Mixing with Channel Strip Plugins: Brainworx bx_console & Waves Renaissance

Mixing with Channel Strip Plugins: Brainworx bx_console & Waves Renaissance

http://theproaudiofiles.com // A video demonstrating mixing a song with the bx_console plugin from Brainworx and the Renaissance Channel strip plugin from Waves Audio.

Transcript excerpt:

Hey guys, this is Eric Tarr for theproaudiofiles.com.

Recently, I picked up this plug-in from brainworx called the bx_console. It’s a model of a Neve desk.

In my workflow, I like to use channel strips for basic processing. Whenever I need to do some simple equalization, compression, or expansion, I like to pull up a channel strip where I’ve got all of the parameters and controls in one place that I can quickly dial in the settings and move on to more important things in my mix.

So in the past, I’ve used basically two tools and gotten really familiar with those. Waves Renaissance channel, and the Waves SSL desk. When I saw this plugin come out, I got interested in it, and thought, “Is it time for me to replace my old tools with some new technology, and some new software?”

So I’ve picked this one up and I’ve been playing around with it for a couple of weeks. What I decided to do for this video is mix a song using this plugin exclusively. No other plugins are used on this multi-track session. Just the brainworx console. So I’m not even using any spatial effects or anything like that, it’s just equalization, compression, and expansion.

Then what I did was I created another multi-track session where I’m just using the Waves Renaissance channel. My idea is not to do one-for-one parameter matching or anything like that, the idea is just to look at my results of what I would get just by using this plugin in the mix. You know, things — impact, you know, the choices you make, like the metering you see, and the sounds that you’re hearing from the equalizer, and that kind of stuff.

So what I’ll do here is play you this track here to begin with. This is a song by the band Lines in the Sky called Parallel Travel. It’s kind of a heavy rock sort of sound, and I’ll A/B it, turn it on, turn it off so you can hear what the plugin is doing, and then I’ll open up the other session, do the same thing, let you hear the Waves Renaissance channel in the context of the mix, and then I’ll come back and I’ll dig deep into a couple of the plugins and show you some unique situations and how I’m using it. How I’m using the routing and all of that kind of stuff so you get a better idea about how to use it.

So here’s the song. You can hear how it sounds and how the processor is affecting the overall mix.

[mix, with and without bx_console]

Now, here’s the same song in a multi-track session where I’m exclusively using the Waves Renaissance Channel.

[mix, with and without Waves Renaissance Channel]

The next thing I’ll do is play the mixes side-by-side and crossfade back and forth so you can compare them for yourself.

Now, to my ears, what I hear is with the brainworx plugin, the results I ended up getting sounded a little bit smoother in the mid-range and crisp on the top end, whereas the Waves Renaissance Channel sounds almost brittle on the top end. Now, that might have been a result of the mixing choices that I made, but I’ll let you decide for yourself here.

[mixes, alternating between brainworx and Waves]

So there you go.

Another thing that I hear when playing them side-by-side is my drums really came out punchy with the brainworx plugin. I didn’t really achieve that with the Renaissance Channel, even though I was stacking plugin on top of plugin, and trying to emphasize that, it just didn’t come out as good as it did with the brainworx plugin.

So why don’t we look at individual instances of the plugin and I can show you how I’m using. Here’s the one that I’ve got on my kick drum. In this case, I’ve got the gate engaged, fast attack, fast release, really tightening things up.

Then I’ve got the compressor with a pretty high ratio. Slow release and slow attack. The idea here is to compress more of the sustain.

I love on this plugin how you really just have two choices, either fast attack to compress the transient, or slow attack to let the transient go through. On the EQ, nothing fancy here. Beef up the bottom end, roll off some of the boxiness, and find some of that snap on top.

So that’s the kick drum. On the snare, I’m doing two kind of things side-by-side. First up, I’m just — EQ, nothing going on here. I’m just using a fast attack to control level of the snare drum, and then in the second instance, this is where I’m using the gate to tighten things up, pull off the cymbals and bleed from this track and so on.

Video Rating: / 5

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12 thoughts on “Mixing with Channel Strip Plugins: Brainworx bx_console & Waves Renaissance”

  1. Sorry, but you cant do anything with anything to that shit music! If it is great song/idea, you dont need mix it is nice…

  2. On my monitors the Waves mix sounds more professional, compact. The Brainworks mix sounds really messy. Perhaps is just me.

  3. I'm not sure what to make of this video. I had to use my monitor controller to match the perceived volume of both mixes (turning up the Ren mix by quite a bit) whilst listening. They are so completely different from each other it's hard to draw any meaningful comparisons. I much preferred what you did with the Ren mix though – just my personal taste. It may simply be that the gui's make you work differently or something? Hard to believe that simply working with a different plugin resulted in such a different sounding mix. The Ren mix sounded balanced – yes, harsh on the highs – but balanced. The other mix sounded muddy, mid range heavy and quite dull – the vocal was quite muddy and buried too. It would have been a more informative 'vs' if you had done a one to one parameter match.

  4. CONGRATS TPAF on hitting 70k subs! Brainworx is by far one of my favorite plugin company. The bx digital v3 is my favorite EQ/midside processor plugin. 🙂

  5. Hi-hat and cymbals… All drums sound much better unprocessed as for my taste.
    BTW, I never liked those "all-in-one" plugins. Don't really know why..)

  6. I've used all the R-Plugs for years, and done whole sessions using just them. I now use the BX, mainly because the EQ is much sweeter when pushed, and the gate is far more natural. It also has another significant advantage, which is the ability to have 72 different channels (I only use 40 or so), each slightly differing tonally and dynamically. Combine this with the Waves NLS, and a decent tape plug (I use mixture of UAD Studer, Waves J37, McDSP A202, and Massey Tapehead depending on source), and you really have as close to a studio in a box as you're gonna get (until the next big thing). The RC has one major advantage, and that's the ability to switch the comp to R-Vox mode, which is probably why the vocals fit better in the RC mix. I still use R-Vox, R-Comp and R-Bass all the time, and the R-Collection as a whole is still a great package, but the channel strip doesn't get used so much. The BX may be an emulation, but it's actually much more flexible, natural, and the eq has no graphic which means I use my ears more!

  7. wow quite a big difference, I'm a big waves fan and user and would love to hear you do the same using the ssl console for comparison as the bx is sounding much better.

  8. Couple of observations. First off, comparing two plug-ins with different tone, color and character is just a waste of time. New users and beginners tend to get caught up in comparing differences and start to believe that's where the magic comes from. Instead of making the song and mix the most important aspect while choosing the sounds, color and result they wish to achieve from the plug-in. If you want a Neve emulation, then reach for one, same goes for SSL and even a neutral transparent flavor. Secondly, coloring everything with the same plug-in may introduce redundant colors and textures. For a more creative and diverse mix you should consider using different emulations and flavors of plug-ins to get a wider palette sound scape. This will help with any build up of tones, frequencies and character and ultimately make your songs and mixes more unique and less cookie cutter.

  9. stero image better in the bx … vocal clearer in the waves but that might of been a level thing … i would go for the bx more stereo seperation …imo….. and turn up the vocals a tad

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