Tips And Tricks For Using Delay

 

Delay is definitely my favourite effect to use on a mix. I'll use it on guitars, vocals, synths, and depending no the style of music, sometimes even crashes, snares. I find it really adds a lot of character and vibe to the sound. As with most things, this one can easily be overdone. Here's some tips on using delays.

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1) Use Auxiliary Channels For Delay

The reason to do this is so you keep the original sound while adding the fully wet delay sound in. Two things to watch here. First, increasing the amount of delay will start to increase the volume, as the original sound is not getting quieter, you're adding to it. Second, some plugins already have individual faders for wet and dry sounds, however it's probably good practice just get into the routine of setting up an aux. By doing so, you can add other tracks into that delay sound as well. 

2) Put a HPF (High Pass Filter) On After The Delay

This is especially crucial if your delay is set for a decent amount of feedback (repeats). The accumulation of the repeats can cause a low-end buildup, which will add mud to your mix. Try somewhere between 100hz and 300 hz, and mix to taste

3) Put a LPF (Low Pass Filter) On After The Delay

This one is a little less common, but it can help clear up some of the top end for other sources. Definitely darkens the delay. Mix to taste!

4) Try A Slap Delay

Slap delay works really great on vocals and guitars. Try setting the delay time to somewhere between 50 ms and 120 ms. It will make the delay start to sound like a small room reverb, but much cooler. In addition, you can then use the feedback knob to set the decay. Be careful though, too much feedback will start to add a fluttery effect, especially at shorter delay times.

5) Time Your Delays

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In some instances, you can just set a default delay time. However, I would recommend that you try to sync with the tempo as much as you can. This will prevent irregular rhythms from showing up on your song. 

6) Use Stereo Or Ping Pong Delays For A Huge And Wide Sound

This can be really fun. Try setting a stereo delay with a left side delay time at a 1/4 note, and the right side delay at a dotted eighth note. The offsetting delay times will create a huge space for the instrument

7) Play A Steady 8th Note Pattern With A Mono Dotted 8th Note Delay

This is the sound you hear from guys like The Edge, Eddie Van Halen, and a hand full of newer artists. A little eighties sounding, but hey, it's still fun. Put on your fluorescent pants and boogie!

Post any other techniques you got up your sleeve right here! Thanks guys.

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Cheers! 

Brad
Velveteen Audio