Track effects vs Sample effects

Just wondering how people come to a conclusion whether to apply a track effect or a sample effect.

I know applying track effects allows you to use automation, but on the other hand I have seen people use sample effects and then route them to the track with macros.

I’m not sure whether this comes down to personal preference or if there are certain advantages to the two which I am missing.

This also leads me to my next question which is about tracks in general.

Do you use multiple samples on the same track?

For example If I am working with multiple drum breaks and use them at different points in a track, why would one use a separate track for each break? I have seen people do both of these options and I’m just curious about the thought process for behind them.

Again, does this come down to personal preference or am I missing something?

I get overwhelmed when there are lots of tracks. I like to keep everything neat and tidy and reuse tracks given the chance.


As far as I know , with instrument effects you have the possibility to do parallel routings which is not really possible with the track effects(with the excepion of using sends).
Another thing is , instrument effects will be saved with the instrument itself for further use if that ever concerns you .
Lastly you will be able to use several instruents each with their own set of effects in ONE track , which I do alot

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Personnaly I think that using too much instrument effects can make it hard to have a global overview of all effects used by your song. One advantage of track effects is the mixer view where you can see all used effects at once.

At the same time like you said using instrument effects can be practical to lower the amount of tracks in your project. if you have a few one shot samples that you need to apply effects to, using track effect would require a track per sample.

Having one track per break can make it easier to mix your project. In the mixer view you can adjust each break without having to click inside the instrument and set the level there.

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Thanks for the reply, that makes a bit more sense, So would you say the instrument effects would be a good place to put EQ and compression assuming you weren’t going to automate them (having them ‘set in stone’, getting them right the first time and then forgetting about them)?
Whereas track effects would be a good place to put reverbs, delay, distortion etc. ?

I don’t think there is a rule there, really depends on how you see the things. You can use envelopes to control instrument fx too for example, and it is per-voice. you can also define macros in your instruments and automate them in the track.

If you build some sort of synth sound that you want to re-use somewhere else, using an instrument makes sense for sure. Building a xrni folder can be a good idea, and you can use those instruments in redux also if you want to try other daws (but vsts in the effect chain won’t work then).

Personally I now try to keep things the simplest as possible. If I am creating some effect on a sample, I often do them in the instrument and print them once it’s done (with the button in the waveform editor) and I delete the effect chain afterwards, forces you to commit, and you can easily control delay or reverb tails for example. This is also good for CPU :smiley:

but yeah having what needs to be fine tuned on the mixing stage 1 click away in the mixer view is a plus IMO.

Yes, if you want to do parallel processing, this is the way !

Guys, what do you mean when you’re talking about “instrument effects”? Are you talking about the pattern effect commands for instrument VSTs, the effects (like delay, reverb, compression or else) within an instrument VST or about something else?

Do you mean pattern effect commands when you’re talking about “sample effects” or do you mean sample effect chains? I assume you’re talking about sample effect chains, right?

Almost never. Each instrument has its own track. Why? Because of the track effects, the overview, the mixing, parallel processing (with sends) and so on. But I used multiple samples on the same track when I was using ProTracker back in the days on Amiga, because the DAW only has got 4 tracks. :wink:

If you’re talking about sample effect chains when you say “instrument effects” I would say there’s no advantage. Personally I only use track effects, whether EQ, compression or something like reverbs, delay and so on. It really doesn’t matter.

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“instrument effects”: talking about effects that are on the sampler page fx chain(s) for each instruments
“track effect”: talking about effects on the track fx chain

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I do a lot of my sound design and shaping in the instrument effects section, then apply mixing utilities and further effects that are best applied post-compression in the track effects section. I use a LOT of effects, lol. I generally just use one instrument per track, but sometimes more.

The instrument effect chains are great for per-note automation of effect parameters using Instrument Macros wrapped in a doofer. Keytracked LFOs can automate the macros within the instrument itself, that way