Transform Your Rough Recordings Into Released Records, Even If You Only Have a Home Studio

Your Plug-in Order Matters. Here’s Why.

I was mixing a kick drum the other day and experimented with a fancy sub-bass plug-in to add some extra low-end oomph.

I had added it earlier in the session but forgot about it, so it sat bypassed on the track until later in the mixing session.

It added some extra low-end thickness when I activated it, but something felt off. It was like it was straining to add the extra oomph it wanted. Although the kick drum had more bass, it sounded smaller.

That’s when I realized…

There was a compressor after it in the chain!

So every time the kick drum hit with that low-end oomph, the compressor quickly pushed it down. Not only negating the entire effect but actually making it worse.

Once I swapped the order of the plug-ins and moved the compressor before the “Low-end Oomph” in the chain, the kick drum transformed into the full and powerful kick sound I was looking for.

What explains this? Simple.

A compressor reduces the dynamic range of a signal. One way it does that is by lowering the volume of the peaks. If you increase the bass frequencies of a waveform, you’re essentially increasing the volume of a particular frequency range. Therefore, the compressor will work harder on the signal because it is louder than before, even if the additional loudness is only in a narrow frequency range.

So next time you add plug-ins to your tracks, be careful about the “order of operations.” Plug-in order matters because the plug-ins later down the chain react to whatever the earlier plug-ins have done to the signal.

If you’ve experimented with the order of your guitar pedals, you may already know this too well. A Tubescreamer into a Metalzone or a Big Muff will sound drastically different than a Metalzone you feed into a Tubescreamer.

The order matters.

Let Me Give You the Right Plug-in Order

Luckily for you, there’s no need to worry about whether you’re adding plug-ins in the right order.

The templates inside the Easy Mix Approach come with the most optimal plug-in order, so you don’t have to worry about this as much. The Easy Mix Approach masterclass also walks you through the entire process and teaches you exactly what plug-in settings you should start with when you get to the mixing phase.

Grab the entire process and your mix template inside the Easy Mix Approach right here.

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About me

About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

We help musicians transform their recordings into radio-ready and release-worthy records they’re proud to release.

We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use immediately to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

Björgvin’s step-by-step mixing process has helped thousands of musicians confidently mix their music from their home studios. If you’d like to join them, check out the best-selling book Step By Step Mixing: How To Create Great Mixes Using Only 5 Plug-ins right here.