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Thread: Plug-in order. Any hard and fast rules?

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    Plug-in order. Any hard and fast rules?

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    It seems possible that the order in which plug-ins are installed could affect the sound. If one were using several, like compression, reverb, saturation, eq, etc., are there any absolute no-no's with respect to order? What kind of logic should one be applying as they start to refine their raw track(s) by the application of plug-ins?

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    When you say installed I am guessing you mean the order in which you add them to the FX send.
    I am sure there will be those who will say you have to do it a certain way and it is the only way. Experiment, see what works, what doesn't. It will also depend on the outcome your wanting to achieve, and in some cases what it is your processing. I am not familiar with saturation, but for the remainder I would usually go: EQ > Compression > Rev

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    No.

    If you know what the effects do and what you're trying to achieve, it becomes fairly obvious. If you don't know what they do, you can try things until you get what you want or maybe ask a specific question about a specific situation and maybe get some reasonable advice. If you don't actually know what you want, you can try things until you find something you like, but it'll be tough for anybody to give useful advice.

    Anybody who tries to tell you a rule is wrong from the start.

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    For a guitar or bass, yes--the order of effects has a lot to do with what comes out. In a DAW, I've never noticed a difference.
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    No rules. Only logic as to what the goal is.

    You wouldn't insert a reverb on say a snare before a compressor. Unless you wer trying to come up with some strange something...

    Basic would be as Cranky stated. EQ > Compression > Rev. But then there are sends and who knows what that can be done.

    ashcat is right. There are no rules. But there are incorrect ways of going about things.
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    Any hard and fast rules?
    Think it through.

    Adding delay to a reverb signal *most of the time* makes no sense. Adding reverb to a delay return is as normal as the light turning on when you open the fridge (side-note: It drives me nuts to this day when I hear a delay return that doesn't have the same verb as the vocal on it). Putting a reverb send pre-fade will do bizarre things when adjusting volume. Some of those things might be amazing. Some might screw everything up. There's a huge difference distorting a flange return over flanging a distortion return.

    The "obvious" things are obvious -- Generally speaking, you want your insert effects to be corrective before shaping and your additive effects to be modulative before spatial -- spectral before dynamic before additive modulative before additive spatial. That's 95% of your everyday common sense stuff. But there are certainly exceptions. There are plenty of times I wanted something to get closer or farther away so the verb send was set at "normal" level and *pre* fade. When the fader goes down, the verb stays the same. I can think of plenty of times where I wanted a delay send before compressing the snot out of a vocal or guitar solo. There are times where I wanted a vocal *verb* to be normal while the source sounded like it was coming through a radio (verb send before radical EQ curve).

    Endless options. Every one of them different than the other. Certainly some "rules of thumb" - but certainly few solid rules.

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    As what everyone else has said, EXPERIMENT. and don't forget, you can also use more than one of the same plug-in if needed. I know some people use more than one compressor on tracks to get the desired effect they are shooting for.
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    Thanks for all the replies.


    Quote Originally Posted by Massive Master View Post
    Think it through.

    Adding delay to a reverb signal *most of the time* makes no sense. Adding reverb to a delay return is as normal as the light turning on when you open the fridge (side-note: It drives me nuts to this day when I hear a delay return that doesn't have the same verb as the vocal on it)...
    I am not quite clear on this. Are you saying it bothers you to hear two different kinds of reverb in a single track?

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    Yup. What everyone else said. Just remember that whatever you do first affects what comes after... so for instance you'd probably want to EQ before Compression so that the compressor is only working on the frequencies you want it to work on... if you're going to cut out a bunch of low end in the source, you wouldn't want your compressor to be clamping down on low end that you plan on removing. Also don't be afraid to EQ before and after to get the desired sound.

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