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EQ Effects Returns, Not Just Tracks

Using EQ to shape an audio signal is one of the primary tools in the mixing toolbox. But don’t forget, you can EQ effects returns as well as audio tracks. Some effects come with tone-shaping filters or even a more full-featured EQ section, but even if they don’t, that’s no reason not to EQ the effects return. In your DAW, create an Aux track with the effect in question, and then instantiate an EQ after the plug-in. This way, when you send out to the effect from your audio tracks, the audio will be processed by the effect, and then that sound will go through the EQ before it is mixed together with the audio track. This allows you to, for example, scoop the mids out of a reverb to help it sit better in a box, remove excessive lows from a processed signal, or tame overly bright highs in a saturation plug-in.

Bonus: experiment with placing the EQ before your effects plug-in versus after — depending on the effect, this can give you totally different results.

You can do this kind of sound shaping with any effect , even it if has its own built-in filter or EQ section. Use this tip to shape your effects to blend in exactly the way you’d like them to with your full mix.

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