Production Tips: What's The Correct Order For Effect Processing Plug-Ins?

It's a question that never goes away, 'what's the correct order for effect processors in a channel strip?' While it often depends, there are reasons for suggesting an order. This video explains all.  

In this 8 minute video tutorial, Processing Order, the 10 Common Signal Flow Mistakes course, Joe Albano doesn’t skirt around the big questions. While acknowledging that the “no hard and fast rules” concept is true, he does suggest some traditional approaches for placing your effects plugins in an order that can make a lot of sense when it comes to processing the audio signal better when mixing.

You might not think of it, but if you’re using a pitch processor then placing this first in the chain means it’ll likely perform better because it’s working with the cleanest, driest version of the signal possible: real-time pitch processors like Auto Tune, ReVoice Pro, etc.

Joe explains traditional ordering of mixing plug-ins consisting of dynamic plug-ins like a noise gate… and of course, there’s the most contentious question of all: 

“Which comes first, EQ or compression?”

Jump to 3:04 in the video below to find out our answer (and I most definitely agree with Joe Albano on this one)…

Watch the course 10 Common Signal Flow Mistakes here in The AskAudio Academy

Course Overview

Signal flow is the journey that your sound takes from microphone (or instrument) to the final mix. Along the way, all kinds of awful things can happen that’ll degrade and sometimes destroy the quality of the audio. In this course, by our Audio Mistakes expert, Joe Albano, you learn how NOT to make those signal flow missteps that create distortion or overloads and wreak havoc on an otherwise great-sounding production. 

For instance, do you know the best way to order your processors in a channel strip? Or how to best deploy audio sends and returns? What about gain-staging, like I/O and FX chain gain, where all kinds of things can go awry? Then there’s those dreaded digital overloads. These, and other things, are real signal flow issues that are explained and explored in this course.

So join Joe Albano now and learn what NOT to do when making those critical signal flow decisions. We know that, in less than an hour of study, you will master all kinds of audio optimization techniques that are sure to give clarity to all your productions.


Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More


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