Saturday, February 17, 2018

How to use the Splitter tool when mixing

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we are going to talk about an interesting tool: the Splitter!
The interface we are using as example is the one of Presonus Studio One, but the splitter is available on many other high level Daws.

What is a splitter? It is a tool that lets us split the signal into two tracks, allowing us for example to send a guitar sound to two virtual amplifiers, or to send a bass track to a clean chain on one side and to a distorted one on the other, so that we can blend them together.
The possibilities are infinite.

How to use it? First off we choose the track we need to split, open the mixer window, click on the track edit button (the one with the potentiometer icon) and on the top of the resulting menu click on the splitter icon.
This will take us to the splitter window, the one that we can see on the photo.
From there we just drag the splitter button down inside the main window to create one signal split.
The signal can be split into as many tracks as we want and each split can be "sub-splitted", so we have a lot of flexibility that could lead us to some very creative solution and complex signal routing, impossible in the analog world.
How did they do in the "analog age"? They would for example send the same bass sound to two different mixer tracks and use them one for the "clean part" and one for the "distorted one" of the signal, blending them to taste and then routing both of them back to the same bus track to have a common master volume.

In the digital age, compared to the analog one the signal routing possibilities are endless, for example we can choose to split the signal into two identical tracks, or split it in a left and right stereo track (good for example for guitar tracks), or to split them according to the frequency, in order to treat the low end part of the signal differently than the high end one (this the ideal for bass tracks).

In each split track there is a vst insert, so we can create our plugin chain to process each track independently, but the amazing thing is that all this happens within a single mixer channel, so once we get used to this type of processing, we can literally reduce the number of mixer tracks of at least the half, on an average project, obtaining a much more streamlined, faster workflow and more control in the mixing phase.

I hope this was helpful!

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