Difference between bus and group tracks


First time Ardour user here.

I just decided to start my journey in edm production and I decided to use Ardour for it. However, I lack some basic knowledge. I’m going through Ardour manual and I got confused with group tracks and bus. They seem to me the same thing. Could someone clarify when should we use one or the other?


A group is a way to control some aspects, like gain, muting, soloing and so on, of several tracks at once.
If you have the volume of all your individual drum tracks perfectly balanced but need to raise or lower the volume of the drums as a whole you can assign the tracks to a group and adjust the setting.
Or if you want an easy way to mute all the 18 guitar tracks at once; just add them to a group.

A bus is a track without a backing audio file. It’s commonly used if you, for instance, want the exact same reverb on some tracks.
Then you route the output, usually via a send, of the tracks to the bus and add the reverb to the bus track.
In that case you usually set the reverb to 100% wet and control the amount of reverb via the bus track fader.

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Thanks Peder,

So, plz correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m understanding that group is more for “editing” operations and bus for “plugins and effects”. Is that right?

I’d say groups are more for “control” operations, editing to me is more like cutting and moving parts of the audio files, but otherwise you’re correct.

You can of course use a bus as a group as well; you had to do that in old, analog mixing consoles.
You routed, say, the drum tracks to a bus to be able to easily adjust the overall volume of the drum kit.

A group is just an easier way of doing that nowadays.

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