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The Art of Digital Delays



With all the fancy effects on the market it may be easy to overlook digital delay.

The interesting thing is almost all effects were original made from delays in some way.

 

Delay is the ability to move time and allows the producer to create a unique set of moods and emotions that can be sculpted with in a mix.

 

 


A good example of this is the slap-back you can hear on so many Elvis songs on the vocal.

For several years this effect became very popular as good reverbs were not readily available yet.

 


 

These delays or slap-back gave the illusion that the signer was emoting strong emotion in a somewhat live environment.


The producers used short delays like you might hear in a live concert hall bouncing off the back wall.

 

This effect created a kind of excitement with the vocal.

Another effect that is still commonly done with short delays is vocal doubling.

 

This is a very useful effect for giving a vocal depth without washing it with Reverb.

 


Delay is also very commonly used on guitar solos to help sustain the notes to give the sound of distance.

 

Again unlike Reverb it allows for more of the original signal to cut threw.

Reverb is actually just many delays reflecting off surfaces.

 

The invention of delay allowed the producer to control the ambiance inside the mix.

Many world known producers will use short delays to create depth and movement inside a mix while leaving it sound relatively dry.

 

Another interesting trick is to take a mono instrument and copy it. Pan the original left all the way and the copy right all the way.

 

Now if you very very slightly move the copied track (don't move the original) your mono instrument will now have a very nice stereo field.


 

If you can imagine that all sound you hear has some element of reelections that is the result of the environment that sound is in.

 

These reflections are essential delays. Listen to sound when you are in different buildings houses and environments. Examine  how the original sound is responding in those environments.

 

You can create the feeling of many different acoustical room sizes and environments by learning to use delays.



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