Mixing - Drums - Effects

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Sound effects should be used very conservatively at this point in the mix as heavy time-based processing will only be largely enhanced during buss processing and mastering. Electronic music typically uses the kick drum as the primary drum within the drum kit and is kept relatively dry, meaning no effect beside EQ and compression will be used on the kick. This is because of the nature of time based effects and skewing the phase of a stereo system causing a loss in information.


Effects should be used on higher frequency information as the nature of those frequencies are considered directional, creating a defined stereo image. If a reverb is placed after a kick drum, the low frequency reverberation has potential to blend into the original mix and cause problems such as partial or complete phase cancellation. This further reiterates the theory behind keeping low frequencies free of stereo information and movement, AKA mono.

Effects such as reverb, delay, chorus, flanger and phaser, all produce stereo information meaning independently using the left and right channels of a track to produce their sound with many or few similarities.

The delay device helps with rhythm and groove by applying a blend of a repeating yet fading copy of the signal provided to the effect.

Reverb will create depth and size depending on how extreme the dry/wet parameter.

The chorus, flanger and phaser all produce similar effects as they all operate under the same principle. Phase cancellation. These effects create sporadic stereo movement dictated by parameters contained within the devices themselves.

Effects such as the ones listed above should be primarily used on return tracks. This ensures the original, dry signal, is left untouched and undivided. This method will apply a copy of the original signal determined by the return fader position. Using a time-based effect as an insert will simply diminish the dry signal the more intense the effect is applied.

The send and return system offers a beneficial two-stage intensity control via the send control and the fader of the return track. In many ways, send and returns are the most effective way of applying effects to any sound.