
mixes and the finalising techniques are all that have differed!

El parmetro `url` no es una URL vlida de SoundCloud. Ms informacin sobre el uso de reproductores de SoundCloud.

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MicroTeach - The Handout.

Brauerizing: The Routing.


In "Project Milestones"

Multi-Bus Compression - Task Report


With 4 comments

AboutJamieDonnelly
Jamie "Jampottt" Donnelly is a recording and mixing engineer from Teesside. Graduating from Teesside University in 2014 with
a First Class Bachelor of Science degree; with Honours, in Music Technology. Get in touch for location work, mixing, mastering,
producing, writing, playing and editing work. No project is too big or too small! http://www.facebook.com/jampottt
http://www.soundcloud.com/jampottt http://www.twitter.com/jampottt http://www.instagram.com/jampottt
View all posts by Jamie Donnelly

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27 Responses to Brauerizing: A How ToGuide


Alex says:
March 21, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I can definitely say that C is my least favorite, but you should make the files downloadable so actual level-matching and A/B
comparison can be done in a DAW. Theres no way to switch back and forth on Soundcloud and come to a clear conclusion. D
is way louder than the others, and people may be fooled by louder is better, for instance.
Reply

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JamieDonnelly says:
March 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Theyre now available to download! Theyll all peak at -0.2, the issue is that with different finalising techniques
comes a varying of RMS levels Hopefully youll be able to give view on your favourite and why, though
interesting that C is your least favourite!
Reply

Alex says:
March 21, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Thanks! Now I can pretty safely say that B is my favorite, with D very close, but perhaps thinner, which is
why I prefer B, particularly for this song/style. C is all kinds of weirdly colored, to me. Rather unnatural.

JamieDonnelly says:
March 21, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Interesting. Thanks, Alex!

RobShaw says:
March 21, 2014 at 4:53 pm

Initial thoughts were that i prefer A, Wrapped up with wow, that sounds like a brauer mix, but i found that i was listening to d
for longer amounts of time, and feel that it has more emotional interaction than a after first listen. Good luck
Reply

JamieDonnelly says:
March 21, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Thanks, Rob!
Reply

Jorge says:
April 5, 2014 at 7:40 am

I prefer D i love the kick and bass punch


Reply

alex says:
April 8, 2014 at 5:40 pm

hi jamie ! just a quick one, dummy output w/ post-fader sends goes into the stereo bus ?
regards
Reply

JamieDonnelly says:
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April 11, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Channels are out putted to the dummy output and the channel sends are used to send to the ABCD busses.
Reply

alex says:
April 11, 2014 at 11:34 pm

ok, so this means both stereo out and dummy out are runing independently for dry signal and compressor
colored
signal to the session main output. did i get ir right? or am i missing something ?
regards

JamieDonnelly says:
April 12, 2014 at 7:32 am

The dummy output acts as a means of removing those channels going to the ABCD busses from the stereo
bus. So channel output to dummy bus and then channel sends to ABCD. ABCD busses to stereo bus.

alex says:
April 12, 2014 at 3:31 pm

ok, so dummy bus


goes nowhere, and
send are going to ABCD busses in order to allow you work like having
multi-outputs in case you need to go for more than one compressor bus, am
i right ?
Cheers
Reply

JamieDonnelly says:
April 12, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Exactly!
Reply

leedaniels says:
August 24, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Nice article! Im having trouble fully understanding the calibration aspect, i would be very greatful If you could explain in
more detail how to calibrate with a Daw.. / Best regards
Reply

JamieDonnelly says:
December 5, 2014 at 10:58 am

Hi Lee,
Sorry for the delay, this wordpress was used for my uni study and once completed, i neglected it.
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I am looking at creating a website for my productions, though, including a section for tutorials where thered be a
bulk of Brauerizing with videos, DAW templates and more.
What exactly do you struggle with regarding calibration?
Thanks
Jamie
Reply

MikeCaffrey says:
August 26, 2014 at 11:18 pm

The dummy out is not a buss, it goes to an analog out thats not used. This is to anchor the individual tracks so that ADC
wont make certain types of shifts that wont cause problems if you send to multiple busses.
Reply

JamieDonnelly says:
December 5, 2014 at 11:42 am

Hi Mike
Sorry for the delay, this wordpress was used for my uni study and once completed, i neglected it.
I am looking at creating a website for my productions, though, including a section for tutorials where thered be a
bulk of Brauerizing with videos, DAW templates and more.
Youre right, though with Pro Tools 11 I found using a bus to be perfectly fine at anchoring ADC, without any
warbling.
Thanks,
Jamie
Reply

Mr.T says:
September 15, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Great descriptions and diagrams BTW. Good of you to share it all. Thanks!
Reply

JamieDonnelly says:
December 5, 2014 at 11:43 am

Hi Mr T!
Sorry for the delay, this wordpress was used for my uni study and once completed, i neglected it.
I am looking at creating a website for my productions, though, including a section for tutorials where thered be a
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bulk of Brauerizing with videos, DAW templates and more,


So thanks for your kind words!
Reply

fabio says:
September 23, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Firstly, Great piece, well written and really helpful.


One question I have followed your conversation with Alex and that has helped But, I was under the impression the Brauer
also used a Buss with no effects on it? like a fifth Buss or routing direct to the stereo out so that he could also route his
groups/ channels additionally to the stereo out avoiding all the compressors etc? Am I wrong or have I missed it in the
article?
Thanks
Fabio
Reply

JamieDonnelly says:
December 5, 2014 at 11:45 am

Hi Fabio,
Sorry for the delay, this wordpress was used for my uni study and once completed, i neglected it.
I am looking at creating a website for my productions, though, including a section for tutorials where thered be a
bulk of Brauerizing with videos, DAW templates and more.
I never came accross the aforementioned in my research, but its certainly a useful avenue that i wouldnt be
surprised if it is explored. Remember that Brauerizing is adapted for each mix, so there may be the instance where
one of the ABCD busses acts in this manner.
Thanks
Jamie
Reply

VolkerHochgrtel says:
October 20, 2014 at 6:29 am

Hi Jamie,
nice article and summary. Could you share the settings / screenshots of the plugins that u experiment with.
Especially for the sub-vocal-multibus to use fast attack and release time as common for parallel processign (upward
compressor sim) or do you lenthen the attack for the speech intelligibility or maybe a variaten where you figures out the
sweet spot of a certain compressor to contribute to body / sustain / color / attack (i guess the last).
I am going to start this experiment but i will have the possibility to compare with real outboard.
If you are interested i can share the results too and setup some parameter so it fits your study..
Let me know if you are interested ?
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Reply

JamieDonnelly says:
December 5, 2014 at 11:45 am

Hi Volker
Sorry for the delay, this wordpress was used for my uni study and once completed, i neglected it.
I am looking at creating a website for my productions, though, including a section for tutorials where thered be a
bulk of Brauerizing with videos, DAW templates and more.
So hold out! Something bigger and better is coming!
Thanks,
Jamie
Reply

Layne says:
February 5, 2015 at 5:47 pm

great explanation! Stupid questions:


1. Are harmonic content/overtones focused above the primary frequency?
2. How does harmonic content affect the frequency spectral analysis of a track ie is it ever used to smooth frequency
response in Mastering for example?
Reply

JamieDonnelly says:
February 23, 2015 at 6:01 pm

Hi Layne:
1. the harmonics are focused above the fundamental frequency.
2. It affects the spectral analysis in a host of ways, I find particular compressors to have a smoother top end, some
have a harder attack etc..
Reply

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Tyler says:
March 28, 2015 at 8:25 pm

Wow, amazing information here. Thank you for this. Keep it up


-Tyler
Reply

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