Need efficient routing technique for film score mixing

Hi, I work in film industry and on day to day I deal with at least 500 tracks in one project file, with multiple layers of elements.

So I have multiple layers of strings recording for Legato, staccato, Pizz and solo with violin 1&2, Viola, Cello, DB, and ambient and tree mic, all are put in a series of Mix Bus Groups, like say all Legato violins, violas, cello and DB, are processed in one group bus, same goes with Legato in separate bus, and pizzicato in a separate bus, all these Legato, Staccato and Pizzicato bus further goes into one Strings bus.

Now my question is if I want an individual sections of legato or staccato mixdown or as whole string session mixdown I can just export that particular group bus, but what I wanted is to print all sections violins, violas, cello and DB with all the processing in the mix bus.

Right now the method is tedious and time consuming, because to export, for instance violin, I have to go through all the tracks (track counts are generally above 500) and then finding violins and soloing them and then exporting them where I have to wait for 20 to 30 minutes, and the cycle repeats for violin 2, viola, cello and db, and ambient mic, tree mic… sometimes if I miss a track of violin, then I have to re-export it again.

if someone has a solution to this like an automation kind of thing, or a smarter routing method, or maybe a feature that I might be missing which could be already existing then you will be my life-saver… because this is one of the minor version of what I need from the whole project export.

I also attached the image for current routing and what I need.

I don’t know whether I gave complete clarity of what I need, forgive me, and please ask me for any clarification. Thank you in advance…

P.S: the solution can be for Nuendo also if it’s possible in Nuendo, because I use nuendo also.

Why Not Use VCA Faders
allows you to control the following parameters of the link group:
volume, mute, solo, listen, monitor and record
and/or also groups

This doesn’t address the actual routing, but you might find it useful for quickly selecting various combinations of Tracks.


I do use VCA faders when I have to control the volume of all sections violins alone, but my requirement is to export the mixdown of all violins/violas/cellos/db from different sections.

I don’t actually export the way you do but would PLE commands along with the export mixdown batch list feature work? I’m thinking if you could use the PLE commands to select all “Violin 1” for example and then once selected set that up in the export mixdown dialog and add to the batch export list, and then move on to the next. And then just execute the batch export…

As for routing I’m not sure. Is the processing on your “mixdown” buses dynamic or static? If it’s static then why not do the processing on individual groups before or on the audio tracks (I supposed for convenience you wouldn’t)? If it’s dynamic then exporting one item would lead to different processing because the dynamics are off (potentially).

this might be closer to what I need… though from the post you shared I couldn’t quite clearly understand the second part which I have quoted here below, which is what seems like more of a solution for me… can you explain a bit on that part, by the way thank you for this wonderful tip… this if it works for my workflow you literally saved me days…

As if that isn’t enough, wait there’s more.
Since multiple PLE Presets can select the same Color Name you could for example create a Preset called “Solos” that grouped together the ‘Colors’ Guitar Lead, Synth Lead, and Horn Solos. Now the “Guitar Lead” Track will show up with both the Guitars and the Solos presets.
This is basically co-opting the Color Names to use as tags, but it is independent of the actual colors used to visually ID Tracks. So if your Violins were green and the Violas blue you might create a bunch of different Color Names indicating articulations but they all are using the same visual color. So all the Viola Tracks look the same even when using different ‘colors’. This lets you see only the Violins or only the Legato Tracks across the string section.[quote=“raino, post:3, topic:855158, full:true”]
This doesn’t address the actual routing, but you might find it useful for quickly selecting various combinations of Tracks.

I use both static and dynamic processing, also some processing goes on particular events level, some on the tracks level, some on the group bus level, some on the mixbus level, some on the master level, it varies from project to project, but what I need is to export a particular set of instruments with all the processing along the groups and mixbus, without ever changing the existing routings… if you see the image I’ve attached it would kind of explain

Yes I get the signal flow from your image, very helpful. Only thing I was getting at is that if you have a bunch of instruments playing at the same time into a dynamics plugin then soloing just the one would result in different processing. If you did that to all and then re-summed the new outputs (“stems”, as some call them… or “splits” as we called them in the past) won’t sum to what is otherwise the mix.

Yeah it can be a bit confusing to understand. The key thing is to distinguish between the actual color, the thing we see with our eyes; and the color’s name which is some arbitrary text that we create. The PLE uses the Color Name (and not the actual Color) to make its decisions.

That means you could have multiple items on the Cubase Color Palette which all visually look alike but have different names.

So for example you might color your Violin Tracks green and Violas are blue, and have some Tracks setup like this:

  1. Color = Green, Color Name = “Violins Sustain”
  2. Color = Green, Color Name = “Violins Staccato”
  3. Color = Green, Color Name = “Violins Pizz”
  4. Color = Blue, Color Name = “Violas Sustain”
  5. Color = Blue, Color Name = “Violas Staccato”
  6. Color = Blue, Color Name = “Violas Pizz”

Now if you run a PLE that Selects Tracks with “Violas” in their Color Name it will Select Tracks 4, 5 and 6. But a PLE that searches for “Sustain” in the Color Name will Select Tracks 1 and 4.

This doesn’t preclude you from making every Color in the Palette visually unique if you want to. But some folks prefer all of their Strings to be one color and Percussion another etc. If you are using the Colors to visually find Tracks in a Project then a smaller number of Colors makes that easier. But if you are Selecting items based on criteria identified in the Color Names then using many Colors will make that easier. Using the exact same Color with different Names is a way around those conflicting needs.

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Now I get it, thank you so much… but just that you have figured this much now, I would like to ask one more thing if you have solution for that, which is,

now that I tried your method and it’s working flawlessly but to export violin in this method I am unable to add it to the queue. because using the PLE, I type a color name, say VIOLINS, and then it selects all violin tracks and then I solo it. then I go to Export Audio Mixdown and then export the Stereo Out track. it now exports the Violins alone through all processing which is initial question of this post and I am able to do that without scrolling the whole page up and down looking for violin tracks every time I export. This is sorted.

But how can I add to the queue for Violins, Violas, Cello, DB and export them all at once? Because now I had to wait there for each export (which could take at least 20 minutes) so overall for at least 2 hours, unable to do anything else. If there is a solution for this also I can just go peaceful for 2 hours and spend some time on other important things.

I rarely use the Export Queue and don’t know how to best solve that issue. But there are folks here that use it on a regular basis and hopefully have some advice.

I do have a question about how you have arranged your routing. Why did you decide to Group your Tracks by Articulations instead of by Instrument so all the Violin Articulations would be together?

So the reason is, each section like legato, staccato and pizzicato are recorded separately as a layer. so now the processing cannot be done on instruments based.

for example in legato the violins will be playing in one octave, whereas in staccato it will be playing in another octave.

also the room mics in legato won’t be having staccato parts in it as it is all recorded separately.

and then if I do a processing to have more flushed sound in legato, I might want a more harsh sound in staccato based on the scene mood…

and finally after achieving the sound of each section properly, I will then blend the sound of each section on the next stage on the final strings mixbus…

sometimes I do instruments based processing too… but I feel the earlier method seems to give output, if you see from the music score point of view, because if the violins play a melody in legato, the parts of violas, cellos and db of the legato section are written for that melody. I feel then it has to be treated as one single section instead of taking all violins and processing. but whatever said it all depends on the mood of the scene… I might be missing some point or might be doing all wrong, but at the end I am able to achieve my sound through this method…

Interesting. Sounds like it could be pretty daunting at times to keep track of.

I wonder if using Direct Routing in Summing Mode might be useful to you. It lets you route a Track or Channel to multiple destinations which can be individually enabled/disabled.

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Of course it is, that is why I am all in trying to find methods and ways that would make my workflow simpler, faster and efficient…

I never used Direct Routing feature, really have no idea what to do and how to make use of it… I will try it though… really I appreciate your help and knowledge and can’t thank you enough…

I switched over to it about 5 years ago, but generally don’t use it in Summing Mode which is what allows you to have multiple Destinations active at the same time. So the way I use it is functionally the same as regular Routing. I use it because it makes the overall routing easier to see and manage.

Here’s what it looks like. The first 2 Channels are for guitars and the destination Slots are places a guitar signal would be prone to go. While the next 3 Channels are vocals and have destinations more appropriate to vocals… In the 5th Channel Summing Mode is enabled so that audio is being routed to two sub-mixes - one for lead and the other for backing vocals. The last 3 are keys going to a rhythm section sub-mix. While the Direct Routing rack only has 8 Slots you can freely set them to any available destinations.

Actually I wonder why Direct Routing exists, how to make use of it… Now it makes sense, also I feel this might be a solution to another question I had…

Let me try Direct Routing and see…


Sorry, I didn’t read the whole thread. But I was also thinking of the Direct Routing workout the Summing Mode.

You could also use the Quick Link to switch the outputs all at once.

Another idea, you could use dedicated Group(s) and prepare PLEs in sense like:

  • if track name contains staccato: route to Group X…
  • if track name contains Violin: route to Group Y…

But I believe the Direct Routing makes better job here.

Yeah I thought it might offer an approach.

I just did a little experiment on Exporting the Audio from a Group Channel.

  • If the Group is being routed to Stereo Out, the Audio will Export as expected.
  • If the Group is not routed anywhere, the Export will produce a blank file
  • If Group A is routed to a second Group B and Group B is not routed anywhere, Group A will still properly Export the Audio

So you could create multiple Group Tracks, one for each Routing scheme you intend to use. Then Route each of these ‘Routing Groups’ to a Dummy Group Channel that isn’t Routed to anything. Summing Mode will let you create multiple Routing schemes in parallel so there is no need to modify any Routing between Exports - just queue up the different Routing Groups for Export.

Thank you to both @Martin.Jirsak and @raino.

for the past couple I have tried using Direct Routing… thought it didn’t solve my exact need. I find it very useful other cases. Actually there’s more use case scenario to this, I will just be creative enough to use Direct Routing… Once again thank you so much.

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