Cakewalk includes many custom FX Chain presets, from guitar and bass amps to DJ effects, environmental generators, drum effects, and multi-purpose audio processors.Figure 3001. FX Chains.Cakewalk includes six Mastering FX Chains that are designed to work in conjunction with project templates with corresponding names.
A Bit Louder. A single softknee compressor that increases the incoming audio level by 6.5 dB of gain by default. The Attack and Release settings have been stylized to give your mix a nice smooth character. Adjust the Attack and Release settings for style, and reduce the Threshold setting for more compression.
Bright and Aggressive. A hardknee compressor that pulverizes the incoming audio signal the more you turn up the Aggressive knob. If you’re not getting enough character, reduce the Threshold for even more compression. By default, the Brighter knob adds an element of air to your mix. This mastering effect is perfect for dull and boring mixes.
Crushed. The quintessential compressor processor for mastering. This FX Chain uses two compressors in series: the first one flattens the higher peaks, while the second one adds a nice smooth finish to your master. Use the Tighten and add Aggression knobs to find the perfect balance of character for your master, then boost the whole signal with the Louder knob. Use the Brightness switch in case your master is a bit dull.
Louder and Scooped. Does your mix sound strange? Try out the Louder and Scooped FX Chain. With some added focus to the sub frequencies, this FX Chain boosts and cuts in all the right places and has nice Drive/Tighten setting for adding character to your master.
Smooth. A soft-knee compressor that widens and smoothens out your master. The Smooth and Aggression parameters help you add excitement to your master, and the Wider control spreads the stereo image by 150%.
Wider. This FX Chain offers both a Width control and two Tighten parameters for an easier mastering process. Use the Tighten 1 control for subtle results, and Tighten 2 for drastic results.Figure 3002. Monitorizer.The Monitorizer FX Chain is specifically for those who use headphones and want a more “monitor-like” experience. Intended to be used as a send effect, Monitorizer helps eliminate the “super-wide” stereo sound of headphones to approximate an experience that's more like listening on monitors. It emulates the crosstalk that occurs naturally with left and right channels, as well as some room characteristics, to tame the unnatural, “super-wide” headphone sound.Although mixing on headphones is great for catching details and immersing yourself in the music, the sometimes artificially wide stereo and unnatural perspective with effects can lead to mixes that don’t translate as well over speakers. Monitorizer can help you to do a quick “reality check” on what music will sound like when played over speakers.While not as sophisticated as some products that try to emulate a complete room environment down to the last detail, the Monitorizer FX Chain is based on the same principles:
Head Delay. Sets the delay of a speaker to reach the opposite ear. Settings between 70% and 80% are typical.
Room. Increase to add subtle room reflections.
Dampen. Increase to emulate the high-frequency loss in the signals arriving in your ears from the opposite speakers.
Amount. Increases the Monitorizer effect.
A/B. Enables the Monitorizer when lit, and allows for easy comparisons without having to adjust knobs.
1. Insert a new stereo bus or Aux track and name it Monitorizer.
2. Assign the bus/Aux track output to the same output that the Master bus is assigned to (this is typically an audio interface hardware output), and set the Volume control to 0.
3. In the Browser, click the PlugIns button to show the Plug-in Browser.
4. Under Audio FX, expand the FX Chain branch.
5. Click Anderton Collection > Processors, then drag the Monitorizer preset to the Monitorizer bus/Aux track’s FX Rack.
6. Create a post-fader send in the Master bus, and assign the send to the Monitorizer bus/Aux track. Set the Send Level to around -3.The Monitorizer FX chain defaults to a reasonably realistic effect, but you can use the controls to customize the effect further.
Note: Paradoxically, sometimes it sounds like the stereo imaging is actually wider with the Monitorizer, especially with high Room and Head Delay settings. However, it’s often just a more satisfying stereo image because it doesn’t sound as exaggerated.Figure 3003. Deflate Gate.The Deflate Gate FX Chain squeezes the insides out of percussive signals, but can also re-inflate after the deflation. Deflate Gate is related somewhat to having a compressor smashed by a sidechain.
1. Start with the Decay and Decay Hold controls set to the middle position.
2. Adjust the Threshold control for reliable triggering. This will be around 10-25% with signals that are close to maximum level. Turn clockwise for softer signals.
3. Adjust the Decay control as desired. Counterclockwise gives a more percussive effect, while clockwise behaves more like a compressor being squashed by a sidechain.
4. Adjust the Decay Hold control to specify how long the signal should stay “deflated.”Figure 3004. Sizzle Bus.The Sizzle Bus FX Chain can impart a subtle, but important, dimension to a mix that’s similar to how the original “exciter” hardware circuits work. The Sizzle Bus uses a high-pass filter to eliminate all but the highest frequencies, which are then distorted to create artificial harmonics above the natural harmonics. Although superficially it resembles boosting the treble, the Sizzle Bus adds more of a “sparkle,” particularly to acoustic instruments and electric instruments that may sound a little dull compared to the electronic instruments. By setting up a “sizzle” bus, you can send signals from duller-sounding tracks as needed to bring them more into line with the brighter tracks. Keep the bus fader low, because it doesn’t take much to create the desired effect.
HF Cutoff. Sets the high frequency cutoff from about 8.6 kHz to 17 kHz.
Sizzle. Sets the aggressiveness of the distortion.
Delay 0-2 ms. Delays the sizzle signal from 0 to 2 ms. Longer delays can give more depth.
Width. Varies the stereo placement from mono (counter-clockwise) to stereo (clockwise).
1. Insert a new stereo bus and name it Sizzle. Keep the bus’ Volume control low.
2. In the Browser, click the PlugIns button to show the Plug-in Browser.
3. Under Audio FX, expand the FX Chain branch.
4. Click Anderton Collection > Processors, then drag the Sizzle Bus (Bus FX) preset to the Sizzle bus’ FX Rack.
5. On any track you want to process with the Sizzle Bus (Bus FX) FX Chain, insert a new Send control and assign it to the Sizzle bus.
6. Adjust the track’s Send Level control to taste.
7. Adjust the Sizzle Bus (Bus FX) FX Chain controls to taste. Typical settings are about 1/3 of the way up for the HF Cutoff, Sizzle full up (but you can dial back for more delicate sounds), Delay 0-2 ms set for the best overall effect, and Width adjusted as desired. Typically, you will want stereo with a stereo source, but if you make the imaging more mono, you can usually add a bit more sizzle.Figure 3005. KickMaster FX Chain.While intended originally to process standard kicks into becoming EDM (Electronic Dance Music) monsters, over time KickMaster evolved to handle various types of kick drums and musical genres.You can add distortion and thud, emphasize the beater or click sounds, add room ambience, and add a unique tightening effect. Use KickMaster for gentle processing of acoustic kicks to hardcore EDM sounds.KickMaster is also useful for parallel processing with drums when you want to add some “trash” to the dry drum sound. The adventurous can also try it with bass guitar.
Dist On/Off. Enables/disables the Distortion section (Distortion and Hardcore controls).
Distortion. Sets the overall amount of distortion and is the “master” distortion control.
Hardcore. Changes the distortion character. Turn it up slightly to add depth. Turn it up further to add artifacts.
Near/Far. Positions the kick drum more forward or further back in the mix.
Thud. Controls the kick drum depth.
100/250 Hz. Sets the Thud frequency.
Beater. Emphasizes the bass drum pedal beater hit.
Broad/Sharp. Sets the resonance for the Beater filter.
Click. Emphasizes the highest-frequency kick components.
Tighten. Enables broad midrange compression while leaving the highest and lowest frequencies alone.
Room. Adds ambience to the kick drum.
Room Size. Changes the character and depth of the ambience.Figure 3006. Phasor Constructor.The Phasor Constructor FX Chain is not your typical phase shifter. It can do 4- or 8-stage shifting, but also includes a few unique features like positive/negative phasing, automatable “motion” control, and tone-shaping. The controls are a bit unusual, but you will be able to create sounds you haven’t heard before from other phase shifters.Phasor Constructor does not include an LFO, because it is designed for manual automation control and/or for use with Cakewalk’s automation pattern draw tools (Sine tool , Triangle tool , Square tool , Saw tool , or Random tool ). For details, see To draw automation patterns.
4/8 Stages. Selects either 4- or 8-stage phase shifting, in conjunction with the Timbre control.
Timbre. Timbre is a multipurpose control.
Motion. Produces subtle stereo placement changes. The lower the Stereo control, the greater the effect (with Stereo up full, Motion has no effect). This is most noticeable on headphones, and is fun to vary with a periodic waveform.
Resonance. Overlays a resonant effect. It does not make the notches or peaks more resonant.
Stereo. Adds width to the imaging when you turn it clockwise.
Freq. Varies the phase shifter’s center frequency.
Tame Peaks. Reduces peak levels, which can also make the phasing effect seem more prominent. Phase shifters tend to accentuate certain frequencies during their travel, which can be cool but can also be problematic if the peaks line up with a percussive sound.
Tone Freq. Sets the frequency range affected by Tone Boost over a range of approximately 70 Hz to 4.2 kHz.
Tone Boost. Boosts at the Tone Freq frequency. Full counter-clockwise is a flat response, while maximum boost is + 9 dB. The action is very gentle, but can help a track stand out while mixing.Figure 3007. VoxTools.VoxTools is a collection of six effects tailored specifically for vocals, with a “look” that recalls a rack of 500-series modules. The top row of buttons enables the various effects.
De-Plosive. Uses steep low-pass filtering to reduce plosive sounds (“p”, “b”, etc.). Turn Plosive Cut clockwise to reduce plosives. This control can also tighten up vocals, as well as reduce the low frequency emphasis caused by the proximity effect.
Distortion. Creates industrial vocals and other effects. Turn up Mayhem to increase the distortion.
Cylon. Creates a sci-fi robot/pseudo-vocoder effect. Pitch varies the effect's timbre and frequency.
Megaphone. Creates “telephone” and “megaphone” voices by coupling steep low and high pass filters. Frequency determines where the two filter types meet.
Vibrato. Adds pitch modulation to held or sustained notes. Rate varies the vibrato frequency from 4 to 9 Hz.
ADT. Gives quick Automatic Double Tracking effects, i.e., the sound of recording a vocal and then overdubbing it. Turning Doubled Mix clockwise increases the level of the doubled sound.Figure 3008. CA-X Guitar Pedalboard FX Chains.The CA-X Guitar Pedalboards collection includes 8 plug-and-play FX chains that let you drag a produced, ready-to-go guitar sound right into your project.
Crunchy Rhythm. Great for bluesy, vintage-sounding chord riffs. It's well-suited to all pickup combinations.
Rock Lead. Processed, smooth, highly distorted lead sound. The character is quite different depending on your pickup choice.
Power Rhythm. Lets the rhythm guitar chords dominate their space. Works really well with the neck pickup and humbuckers.
Raw Lead. An unpolished, dirty type of lead sound that is optimized for the bridge pickup.
Basic Rhythm. Basic rhythm guitar sound that works with any pickup combination.
Chimey Arpeg. Optimized for arpeggiated picking, and gives a really sweet sound with the bridge pickup. It's not as well-suited for playing full chords as the sound is somewhat thin.
Jazz Rhythm. A full, more muted sound that is optimized for the neck pickup.
Pure Lead. A clean, bright lead guitar sound. The bridge pickup is recommended for this preset but feel free to experiment. It also works well with single-coil pickups.Clean and Crunch pedalboards are identical, except that the Crunch pedalboard has a fuzz module with bypass switch, while the Clean pedalboard incorporates the Vocal Mode button from the CA-X Acoustic Piezo Amp (see CA-X Acoustic Piezo amp) along with a Bass tone control. The differences among presets for the two types are in the control settings, not the pedalboard modules. And of course, you can modify the presets and save them to create custom sounds.
Gate. Enables/disables a gate.
Sustain. Affects the compression Threshold, Gain, and Attack to increase the sustain amount and character as you turn the control clockwise.
Brighten. Adds a high frequency boost and midrange cut.
MorphTone. Increases the high frequency response and dips response at 1.2 kHz when rotated clockwise, with the reverse response when rotated counter-clockwise.
Chorus On. Enables/disables the chorus effect.
Chorus. Controls the rate.
Echo On. Adds a 250 ms echo effect.
Reverb. Increases the amount of the reverb effect when turned clockwise.
ADT On. Enables/disables the doubling/widening effect.
ADT. Sets the amount of the ADT (doubling) effect.
Fuzz On (Crunch only). Enables/disables the fuzz effect.
Fuzz (Crunch only). Adjusts the amount of distortion.
Vocal Mode (Clean only). Compresses and lowers the level of the midrange in the vocal range.
Bass (Clean only). Bass shelf control that boosts or cuts 9 dB starting at 300 Hz.Figure 3009. CA-X Acoustic Piezo.This CA-X Acoustic Piezo amp is designed specifically for acoustic guitars using piezo pickups, and includes several innovative functions that bring out the best in any acoustic.The CA-X Acoustic Piezo amp compensates for the deficiencies of piezo pickups to bring out the true beauty of your acoustic guitar. While not intended for acoustic guitars with built-in EQ, if you can disable the EQ you’ll likely find CA-X Acoustic Piezo a much better alternative.Although not optimized for electric guitar, CA-X Acoustic Piezo can be very useful for clean, defined electric guitar sounds, especially with neck humbucker pickups.
Compress. Adds gentle, unobtrusive, wideband compression.
Body Boom. Can either augment or diminish the low-end “boom” that’s characteristic of most acoustic guitars.
Vocal Mode. Introduces compression in the vocal singing range to create more space for vocals. However, it can also tighten up the guitar sound by giving an apparent increase to the low and high frequencies.
Mid Freq, Notch/Boost, and Q Lo/Hi. Function as a semi-parametric EQ. This can help dramatically with reducing piezo “quack” or “honking.” The easiest way to do this is as follows:
1. Set Notch/Boost clockwise for maximum boost.
2. Sweep the Mid Freq control until you hear a massive peak.
3. Rotate Notch/Boost counter-clockwise to “tune out” the quack. Try this with Q in the Lo and Hi positions and decide which sounds best.Also note that even if the piezo doesn’t have any problematic resonances, this set of controls can alter the overall tone in useful ways.
Articulation. Accents frequencies that bring out the articulation when fingerpicking, and can also give more general definition.
Highs. Affects the highest frequencies. Turn clockwise for a glossy, bright sound or counter-clockwise to dull the sound somewhat.
Chorus. Adds a gentle chorus effect.
Extra Wide. Increases the stereo spread to widen the overall sound.
Reverb. Adds ambience to the sound, with the Room/Hall button choosing the reverb type.
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