Effects Overview

Descript provides a suite of mixing effects to help you dial in just the right sound for your content. Whether you're looking to tone down some vocal boxiness, or prepare your final mix for publish with a Limiter, we've got you covered!

 

Effects Stages

Effects can be added to various parts of your Composition depending upon the level of granularity you would like. Understanding the various stages will help you control your mix and assure that your effects apply to only those files which need them.

Clip Level

On the clip level, the effect will just be applied to the file you specify in your Composition's timeline. For example, maybe you had to re-record some portions of your audio after the initial session and the new microphone and room environment don't quite sound the same. You could add an Equalizer effect to 

Track Level

On the track level, the effect will be applied to all of the clips that you've added to the track in your timeline. This is great for example in a multi-track recording situation where maybe one speaker has a greater dynamic range (volume) than the others and needs a bit of compression to tame the peaks.

Composition Level

On the Composition level, the effect will be applied across all of the tracks in your Composition (sometimes known as the master bus). This is the perfect stage to add a Compressor or Limiter to give your final mix just a bit more oomph before publication.

 

Types of Effects in Descript

Descript contains several types of effects that can be categorized into 3 types:

  • Dynamics - Effects that modify the overall volume of your content.
  • Equalizer (EQ) - Effects that control the volume of specific frequencies of your content.
  • Creative - Effects that apply a unique sound or characteristic to the content.

 

Dynamics Effects

Dynamics processors control the volume of your mix, typically to allow for greater consistency across the length of a file, or to achieve a desired output level.

  • Compressor - Reduces the volume of a signal beyond a certain threshold. This is especially helpful for animated speakers, or highly dynamic instrumentation.
  • Limiter - The Limiter can be thought of as similar to a Compressor, but rather than reducing the volume at a pre-defined ratio, it has a definable ceiling value that the audio cannot exceed.
  • Reduce the volume of other tracks (Ducking) - Ducking is a feature that reduces the volume of other tracks when a clip is playing (typically your narrative audio). When the clip ends, the other tracks will be brought back up to full volume, and when the next clip begins, they will automatically 'duck' to the defined level.

 

EQ Effects

An equalizer provides the ability to control specified frequency ranges in the audio spectrum of your media. This can be helpful when trying to improve the intelligibility of a poorly recorded source file, or creatively when trying to shape a unique sound for a recording.

  • Equalizer - A 10-band graphic EQ (adjusts volume centered around 10 pre-defined frequencies)
  • Hi-Shelf EQ - Uniformly adjusts the volume of frequencies beyond a specified frequency in the audio spectrum.
  • Hi-Pass Filter - Also called a low-cut filter, this EQ applies a gradual "roll off" to all of the low frequencies beyond the specified cutoff point.
  • Low-Shelf EQ - Uniformly adjusts the volume of frequencies beyond a specified frequency in the audio spectrum.
  • Low-Pass Filter - Also called a high-cut filter, this EQ applies a gradual "roll off" to all of the high frequencies beyond the specified cutoff point.

 

Creative Effects

These effects can help provide a unique characteristic to your sound such as a

  • Bit Crusher - A digital distortion effect that processes a signal with a variable bit-rate, effectually causing a high-level of "gritty" distortion.
  • Distortion - An effect that is usually described as "choppy", "fuzzy" or otherwise unintelligible, typically created by over-driving the volume of a signal through a processor.
  • Flanger - An effect characterized by a "wooshing" or "sweeping" sound, typically produced by mixing in a second copy of the source audio signal together with the first, but with a variable speed.
  • Reverb - An effect that simulates reverberation, resulting in the source audio sounding as if it were recorded in different types of rooms / spaces.

 

Getting Started

To get started you can click the either the Clip Inspector or Track Inspector icon on the top right of the Descript app.

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The Inspector menu's show a quick view of all the clip, track and Composition properties in your current Composition. 

Note: You can also use the Keyboard Shortcut to view the track inspector:

MacOS: Cmd + Option + I    Windows: Ctrl + Alt + I

 

Adding effects

To add an effect, you can click on the + Add Effect button from the Inspector and choose from the list of available effects. Simple!

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Configuring effects

By default your effects will have a few "presets" options available by clicking on the "(Default)" dropdown menu and choosing from the list. If you want more granular control over your effects settings, click the Show details button at the right.

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Disabling / Removing Effects

If you would like to temporarily disable your effect, click the toggle button to the right of the Effect name. You can re-toggle the effect back on when you're ready to proceed.

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