Get Creative with Your Signal Chain! ⛓

Oct 07, 2019

Let's talk a little about the order of plug-ins and effects that we use.

*Full Transcription Below*

A question that I got recently was, what order should I put my EQ and compression in? And that's one of the early questions that you get when you start working on your own mixes in your own production. And generally the response is that you don't want to put a compressor after an EQ because a compressor by its nature is going to flatten out the audio for anything that you put in it to varying degrees.

So if you've cut out a little notch, say like a six DB notch with your EQ, and then you put a compressor under that, then it's going to reduce that EQ notch that you've cut out. And that's kind of undoing all the work that you just did. So generally you'll want your compressor, and then you'll EQ after that. But there are some times where you'll put compressors and EQ's in different orders and places that you wouldn't normally think. So let's talk a little bit about those instances.

So one instance could be putting an EQ after a reverb. This is a little unorthodox but not unheard of. So here's a reverb and a piano that I've got happening right here.

[Music Playing]

All right, so just to make it interesting, let's put a, an EQ after this plate reverb here. Where do you close that out? And let's make it so that our piano sounds full range, but the reverb that's happening after it is notched out a bit. So we're only hearing the high end from it. So something like this. All right, so this is my reverb here - and then after I put in an EQ. Close that.

[Music Playing]

So it sounds really 'skinny' after that. Or we could do the exact opposite and make it just very like a dark reverb. Like it's in some kind of dark sounding wood room or something like that. Let's hear what that sounds like.

[Music Playing]

That sounds kind of cool because then all the bright attack is happening on the main piano and you kind of have like this muffled reverb happening behind it. That's kind of cool. So that's like an instance of how you could EQ out your reverb there.

And then you could also do it, not so much in an effects kind of way, but sometimes you'll want a reverb. Let's go back and make our reverb a little bit longer. And sometimes it can just get, if you want like a big gymnasium sounding reverb, it can get kind of muddy sounding. So maybe there's something in that reverb that you want to notch out.

[Music Playing]

So you might've heard there, I was boosting the EQ to kind of see where the muddiness was happening and I kinda heard it right in there. So then I cut it and that seemed to help a little bit. So that's an instance where you could use an EQ after a reverb.

Let's go over to our delay here. So I'm going to mute the reverb and turn on our delay. And what I've done here is put a compressor after the delay. So let's listen. So here's our delay. I've muted the compressor. So we're just listening to the delay right now.

[Music Playing]

Okay. So we've got our piano hits, and then the delay happening after. And what I'm about to show you can be done a bunch of different ways. But for the sake of this, we are going to use a compressor after the delay. And the goal of this is to say that we want those delays to be a bit louder, a bit more upfront and part of the sound. So what we're going to do is we're going to compress only those delays that are happening, not the main piano, just the delays. And that's what this is going to sound like.

[Music Playing]

So I think that sounds kind of interesting to me. That sounds like something Beck would do. That sounds like a kind of a quirky way to process a delay on a piano.

So those are just a couple of ways to creatively think about how you use your EQ's and compressors before or after a source in the signal chain.

xxx - Josh

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