Can we change the default channel strip order?

Hi guys, have you noticed that by default, Cubase places EQ after the compressor on the channel strip? This is not usually recommended when mixing and I would like to change it so that EQ always comes before compression.

But I can’t seem to find a way to save the default order of these settings so that I don’t need to re-order the items each time I add a new track.

Is there a way to do this?


You can save the re-ordered audio track as “track preset” and use that every time you add a new audio track.

Hey, thanks so much for your reply. I’m afraid this would be quite a pain with instrument tracks (due to the various synths I use). Though, it appears to be the only option as far as I can tell :frowning:

I’m a little bummed that Steinberg chose the default ordering they did, it’s not typical of large format consoles or even best practices :slight_smile:

Hi fgimian,

Actually the default way it is set up is correct!

Obviously rules are there to be broken but it’s best to always have a compressor first in the chain and then EQ and then limiting!

If you put EQ in front of a compressor it will change how the compressor responds to the signal which in mastering is not what you want! I know you mentioned mixing but can’t see there being any difference!

Hope you can see my point?

Kind regards

James Colah

Hey James, thanks a lot for your reply first and foremost. I definitely understand where you’re coming from, particularly for mastering.

Cubase at least puts the low and high cut filters before dynamics, which is a good start.

However, for mixing purposes, I feel it actually makes more sense to EQ first and I’ll try to explain my reasoning for this. Suppose you have a drum loop which has way too much bass that you intend to lower using a low shelf. So let’s say we use a shelf at 120 Hz at -12 db.

If you were to run the compressor pre-EQ, then the compressor would be reacting to a signal with 12 db more gain in the low end, and therefore would trigger at different times. Meanwhile if the compressor was placed post-EQ, it would act on the modified signal which has been balanced and therefore trigger on the now balanced frequency response of the signal.

However, your post did make me do some thinking and research and it does appear the jury is out on this one, pros and cons to both approaches. Perhaps I’ll try post-EQ on my next mix and see what happens, I still think the low and high cut should happen first as Cubase does it, at least then low end rumble and such can be removed before dynamics.

From The Recording Revolution page:

The SSL channel strips place the dynamics BEFORE the EQ by default. You can hit a button called “Dyn to CH Out” which places the compression AFTER the EQ.

Here are some resources I’m currently reading on the subject:

You never stop learning in this life and I’m very grateful for your comment as it’s opened up my eyes to many things I’ve never considered before which could be hurting my mix :slight_smile:

The channel strip isn’t really cut out for mastering.

I imagine Steinberg have it set this way by default because they expect you to hipass the signal, compress, then EQ.

Yeah, that makes sense. I did some comparisons last night of pre and post EQ with dynamics and actually found that EQ boosts sound better after compression. I’m definitely going to try this on a mix this weekend and see how I go :slight_smile:

Interestingly, the Duende channel defaults to EQ first but I think that’s because the low and high cut filters are part of the EQ itself.

Thanks so much everyone!!! :slight_smile:


You can change the order, but you must do it from the Rack and not the Channel Strip. The channel strip and the inserts can be swapped with a single click. See image.

Favorite settings can be saved as strip or channel presets. Good luck.

As far as which order things are in. From my own experience and from what I’ve read in text books, articles, forum posts and interviews with sound engineers, the only thing that really matters is the “Ray Charles Law” which is, “Yeah, but how does it sound, baby?”

That said, I think that, generally speaking, for mixing, it’s mostly EQ before Compression. Compression and EQ on the input for recording is another matter. However, additional use of compression, post-EQ, can also yield good results. Cubase defaults to EQ before Compression on the channel strip and then to the inserts (unless swapped). EQing first tends to focus the frequency spectrum, so the compression, post-EQ, is then targeting and shaping the frequency and dynamic ranges you want to manipulate in some way. Then, it may be that additional EQ of some kind is needed, or an additional stage (or stages) of compression. Sometimes using two (or more) compressors with moderate settings works better than attempting to make one level of compression do it all, at other times, less is needed. And then, after all is said and done, look over and check with Ray about how it sounds. If it sounds good, then good, if it sounds horrible or not right in some way, then try to correct it or take a five minute break from the material and come back with fresh ears. If you go in for a surgical correction, make sure to check that your changes work in context of the full mix.

Remember, if you want the EQ before the compression, you have to drag it to that position on the track for that channel Rack – try doing that with a hardware mixing desk that doesn’t have a magic button for it! :slight_smile: