Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design

This chapter is from the book

Using the Effects Rack

The screen shots in these lessons were taken using the Classic workspace, so it’s recommended that you select it. Choose File > Window > Workspace > Classic, and then reset it to the default by choosing Window > Workspace > Reset Classic.

  1. Choose File > Open, navigate to the Lesson04 folder, and open the file Drums110.wav.
  2. Click the Transport Loop button so the drum pattern plays back continuously. Click the Transport Play button to audition the loop, and then click the Transport Stop button.
  3. Click the Effects Rack tab, and drag the panel’s lower splitter bar downward to extend the panel to its full height. You should see 16 “slots,” called inserts; each can hold an individual effect and also includes a power on/off button. A toolbar is located above the inserts, and meters with a second toolbar are below the inserts.
  4. To add an effect to an insert, click the insert’s right arrow and choose an effect from the drop-down menu. For the first effect, choose Reverb > Studio Reverb. Inserting an effect turns its power button to “on” (green) and opens the effect’s graphic user interface. You may need to move the effect’s graphic user interface window to load more effects. For the second effect, similarly choose Delay and Echo > Analog Delay.
  5. Turn off (bypass) the Analog Delay effect by clicking its power button. Press the spacebar to begin playback, and then turn the Studio Reverb insert’s power button on and off to hear how reverb affects the sound.
  6. Click the Rack Effect – Studio Reverb graphic user interface window to bring it to the front. Press the spacebar again to stop playback.
  7. When playback is stopped, you can choose an effect’s preset. Click the Studio Reverb’s Presets drop-down menu, and select Drum Plate (Large). Begin playback.

    You’ll hear a more pronounced reverb sound. Note that the effects’ graphic user interface window has an additional power button in the lower-left corner to make it easy to bypass/compare the processed and unprocessed sound.

  8. Click on the Analog Delay effect graphic user interface to bring it to the front, and then turn on its power button.

    You’ll hear an echo effect, but it’s not in time with the music.

  9. To make the delay follow the rhythm, double-click in the Delay parameter’s numeric field, type 545 in place of 200, and then press Enter (Return). The echoes are now in time with the music. (Later in this chapter we’ll explain how to choose rhythmically correct delay times.)

Keep this audio file open as you continue.

Removing, editing, replacing, and moving an effect

Rather than present a structured exercise, try the various bulleted options that follow to see how they work. After each action, choose Edit > Undo [name of action], or press Ctrl+Z (Command+Z) to restore the project to its previous state:

  • To remove a single effect, click the name in the effects’ insert and press the Delete key, or click the insert’s right arrow to choose Remove Effect from the drop-down menu.
  • To remove all effects in the rack, right-click (Control-click) anywhere on an effect’s insert, and then choose Remove All Effects.
  • To remove some effects in the rack, Ctrl-click (Command-click) in each effect insert containing an effect you want to remove. Then right-click (Control-click) anywhere in any selected effect’s insert, and choose Remove Selected Effects.
  • To edit an effect when the effects window is hidden or you closed it, double-click the effect’s insert, click the insert’s right arrow, and then choose Edit Effect from the drop-down menu, or right-click (Control-click) anywhere in an effect’s insert and choose Edit Selected Effect. Any of these actions bring the effects window to the front and open it if it was closed.
  • To replace an effect with a different effect, click the insert’s right arrow and choose a different effect from the drop-down menu.
  • To move an effect to a different insert, click the name in the effect’s insert and drag to the desired destination insert. If an effect already exists in that insert, the existing effect will be pushed down to the next higher-numbered insert.

Bypassing all or some effects

You can bypass individual effects, groups of effects, or all effects in the Effects Rack by doing any of the following:

  • The power button in the lower-left corner of the Effects Rack’s panel bypasses all enabled rack effects. When powered back on, only effects that had been enabled prior to bypassing are turned back on. Bypassed effects remain bypassed regardless of the “all effects” power button setting.
  • An alternate way to do the preceding bullet item is to right-click (Control-click) on any effect’s insert and choose Toggle Power State of Effects Rack.
  • To bypass some effects, Ctrl-click (Command-click) on each effect’s insert you want to bypass, right-click (Control-click) on any of these inserts, and then choose Toggle Power State of Selected Effects.

“Gain-staging” effects

Sometimes inserting multiple effects in series causes certain frequencies to “add up” and produce levels that may exceed the available headroom. For example, a filter that emphasizes the midrange could create distortion by increasing levels above acceptable limits.

To set levels, in the lower part of the Effects panel use the Input and Output level controls (with associated meters). These controls can reduce or increase levels as needed.

  1. Close the project without saving so you can start fresh. Choose File > Open, navigate to the Lesson04 folder, and open the file Drums110.wav. Do not start playback yet.
  2. In any effect’s insert, click the right arrow, choose Filter and EQ > Parametric Equalizer from the drop-down menu.
  3. When the Parametric EQ window opens, click the small box labeled 3 in the EQ graph and drag it to the top of the graph. Close the Parametric EQ window because it’s no longer necessary to have it open and take up space.
  4. Caution: Turn your monitoring levels way down, and then press the spacebar to initiate playback. The excessive levels will trigger the Output meter’s red overload indicators to the meter’s right.
  5. Turn up the monitoring level enough so you can hear the distortion this causes. The Input and Output level controls default to +0dB gain, which means neither the signal coming into the Effects Rack, nor the signal leaving it, is amplified or attenuated. However, the massive EQ boost is overloading the output.

  6. Reduce the Input level until the peaks no longer trigger the red distortion indicators after the meters have been reset (see the following tip). It’s generally good practice to keep the Output control at +0dB and compensate for the excessive levels by trimming the Input level. This will likely require reducing the Input to -35dB or so.

Keep this project open for the next lesson.

Altering the effect’s wet/dry mix

An unprocessed signal is called dry, whereas one to which effects have been applied is called wet. Sometimes you want a blend of the wet and dry sounds rather than all of one or the other.

  1. With the previous project still open and the levels set properly to avoid distortion, click the Mix slider below the meters and drag left.
  2. Drag the slider to the right to increase the amount of wet, filtered sound, and drag to the left to increase the amount of dry, unprocessed sound.

Applying effects

Inserting an effect doesn’t change the file but instead plays the original file back through the effect. This is called a nondestructive process using a real-time effect, because the original file remains unaltered.

However, you may want to apply the effect to the entire file, or only a selection, so that saving the file saves the processed version.

  1. Close the project without saving so you can start fresh. With the program open, choose File > Open, navigate to the Lesson04 folder, and open the file Drums110.wav.
  2. In any effect’s insert, click the right arrow, and choose Reverb > Studio Reverb.
  3. When the Studio Reverb window appears, choose the preset Drum Plate (Small) from the presets drop-down menu.
  4. The Process drop-down menu, located in the toolbar at the bottom of the Effects Rack panel, allows you to apply the effect to the entire file or just a selection. For this lesson, choose Entire File.
  5. Click the Apply button. This not only applies the effect to the file to process it, but removes the effect from the Effects Rack so the file isn’t “double processed” from the effect being embedded in the file and from a processor remaining in the rack.

  6. Close the project without saving by choosing File > Close All.

Let’s move on to lessons that show how individual effects change the sound.

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020