Child bus question

I was looking at a PT demo video covering their “New” Folder Tracks feature and I thought to myself that it looked an awful lot like our CHILD BUSSES, except they were able to do this routing (up to 9 folders deep) in stereo.

So, I dug out my old N10.3 manual and looked up Child Busses. They were limited to the I/O tabs for surround use. So, I made one, as per the instructions, but USING IT CHANGED THE OUTPUT TO STEREO. I thought the entire point was to be able to route a separate mono or stereo signal along with the surround output. Consequently, I’ve just gotten myself totally confused about this. So, I did a search here and found a lot of other guys were equally confused about this subject. But very few replies, if any, were given to explain their function.

So, on behalf of all of us confused souls, could somebody please explain how and when you would use child busses? :thinking:

I can’t find ANYTHING on this on any of the YouTube tutorials. Direct Out offers 8 sends, Same with Aux Bus, Side Chaining, I get. What does the Child Bus offer that these other options don’t?

I guess the idea is that you can output directly to channels within the wider configuration without having to deal with panning etc. A somewhat crude example would be where a network like CBS mandates that music in surround is NOT allowed in the center channel. So rather than routing it all into your main mix bus as 5.1 with the center and LFE empty you could set it up so all music tracks go into a quad configuration into the main 5.1 mix bus. That way there’s never a way for you to accidentally bleed music into the center channel.

I think I recall having used dedicated child busses for surrounds in some mixes (probably in PT) mostly because I wanted to use a stereo reverb for those rears, and for some reason that was the better option. Perhaps I didn’t have a surround reverb available at the time. I honestly can’t remember. And conversely you could then have a center child bus dedicated to dialog (CBS didn’t allow it anywhere else) which again assures that no error happens.

Another thing off the top of my head would be if you can use the child bus as a source for your audio export. In those cases perhaps it’s a convenient way to break out stuff into separate stems… can’t remember if that’s applicable, but perhaps it is.

I’m sure there are better examples out there.