Difference between Aux and Bus track?
rockman413
Thread Starter
#1
29th December 2011
Old 29th December 2011
  #1
Gear nut
 

Thread Starter
Difference between Aux and Bus track?

Aux and Bus track can be seen in most DAWs. What's the difference and purpose? Will there be any sound quality difference, or latency difference?

Thanks
#2
29th December 2011
Old 29th December 2011
  #2
Gear maniac
 

An aux track is a track in your DAW that doesn't contain any audio on it but that generally serves to somekind of common processing to the audio present in other tracks.

A buss is not a track at all. It is just an internal path used to send the audio from one track to another in your DAW - this could be an aux track or another audio track as well.
#3
29th December 2011
Old 29th December 2011
  #3
Traditionally on a console, if one were to patch in in a reverb for instance, one would send the signal to it from an aux send and receive it back on an aux return. Of course for plug-ins you can just use an aux (equivalent of send and return).

Buses are traditionally used for sub-grouping. (but the master fader is also of course a bus and auxes are also buses).

But there is nothing to stop you using either for either purpose, and no, it won't make any difference to sound quality or latency.

In Logic as of version 8 auxes and buses are implemented identically, but one can still choose which channel strip to represent them. (The bus one not having any sends.) Which is a pain, because if you really want to send something to a bus, you have to create it in the environment first, because if you just assign the output of a channel to a bus, up pops the aux version. Neither do buses and auxes group themselves together as they did up until version 7. boo.
#4
30th December 2011
Old 30th December 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 

EDIT: Georgia's explanation below is much better than mine, although my basic idea of the confusion in use is still valid.

My colleagues hate me as this is my standard start of almost any question :-)... But as always, it depends...



What it is, or means, is easily confused as various daw makers and consoles use similar expressions for similar uses.

Example: a bus in PT or on a SSL G console is just a signal mix bus, nothing else.
But on a AMS/NEVE console like the old Capricorn a bus could have full processing, faders and sends, making it more like a traditional group channel. But if you choose to not use it to do anything but mix, it is in practice just a bus. Steinberg DAWs are the same every bus has the full audio capabilities as a regular channel but it has no routing. In fact, there a bus is just an output with no physical connection (or is it the other way around?:-).

And I/O terminology is the same.
In PT an input is just a access point to a hardware connection or a bus. In Nuendo both the input,bus and output (as they are really the same) have full processing.

In analog consoles an aux channel often is a more limited version of a full channel mostly used for fx returns. In PT an aux channel is a vital part in how to deal with your mix.

PT otoh have no audio mix groups per se, it uses a bus and an aux to do the exact same thing.

Nuendo have the option of routing to a bus (or output), a group channel or to a specific fx channel that functionally is exactly the same as a group track.

Better/worse practice is up to the user. Personally I do prefer the Nuendo way as it is faster to just create a group and rout to it rather than have to create a new bus in the io setup page or use a predefined un named bus rthat does not give good routing feedback. But as with so many things in Nuendo the different ways anything can be accomplished can make it more confusing to begin with.

Oh my lord I made it even more confusing now. But that's the point.It is a general question seeking a general answer. The question needs to be specific for a certain type of gear.
#5
31st December 2011
Old 31st December 2011
  #5
Send to the BUS and route the BUS to an AUXILIARY for a return.
A bus is normally a channel path used to move data ( or audio) from one place to anther. An Auxiliary Channel is normally used to return audio back to another BUS which, normally, might be routed to the MASTER FADER or to yet another BUS or MASTER output.

IE: audio on an audio track (lets say a Dialogue track) is routed to the main dialogue BUS which is assigned to a GROUP DIALOGUE MASTER ( using an AUX Channel or Group VCA channel FADER) where it's output is then routed to the the MAIN MIX BUS, which in turn is routed to a MASTER FADER on an AUX Channel, or in protools or DAWs a MASTER CHANNEL (or MASTER FADER) (which is by definition just another AUX CHANNEL that happens to be specialized).
You can also utilize a BUS to send the same dialogue audio from the audio track to another AUX CHANNEL that has a REVERB or DELAY on it so that you can add a specific amount of "reverberation" to the dialogue. The out of this bus is another AUX CHANNEL where the reveb plug in is placed in the audio channel on the AUX CHANNEL ( sometimes called a RETURN). If you were using an outboard reverb, you would assign the output of the BUS used for reverb, to an OUTPUT where you would patch into an outboard reverb unit. From the outboard reverb, you would then route the reverb output back INTO the DAW or CONSOLE using a RETURN or AUX RETURN or AUX CHANNEL (all basically the same thing , just different names). Then you might route the dialogue reverb aux return to the DIALOGUE STEM (read: DIALOGUE BUS) which is then sent to the MASTER bus and out the MASTER OUTPUT.

A BUS, in the audio world, is an internal routing path on a physical console or DAW used to move route audio from one place to another.

An AUXILIARY CHANNEL is a channel with inserts, sends, and an input and output used to return audio from a source (like a BUS) , back to a BUS, or other "sub-master" or "master" audio path..

cheers
geo
#6
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #6
Lives for gear
 

could someone say post a pic of a mixer in a DAW and show what these things are if it wouldn't be too much trouble...I more than likely use them I just wish I knew what exactly people are talking about when they speak of them...is a SEND the equivalent of aux bus, is an insert equivalent to a bus? more of the time I hear conversations of mixer inserts and mixer sends since I work mostly in the digital domain.
#7
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Aristocrat View Post
could someone say post a pic of a mixer in a DAW and show what these things are if it wouldn't be too much trouble...I more than likely use them I just wish I knew what exactly people are talking about when they speak of them...is a SEND the equivalent of aux bus, is an insert equivalent to a bus? more of the time I hear conversations of mixer inserts and mixer sends since I work mostly in the digital domain.

It really depends on the DAW you're talking about. In PT there are hardware inserts, plugin inserts, sends, busses, auxes, masters, vca-faders.

A send in PT is the equivalent to an AUX knob on a traditional console. It can be pre or post fader. used for headphone feeds, FX-feeds, or re-recording feeds to other audio tracks.

A bus is the virtual "wire" that caries a signal inside the DSP engine which can come from any (channel)output or send.

A hardware insert is the equivalent to an insert on an analog console to insert external hardware into a channel-strip.

A plugin insert is the on-board slot to carry a plugin.

An aux track is an equivalent to an audio channel on a console. It doesn't play back audio clips it's simply an input channel. What you feed it with is up to you. Can be a hardware input or any internal bus (see above). But this "track" only carries automation, not audio clips.

There is no "aux bus" in PT-language.

A master in PT is a master-fader (with plugin insert) that control any bus or output master.

a VCA- fader is just what it is on an analog console. A fader that remote-controls a group of other channel faders.

Maybe specify what DAW you are talking about first? All these things are different in each DAW and called differently.
#8
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #8
Gear interested
 

an aux track is a couple of diff things so its purpose is for a couple of things. and aux track can be used to moniter sound coming from outboard gear like efx,comp, etc. or it can also be used to provide plugin efx to multiple audio track. for example if you want all your vox to be compressed the same, instead of putting a comp on each vox track you would send it the aux were you have the compressor, and that leads us to bus which is whut is used to carry the signal from your audio tracks to the aux track or like in the 1st example to the efx unit then back to the aux so that you can moniter it. ppl use aux track for more things then just that but me thats my purpose of an aux track. maybe more ppl can tell you whut kindda things they do with auxes and busses...
#9
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #9
If anyone could help me clerify VCA fader I'd really appreciate. My understanding is it's used to control multiple track volumes proportionally to each other? How do I actually go about setting this up, specifically in PT.

Thanks!
#10
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedantic Sound View Post
If anyone could help me clerify VCA fader I'd really appreciate. My understanding is it's used to control multiple track volumes proportionally to each other? How do I actually go about setting this up, specifically in PT.

Thanks!
You will need to set up a mix group, then when you create the vca fader you assign it to that mix group. Easy peasy.
#11
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #11
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UnderTow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
In PT there are hardware inserts, plugin inserts, sends, busses, axes, masters, vca-faders.
And that my friends is why Pro Tools is the industry standard: Those axes come in real handy when dealing with difficult clients!

Alistair
#12
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #12
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UnderTow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedantic Sound View Post
If anyone could help me clerify VCA fader I'd really appreciate. My understanding is it's used to control multiple track volumes proportionally to each other? How do I actually go about setting this up, specifically in PT.

Thanks!
Just to make sure you don't waste you time if you don't have PT HD, note that VCA's are only available in PT HD or regular PT with the CPTK upgrade.

Alistair
#13
14th May 2012
Old 14th May 2012
  #13
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Branko's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedantic Sound View Post
If anyone could help me clerify VCA fader I'd really appreciate. My understanding is it's used to control multiple track volumes proportionally to each other?
VCA (abbreviation from Voltage Controlled Amplifier) grouping comes from old analog days when certain consoles were using this system to control levels. Audio wasn't passing through physical faders on these consoles - faders were controlling the DC voltage which was fed into these amplifiers to control their gain.
Later someone had an idea to introduce one more fader that would control the offset voltage on one or more faders, thus effectively grouping the volume control without passing the signal through same busses inside the console.
Anyone who worked on MCIs (like I did) or SSLs remembers these VCA Master faders which could be used to control a group of channel levels and mutes, like drums, background vocals, etc.
Very useful to ride levels together on, for example, production dialog and ADR, while recording them on separate stems.
#14
28th June 2012
Old 28th June 2012
  #14
Gear addict
 
QuadWing's Avatar
 

So basically what I'm getting from this is this:

Bus = Grouping, i.e. drums master, or vocal master, etc.
Aux = Effects processing, i.e. reverb sends, delay, parallel compression, etc.

Right?
#15
28th June 2012
Old 28th June 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuadWing View Post
So basically what I'm getting from this is this:

Bus = Grouping, i.e. drums master, or vocal master, etc.
Aux = Effects processing, i.e. reverb sends, delay, parallel compression, etc.

Right?
No - re read apple-q's and Georgia's posts a few up.
#16
28th June 2012
Old 28th June 2012
  #16
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QuadWing's Avatar
 

That's what I was going off. Neither of them explained it in a way that set anything in stone in my head.
#17
29th June 2012
Old 29th June 2012
  #17
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuadWing View Post
So basically what I'm getting from this is this:

Bus = Grouping, i.e. drums master, or vocal master, etc.
Aux = Effects processing, i.e. reverb sends, delay, parallel compression, etc.

Right?
No, wrong. Just read what you wrote, and pull the Bus out of the equation, and you'll be half way there. Actually think of all this Effects processing, drum master, parallel compression, etc as AUX. Just think about it as Aux, i'll explain why soon...You have to know the ins and outs of what you can do with an AUX channel before you go to understand what a Bus is and how it works.

QuadWing, I understand your frustration. Man, that completely frustrated me at first. The only way I was able to fully understand this, was to use real world examples in my DAW so that I could learn. It's difficult for one of us to explain it, if you don't understand how signal flows and why you would need to use an Aux or Bus. Don't worry about VCA Faders, and Busses right now. Damn all that, you gotta take it one at a time.

First lets figure out why you would need an Aux in the first place. Then we'll move on to busses. But concentrate on AUX right now.

I'll give you an easy example:

Lets say you have a Kick, Snare, and High hat. 3 instruments right? Well you can send all of those 3 individual instruments to an Aux channel. Well why would you want to do that?

#1 Because you might want to put a compressor or reverb on them as a whole and not individually (saves computer resources)

#2 Because you might want to turn down the Kick, snare, and high hat the same level. Instead of going to each track to turn each instrument/sound down, the Aux channel has a volume control that you can use, and it will turn down the Kick, snare, and High Hat, all in one pop.

#3 Because you might want to mute the kick, snare and high hat. Again, Instead of going to each individual instrument to mute it, you can send all 3 individual instruments to an Aux Channel and just mute the Aux Channel and then you won't hear the Kick, snare, and high hat anymore. You'll hear other instruments and sounds that are playing in your session. Just not those 3.

Do you understand this so far? If so, I'll come back to the thread and explain more. I just need u to understand why you would need an Aux, and I promise you by the end this will make TOTAL sense, and you'll able to answer your question on the difference between Aux & Bus.

Last edited by vinlance; 29th June 2012 at 10:22 AM.. Reason: clarification
#18
29th June 2012
Old 29th June 2012
  #18
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UnderTow's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuadWing View Post
That's what I was going off. Neither of them explained it in a way that set anything in stone in my head.
Are you using Pro Tools? Because if you are not, the PT terminology and routing could be confusing on other DAWs. For instance, Sonar has what Cakewalk calls the Universal Bus Architecture and doesn´t make a distinction between busses and auxes. Pro Tools is more rigid in it's naming of things due to the under-laying hardware. (But in practice it is actually more flexible than Sonar for instance).

Cubase has Group Tracks and Effects Sends. Other DAWs have yet other approaches...

So what DAW do you use?

Alistair
#19
30th June 2012
Old 30th June 2012
  #19
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QuadWing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTow View Post
Are you using Pro Tools? Because if you are not, the PT terminology and routing could be confusing on other DAWs. For instance, Sonar has what Cakewalk calls the Universal Bus Architecture and doesn´t make a distinction between busses and auxes. Pro Tools is more rigid in it's naming of things due to the under-laying hardware. (But in practice it is actually more flexible than Sonar for instance).

Cubase has Group Tracks and Effects Sends. Other DAWs have yet other approaches...

So what DAW do you use?

Alistair
I use a mix of SONAR and Logic.
#20
30th June 2012
Old 30th June 2012
  #20
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QuadWing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinlance View Post
No, wrong. Just read what you wrote, and pull the Bus out of the equation, and you'll be half way there. Actually think of all this Effects processing, drum master, parallel compression, etc as AUX. Just think about it as Aux, i'll explain why soon...You have to know the ins and outs of what you can do with an AUX channel before you go to understand what a Bus is and how it works.

QuadWing, I understand your frustration. Man, that completely frustrated me at first. The only way I was able to fully understand this, was to use real world examples in my DAW so that I could learn. It's difficult for one of us to explain it, if you don't understand how signal flows and why you would need to use an Aux or Bus. Don't worry about VCA Faders, and Busses right now. Damn all that, you gotta take it one at a time.

First lets figure out why you would need an Aux in the first place. Then we'll move on to busses. But concentrate on AUX right now.

I'll give you an easy example:

Lets say you have a Kick, Snare, and High hat. 3 instruments right? Well you can send all of those 3 individual instruments to an Aux channel. Well why would you want to do that?

#1 Because you might want to put a compressor or reverb on them as a whole and not individually (saves computer resources)

#2 Because you might want to turn down the Kick, snare, and high hat the same level. Instead of going to each track to turn each instrument/sound down, the Aux channel has a volume control that you can use, and it will turn down the Kick, snare, and High Hat, all in one pop.

#3 Because you might want to mute the kick, snare and high hat. Again, Instead of going to each individual instrument to mute it, you can send all 3 individual instruments to an Aux Channel and just mute the Aux Channel and then you won't hear the Kick, snare, and high hat anymore. You'll hear other instruments and sounds that are playing in your session. Just not those 3.

Do you understand this so far? If so, I'll come back to the thread and explain more. I just need u to understand why you would need an Aux, and I promise you by the end this will make TOTAL sense, and you'll able to answer your question on the difference between Aux & Bus.
Well, I was picking up that an auxiliary channels are basically sends, and that buses are grouped individual audio/midi channels. I'm still really confused.
#21
30th June 2012
Old 30th June 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by QuadWing View Post
Well, I was picking up that an auxiliary channels are basically sends, and that buses are grouped individual audio/midi channels. I'm still really confused.
As I wrote earlier it depends what DAW you're talking about. In ProTools AUXes are not sends. They are auxiliary inputs used to feed ins from your hardware or internal busses back into your mixer.
So unlike a classic console where an "aux" is an "aux send" in PT such a send is called "send" in PT there is no aux-send. You can even have a send on an aux-channel. Auxes are normally used as an effects-return from a reverb etc. On a "real" console such channels would simply be a regular input channel. An AUX in PT is not a track that carries clips , it's an input channel with automation info.

Read what I wrote earlier. I really don't know how to put it any clearer without just repeating the same info again.

You didn't answer my earlier question what DAW you are using so the nomenclature might differ greatly depending on your DAW.

maybe you just need to sit down with the DAW and read the manual and learn from there. Probably makes it a lot easier than to try to understand it all just on paper. When you use the DAW it's all pretty obvious.

hope this helps.
#22
2nd July 2012
Old 2nd July 2012
  #22
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QuadWing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
You didn't answer my earlier question what DAW you are using so the nomenclature might differ greatly depending on your DAW.
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuadWing View Post
I use a mix of SONAR and Logic.
:P It's all a manner of nomenclature at this point I guess. I know what I go for though.
#23
2nd July 2012
Old 2nd July 2012
  #23
Lives for gear
 

A bus is just like a bus (transit)...it carries signal (like passengers) to an Aux track.

The busstop is an aux track. You can have various different busstops (aux tracks) like subgroups, fx returns, etc...
#24
20th June 2013
Old 20th June 2013
  #24
Gear nut
 
BarbieDoll's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
A bus is just like a bus (transit)...it carries signal (like passengers) to an Aux track.

The busstop is an aux track. You can have various different busstops (aux tracks) like subgroups, fx returns, etc...
there is also a very similar and nice analogy in this guide on aux effects
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