Difference Between Insert (IFX) and Master (MFX) Effects on Workstation/Arranger-Workstation Keyboards

In any electronic keyboard, effects play a very important part in enhancing the sound. On a good workstation/ arranger-workstation (like Korg Pa series, Kronos series, Yamaha MO series, PSR S series or Roland Phantom series) effects can be assigned as Insert Effects (IFX) and Master Effects (MFX) separately. Many keyboardists have doubts about the proper use of effects on their keyboard.

The general impression among users is that there are separate effect templates (delay, reverb etc.) for IFX and MFX and they cannot be used in the other templates. This impression is totally wrong. In fact, effect templates are common to both and the user needs to decide how he wants to use the effects (IFX or MFX). The IFX and MFX templates do have differences in sound, style or sequence features. Both can be assigned onto a number of tracks, but IFX does not allow the user to have different “send” levels, which MFX does.

Different “send” levels are required when the effect send (intensity) is different on different tracks (e.g. less in drums, more in other instruments, or most in lead instruments). Assigning IFX in different tracks will work perfectly but the send level (intensity) will be exactly the same for all the tracks. Understanding this small difference and correct use & setting of this feature can produce amazing sounding recorded musical data. You can view a collection of fantastic arranger workstations and workstations here.

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