Send vs. Insert

Hi folks,

i had a look thru the threads to see if this question has been posted before but i could not see it anywhere.

i would think there are a few different opinions on this issue and so i hope someone is able to give me a black and white answer here (rather than open a can of worms :confused: ).

For each track (on the main recording page) you have (in the left hand column) INSERTS and SENDS (as well as other drop downs which are not relavent to my question). Now, if create a track(s) for each one (track) i can apply (up to 8) FX such as Chorus, Limiter, Tone Booster or whatever. i myself, and most friends i have spoken to use the SEND routing to apply these FX to each individual track.

So for instance, on the Piano track, in the SEND column i might have Roomworks Reverb and Slow Phazer (or whatever). Then for the next track (being a Bass), again in the SEND column i could have Compression in the SEND. And so on for each individual track…

Just to reiterate, i have always used SEND to apply FX to each individual track (channel).

Now, what has made me concerned and prompted me to raise my question is that if (when creating a new track) i select CHOOSE TRACK FROM TRACK PRESET (which provides the user with template EQ, Send, Insert, Amp Sim etc) it places all the FX in the INSERT column !! ?? As i say, i have always placed these FX in the SEND column.

Hope someone can clear this up for me.



Certain FX are usually used as inserts, others on a send bus

It of course depends, but as an example a compressor is traditionally used on an Insert as you usually want the whole signal affected where as a reverb may be more suited on a send as you may want to send more than one channel to that reverb.

Sorry if you already know this, but the difference between insert and send:
An insert picks up all of the signal of the track, applies the fx to it and then sends it back to the output of the same track.
A send copies the signal of the track sends the copy to the send destination where fx are applied.

The important difference is that with an insert you apply the effect to the entire signal, no dry signal remains. (unless the plugin has a mix-knob, but let’s not go there.) With a send, part of the signal gets fx applied to it, but the original signal remains untouched and is also sent to your master output. That means that when using a send, you combine a dry and a wet signal, whereas with an insert it’s all wet. The dry signal comes from the original track, the wet signal from the track you send to. Using inserts the output of the original track is all wet.
The application depends on the type of fx, like Split said. Although there’s no hard rules and some techniques go against the ‘norm’.

In short:
Compression: insert. (you want to get rid of peaks, then don’t leave a dry signal where those peaks remain.)
Reverb: send. (you want a dry signal with a little bit of wet signal. Make sure the mixknob on your reverb plugin is at 100% if it’s on a send.)
EQ: insert. (you want to get rid of a certain offending frequency band, do this on the entire signal, don’t leave a dry signal where the offending frequencies remain present.)
Most fx like chorus, phasers, amp sims etc also usually go on inserts, but if you want them very subtle you can also put them on a send, to combine the fx signal with a dry signal.


Thanks Strophoid,

Thats very helpful as i am still trying to learn all this stuff. It seems that one person tells you one thing and another tells you something else !! :confused: But thats fine because i think i am starting to understand the basics of it now.

Regarding the EQ, in Cubase this has its own dedicated slot (which i am assuming is in the INSERT catagory) in the left hand dropdown column.

i will further experiment with the ADD TRACK FROM TRACK PRESET because as far as i can remember, apart from EQ, it placed everything in the INSERTS (regardless of what it was). And so none of the FX where placed in the SENDS. But i only tried a very small handful of these presets and so others may quite well be different.

Up to now (apart from EQ) i have just placed EVERYTHING in SEND !! Do you think this is wrong (ie. going to cause me issues at a future stage) ?? For instance, lets say i continued to assign all FX as a SEND then am i going to run into problems ?? Or should i definately start applying the suggestions you make to my FX configurations ?? i know you say that there is no hard and fast rules, but would you say that what you suggest is more or less generally accepted ??



Because track presets apply to the track you are adding. Send FX apply to a different track - but even there, FX (like reverb) used as sends are inserts.

When you place an FX (eg. Reverb) on a SEND bus, is this partly with the intention of this same FX (eg. Reverb) being ‘shared’ by other instrument tracks ?? In other words, you could have one single Reverb preset being shared by (say) 4 x different instrument tracks ?? Is this ‘sharing’ aspect part of the reason why someone might choose to route a particular FX as a SEND ??

And therefore is it not possible for INSERTS to be ‘shared’ in the same way ??



The main reason is, that - as written already you mix the send FX signal with the original signal - more send level, more reverb / in relation to the dry signal, less send - less reverb / more dry signal
Inserts process the whole signal and output only the processed signal, without any unprocessed signal.
For erxample with an amp simulator, you usually only want the amped signal -> Insert FX.
Now if you wanted the dry clean guitar signal also, you could use it as a send FX, and dial in the ratio between dry and amped signal, by raising or lowering the send level.
So in the first line it´s not the kind of FX that determines how it is used, but the result you want to achieve.

You could “share” inserts by simply routing all tracks that share the insert to a group, and insert there…

Yes, i see you would use an INSERT for the Amp Sim.

But if i was to use a SEND, then you are saying that i have the facility of having a ‘Dry/Wet Balance’ by altering the SEND LEVEL ?? And this same ‘Dry/Wet Balance’ facility is available for anything i assign to the SEND bus. Whereas INSERTS only produce a PROCESSED result of the audio.

Generally that´s the inital idea behind it.
Of course there are also plugins that have a dry / wet control built in, where you can also insert the FX , and get a mix of the dry signal and the wet signal, by adjusting it directly in the plugin. But in case of a group, you can no longer balance the dry wet ratio for any track, but only for the complete group.

With reverb, it’s a bit more than just dry/wet. I always view reverb as a space to put instruments in: you want some instruments /vocals in the same space, and the ones belonging in the back get more reverb (higher send level) and the ones in front are more dry (in your face). And don’t forget stereo placement! So not just send level to adjust, but also send pan - for effect you might want to try putting the reverb of a left source more to the right.

The same may apply to chorus, phaser, delay etc.

He is on Artist, so there’s no send panner. But yeah, point is valid :slight_smile:

i have just had a test with the advice given.

If i create an FX Channel for Reverb, and then select this Reverb in the SEND dropdown column of each intrument track, then i can have multiple instrument tracks all sharing this very same Reverb. And also (in the SEND column of each instrument track) i can set the Reverb (or whatever FX is assigned) AMOUNT via the green horizontal slider. And so therefore each instrument track can have a different AMOUNT of Reverb.

When i created the FX Channel i set the Reverb MIX to 100%.

Now, if i click on F3 and open up the Mixing Console, the FX Channel has its own (volume) slider. Is this to be regarded as a MASTER FX AMOUNT control (which in this case would obviously affect the amount of Reverb in any instruments who had Reverb applied to them) ??

i think i have got that right ?? !! :confused:

Yes, i think i got that now thank you. So if you want the full richness of the FX you place it in INSERT. But if you want to combine the FX with the ‘natural’ sound then you place it in SEND. And as said earlier, certain FX naturally fall into being either a SEND or INSERT catagory due to their particular role/function (such as EQ and Compression needing to be applied to the ENTIRE signal).

Would i also set the Mix AMOUNT to 100% on whatever FX i have chosen to use as a SEND (ie. regardless of what FX type it is) ?? So if its Reverb, Chorus, Distortion (or whatever) it will always be set to 100% on the FX Mix. Or only for Reverb ??

The mixknob on your effects unit has to be at 100%, otherwise the output of the effects channel will contain some dry signal, which you don’t need because you have a dry signal already.

Thats great and i totally get it.

Now to just dig a little deeper here please not all FX have the same basic MIX amount dial (ie. the same as the Reverb one we are refering to in this discussion). The Tone Booster has a GAIN control so does this need to be set to MAX ?? And the Distortion has an OUTPUT which (for most Distortion presets) is set to 0.0. And the Stereo Widening has WIDTH (but i have no idea if this would need to be adjusted). So therefore my question is - is there one parameter (which is equivalent to the Reverb MIX dial) which needs to be set to 100% when the FX is placed in SEND ?? As you can obviously tell, i am a bit confused as to if there needs to be one parameter (equivalent to the Reverb MIX) which needs to be set to 100%/Full/Max when the FX is a SEND ??

On the SEND channels you have a SEND LEVEL (in the LH dropdown). But in the INSERT channels you do not because (as stated) an INSERT produces a processed signal.

The equivqlent of a reverb’s “mix” button is a “mix” button on any other plugin cause only a “mix” button gives out a mix of dry / wet signal (alternatively it’ s called dry / wet -really self-explanatory). Any other button gives out something else. An output gives a level, a width gives a width, and so on. If you don’ t know what they are, you’ ll have t learn it… What exactly it is, is usually explained in the description of the Fx in question. Read those, and especially re-read the answers you have been given, they really cover everything there is to know about the topic

Thats great cheers. This clarification helps.

Synthesizer Compositions performed on a Nord Stage 88 Classic, HALion Sonic and Roland XV5050. Created using Cubase Artist 6 software.

Composer - Paul David Seaman (2013).

i would like like some help with these tracks please and so i wondered if it is at all possible to email a Cubase file as an attachment for the recipient to access ?? :question: i just needed an expert(s) on here to check that i have placed everything (the FX) in the correct slots please. The musical content is quite meaningless and i am not really bothered about the Mix. So it would be a task of looking rather than listening.
Multi Timbral Texture (mp3).mp3 (542 KB)

Ambient Groove (mp3).mp3 (780 KB)

That depends a bit on which plugins you use :slight_smile:. If they’re all stock Cubase plugins and you record the Nord and Roland tracks to audio then I can take a look for you.
I don’t have Halion Sonic though, just Halion Sonic SE which might lack the sounds or settings you use.