Inserts v Send – What are they for?

By September 11, 2014Mixing, Tutorials

First up let me say that there are NO rules to how you should do things in the studio, but this is a general explanation to help you on your production journey!

 

The way we process audio with ‘Insert‘ and ‘Send‘ effects is a legacy from our old analogue desk days – in your racks are your ‘effects’ (reverb and delay) and your ‘inserts’ (dynamics, EQ, gate etc).  

 

Inserts Where you process the signal at source, you ‘insert’ the EFX onto the original audio via it’s channel

 

Your audio runs straight into the ‘inserted’ effect and the processed signal goes straight to you DAW’s stereo output. Example below

An example of an 'Insert' effect

An example of an ‘Insert’ effect

 

Send You send a COPY signal to an aux channel with the EFX, while the original signal is unchanged

 

When you use ‘send’ effects, your audio goes in two directions

  • to your DAW’s stereo output
  • to an aux channel

You end up with a processed signal being mixed with the dry signal to gain the sound your looking for. Example below

REMEMBER TO SET THE REVERBS DRY/WET CONTROL TO 100%

An example of a 'Send' effect

An example of a ‘Send’ effect

Inserts are normally used for things like compressors, EQ’s or noise gates, when you want to process the whole signal.

A send effect allows us to send multiple signals to the same effect, i.e we can send our tracks in the arrangement to the same reverb. You’ll find that using the same reverb on multiple audio parts will allow things to sit better in the mix. It will also save you CPU, as you’ll only need 2 or 3 reverbs instead of multiple instances on each track.