Question for my audiophile buddies out there…

In my recent quest to sell some gear, I had an interesting encounter that I am curious about.

I am no audio equipment expert (never claimed to be), but I know enough to be dangerous.  One of the pieces of equipment I was selling was a rack mount effects processor; standard issue, nothing special.  The guys I sold it too (professional audio guys) were going through everything and testing it out, but they never could get this effects processor to work.  I was bummed at this point because I had the thing working just a few days before.

I have always used an Aux/Effects send and return to run these type of external units.  But, I go over there to have a look and the (professional) guy had the input for the processor plugged into the aux send, but instead of using the aux return he was going straight out of the processor into the line jack of another channel.  He said that this was the preferred way to do it because you had more control over the effect volume?  Although I kinda understand the theory, I have honestly never seen this done before.

Nothing worked hooked up this way, and it just struck me as odd.  I wondered why every manual I had ever read for mixers and effects processors showed it hooked up through aux sends/returns.  I also wondered why you would want to take up twice the board real estate by occupying two channels with the same input.  It made no sense to me.

So, I ask if I can rewire a few thing … hooked it up the way I normally would and everything worked just fine.  Then they were perplexed because that’s just not “not they way you do it.”  In the end though, they bought the unit because it did work.

My question is this:  Am I off base here?  Is it really standard practice to hook this effect processor that other way?  If so, please help me understand the rational (because I really want to know).

3 Responses to “Question for my audiophile buddies out there…”

  1. dumo says:

    It IS the standard way to run it… for studio work. When you do it that way, you can send whatever amount of whatever channel you want (creating a “mix” essentially) to the effects unit. Then, by outputting it to a separate channel, you essentially create a master buss just for the effect allowing you greater control over the clean/wet mix as well as offering you a single fader that controls the effect level of all channels using the effect.

    You ALSO (and not everyone does this because it’s not handy for all effects or in every application and it depends on the board you’re using) have a separate EQ just for the effect which can let you do strange and wonderful things.

    Make some sort of sense?

  2. Cole says:

    Yup, it’s making a bit more sense. It’s just never been practical in any application I’ve ever used.

    When you’ve got 12 channels and 10 sources, you’d kinda be stuck :)

  3. dumo says:

    yeah, it’s really for studio stuff.

    and really, i’ve only ever used it for reverb. i mean, you can route your reverb that way and then your “mix” to the aux is essentially positioning your sources in a virtual room and then the effect master basically controls the size of that imaginary room by saying how much reverb you get from those sources. it allows you to create clearer soundscapes…

    …which is darn near pointless in a live situation where you have an actual room to work with.

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