Pre-FX, Post-FX and FX Sends. What am I not getting?

Greetings all!

I’ve been using Renoise for several years now, and have always done all my mixing inside Renoise. One thing that has always confused me is the thinking behind how Renoise handles its FX sends, and the “Pre-FX/Post-FX” option in the mixer. I know there’s been discussion about this before here on the forums (this thread was particular good) but I’m starting to wonder whether there’s something fundamental I’m not getting.

Say I have a track with a #Send device going to an aux track for reverb. It is set to Keep Source.


This works how you would expect coming from any other DAW – adjusting the volume fader also adjusts the level of signal going to the reverb track. Pull down the fader and the source signal and reverb from the aux track goes down. However, being that this pre-fx fader is in effect the input gain (like the trim knob on a hardware mixer), it also means that adjusting this messes up the input gain for dynamics plugins before the #Send device. So if I’m wanting to properly gain stage, every time I want to adjust volume when mixing I have to either add a Gain device to compensate, or adjust the input volume in my dynamics plugins. Having to do this each time I adjust track volume seems like an odd workaround, not expected workflow.


Considering that volume automation needs to happen with the Pre-FX fader, it would make more sense to use Post-FX for mixing. However, pulling down this fader of course does not affect the level of signal going out of #Send to the reverb track, so pulling down the fader here only pulls out the source, leaving the 100% wet reverb signal audible. If I have multiple tracks going to the reverb track (the whole point of using a seperate reverb track) then this basically renders Post-FX pretty useless. To make this work, I have to adjust the #Send signal together with the fader, which again seems like an odd workaround.

So this problem has always existed for me. I’ve always just used Pre-FX because it works the way you’d expect, but it’s just annoying to constantly have to compensate with gain plugins to properly gain stage for my dynamics plugs. Recently I’ve started to wonder whether there’s something fundamental about how Renoise’s mixer works which I’m not getting, because the above two problems seem pretty critical for anyone trying to use the mixer like you would with any other DAW.

Can anyone help shed some light on this? How are other people handling FX sends and the Pre-FX/Post-FX setting?

It’s a little bit weird how it is, I agree. It was actually something I didn’t notice until I started using Reaper. Here’s one thing you can do: put a track (or tracks) in a group, and then put the send on the group effects. This way you can adjust the faders in the mixer, and your send is still post fader.

That’s a neat solution Carbonthief!

But like the workarounds I’ve been using, it just seems strange that there should even be a need for workarounds. That’s why I’m wondering whether I’ve actually been using the mixer incorrectly all this time.

Yeah, it’s definitely a little weird. However it hasn’t bothered me much because I have a kind of crazy template that I use that kind of sets it self up for easy reverb sends:

Haha “Drums”… “Not Drums”… you have your musical priorities set right! :drummer:

Nice template… makes a lot of sense!

Why simply not put gainers where you need them directly? Enable the gain slider to be shown in the mixer.

Because that renders the mixer pointless. Why not just use gainers for everything and not even have pre and post faders? Because it’s more convenient to use the mixer, that’s the point of the mixer.

Thanks for the reply Gova, but yeah… as Carbonthief said, what I’m after here is not a workaround. There’s no amount of workarounds for this… but my query is just why workarounds are even necessary in the first place. For anyone coming from any other DAW (or hardware mixer for that matter), the way the Renoise mixer works is unusual. I’m just wondering what the thinking was behind designing it this way, and whether there’s maybe something about the way it is intended to be used that I’m not understanding. :walkman:

I think it simply was implemented well before the gainers/show in mixer. (check the change log if you’re interested)

But it’s not really a workaround.

You have gain and a VU metre (mind the slightly wrong scale) before the effects - automatable, after the effects - non automatable.

The mixer is not pointless.

You can have as many sends as you want* at any point in the effects chain, so a gainer is a quick and efficient solution.

A mixer will control what comes out from that track and goes to the routing, just that.

If you have


What will the mixer slider do

I really don’t see how the gainer is less convenient. Search the dps list, drag and drop, maybe it will already have the gain slider in the mixer (change your template if it doesn’t, not sure if that’s saved though), make a1 line script if you really want to.

Thanks for the reply again gova… it was a bit hard for me to follow.

How do you set up your FX sends? Do you use Pre-FX or Post-FX, and how do you handle the situation when you’re mixing, and you want to lower the level of a track together with the level of any effects inserted on that track? Do you just use Pre-FX for this, and not worry about the pre-gain affecting any dynamics plugins?

I use a gainer before a send when I need to lower the gain of everything.

You can automate a gainer and turn it on/off. You can use multiple gainersfor fast undoing and their names as comments, there’s also a/b (but nvm that ;))

I hardly ever use the pre-fx. The only drawback of using a gainer here is you don’t get a metre and the more comfortable pattern commands.

I use post-fx for final small edits when nothing will be automated anymore.

I have to completely agree, the way the mixer works is bordering on pointless. It’s one thing that has always bugged me and I’ve never understood why it is like it is, it just makes no sense. I can’t think of any other mixer, either hardware or software, that works in the same way as Renoise’s does, for good reason.

Having to resort to a gainer is just silly. Of course it is easy and it works as a workaround but you’re back to the same point of it being a workaround for very odd implementation.

Thanks for the explanation gova. Your way of working things makes a lot of sense considering the way that Renoise’s mixer works currently. I might start doing it that way too.

But Meef Chaloin summed up what I’m getting at. It’s just so curious why Renoise was originally conceived this way, considering that no other mixer (hardware or DAW) requires workarounds just to have consistent gain staging along with FX returns through the track fader (standard operation).

I’m not complaining or criticising (the fact that I’ve used Renoise for the past few years despite the peculiar mixer should hopefully prove that! :drummer: ) but the fact that there isn’t more discussion about this was what prompted me to question whether or not I’m just doing it all wrong. I would imagine that all switchers coming from other DAWs or from a background with hardware mixers would be scratching their heads at the whole pre-fx/post-fx/#Send setup.

But what will a ‘standard’ mixer do if you have







In your track

A standard mixer does not have renoise’s meta devices and automation. (I don’t suggest you send commands with meta devices across a large amount of tracks, will induce/have a bit of lag, just have everything in your track when possible)

You can do that in Reaper. There are send and receive JS plugins. Don’t know about other DAWs. It’s definitely simpler to do in Renoise though. You certainly wouldn’t have to sacrifice this functionality in order to have post fader sends in Renoise.