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Thread: When to add effects in mixing process?

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    When to add effects in mixing process?

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    First time attempting to mix a track. By "effects" I mean reverb, delay, compression, etc. Everything except for EQ. As far As I know an optimal list of steps of mixing goes like:

    1. Gain Staging
    2. Leveling
    3. EQ

    But for effects, when should you apply those in the mixer tracks to process your sound? I imagine you add effects first because, effects can raise or lower the volume in the mixer track??? Then you Gain Stage to level every track to the same volume, then you adjust level faders, then EQ? Not really 100 percent sure though where Effects fit in the procedure????

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    To keep things simplified, you can split 'effects' into two branches: 1. instrument effects and 2. bus effects.

    Effects that are part of the individual instrument channel that's necessary for the sound of that instrument should be set up before gain staging because, as you said, they effect the overall amplitude of that track. As I write this, now I'm thinking there's instrument effects you record and then there's in-the-box effects. If you're adding effects in the box then your gain staging is first as you may want to push the effect more or less so you'd 'set up the effect' then gain stage, then tweak your effect in the box.

    Gain Stage -> EQ -> mix Levels

    then you can send instrument groups to mix busses (or your master bus if you're skipping groups) and the intention is then to unify the sound of the instruments together with your next set of effects (room reverb would be an example here).

    I hope that helps. There's no real rules though. You can also use effects sends and send them to their own tracks too. Oh it's endless madness! lol
    Last edited by Storm; 11-25-2019 at 01:37 PM.

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    A lot of people do things differently, but, for me, this is how I do things. On instrument/voice/synth/(sometimes bus) tracks, I use (in this order) compression, EQs, then sometimes add a little bit of oomph with saturation depending on the situation. Now, depending on the track and it's roll in the mix (take vocals for example), I will create two new aux tracks which I will send part of the track/bus to. One of the aux tracks will be for early reflections (reverb w/ pre-delay and not too long in length) and one for a delay or delay-esque effect. So, for example, you'll have one send on your main track to bus XX-XX, and then two aux tracks with their inputs being bus XX-XX. Remember though, a little bit goes a long way. Depending on the song, many times for an early response reverb, you just want to feel it and get the sensation of it, not so much hear it. And I would also recommend not going too crazy with the level of the delay as well (again, depending on the song).

    I hope that helps!

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