With an unimaginable quantity and scope of plugins/hardware available it is all too easy to be overwhelmed and/or fooled into thinking your mixes can never sound professional without a serious investment in this gear.

There are in fact 3 tools that you need to get great mixes and all of them come free with your DAW.
As with any tools, knowing how to use them is key.
In this post we will look at the 3 categories of effects and the basics of what they are used for:

  • Filter     -  Related to the Timbre (Tone) of the Signal. 
  • Dynamic - Related to the Amplitude (Volume) Volume of the Signal.
  • Delay     - Related to the Propagation (Space) of the Signal.


Careful and intentional use of these 3 elements is key to getting professional sounding mixes.

Second to capturing great recordings at their source, these tools are at the heart and soul of mixing and they all come free with your DAW.

In this article we will outline the 3 main effect categories and give a brief introduction to how they are used.

Filter Effects
  • EQ
  • High Pass Filter
  • Low Pass Filter
  • Wah

Filter effects have the ability to independently alter specific frequencies of an audio signal.

This is most effectively used through EQ and High/Low Pass Filters to remove unwanted frequencies from a track.

Dynamic Effects
  • Compressors
  • Limiters
  • Expanders
  • Noise Gates

Dynamic effects impact the amplitude of the audio signal and are widely used in audio production.

Dynamic effects can greatly enhance your mix but only when used musically and intentionally.
Understanding how they work and how they affect they have on the sound is crucial.

Delay (Time Based) Effects
  • Reverb
  • Delay
  • Echo

Delay effects alter the timing of a signal and are often used re-create the sound of an acoustic space in post production.

 They can be used to 'glue' different instruments together by using a common reverb across multiple instruments thus giving the effect they that were recorded in the same acoustic space.


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