Confused about What FX Should be On While REC Vocals

Hi, I’m trying to get a good mix in my headphones to record my voice along to an instrumental track.

I see there is the option to add “comfort” reverb to my mix (cue) using the Control Room - HOWEVER, it adds the reverb to the sum of everything I am hearing in my headphones, and clearly I don’t want to add reverb to the instrumental track, only to my voice!

So, I then look to the INSERTS Tab in the Project window and select something like ‘AM Vocal 6 Male Lead’, which has a few inserts, including Reverb, tweaked for voice.

But… I also notice I can turn on a Reverb in the SENDS tab in the Inspector for the track I’m recording to.

So WHICH OF THESE 3 OPTIONS should I be using to simply add color to my voice while I record so that it sounds more like the end result? I certainly don’t like hearing myself dry when I’m rehearsing or recording!

There is no right way, only what works for you…
Just watch out for added latency from some fx if that bothers you?

Well, for one, I wrongly assumed that putting verb at the Control Room Headphones Cue was an option. But since its applied to the entire feed, I don’t see how it can be useful.

Personally, I find that my voice seems to be “buried” and not upfront enough, despite my meters showing a very healthy gain. Enabling a compressor in the INSERTS tab while I record/monitor does help. Just don’t know if this is “normal”. I wish there was a tutorial specifically on recording vocals in Cubase.

The recording itself (i.e. the audiofile you end up with) should be DRY for all vox (and most instruments). (FX are added later in the mixing process. For some instruments, or for some fx, it is the opposite. Guitars are commonly recorded with distortion fx imprinted in the audiofile. When the fx itself makes you play the instrument in a slightly different way, the fx should be recorded. For vox it should be DRY recorded, but with a WET cue).

You obtain that DRY audio file and wet cue by setting up two FX tracks, one for reverb and one for delay and use the send function on the audio track on which you are doing the recording.

You will end up with a dry audio signal but you will hear the reverb and the delay in the phones when recording and on playback. The amount of the FX are set by the send slider. As fx, reverb should be set to full wet in the fx track. Delay is a science of its own but “subtle” is recommended.

You would normally use the same reverb on all tracks, however kick might need a shorter reverb time than the rest of the tracks.Use the same reverb source but set up another track with a shortened reverb time for the kick.

The same reverb source makes it “being recorded in the same room”. You can of course deviate for special effects.

I don’t use the control room so I am not not sure how it would work with that (probably the same) but, here is how I do it when the need arises. For me, I usually don’t need to do this for vox recording (usually instrument recording). But you can do it any time it helps the “talent” to perform better.

You can record your vox (or any audio track) dry and still add effects to it so that you can hear the vox with the effect while recording but still have a dry recorded audio track that you can use for whatever you need.

Here is the procedure:
1 - Add an FX Channel to your project. Output is set to the main stereo out.
2 - Change the output routing of your audio vox track to the FX Channel
3 - Add the FX (in your case reverb) to the FX Channel.

Now when you sing you will hear your voice with the FX but you still have a dry audio track recorded.

Good luck.

Regards :sunglasses:

See, told you… there is no right way, ask ten people get ten different answers.

As I said, just be aware of the through latency of some compressors and reverbs etc.

It is actually much of the same and not that many different answers. Guess reading the posts thoroughly would save some time for some of us.

I guess I’ll have to go with Prock’s answer… and use the SENDS part of the Strip. Although I wonder if I was using the FX in the INSERTS portion if those would be recorded along with the signal (as it would in the analog world). I’ll test it out to see.

Using the inserts on the output channel will not get recorded, you would have to put an fx on the input channel for that.
Anyway, I can see many ways for the inexperienced to struggle, the best lessons are always learnt by making your own mistakes.

I see a lot of people struggling to get a good vocal mix for recording, of course one of the big mistakes is using way too much fx.
Another is having a very hot instrument mix and trying in vain to get the vocal level up to compete.
when in reality the whole process is quite a simple one for most.

You CAN put an effect on an input bus, then it gets recorded. But normally they go on a channel, group or output bus. So, whether you choose Insert or Send the effect won’t get recorded.
Send lets you add the same reverb to multiple tracks (though different tracks can get more or less of it). Insert allows you to set up a completely different reverb for each track.

This is what I think of as the ‘normal’ way to do what he asks…

However as some had said there is latency issues which may be all good for some people, one way to use a different approach which is focused on the latency and time of your singing (ie performing to a click). Anyway you can route a extra hardware (or DSP) verb for you to use.

Additionally you can use this method to capture a stereo channel instead of recording a mono. This lets you record dry and wet respectively, now you can also easily chop the audio and have total control of dry/wet balance combinations later. I like this method as it focuses on your overall goal of improving your performance of recording ie getting the perfect take. When you do get great takes you’ll especially enjoy the dry/wet combination.


So am I to understand that since the vox track will capture the unprocessed signal regardless of whether the reverb is added to the INSERTS or the SENDS in the inspector, then it doesn’t really matter which I use? Again, I’m not recording a band here…just my voice to sing along to pre-mixed instrumental track which has already been mastered.

Yup, that is correct…

although you should learn the difference between through processing and parallel processing (in regards to fx)

when using an fx channel, generally the fx is set to 100% wet and you use the send level to blend the fx
when using a reverb (or suchlike) as an insert on the vocal channel then you set the mix (rev/dry) using the fx’s built in setting.

Doesn’t your audio interface have the option to add comfort reverb to the headphones without it being recorded? Gave the product page a quick look, and it seems your unit has hardware reverb built in!


Yes, the Saffire Pro 24 DSP has an in built reverb which you can monitor during recording. It’s pretty acceptable as a ‘comfort reverb’ for vocals etc. You can set this up in the Focusrite MixControl software. There’s basic control of the reverb and you can set the desired send level for your inputs. The recorded signal will be dry so you can add your preferred reverb afterwards. Details are on page 21 of the Focusrite manual.

Hope that helps!

Ya, just find the plethora of reverbs available within Cubase to offer more options, plus I can set everything within Cubase, and I don’t have any latency issues.

I’m recording an ‘off the floor’ recording, just two of us, 5 inputs at a time, but having trouble keeping the level for the foot stomp high enough in the monitor mix to hear it. We’ve got some help from the cue mixes, but since the stomp is pretty dynamic, I’m wondering about putting some compression to even it out and bring it up in the mix.
My question is about not wanting to record the compression effect. When you say putting fx on the ‘input channel’ are you talking about the hardware mixer? I’m using an UR44, which has specific settings for either monitor only, or to track. That seems simple enough. But if I use an insert, my understanding is that the actual sound file is still going to be dry and we can still change it during mixing… true?
Thanks for any help.

try it and find out :slight_smile: