A lot of people get that “glazed-over” look when they try to explain or figure out buses and IO settings in their DAW. In this video, I give you a simple explanation of buses and IO. I’ll be showing it to you in Pro Tools, but these principles apply to any DAW.

What is your favorite thing to use buses for? I need 10 comments before I’ll post tomorrow’s post.


Want to learn more about Pro Tools? Check out UnderstandingProTools.com.

  • So when you send a track’s audio to a reverb bus, do you murpte that original track so you don’t have the unprocessed audio PLUS the processed audio (no reverb + reverb) present in the mix (unless of course you want both of them present)?

  • Ronymail78

    Hey Joe, could u write something about submixes and how u use them in ur session?

    • Good idea. There’s not much to write about it honestly. I bus my drums through a stereo bus. I usually bus my guitars through a stereo bus too. Anything that I want to run through a single fader and single set of plugins, I submix them.

  • christopher [chrisw92]

    seems pointless to have three components… unless logic pro studio does aux/buses differently to protools. for example the auxes use the same channel strip as buses and vicar-versa.

    or am I missing something here?

  • Nate

    I’m starting a home studio and all of this is new to me. All I use the buses for are reverb and delay. But I will have to watch the video over a few more times 🙂

  • Parallel compression on drums is a big favorite for me but I definitely think the use of buses for ambience in post production is essential. Extremely useful for maintaining continuity in sounds for a specific environment eg. reverb and delays for a certain room.

  • Mark B.

    i use busses for sending to aux tracks, generally to mix in with the original audio. compression, delay and verb, mostly. makes a huge difference in my mixes.

  • Paco (PR)

    Very nice explanation..I have seen various videos before about I/O and Bus settings. I may say that this is the one that best explains it. Great video!

  • Kevin Hilman

    I am guilty of getting the “I/O Glaze” anytime the topic is brought up in a book so I appreciate this video lesson. Nice to see it instead of reading about it. Currently the only thing I use buses for is to route to an aux track with reverb. I’ll have to experiment a bit and try some new tricks.

  • I normally run parallel compression on drums, massey tapehead, long and short delays, and possibly a reverb. Pretty standard stuff.

  • Thanks Joe!

  • Drum bussing and reverbs are probably the two that I use most. I usually buss my drums on every session anymore. it’s just such an easier way to work.

  • Drums are always where I pull out the Aux tracks, groups and parallel compression and all that. I love tinkering the drums over a few Auxs…in fact, when I was demoing Reaper a while back, this was the missing feature that made it unusable for me – I couldn’t group the outputs of several drum tracks to a single aux for group processing (I always apply Massey Tapehead over the whole kit in an Aux, sometimes some light compression too)

    I remember the day I first learned how to use Buses and Aux tracks in Logic, it was like getting the keys to the candy shop!

  • I use buses for reverbs, delays, sub mixes, stemming down audio with effects on them to a two track to save power on my not so powerful g4 dual 867 mghz computer (HEAD ACHE!!!!) but it works pretty cool for me.
    Love your work bro.

    God Bless.

  • Eric

    Yet another great video, Joe!!!!
    I use buses pretty much for the same….reverbs, submixes, delays, etc.

  • Hey JOE! Another great job and I’m sure ALL do appreciate your time and effort, though we often take it for granted. If you would, could find the time to explain the uses of the other 3 I/O headings. I can’t figure what the insert does when used on the SETUP, and how that would effect your mix.
    Thanks and keep on.

  • thanks for this video, joe!

    i’m about to mix a three-song demo at a friend’s studio tomorrow, and this walk-through couldn’t have come at a better time! 😀

  • “bus stop” – nice. Another great video Joe, I’ve found your advice about bussing effects over to aux tracks really saves the cpu quite a few cycles. which is pretty handy during those times I’m needing to effect more than a couple tracks w/ reverb/delay etc. Thankee…