FX: Is less always more?


Ok I’m home now. As an example, and this is just what i always do…whenever i have say reverb or delay on something like a clean guitar or a lead or even synths, I’ll take out most of the junk below 300hz in the reverb and delay. It just so happens i use plugins that specifically facilitate that but even f the one you’'re using doesn’t have those options you can always use a send (well, in a DAW) and then blend the fx in how you like on a new track, eq them there or compress them, whatever you want without damaging the original sound. i tend to do this with drums, all my reverbs go to sends, I take out most of the stuff below around 300hz and above 3khz because the meat of that effect is somewhere between those and the rest is basically junk that clouds up a mix. Same with delays, you can find a nice sweet spot to hipass and lopass the junk frequencies and it really does clear things up and most of the time will actually make the delay sound better too.

This info might not be new to any of you guys itt in particular, I know you guys mostly know this stuff. Plus yeah it’s harder to do on a hardware unit without any send/return connectors, which I’m not sure if that unit does.

EDIT: 40 fucking typos later


Thank you. Yea. I the FX on the TR8S are surprisingly featured…all in all I just need to be more thoughtful. And for some reason in my daw I got into the habbit of putting fx as inserts instead of sends even tho i know better (on my phone)


there are definite cases for both sends and inserts, I use inserts a ton and only use my aux sends for “spaces” sort of reverbs and delays when i want tracks to feel like they’re living in the same acoustic space.

When i am mixing more “band oriented” things my auxes get more use than when I am mixing electronic music.


Not that am any kind of expert, but I think my mixing skills have gotten to a point where I know just enough to get myself in trouble. Need to get back to basics and keep it simple.

I love a good reverb on an insert w fx after it tho. Im loving all the talk tho. Thanks for you knowledge yall.


i think it always depends on the arrangement and style of the track. All rules can be broken or changed once you have some good fundamentals on mixing . But for a I find keeping some elements un affected and then going balls to the alls with others leaves room for certain elements to really shine in a mix. Usually it’s about deciding when and where you want something to be the focal point . But above all the biggest part of the mix comes with arrangement . I can get pretty over zealous with fx, but as long as there is room for them in the arrangement everything seems to work out


I have been fortunate to play with people that get this. Where we often do just simple stereo practice mixes and review them and decide sometimes parts need to change. One thing, what I sometimes feel like people almost forget is an effect, is how much overdrive or distortion there is on things. That cqn occupy so much of a wide spectrum you really need to thing ahead about it. Similar with certain synth wave forms, and multiple oscs in different octaves. These things sound so great on their on, but dont leave a lot of space.


I like that first part about doing the basic mix–so you mean doing a mix with just gain staging and panning and trying to get it to sound good with just those tools?

And yea, sound design and arrangement are certainly as much of mixing as getting fancy with VSTs or whatever. I think, lately anyway, unchecked distortion and saturation have been a problem for me.


No sorry, to be clear, I mean just recording live with stereo mics set up, we’ll just record our whole practice before ever multitrack recording. This would be anywhere from where we are still essentially writing the song to getting our parts down.

Old habit from straight up drums, bass, guitars rock band, but …Even where I am doing more electronic drums and basses with a sequencer now, in my duo we still also play guitars and Ill play the lead synth parts live for those good nuances and imperfections.

In either case, sometimes having those really rudimentary recordings is good for noticing where the arrangement could be better. Just this week for e.g. a new song and band mate listening back and suggesting I switch to higher chord inversions on one part, “low mids are still crowded.” Really a pretty obvious observation, but surprising how easily you can not notice something like that when youre focused on the immediate task at hand…remember the lyrics, which knob here is the filter res, which foot pedal turns on my h9 again ha

I’d note our practice space, even our basic mixer is an Xair and we could multitrack direct as easy as you please. Im intentionally recording in a worse way just to simulate live better.


Gotcha. I am like a synths and drum machines guy only. That is still interesting tho. I do think about the mix w my arrangement a lot and try to get things sounding good during arrangement and w basic gain staging. A bit different but I see where that would be useful.

I don’t start mixing until my song is arranged more or less…keeping frequency, time and volume in mind while arranging.


Less is more
But sometimes more is also more
Except when more is less
Therefore add more of less
Because less is not less



Agree, stacking effects + setting them 100% wet can often end up problematic, BUT I’d rather go with a rule: less CAN be more, but it’s your ears and the way things sound that should be the judge.


More is more



Reading through, Interesting thread,

I’ve got really lazy over the years and as my machines have become more powerful the less I’ve been using sends, since jumping ship to Ableton about a year ago I can’t remember using a send, always inserts.

and I’m also guilty of always being focused on clearing the mud on the bottom end and not giving the top end much thought,

and also reverb & delay I hardly ever EQ which is something I’ll take more notice of in future.

I visited my parents yesterday and had a look around the loft where I found lots of CDs/Disks of tracks I made between 2001/2003 (my sonicfoundry Acid Pro days) that I never used a single instance of EQ/compression or any plugin effects come to think of it, it was fun listening back.

When I think back the guy who introduced me to making music and Acid Pro has me duplicating every track and hard panning one left and one right, I did this on every track on every project for about 2 years thinking it was the normal thing to do.


Ya, the ability to have a hundred fx running without my desktop sweating is potentially dangerous for carving elaborate graffiti into each tree and having a forest thats hard to grasp.

My group is using an iPad now for midi pattern song sequencer, drum, bass and some synths. Also using a hardware synth and we play guitars and sing too. We went with the iPad over a laptop for simplicity. It simply doesnt have the same number of options and we felt like, ‘we have four other instruments going, iPad only needs to do so much, laptop is overkill.’

So this has panned out so far. But of course I go down the rabbit hole even there of scrutinizing the quality of the synth sounds, wanting the best analog modelled ones, which use more cpu. So for the first time in years, Im having to watch the cpu meter.

I think it is actually quite good exercise for my composing though. Im forced to limit the number of elements in the arrangement and focus on each bringing something worthy.


Oh man… How do your bandmates clearly understand your descriptions? When I talk about stuff like the soapy sudsy synths, the glass balls, the white and golden high hats, and blue-ish indigo basslines, people just give me a look like I’m on something… But I thought the descriptions were totally understandable and normal when I first started producing, only to realize that it’s not that normal. LOL


With less effects, the mix can often feel a lot more forward and crispy, so maybe it could be useful to try to mix in a way that keeps some of this forward, present feeling.

However, I hate rules in producing or other creative arts.

I think some of my most inventive productions are from before I joined forums and actually learned anything about production and mixing techniques, because there were no rules. However, my mixes have started sounding better after knowing what the rules were and practice at applying them.

Yet, I think creativity blooms when we bend these rules.

So, as some people in the above thread have alluded to, this concept “less is more” could be dependent on genre.

In the end, if more effects with a wetter mix make your ears and soul happy, then do it. If a dryer mix on that channel makes your ears and soul happy, then do that. As our ears as our guides, we ought to follow the path that invokes joy or other emotions that we feel like depicting. This might not always result in compositions that the mainstream of people will love. But who said that everyone has to a particular song for it to be effective? We all have different tastes.

So, that’s the main point right? That a person’s own music pleases him or herself?


I guess it is literal for me, metaphoric for them. I don’t try so much to reference realistic things but I only see abstract shapes anyway, more like “all the sharper upper lines of the fuzz are blocking some of the consonants, gonna squish just them” when I suppose I could say, ‘ let’s attenuate the high transients on the fuzz part, rather than simply turning down that track.’

The first is the natural thought in my head the later takes me translating to English


Follow your ears. Trust your ears. Improve your ears.


Do or do not, there is no try – BenYoWaaDa