General questions on mixing

Dear Steinberg Cubase Forum Experts,

I’ve set up my workstation with a Roland HP 720, Focusrite 2i2, and Cubase 10.5 on a Windows 10 with 16 GB as a an entry-level configuration.
Could someone help me with my hi-level question on the product?

In the Project Window on the left when a track is selected, there is an insert area where I can insert multiple plug-ins like all sort of EQ and Reverbs. After adding these individual track-level inserts, is there still a need to create a “summary” mixing bus and send all the track to that bus fox mixing? There seems to have a ton of YouTube posts out there informing me there can be multiple ways. What is the best practice adopted?

In addition, there are posts on having one bus for all or multiple buses. As a beginner user of DAW (started in July this year,) I am not looking to create a ton of tracks and am just trying to understand the basic requirements.

Thanks in advance for your expert opinion!

Student 101

Hi and welcome,

No need for extra bus in this case. You can route all directly to the Stereo Out and all is working as expected.

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to complete Martins statement
the Stereo Out is your summing bus already
To combine similar instruments you can still use extra summing busses, called Group Track in Cubase.


If you are looking for a good book that covers all the concepts involved in mixing, check out this book. It not only explores the ‘how’ but also the ‘why’ which is important because there are often multiple ways to do something but one may be better in a specific situation.

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Thank you all (Martin, st10ss, and raino) so very much for sharing your great thoughts and guidance on this question. I must admit I am too new to even this forum and apologize for not thanking you sooner.

I was thinking (having that urge sort of lol…) of buying a book however I recently cleared out all hard-copy books I bought for my grad school and perhaps still afraid I have to end up throwing new books away.

Now I see mixing itself has so much to learn and my son reminded me every time when we talk that I need to look into using of compressor. It’s next on my learning for sure.

Looks like I will eventually create a mastering stereo track for the mastering. I still can’t hear clearly all the mixing tracks frequencies while in EQ and not yet compressing. Could you please share a bit on why my mixings sound so inconsistent.

I am trying to record for 4-part choir. I usually play my midi to get the piano part first. Just tweaking the time signature and the metronome can take a while since I need to match up all music notations on the score to Cubase first.

Then I record four parts voice using two female and two male. Then I use VariAudio to pitch correct and then tune the send track with reverb (and will do compressor) after editing the dynamics.

Then I apply to the summary reverb. I think this may be a bad idea. I am thinking I should use whatever send track for each voice and leave the summary reverb out.

Please if you have time and can share I would love to hear more about your precious insights. Thank you again for helping out! (Is it time for me to buy that book yet lol?)


Without hearing and seeing your project (mix) we can only give generic advice…

hard to find a starting point…
maybe start with some youtube videos about mixing… we will help with specific problems

Here’s a good starting point :).

Please ignore the part about pursuing a career in audio engineering - unless that’s actually what you want :).

Hey st10ss that will be great if you could listen to my project that will be great. Is there a way to accomplish that in this forum? I would be interested in learning obviously I am still beginner.

Yea, I have watched a ton of YouTube posts including most of the Steinberg ones. They all seem to talk about things pertaining to what they are to help like compressor, EQ, etc. etc…


Nah I know my limits thanks… it’s almost like asking an old dog to learn new tricks… urrr, also like teaching a grandpa to learn coding in C++ and become a master of compiling/linking Foxfire project :wink:

The thing with mixing is it’s both an art and a craft like playing an instrument. And like an instrument it takes time to get good at it, time to even learn to hear whats-what. Here’s some ideas and thoughts.

If you think your mixes are inconsistent, then explore what sounds different between them. The bulk of mixing is really just listening - over and over to hear the nuances and then making mostly minor changes (but not always minor) to address what you hear. So take 2 of your mixes and go back and forth listening to them and take note of what you think is different about them. Perhaps one is brighter sounding, or maybe one is more transparent where you can hear all the parts easier than the other, identify whatever it is you find different between the two. Deep critical listening is a core skill for mixing.

Compression. Yes you really need to explore & understand this as it along with EQ are probably the most bread-and-butter tools used in mixing. But a couple of caveats. There is a tendency when starting out to overuse compression - this might make whatever you are compressing sound better in the moment. But if you do this on just a few Tracks you can end up with a blurry mess. So use constraint. Also don’t use the Presets that come with the compressor - just ignore them. The truth is every sound that you compress is going to need settings that are specific to that sound. That Preset made by A Very Famous Producer that is named Big Rockin Bass will really only sound right if you are using the same Bass & Amp with identical settings played in exactly the same way (dynamics, range, etc.) as the Famous Producer used when making it. Instead learn how to use the actual controls on the compressor - that’s the key skill here. Also, while there are a kirjillion compressor plugs out there, you are better off knowing a few very well than a bunch so-so. You can learn everything you need to know about compression with what comes with Cubase. So maybe stick with those until you are feeling confident in using them and then take a look at other options.

Finally the musical arrangement can make it easier or harder to mix. Do the various sounds support each other or muddle & mask off other sounds. The first is going to be easier to mix.

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One more thought.

If you are just getting your head around mixing & compression then it is way too premature (and unnecessary) to think about Mastering. Focus on making your mixes sound as good as you can.

Whatever subtleties exist with Mixing, ten times as many exist with Mastering.

Hey raino - Truly thankful for taking time and sharing your thoughts! Wonderful and totally agreed with your insights. Actually I brought this topic up with my wife and somehow it sent me back into the days I was learning the DOS (now I let out how ‘grandpa’ I really am) thinking about my learning paths. It did take me a long time to become a fluent developer in coding, which can be a craft (syntax) and a little bit of art (semantics and algorithm.)

Lacking formal music training and being an amateur church choir director for a few decades, I am able to hear parts and definitely need to know I still miss things quite a bit in understanding mixing and thanks for pointing out Cubase Pro 10.5 is good tool for me to go down the path.

On a side note, I love to listen to “Brothers Four” since my big bro used to play a lot of their songs when I was young. Would you consider using their recordings as a reference mixing? You are so right I can’t tell what I am trying to improve when the elements are subtle. Some of the YouTube posts are hard to follow since there are so many different genre and styles of music. Wondering whether you could share a few posts. I understand this forum prohibits participants from posting links but would appreciate very much some guidance. Yes, these days we can all learn from the Internet.

Thanks for the tips of the mastering challenging!!