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Beginner's Guide to Audio Effects in 2021

This informative blog article is a guide to a few popular audio effects that music enthusiasts and beginners are looking to understand audio effects by various tools. It also explains the framing of such effects and why they are added. First of all, let's begin with the basics.

What is an Audio Effect & Why Use It?

In simple words, audio effects are manipulations of audio signals digitally to change their characteristics and make them sound different. Audio effects refer to the many audio effects like delay, reverb, flanger, or chorus, which is used by music producers to make the sound deviate from its original type and get a specific result.
Audio effects are generally used to enhance the sound and audio track. It helps improve the hearing essence as well as presents a delight to the listener. A soundtrack has many ups and downs according to the producer's intent and the audio effects work to boost such intent.

1. Auto Pan

Auto Pan is the effect of automatic, repeating patterns with a virtual panning potentiometer. Auto Pan creates the perception of a sound moving from side to side across the stereo field. Auto Pan automates the panning effect which makes it go from the left to right speaker in the amount and speed you select.
Auto Pan helps widen the mono sound and make it stereo which lets it wander from left to right and back at the desired width. It also makes the mix sound good and potenti ally applies a 3D-type effect for the listener.
Ableton live DAW gives enormous opportunities with the Auto Pan effect and also offers high panning rate options to make it more creative.

2. Beat Repeat

As it says itself, the Beat Repeat effect lets you repeat specific parts of the sound in loops to choose beat and settings. Beat Repeat is a powerful effect that is capable of longer loops, small stutters, wild pitch effects, and much more.
Beat Repeat has a lot of different increments such as 1/4, 1/8, 1/12, 1/16, and so on. It is a very popular sound effect used by many sound engineers to modernize the tracks. To add rhythm and groove to the track, you can set it on repeat to drums and other groovy sounds.

3. Chorus

Chorus is a widely used audio effect that thickens a particular audio signal by copying it multiple times and playing them back slightly delayed. It is a digital audio effect quite similar to singing in a unison. Since a singing choir (unison) is never exact, chorus effects simulate this by making independently modified copies of the input signal.
There are endless possibilities with the Chorus effect that can be experimented with. It is also used to add more depth to the track and depending on the no. of layers, you can alter the depth of the track. The main parameters of the chorus effect are Delay, Depth, Rate, Feedback, and Dual Mode.

4. Frequency Shifter

A frequency shifter is an audio effect shift for all the frequencies that move the input signal up or down by a specific chosen amount. This audio effect does not preserve the harmonic relationships between the various tones and signal harmonics in the input which gives a completely different sound effect.
When used in small amounts, the frequency shifting can create amazing phasing/chorus effects. For example, on guitar, electric piano, or anything that you use a chorus, try a shift of a few Hz with the Wet/Dry knob set to 50.
It can also make a nice alternative to pitch shifting when tuning drums. Use it in the range of +/- 100 Hz the results will sound natural. Leave the Wet/Dry control at 100%. The Frequency Shift tool is a popular and widely used part of the Ableton audio effects library. Ableton live also provides many other audio effects to try on.

5. Reverb

Reverberation (commonly known as 'Reverb') is the audio effect where decaying reflections of sounds off of multiple surfaces are heard after the initial sound source. Reverb is one of the most versatile effects of mixing. It provides a sense of depth, immerses listeners, and glues your mixes together.
Some of the Reverb effects like - Hall Reverb, Chamber Reverb, Room Reverb, Cathedral/Church Reverb, Plate Reverb, etc are used by music producers commonly. Some of the most popular Reverb plugins are Hotto Spring Reverb, Aegean Music Spirit Reverb, PSP Springbox, and TAL Reverb 2.


Apart from the effects, many other popular audio effects are used with tools by music producers that are used widely in western countries as well. These audio effects are a great pick for beginners to try on in 2021.