Tip of the Week 9: Route Your Effects

So effects are great, from simple EQs to reverbs, compression to extreme flanging. Sometimes adding these effects to each individual track can be messy. For example, if you add a reverb to each track and adjust to taste, you may have five or six different reverbs running, they may all be slightly different and represent different "rooms". This can clog up the sound space and reduce clarity.

So, Have one track dedicated to that effect. For example, you have three vocals and a guitar, instead of adding reverb to them all, send all four tracks to a new track with the reverb on 100% wet and 0% dry. Set the send to post-fader, so that the relative track volumes are present in the send.

Then you just need to control the reverb once for all the four tracks, this can sound a lot cleaner. Mix the volume of the reverb send up to the desired level against the four tracks and you should have a nice sound.

For sidechain compression do the same, this way all the tracks dip in exactly the same way as the kick plays and there will be a very clean, well defined bounce. The difference with this one is don't let the original tracks play out, only allow them to play through the send so they are completely compressed when the kick hits.

This trick is good for basses and pads. You could even send the aforementioned reverb send through the sidechain send so the reverb bounces without affecting the clarity of the dry instrument.