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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Quick And Easy Mix Effects Setup

This was posted about a year ago, but I recently had a couple of requests for a repost, so here it is.

Ever wondered what effects to dial in so things sound good during tracking without getting into your head turned around by the infinite possibilities available? Here's a quick and easy setup that will sound great on just about any kind of music without having to pull you hair out over parameter settings. It requires only two reverbs and a delay.
  • For drums - Use a reverb with a "Room" adjusted to about 1.5 seconds of decay with a predelay of 20 milliseconds. You can also set a high-pass filter at about 100Hz and a low-pass filter set to about 8kHz to make sure that it blends well in the track.
  • For all other instruments - Use a reverb with a "Plate" setting with about 1.8 seconds of decay and a predelay of 20 milliseconds. 
  • For vocals - Dial in a delay of about 220 milliseconds with a couple of repeats.
It's amazing how well these settings work without any tweaking, but if you can't help yourself, you can time the delay and predelays to the song, but keep the parameter close to the settings above. For instance, if the only delay in the 220 region is a 232 ms quarter-note-triplet, that's the one to use. The decay is set so that the decay of a snare drum hit just about fades out by the time the next one comes around.

Remember, these settings are to be used as a quick way to get your mix sounding really good during tracking. For mixing, they may be a starting point, but you'll probably want to get a lot more sophisticated.

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