2. Add the effect: Drag your effect from the Device Browser (or drag it
with settings intact from another track), and drop it on a Return track.
(Here we’ve selected Live’s built-in Reverb, a likely candidate for use as
a send effect.)
3. Choose pre/post: By default, Live’s sends occur post-fader, so the level
and panning of the send signal will be determined by the volume and
pan settings of the channel fader(s). If you’d rather set volume and pan
solely with your return, choose Pre. Either way, you can adjust volume
and pan on your return track just as you would with any other Live track.
4. Add more returns: If the default two sends/returns aren’t enough for
you, use Insert > Insert Return Track to add as many as you’d like—
just remember not to overload your computer’s processor!
If you’ve used treble and bass controls on a car stereo, “Hi,” “Mid,” and
“Low” knobs on a mixer, or home stereo settings like “Loudness” or “Bass
Boost,” you’ve already used equalization. Despite the name, equalization
(EQ) doesn’t boost the loudness of the low frequencies so that they’re at
the same level as the high frequencies or vice-versa: it adjusts the relative
volume or gain of various frequency ranges within a signal. (The more
generic term “filter” is sometimes used in place of the term “equalization.”)
7: P
Use third-party
To make sure
Live finds your third-
party AU, VST, and
DX plug-ins, double-
check your preferences.
Use Preferences >
Plug-In > Active Sources
to turn on/off different
formats and set a default
VST folder. (On the Mac
choose Live > Preferences
and on Windows choose
Edit > Preferences.)
We hear a sound’s timbre based on its harmonic content—the relative
amplitudes of the overtones (partials) of a given sound (see Chapter 1,
p. 9)—so adjusting the loudness of whatever overtones happen to be present
within a frequency range will impact the perceived timbre of the sound.
You already have a harmonic filter in your mouth: when you form different
vowel shapes during speech, the shape of your mouth filters out certain
frequency ranges. (There are digital and analog filters that mimic this very
effect.) Likewise, by filtering certain frequencies, equalizers can be used to
solve recording problems, adjust the timbral balance of recordings, and
even achieve special effects.
You can conceptualize the effect of equalizers on a graph of frequency ver-
sus amplitude, as in Figure 7.9. The frequency axis of the graph (the x-axis),
represents the different components of the spectrum of the input sound,
its partials. The amplitude axis (y-axis) represents the amplitude change of
those partials when passed through the filter. With the equalizer’s response
shown as a curve on this graph, any rise above the 0 dB point represents a
boosting of overtones, while any dip below represents reduction in ampli-
tude. (Note, however, that if the sound being EQed has no overtones
present in the frequency range you’re adjusting, the EQ will make no
Equalizers are grouped by different characteristic shapes on this frequency
graph. By mastering these different shapes, you’ll be able to manipulate dif-
ferent parts of the frequency spectrum.
A peak rising above 0 dB represents an increase in amplitude of that part of the
frequency spectrum.
A dip falling below 0 dB represents a decrease in amplitude.
Figure 7.9 Filter response
of equalizers is typically
represented as an X/Y graph.

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