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Microphone Month 4

The Proper Order in Studio Processing

You’ve got all the gear for your studio, and now it’s time to make all your connections. But wait! In what order should you put the various dynamics processors, EQ, and effects? Some all-in-one hardware DAWs come with everything pre-configured, but for those who are using plug-ins and outboard gear, what is the generally accepted way to hook up your various processors?

There are as many ways to do it as there are processors and cables! To get started, try this: Put the compression (or other dynamics) first, followed by any effects you may wish to use and send that signal to the equalizer for final tone-shaping.

Now start experimenting! Move things around, try the EQ first, then the compressor. Put the effects before or after the EQ or compressor. There is no right or wrong, and in fact, different routings may work better for different songs. Don’t worry, you won’t blow anything up by changing the order of the processors. (Just watch your gain staging to avoid distortion, and make sure to turn down the volume before you plug/unplug gear!)

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