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Thread: Inserts vs. sends

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    SpotlightKid83 is offline Junior Member
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    Inserts vs. sends

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    What is the difference between inserts and sends?? will an effect sound different if I put it through one instead of the other? which are usuallly put through inserts and which through sends? I'm still pretty new about mixing and would appreciate some help.

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    scrubs is offline Not of sound mind
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpotlightKid83
    What is the difference between inserts and sends?? will an effect sound different if I put it through one instead of the other? which are usuallly put through inserts and which through sends? I'm still pretty new about mixing and would appreciate some help.
    Inserts are typically "pre-fader" (before the channel gain) and the entire signal is routed through the insert effect. Send effects can be either "pre" or "post-fader" (after the channel gain and EQ) and you control the amount of the signal that goes through the effect loop and the amount returning via the respective effect "send" and "return" knobs/faders.

    There are no hard rules, but typically things like compressors/limiters are insert effects, and reverbs/delays are send effects.
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    dynamic based processors are used as inserts
    time based processors are used as aux sends

    the big difference between the two is that inserts send the signal from one point of the signal path and then it returns to that exact same point after being processed (inserts use a special cable for this when routing to hardware), then continues on carrying the processed signal through the rest of the path...so that you hear only the processed signal.

    aux sends are sent out either pre or post fader (depending on what you want), and typically returned to an aux master or separate, new tracks. This way you can mix both the original signal and the affected signal separately.

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    SpotlightKid83 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks a lot to both of you, you really cleared that out for me.

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    xstatic is offline Been Here, Posted That
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    Keep in mind that there is nor rule concerning inserts and sends. You can use a reverb on an insert, and you can use a compressor on a send. There are even reasons why you might want to.

    If you insert a reverb on a channel you are pretty much limiting that reverb unit to affecting only the channel that you are inserting it on. However, inserting something like a reverb can sometimes yield a much more 3 dimensional and realistic sound stage on that channel than the standard send-return system. This method however is not used nearly as often as the send-return style setup for reverbs and delays. It will also probably take a lot longer to mess with the FX unit and it's mix in order to get the sound you are lookng for. However, if you ahve the outboard resources and the time it could be worth it.

    You can also use a compressor on an auxilliary send instead of an insert. Maybe this way you could have a mono compressed drum sound while still having the dry tracks panned. Also, you could set up two aux sends for two channels of compression and use them on the drums that way as well. I know people are thinking... " why not just insert the comps on the drum bus instead? ". Most of the time, that is what people do. By using sends instead of inserts though it allows you to have completely dry drums as well as a compressed drum signal. The big advantage of doing it this way though (with the sends) is that on the compressed drums you could have a whole completely different blend or mix of the source signals then your primary drum mix.

    Basically, I am not saying that what the others said is wrong, because it isn't. Most of the time most people will do it the way the previous posters mentioned. I purely wanted to point out that there is always a different way of doing things and there really isn't a right and wrong, but there often is what is commonly accepted as standard. PLus, you may try one of these tricks and love it. It may also be what sets you aside from the guy next to you.

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    SpotlightKid83 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks a lot, what I basically wanted to know was the difference on the signal flow and how they are commonly used. Thank you all for answering, you really helped me.

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    Inserts are prefader, so you'd probably see them high up on your patch bay should you ever see one.

    You don't control wet/dry with inserts on the board, so that tells you that you'd probably want to keep inserts for dynamic processing. Not a rule, but kind of a no brainer.

    Sends are almost like an output, but not quite. Think of it "Sending" the signal somewhere else.


    For example:
    On a patchbay, assuming it's wired up correctly, you'd start all the way from your mic panel to your aux FX. So if you're just running signal straight from your mic panel to your multitrack, then I think we can agree there's nothing in the middle of that signal flow.

    Now, during the mixing process, you're going to want to reroute that signal flow to make use of outboard gear. That's where inserts, sends, returns come into play.


    So you could do something like: Snare track on channel 4


    Patch from your channel 4 sends into your outboard compressor, and then from the compressor out back into your channel returns.

    So all you ever did was reroute the signal, but not break it.
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    SpotlightKid83 is offline Junior Member
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    I'm mixing with Cubase VST32, so I can't really see the signal flow, I have to imagine it.
    I have very limited equipment, a Pentium IV 1.4ghz, Delta 1010 sound card and breakout box, POD 2.0 for guitar and Battery VST for drums with samples of both drum machines and real acoustic drums.
    I basically wanted to know the difference between sends and inserts, but I guess I would have been able to tell if I could "see" the flow following cables.

    I can't really thank you guys enough for all the things I'm learning since I found this forum!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpotlightKid83
    I'm mixing with Cubase VST32, so I can't really see the signal flow, I have to imagine it.
    I have very limited equipment, a Pentium IV 1.4ghz, Delta 1010 sound card and breakout box, POD 2.0 for guitar and Battery VST for drums with samples of both drum machines and real acoustic drums.
    I basically wanted to know the difference between sends and inserts, but I guess I would have been able to tell if I could "see" the flow following cables.

    I can't really thank you guys enough for all the things I'm learning since I found this forum!
    You know it's kind of silly for there to be a difference for software. The main differences between auxes, inserts, and subgroups are hardware related--pre or post EQ, fader, pan; and whether there is a master fader, knob, dedicated return, and so forth. But a computer should be able to route and mix any way imaginable.

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