Old 12-09-2018, 01:25 PM   #1
toleolu
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Default FX Chain Order

Just curious if there is a rule of thumb regarding the order in which you place effects on a track.

I typically will place an EQ first, then compression, then finally reverb if needed.

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Old 12-09-2018, 06:26 PM   #2
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Not trying to be mean here, but I hate this question. I hate it when it's about guitar pedals and I hate it even more when it's about mixing.

The answer is simple, but not actually easy: When you know how the plugins work, and you know what you're trying to achieve, the right order is pretty obvious. You put them in the order that gives you what you want. There is always a right order for any given situation, but that is not necessarily the right order for anything else.

I know this is the noob section, so maybe you don't really understand how these things work. Put your time and effort into learning both the theoretical and practical action of these plugins. Learn what they do and why and how. Then apply that knowledge as necessary to get what you need. Don't rely on recipes and presets and other people's advice. Know your tools and use them.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:36 PM   #3
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Agreed, it's great to learn from the history. Like for example. EQ comes after compression when doing the real NY City Compression. In this case the reason is that you are boosting bass so you don't want to make the compressor trigger more off the bass so it goes after. In other cases you might want to remove a bass first from a bass heavy track so it doesn't trigger the compressor.

The real NY City compression
Apply only to kick, snare and toms and bass
Makes drums punchy and sustains and fattens bass.

Compressor
attack 24us - 700us (short)
release 723ms - 1.2s
ratio 10:1 - 13:1

50/50 dry/wet ratio to start, could be less


EQ after compressor: +3dB at 100hz, +3dB at 10khz
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:44 PM   #4
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I can vouch for both above.. At first I thought very linear and orderly about a channel strip.. maybe from the time I spent doing some live sound.

There can be a general order to a physical channel strip on say a Mackie or Soundcraft analog board. I had that image in my mind when I started with DAWs.

It can be done that way... for a time.. but then what happened when I saw a big time Mix Engineer using eq > comp> eq> comp> comp> eq !?

You have to start at the beginning, learn where things are on an eq ( ear training ) and then how does a comp change the shape/transients/sustain of a sound etc.. then comes a time when you will want to make the tail of a kick drum louder but soften the initial hit. You may need to eq that kick first, then hit it with a compressor, then eq it again to bring it back to sit with the Bass gtr then compress to level out the volume.
Lets not even talk bout side chains, and ducking.. whooo!

I think an additional answer might be,
first fix what is wrong
Then enhance what you want

You can have an eq first for sure, and a comp too but you can then put another eq in line if "that's what you need to do" the channel strip police will not come and arrest you

you should definitely start with some of the Kenny Vids too.

For reverbs/delays etc... you should probably learn to do some {fx} routing so you can then have a reverb on a separate track where you could also eq and comp that effect if needed.


The best advise is experiment, ask questions, or get really into it head first and join in on the mix contest too.

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Old 12-10-2018, 01:56 AM   #5
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Also checkout tips by genius Bobby Owsinski

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qJyyZ0IiVU
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Old 12-10-2018, 03:11 PM   #6
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Sometimes I want to use a compressor to tame down a track that had its presence eq'd up.

Sometimes I want to eq up a track that lost a hair of presence going though a compressor.
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:13 PM   #7
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Sometimes I feel dirty. Actually most of the time I feel the need for saturation.
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Old 12-10-2018, 06:57 PM   #8
toleolu
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I guess I should have made it clear in my question that I'm just a guy sitting in my man cave, recording some simple tracks and just trying to tweak them out a bit. Not looking to become an engineer, no Mutt Lange wannabe here, just want to record some stuff that I might post on You Tube and share with some friends.

As someone who spent nearly 50 years in computers and IT, I spent a lot of time with people who had no clue about computers. One of the most valuable lessons I learned during all that time was simple questions require simple answers.

To those of you who were sincerely trying to help, I thank you. But to be honest, as a newb, asking a newb question, I have no idea what any of you were talking about, but thanks for trying.

Mahalo
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toleolu View Post
I typically will place an EQ first, then compression, then finally reverb if needed.
No hard rules but these will have some value...

If you are going to cut some frequencies, consider doing so before the compressor, you must not want them, you are cutting them, so might as well keep them from triggering the compressor.

If you are going to boost some frequencies, consider doing so after the compressor, you must want them, you are boosting them, no use triggering the compressor with them. If you want to do both cut and boost, you guessed it, one EQ before and one EQ after.

There's a myriad of other things that could be considered (even the inverse such as pre/deemphasis), but if I had to choose the first one to share with someone asking such a question, it would probably be this one.
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Old 12-11-2018, 01:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toleolu View Post
Just curious if there is a rule of thumb regarding the order in which you place effects on a track.

I typically will place an EQ first, then compression, then finally reverb if needed.

Mahalo
You'll hate the answer to this question (which is honestly the only right answer): it all depends.

There are no rules of thumb about the FX chain. You add as many plugins as you need, in the order that you need them.

Further, every track is different. You want EQ on your bass right in the beginning to cut off the high frequencies. But in my vocals, I always add compression right at the beginning after the gate.

There is nothing stopping you from adding multiple effects as well. On vocal tracks, I'll sometimes add multiple compressors and EQs for instance.

You also want one EQ at the end of the chain to mix out any incongruent frequencies. You'll want this in addition to the EQ you add earlier.

What's more important is that you understand what different effects do.

1. EQ removes or enhances frequencies
2. Compressor, well, compresses the signals and makes it louder and smoother
3. Reverb adds echo
4. Gate removes frequencies below a certain range
5. Chorus, for the most part, makes the sound "wider"
6. Saturation makes the sound more saturated or "thicker"

Once you know this, you can mix and match better.

For instance, you'll want an EQ at the very beginning of a track to remove all harsh frequencies. But you'll also want one after the reverb to remove any frequencies that echo too much.
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Old 12-11-2018, 09:46 AM   #11
toleolu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jabardastkid2002 View Post
You'll hate the answer to this question (which is honestly the only right answer): it all depends.
Actually don't hate that at all as it appears that's the bottom line to all of this stuff. At the end of the day, for what I'm doing at my level, it's all about what sounds good to me.

Many thanks to you and karbomusic for your help.

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Old 12-11-2018, 01:25 PM   #12
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I have no good answers but I can tell you what I do.

I divide my tracks for a song into "groups." It could he as simple as "foreground" and "background" or it could be "stringed acoustic instruments" and "electric instruments" etc. For this example I'm going to use acoustic guitar.

There are two acoustic guitar tracks playing a straight rhythm. Both are mono, and their only difference is one is playing in open A and the other is playing in G with the capo on the second fret. Call these tracks 1 and 2.

I make a THIRD track that is JUST reverb (100% wet) followed by an EQ.
I make a FOURTH track that is a "bus" which is just a compressor.
I make a FIFTH track which is "Acoustic guitar pre-master" whose output goes to master.

Tracks 1 and 2 each have their own EQ. The output of those tracks goes to both the bus track (track 4) and reverb track (track 3). The output of track 3 and track 4 goes to track 5.

So
1 (acoustic guitar 1) has EQ and goes to 3 and 4.
2 (acoustic guitar 2) has EQ and goes to 3 and 4.
3 has reverb and EQ (both 100% wet) and goes to 5
4 has compression and goes to 5.
5 has an EQ for getting my combined guitars to sit right with everything else.

Here's the logic. Most often, with guitars, I'm subtracting sounds, and that's what EQ is good at. So that's right in those tracks.
I'm not compressing my reverb, because the whole point is that reverb makes things have a sense of space and position. But I am EQing it, mostly chopping off stuff on the high end so it doesn't take up too much frequency space.
I'm compressing both guitar tracks together, because that reduces the distinction between the two guitars so they are sitting in the same space. On the final output, again there is the EQ in case I need to notch or enhance a space in the final mix, but initially it is off.

I just realized its hard to explain what I do and why. lol Hopefully this helped!
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:47 PM   #13
toleolu
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Always wondered what the deal was with that routing. Thanks for the tip.

Checked out some tutorials on YouTube about routing and gave it a try. Sounded pretty good.

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Old 12-12-2018, 09:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toleolu View Post
Always wondered what the deal was with that routing. Thanks for the tip.

Checked out some tutorials on YouTube about routing and gave it a try. Sounded pretty good.

Mahalo
The Best info hands down. ReaVerend Kenny does the definitive videos of all things Reaper. His explanations are second to none when it comes to exactly what why and how for anything you care to know. Simply and easily.
Not to mention he sounds so cool when he's explaining and teaching. (in a kinda Walken-esque sort of way.)
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