Hi everyone! Now that I believe I've gotten the hang of CoS and the whole noise theory, I wanted to do a deep dive into level planes. I've been experimenting a lot with them and I feel like I am misunderstanding some aspects of how different elements at different level planes interact together.

We know that two elements at -25 add up to -22, and three elements at -25 add up to -20, or one level plane above. Let's say I have three elements logically grouped together, with each element sitting at -25. __Would it be more accurate to think that "the whole" is sitting at -20, or that the parts are sitting at -25? Or maybe the whole is at -25? Are both views equivalent?__ This is more than a "philosophical" question, as I do believe this has real repercussions as to how we internalize how the numbers reflect what we are perceiving.

Let's assume my target level for the master bus is -20. __Should I aim to have three top-level groupings at -25, with everything else either being ducked or set at levels whose sum add up to -25 regardless of the number of constituent parts? __ Or should I not care and just adjust whatever level I end up with in the master bus to the target level? I started thinking about this after rewatching one of the Universal Mixing videos.

In the video about Torcuato's mix, there are 8 busses and all, except for one, are brought to -25 regardless of the level of the individual tracks.

From this choice I can conclude two explanations. Either ...

The final number of "top-level tracks" (i.e. buses) at -25 doesn't matter because you simply bring the master bus up/down to your desired final level, or ...

Three of these buses are ducking the remaining ones, meaning that only these three buses add up to the final -20 (this final level is just a guess, but Menno has mentioned in other videos that this is his usual target level for the master bus)

If no. 2 is correct, would it make sense to always think in terms of groupings of 3 and how they add up to the desired level? That leads me to think about some sort of level plane combinatorics ... -20 LUFS could be:

3 elements at -25, or

2 at -25 and two at -28, or

6 elements at -28,

etc. In theory it is clear how to fit any number of elements to any target LUFS, but I'm suspecting that the "combined" level of these grouping sounds weird if different groupings' combinations end up at levels that are not a level plane apart. Anyways, I'm already nerding out, so I'll leave it at this for now.

If anyone could share some more info about how they think about and use level planes, I would be very grateful. Thanks in advance!

__EDIT: Just in case it's not clear, my main question is: Let's say I want to place 6 elements on the same level plane, say, -25. Does that mean that each of the 6 elements needs to measure exactly -25, or that they each need to sit at levels that when combined with the other 5 adds up to -25?__