CREATIVE USE OF SEND EFFECTS

CREATIVE USE OF SEND EFFECTS

Today we will give you several guidelines on how to be creative with your send FX chains. Assuming that you already know the difference between send and insert effects, we'll just say that using sends offers some interesting and unique advantages, some of which we will explore in today's article.

 

The most common approach is to have several different reverbs and delays set this way in order to “send” some of the sounds/tracks into them, but only when needed (instead of all the time, as with inserts) and to a desired degree. This will, of course, require some automation and/or live action. Also, sending related sounds to the same reverb, for example, will give them all a common ambient “space” and, therefore, provide a better overall spatial coherence of the mix. There are music genres such as Dub which totally rely on send effects for achieving their signature sound. Using sends is not only fun, but can also save you time and open a whole new set of interesting possibilities.

We will build our today's article around the idea that you should not only use one effect on your send bus (eg. reverb, delay) but a whole chain of interesting effect combos in order to achieve some really cool and useful results.

 

1) We recommend again that you check out BOZ's excellent Bark Of Dog plugin and use it to “tune” the low end of your reverb (or delay) send and that way make it better fit the rest of the mix. Just put it after your main send reverb plugin and then tune it by the ear to find that low end sweet spot.

 

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In the audio examples, you can hear the subtle, but valuable difference in the low end “spaciousness” between the untreated and treated send reverb on the clap.


 

Tip: Follow that with a saturation plugin for a more pronounced effect.

2) Use a HPF+LPF combo and put it before the reverb in your send chain to achieve that well known Abbey Road trick which boils down to removing the unnecessary low and high end from the input signal before it hits the reverb. That gives a much finer control of the end result and your sounds will better fit the mix because all the unnecessary “mud” will be gone. The guiding notion behind this idea is that filtering the signal before the reverb sounds better than simply EQing the resulting reverb tail.

 

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In the audio examples, you can hear the difference between the unfiltered and filtered signal (in this case, vocal) hitting a reverb on the send bus.

First on its own, and then in the context of the mix. The untreated one is a bit boomy and muddy, while the filtered one nicely fits the mix.


 

3) Put Cableguys' VolumeShaper after the reverb in your send chain and make the reverb “pump” a bit. Now follow that with their excellent (and free) Pancake 2 autopanner plugin and set it to ½ bar sync so that it “follows” the volume pump.

 

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In the audio examples, you can hear the difference between the untreated, flat reverb send and a processed one which now “breathes” nicely with the rest of the beat.


 

04) If your synth leads are very “stereo wide” and lack some mono (mid) definition, put a guitar-pedal emu of a tube overdrive, such as TSE's lovely (and free) TSE808. Leave it in its default mono mode, pump up the drive to about a third way up and then just send some of your synth lead into it to fatten up its mono center. Tune the overdrive's focus frequency (Tone) by ear, to better fit the lead, and then just adjust the overall send level to taste.

 

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In the audio examples, you can hear the difference between the raw (and fairly wide) organ hit and the one with its “mid” content fattened up this way.


 

Tip: If your sound is perhaps too “mono” and narrow, put your favorite stereo/ambisonic expander, chorus, or any similar spatial enhancer as a send (rather than insert) in order to add some widening to the sound, but retain its original mono presence/compatibility.

5) Follow your (long-feedback) send delay with a reverb plugin and then automate the reverb's wet/dry amount at the latter part of the delay's tail.

 

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Check out the following audio examples to hear what we mean


 

Conclusion

By experimenting with different send effect combinations, we can get some really useful and mix-friendly results. With some patience and creative thinking applied, numerous interesting things are possible. Take some time to discover your favorite send FX combos, automate them, have fun and don't forget to save your discoveries as preset templates so that you can use them again in your future projects.

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