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Mixing ► Using real-time effects

You can use plug-in effects non-destructively, in real time (to apply effects offline, see Applying audio effects), from the Track view, Track Inspector and Console view. You can also hear your plug-in effects in real time on any live instruments you are recording—just make sure Input Monitoring is enabled (see Input monitoring). You can also insert effects directly on clips (see Effects on clips).
Destructive. The digital audio data itself is modified. Although this may be exactly what you want, it does limit your options. If you want to modify the effect parameters slightly or to remove the effect and try a different effect, you must use the Undo command, or revert to a saved copy of the original data.
Non-destructive (real-time). The digital audio data in your track is not changed but simply altered on the fly during playback. This means you can experiment with effects parameters, bypass effects, or remove them entirely at any time. Since most effects require complex numeric calculations, real-time effects processing puts a heavy load on your computer’s CPU. If you use too many effects, the CPU will not be able to keep up and playback will sound choppy and disconnected.
The File > Export > Audio command, allows you to apply real-time effects when you export, so you do not need to apply your effects destructively or use the Track view Tracks > Bounce to Track(s) command to prepare the tracks beforehand. For information about exporting audio, see Exporting audio.
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