Multi-effect signal processors are devices that offer a wide variety of audio effects in one unit. They can modify the pitch of an incoming audio signal, natural reverb effects, time compression and expansion, flanging, delay, and time-reversal and repeat capabilities. The design of most signal processing devices aims at performing more than one function without using individual signal processor boxes. Hence, a single black box can create a variety of digital effects. For instance, Yamaha, Lexicon, and Eventide offer signal processing tools in their production studios.
Multi-Effect Signal Processors and the User Experience
Most workstations and software programs add special effects to the audio signals. You can apply these effects to the audio signal quite easily by clicking on a specific effect button. Regardless, in some cases, the user might have to set various parameters to create a particular signal processing effect. When this is the case, the process potentially becomes more difficult. Anyhow, in most scenarios, editing softwares or workstation systems are still simpler to operate than their black box counterparts.
Multi-effect signal processors usually involve building blocks based on signal processors. Examples of these processors are equalizers, mixers, gates, speaker simulations, compressors, exciters, swept resonance synth-style filters, and overdrive effects. Within the multi-effects unit, the user can route the signal in many different ways and through several combinations of effect blocks. Therefore, mixer modules are essential.
The Mixing Element
You need a mixing element in two situations. First, with a couple of effect blocks to mix. Second, when a dry signal mixes with the output of an effective block. The user can create customized algorithms by adjusting the levels of the signal. If the output of one effect block is fed to the input of another, a mixer is not necessary. Nevertheless, if the user wants to combine outputs from two parallel effects blocks, a mixer is essential. Simple multi-effect units connect the individual effects blocks in a series chain, so the user is able to choose which blocks to use.