Abi Asks: Nick Squillante

Abi Asks: Nick Squillante

Howdy Safari Blog People!

Among the few (ok ok, more like- MANY) learning curves thus far in my audio journey, mix bus processing has been a BIG one for me. Lately I have been (*cue dramatic music*) on a literal mix bus crusade (huzzah!) with the intent to find what tools I like using and what works for me.
Another huge part of this learning process has also been developing my ability to discern when to process the mix bus itself versus diving into the channels on a granular level.
With that said- I still have A LOT to learn!

So to continue my mix bus crusade and learn more, I chatted with Engineer Nick Squillante (Fletcher, Hozier, Sam Derosa- to name a few) about his take on the matter.

I asked him: What is your take on mix bus processing? Do you like to make broad moves on the mix bus or do things on a more granular level, and why?

He said: Mix bus processing is a big part of my workflow. Now when I say mix bus I mean mix busses because I think expecting one master bus process to glue a mix can sometimes lead to a mess. I instead introduce tiny bits of compression throughout my mixes when grouping certain elements together (ie: drums, guitars, keys, etc). With this approach it adds a lot more control and more importantly allows you to address certain elements of the mix without throwing the entirety of the mix off. All that said, a little goes a long way, compress wisley!”

When reading Nick’s insightful answer my face was like: 😶, as I’m definitely guilty of ruining a few mixes because I went rogue on the Master bus (Don’t ask, it was BAD). 

There are two main takeaways for me:

1: Introducing tiny bits compression/processing on smaller buses rather than slapping all the plugins on the master- it made me think about how I can perhaps better route the instruments in my sessions for optimal control of those buses/even for creative purposes.

2: Undoing my habit of going right for processing the mix bus, and to really listen for what the song needs. It serves as a reminder to me that my mix moves should be made not out of habit, but out of understanding what will serve the music. Maybe a soft acoustic track doesn’t need ALL the limiters and compressors on the mix bus, right? Hehe.

I’m definitely going to be more conscious of that going forward- and will absolutely try my darndest to compress wisely!

Thanks Nick for your insightful answer!

Catch y’all next week!

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