Regarding mixing and mastering send effects will always play an important role in making a mix work. As I have mentioned in my other article about 5 mixing tips that usually work there are a few elements I have thrown in this list that can be used with send effects. Since we rely on volume, panning, eq, compression, and depth it is the latter which can the quite an essential part of using send effects. While some may see these type of busses as magic (since it is a matter of adding an effect and twist a knob) there is some bigger theory what defines a send effect and how to make use of it. In this article, I want to point out a few different ideas.
What is a send effect
I might have touched this subject many times before, but I will just try to write it down one more time (because of context matters). Send effect is a parallel bus with an effect on top of this. The level of the send effect bus will determine the loudness of the parallel effect. Sometimes it is even referred as a send effect bus. Just because it sits in its separate bus channel. Most of the effects that sit in the send effect will usually be set to wet (while most plugins use a setting called dry/wet). The dry/wet balance is most commonly used in an insert effect (which is a different type of effect, since an insert effect is a part of an instrument and not a part of several mix channels combined together).
How to make use of a send effect
From reason 1 till Reason 5, send effects used to be part of the Mixer 14:2 chain. It was set up in an auxiliary channel. Till this day this technique can still be applied (yet it is a bit old school). Since Reason 6 we can use send effects as part of the master section. You will have 8 send effects in total.
A send effect is defined by the FX-send and the FX-return. Normally you don't have to think about these things because once you start adding effects under the master section (or add them through the SSL mixer) you automatically route the send effect in the proper chain from FX-send to FX-return. It is as simple as it can be. The only reason why these connections might become useful is when trying to apply some creative sends in the process (eg: using a combinator as a send effect).
Once adding a send effect to the master suite it will also display on the SSL mixer when looking at an instrument channel. For instance, if I would add an RV7000 reverb it will display the same reverb under the send 1 channel of the SSL mixer.
And in the SSL mixer it would look like the following:
As you can see in the FX return section there is a channel called RV7000. This will now contain the Send effect for the RV7000. To enable a send effect you can simply switch on the send effect on the channel that needs that specific send effect. The level will then determine the amount of effect being applied to that channel.
Using combinators as a send effect
When I think send effects, I personally prefer to use combinators instead. This is from my understanding the easiest way to get things done right in the send effect busses. Since inside a combinator, anything goes. Compressors, EQ, Effects and all that stuff. Creating a combinator from an existing send effect is quite easy. It requires the following basic steps:
- Create a send effect like you would normally do (drag/drop under the master section for instance)
- Right-click on that effect and select combine.
And you send effect is now inside a combinator patch.
When selecting combine from the context menu, the RV7000, in this case, will be inside a combinator. Meaning we can create a pretty complicated reverb effect with Pre-EQ, Aft-EQ, compression inside this effect unit. Later on, we can save that as a patch and reuse the same effect in multiple templates if we like
This technique is something I apply a lot in my mixes because I can create anything from custom reverb to creative delays as send effects (to create space). Anything basically goes. And while mixing the different sends the main focus will still be the SSL mixer. Since it is a matter of twisting levels on the SSL mixer channel.
A video about reverb
Just as an additional bonus, I am going to add an additional video I posted on 5 March 2018. It contains different ideas which can be helpful to make a reverb work in a send effect chain. There are some ideas which are using a reverb as an insert effect. But you can still apply most of these tricks inside the SSL mixer when needed.
Written by hydlide