Helpful ReplyPractical Uses of Sends

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husker
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2017/11/03 12:03:21 (permalink)

Practical Uses of Sends

I have been going through the Groove 3 videos on Sonar, and last night's "lesson" was on buses and routing.  The videos are good training on where to "point and click,"  but if one has no education/experience with recording (like me) it is fairly superficial knowledge.  
 
I believe I have a good idea on the use of buses (eg. - send groups of instruments to a bus for effects processing), but I'm a bit unsure of the reason for Sends.  As I understand, they can also have effects.  Can someone enlighten me on the practical uses of Sends?  I know that Anderton has touched on them before, but I can't seem to find what I was looking for.  
 
Thank you. 

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#1
AllanH
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 12:21:28 (permalink)
I use buses to represent groups of instruments, e.g. the string section, the brass section etc.
This gives me one place to control section level effects such as reverb, compression, effects and section volume.
 
You could just as well keep all the individual tracks and duplicate the effects; this is however more CPU and labor intensive, and there is little lost is combining into buses.
 
Some effects, such as pan and possibly EQ, may be track specific and remain on the individual tracks. Reverb and compression generally should be on buses (imo).

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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 13:18:59 (permalink)
Routing the Output to a bus (or aux) sends the entire signal on that path.
If you route a Send to a bus (or aux), you can specify the amount of signal.
 
Take a standard drum kit for example:
Most of us direct the Outputs from the Kick, Snare, HiHat, Toms, and Overheads to a Drum Bus for overall control.  We can change the volume as a whole, and add things like EQ and Compression to the entire kit at once.
We will then SEND each instrument (audio track) to another bus, which has Reverb (100% wet) in the FX bin.  We can then send a specific amount of each instrument to that Reverb Bus, so that it creates the ambient sound that we want.  You might not want 100% of the Kick Drum going to the Reverb, but may want 20% instead, while the Snare Drum could be sending 75% of the signal to the Reverb.  We then route that Reverb Bus Output to the Drum Bus, setting the volume sliders as desired to mix the kit with the room.

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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 13:43:27 (permalink)
Side chain. :)

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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 13:43:55 (permalink)
Can I chime in?
The problem I have with busses is that it's the same effect for a group of tracks. It sort of makes sense to me for drums. But still, its the SAME EFFECT spread across the entire kit, right?
Like the original post, I too don't yet understand how to effectively use sends and busses.

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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 13:51:59 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby rogeriodec 2017/11/03 17:39:48
A send is exactly the same as the main destination selector. It just goes by a different name because it's considered an extra, or auxiliary path. You could call both of them "sends" and be correct. The only difference is you are not allowed to delete the first one.
 
The most common use of sends is for reverb. You want multiple instruments to share a common reverb for homogeneity and CPU efficiency, but each track will likely send a different amount of signal to the reverb bus. 
 
Next-most frequent application is parallel compression. You might, for example, send more of a lead vocal's double to the compressor than the primary lead vocal track.
 
Parallel distortion is another common scenario. I'll use send levels to send some kick drum to a distortion plugin, send a higher level to it from snare and toms, and usually none from the overheads.
 
Another frequent use of sends is setting up headphone mixes. You can have any number of headphone busses, allowing for a custom cue mix to every performer. Sends and send levels are how you determine what each person hears in his own headphones.


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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 14:09:37 (permalink)
I use sends and busses all the time, in a creative way. Here is an example of a track where I have nine audio tracks and seven busses, (not counting the master buss):-
 

 
Probably not much use for "normal" music...

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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 17:25:46 (permalink)
As bitflipper pointed out, in some ways the difference between sends and busses are semantics. What sends enable vs busses are:
 
1) The ability to use effect consistently, yet with varying amounts of wetness across different tracks. You could route all tracks to one buss and throw effect on it, but odds are slim you want the exact same amount of effect on every sound. The send allows you to have the consistency of exact same effects setting with varying amounts without having to duplicate instances of same effect.
 
2) In side-chaining, you can do a few cool tricks that would be more awkward if attempted via buss.  For example, let's say i have a Bass, a tuned 808 and a kick drum all fighting for space. Logically, the kick, having the shortest duration makes sense to use as source for sidechain source.One of the pitfalls of using the kick as a source is that any effects on kick may effect how sidechain is triggered .  Using a send instead of simple bus routing, you can send full kick signal, pre-send to a silent buss to use as source and still process kick in channel to taste with no consequences on side-chain trigger.
 
3) One of the biggest timesavers for me is setting up templates for particular genres and productions styles.  For EDM, hip-hop, and other predominantly electronic styles I use the following basic configuration to start:
 
Tracks
bass
Kick
snare
closed hh
open hh
perc
full drumkit (rarely used except when i compose entire drum part in third party program that has own sequencing like Geist)
synth
sytnh
rompler
piano
I add tracks as needed but this usually is a good start
 
Sends
Hall verb 
Plate verb
Ping-pong delay
Echo type delay
Exciter bus (pretty much a small chain that includes saturation and EQ presence bump to help a track cut through mix)
 
Busses
Drum summing bus (default bus for all drum sounds )
Instrument summing bus (default bus for all instruments)
Filtered bus (Drum,instruments and sends  are combined here)
Unfiltered Bus (this is used for any track I want to bypass all effects.  Don't use much, but I create it because the type of process i use this for is awkward to do after the fact.  I am struggling to fix a song now where I needed this and thought of it afterward).
Mixbus (Filtered and unfiltered combined)
 
By having my sends already configured, I save tons of time and i have verbs and delays already in place for any track I add after the fact.
 
 
#8
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 17:28:16 (permalink)
Slugbaby and Bitflipper, clear explanations with real world examples. Thanks! I've been recording for a long time and you both just set things a good bit clearer in my mind.

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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 17:29:45 (permalink)
And Dubdisciple too. Very informative post!

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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 17:30:54 (permalink)
BassRocket
Can I chime in?
The problem I have with busses is that it's the same effect for a group of tracks. It sort of makes sense to me for drums. But still, its the SAME EFFECT spread across the entire kit, right?
Like the original post, I too don't yet understand how to effectively use sends and busses.

Maybe imagine a send like this:
 
You have a tub, kitchen sink, toilet , dishwasher, lawn sprinkler.  They are all using the same water supply in the same way that all sounds using a reverb send are using same source
#11
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 17:40:49 (permalink)
bitflipper
The most common use of sends is for reverb. You want multiple instruments to share a common reverb for homogeneity and CPU efficiency, but each track will likely send a different amount of signal to the reverb bus. 

 
So, in this example, say you have 3 Tracks going to a Send for reverb:
Track 1, Track 2, and Track 3
 
Is it normal to have the three tracks also sending to a bus (like the master bus)?  If so, then only a partial amount of the signal is processed for the reverb, or is it that there are double the audio, one part reverbed and the other not?
 
 

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#12
reginaldStjohn
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 19:28:53 (permalink)
husker
bitflipper
The most common use of sends is for reverb. You want multiple instruments to share a common reverb for homogeneity and CPU efficiency, but each track will likely send a different amount of signal to the reverb bus. 

 
So, in this example, say you have 3 Tracks going to a Send for reverb:
Track 1, Track 2, and Track 3
 
Is it normal to have the three tracks also sending to a bus (like the master bus)?  If so, then only a partial amount of the signal is processed for the reverb, or is it that there are double the audio, one part reverbed and the other not?
 
 


A send in itself is not a track or a thing, its more of a tap point which you get a duplicate of the track's audio, either before or after the fader.  So to do reverb you would need a bus or and auxiliary track with a reverb setup on that bus.  Then you send (or tap into) a desired amount of the track and send it to the Bus. The bus reverb is set to 100% wet so that everything you send will end up being heard as wet. This way the Dry/Wet balance of the track is controlled by how much signal you send to the reverb bus.

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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 19:33:26 (permalink)
husker
bitflipper
The most common use of sends is for reverb. You want multiple instruments to share a common reverb for homogeneity and CPU efficiency, but each track will likely send a different amount of signal to the reverb bus. 

 
So, in this example, say you have 3 Tracks going to a Send for reverb:
Track 1, Track 2, and Track 3
 
Is it normal to have the three tracks also sending to a bus (like the master bus)?  If so, then only a partial amount of the signal is processed for the reverb, or is it that there are double the audio, one part reverbed and the other not?
 
 


Hi. I would use sends for reverbs/delays, and outputs* to buses. (*drums to drum bus, bass to bass bus etc)
You can use sends from/to the buses as well.
All the best.

Ken Nilsen
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#14
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 19:49:37 (permalink)
I think I am beginning to understand, but let me rephrase my question (I think I asked in haste before).
 
I have three tracks:  1, 2, and 3.   In the channel strip, say I have all three routed to a bus (master, drum bus, whatever).  I also have a send on those tracks that route to a Reverb Send.  That Send also have a routing at the bottom of the strip, that does not necessarily have to be the same bus route as the three individual tracks.  Does the "routing" of the bus on the bottom of the Send not matter?
 
Thank you all for your replies and patience.
 
 

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Zargg
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 19:54:47 (permalink)
husker
I think I am beginning to understand, but let me rephrase my question (I think I asked in haste before).
 
I have three tracks:  1, 2, and 3.   In the channel strip, say I have all three routed to a bus (master, drum bus, whatever).  I also have a send on those tracks that route to a Reverb Send.  That Send also have a routing at the bottom of the strip, that does not necessarily have to be the same bus route as the three individual tracks.  Does the "routing" of the bus on the bottom of the Send not matter?
 
Thank you all for your replies and patience.
 
 


If I understand correctly, the "routing at the bottom" of each track/bus are its output.
The sends section are above the fader, and the outputs below.
Does that make any sense?

Ken Nilsen
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 19:55:13 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Zargg 2017/11/03 19:59:58
husker
So, in this example, say you have 3 Tracks going to a Send for reverb:
Track 1, Track 2, and Track 3
 
Is it normal to have the three tracks also sending to a bus (like the master bus)?  If so, then only a partial amount of the signal is processed for the reverb, or is it that there are double the audio, one part reverbed and the other not?



Yes, most of the time all busses end up being subsequently routed to the master bus. The exception would be if you wanted separate hardware outputs from certain busses, such as with the headphone mix example.
 
A bus need not go directly to the master bus, though. For example, you might have all drums going to both a drum bus and a parallel distortion bus, which get combined and sent to an Instruments bus and finally to the master. Similarly, vocals could be sent to a raw vocal bus and a reverb bus and a compression bus. Backing vocals might be sent to a common BGV bus. All four would then be combined into one Vocals bus.
 
So yeh, the only bus that's usually a final endpoint is the master. Other busses are typically intermediate points of convergence.


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#17
husker
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 20:12:39 (permalink)
Perhaps a picture would help.  In this example, I have three tracks that are routed to a drum bus. They also have a Send to a Reverb. At the bottom of the Reverb Send, there is a routing to the master.  I understand the tracks routed to a a drum bus, but I'm unsure of why there is a routing on a Send.
 


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Zargg
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 20:16:44 (permalink)
husker
Perhaps a picture would help.  In this example, I have three tracks that are routed to a drum bus. They also have a Send to a Reverb. At the bottom of the Reverb Send, there is a routing to the master.  I understand the tracks routed to a a drum bus, but I'm unsure of why there is a routing on a Send.
 



The routing on the sends are because you may want to use different fx for different instruments, hence the choice to route to another place/bus/AUX.
(This routing looks ok to me )

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#19
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/03 21:36:11 (permalink)
The MASTER bus represents the total culmination of all your recording and mixing efforts. If you want to hear the reverb, you have to "send" it to the MASTER. The purpose of using a SEND is to "mix" a dry signal from the TRACK with an effect stored in a BUS so you can control how much reverb/effect goes into the sound.
 
A crude (and I mean VERY crude) example would be your homes plumbing system.
Water comes into the home from one source, usually cold (a TRACK). To make some of it HOT it's sent to a hot water tank (REVERB bus) to be "processed". It's then sent out to your bathroom shower (MASTER bus) to be "mixed" with cold water (the TRACK signal) where you can enjoy the experience. From there it all ultimately goes down the drain to the septic tank (like most of my music).
 
 As an alternative, you can route the entire TRACK to the REVERB bus making the entire TRACK "wet" , but that would be like taking a shower with straight hot water... the choice is yours.
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husker
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/04 00:36:19 (permalink)
I believe I understand now - you get both a processed and unprocessed signal when you route to a send.  I set up a quick test with a simple audio loop.  I added a send to the bus with an effect that was hard to miss.  When I routed the track itself to "none" i only heard the processed audio.  When I set the send output to none, I heard only unprocessed audio.  Both set to master I heard a mix. 
 
A send would then only be useful, then, as Bitflipper said, when multiple tracks use the same effect.  Got it.
 
Thank you all for your help.  

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#21
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/04 02:18:33 (permalink)
bitflipper
Next-most frequent application is parallel compression. You might, for example, send more of a lead vocal's double to the compressor than the primary lead vocal track.
 
Parallel distortion is another common scenario. I'll use send levels to send some kick drum to a distortion plugin, send a higher level to it from snare and toms, and usually none from the overheads.



To add to this, I use sends for all kinds of parallel processing. For example using effects on bass will often thin the sound, so you send the main bass track to the master, and use a send to go through the effect. That way you can add wah, distortion, envelope-controlled filtering, and the like without affecting the bass's low end.

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MelodicJimmy
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/04 02:41:12 (permalink)
I always thought a send was kinda like the effects loop on a guitar amp.  In other words, it lets you tap into the signal chain with effects at a different point than just putting the effects plugins in the bin.  When you put the plugins in the bin, they come "before" the audio, where a send is basically coming AFTER the audio (i.e., the effects loop comparison).  Is that incorrect?

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#23
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/04 05:30:33 (permalink)
Husker - You may have received too much information in this thread. It's all good, and eventually you'll want to know all that stuff, but your picture above is perfect, and it's all you need to know about sends for now. Using the setup in your picture, your sends pick off some of the signal on each track and send it over to the reverb bus, which feeds reverb only -- in the amount you choose using your sends -- into your master bus and into your mix. If you didn't use sends you'd have to add a reverb effect in the FX bin of each track where you wanted reverb. All kinds of problems could arise from that, from exceeding the limits of your computer to having your mix sound as if every musician were playing in a different city.
 
Later you can add more sends and more different effects, but some of the best records ever made had one reverb send going to one echo chamber, period.

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#24
BassRocket
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/15 05:35:17 (permalink)
Hi,
Your template idea sounds really nice. I'd like to try it! Still a noob trying to figure out a good go-to way of doing things.
With your drums, can you use just one instance of say, addictive drums, and route the individual parts of.the kit to separate tracks? Or do you have to setup many instances of a drums intrument?

I have more questions, but I'll leave it at that for.now, lol.
Thanks

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#25
scook
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/15 05:40:48 (permalink)
BassRocket

With your drums, can you use just one instance of say, addictive drums, and route the individual parts of.the kit to separate tracks?



Yes, but it has nothing to do with this thread. Read this blog. It was written for X3 but works for newer versions too.
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BassRocket
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/15 05:47:12 (permalink)
Thanks Scook!

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Joe_A
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/15 20:56:54 (permalink)
This post sure opened a large can of good ideas folks are posting 😊.

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Bristol_Jonesey
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/15 21:13:24 (permalink)
Another useful application for sends is setting up alternative headphone mixes.
I always have a send on each sub-buss - drums, keys, guitars, vocals etc, routed to a Phones bus.
This bus doesn't go to the master bus but to a spare pair of interface outputs, in turn routed to my headphone amp.
It's easy to vary the amount of each bus in the headphones by varying the send level.

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SuperG
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Re: Practical Uses of Sends 2017/11/16 04:19:53 (permalink)
Bristol_Jonesey
Another useful application for sends is setting up alternative headphone mixes.
I always have a send on each sub-buss - drums, keys, guitars, vocals etc, routed to a Phones bus.
This bus doesn't go to the master bus but to a spare pair of interface outputs, in turn routed to my headphone amp.
It's easy to vary the amount of each bus in the headphones by varying the send level.


I just put one send on the master bus to go to the headphones - unless you want a phones mix that is different than your master mix, that's seems like doing it the hard way.

laudem Deo
#30
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