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Audio tracks to a BUS

Hi, another question, I know it's a common issue but maybe I'm doing something wrong...
I've got some tracks which I want to send to a BUS (e.g, several drum elements tracks: track for kick, track for snare...). Then I want to add the drums BUS to master, into the main mix.
So I define a drums BUS and I route every drum track to it.
Then, when I route the BUS to the master, I can't hear anything anymore.
Therefore I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong.
Someone could ask me: why are you routing the drums BUS to the master output? Because when I want to bounce all tracks (export tracks) I can choose just one output way, which is tipically the master bus and I'd like to have everything in my bounce: single tracks, buses, etc. So I think that everything should be routed to the main master output.

thank you!

rncbc's picture

hi manu,

first, you may well select more than one audio output bus, while on the export dialog; you can select Master *and* Drums altogether and they will mix-down all the way through the exported file;

second, due to hard-coded internal processing flow (that is, you can't do anything about that, kinda feature, not-a-bug, sorry;)), making an aux-send insert on an audio output bus will only work *iif* the source bus is listed *before* the target one--so that it won't ever work if the target is "Master Out" which coincidentally happens to be the very first and top default one.


manu_controvento's picture

Hi Rui
Thanks a lot. Everything is clear.
Actually, after writing this post I discovered the multiple-bus-selection when exporting tracks. The only problem is that there is not a db sum meter of all buses.. So the risk is to have a clipping bounce. So the solution could be using a peculiar meter plugin, routing all buses to it (Think about a complex mix with several buses: drum group, guitars and voices over dubbing, etc) . Or maybe, according to the buses workflow, I should create my buses and then at last "my own master bus", routing all previous buses to it, and choosing it as my main output bus

Hi manu,

I have the same need and so ended up using JAMin to "collect" the various buses I use (similar to your "peculiar meter plugin" idea), then route them back into Qtractor. It's something of a fudge but it does work. Please see this HowTo for details.

manu_controvento's picture

Hi, I'll surely check the How-To . I'm using JAMin quite often and I tried it in several ways, including a routing-back into Qtractor, but your idea seems interesting. Do you switch on the JAMin "global bypass" until it's mastering time?

JAMin can be a bit resource-heavy so I mostly work within Qtractor, leaving myself lots of headroom, until around mastering. At that point, I launch JAMin, enable the inserts (I have a Qtractor template and QJackCtl Patchbay set up with the connections) and use it for final adjustments and exporting.

No idea if this is the "best" (or even a good) way of doing things, but it seems to work.

manu_controvento's picture

Hi everyone, forgive me for coming back again on this topic. I'm asking for a work-around to solve this situation:

I'd need to route 3 guitar tracks into one BUS (or something like that) For example, I need to apply to all guitar tracks a compressor and a reverb. Instead of replicating the effects on all 3 tracks, I want to send all tracks to these effects, then send the output of this "bus" to the main mix. As Rui already replied me, using a bus the thing won't work, since the destination bus is at a "lower" position than the Master bus, and I can't move the master bus. Any ideas, please?

Thanks a lot

rncbc's picture


you have two basic options, at least, both of them relying on a separate audio output bus where you do insert all the fx plugins that you want (reverb, compressors, etc.) and that, of course, you should add or include on the export mix-down selection anyway:

1. have all the 3 guitar tracks assigned to that output to that bus; all fx in that target bus will apply to all tracks outputs as if it were the default master as usual (but it doesn't get any of the 3 guitars sound whatsoever);
2. have an aux-send inserted on each track and directed to that output bus; the alternate bus will become the wet sinal while the former (master) will go as the dry one;


manu_controvento's picture

maybe I should have explained better the whole work-flow...
I already tried the 2 suggested ways, and it's after trying I decided to write again on the topic :)
I'll explain better. Using an alternate bus, which however doesn't come back into the master bus, is the thing I'd like to avoid. I'll try to explain why:

- if I export all buses to obtain the "bounce", as we already assumed, could lead sometimes to audio clipping, since it's not a "real" bounce
- so I decided to play all on Qtractor and record on Audacity (which is perfect to me, as long as I use just a master bus)
- if I add other buses, and I tell Audacity to record from "jack" source, it captures *only* the sound coming from the master bus

this is the behaviour which brought me to raise my question :)

copyc4t's picture

This may be a possible workaround:
install jack-mixer, launch it, create one input channel per bus, connect them, watch for clipping on the master meter; once you got your levels right, select jack_mixer as the recording input in Audacity and record.

manu_controvento's picture

I'll try ;)


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