The Art Of Delay
The simple go to affect that is the delay has become a staple in most producers’ selections but many overlook the sheer versatility of such a humble devise.
From endless feedback loops to stereo width, adding space and dimension to false perceptions of panning the world really is your oyster.
In this article I’m going to explore a few of my favourite techniques that should hopefully inspire you to explore, experiment and get creative.
False Stereo – Sample Delays
This simple technique can be applied to most delays that offer L & R delay flexibility but for this example we’ll use Logics very own sample delay. This craft tool allows us to delay the signal of one side of our audio creating the illusion that the sound, which was once placed centrally, is now off to one side.
Logic sample Delay.
Tip: The further you push the sample delay the wider and more obvious the effect shall become. Embracing the HAAS effect opens up a wealth of width within your mix when used properly.
Ableton Sample Delay. Note: Be careful when experimenting with this. Push it too far and sounds can become out of time or sound confusing.
What’s better than one delay you ask?! Two or three of course.
Try stacking multiple delays on top of each other on an FX send in your DAW. Ensure they have different delay times and different filter settings for things to get really crazy.
Tip: Experiment swapping the order of the delays and changing one from mono to stereo, ping-pong and also experiment with dotted / Triplet settings.
The interaction between the two often spits out results that you’d struggle to achieve with just one delay and the joy is in the unknown. Often things happen you’d never expect and ensures your productions have a sense of originality.
You never know, you might have just found a combination of settings that’s never been tried before.
Obviously compressors aren’t delays but I thought this was something that might be worth bringing up. If you intend to explore extreme settings or just want the FX to controlled a compressor / limiter with a high ratio setting can ensure things don’t get too out of hand without you noticing.
Tip: Try adding a side chain compressor after the delay to ensure the delays move and duck in time with your track. This can be great for repeats that spill over that big drop or chorus.
This technique allows the most simple of sounds to be transported into an otherworldly space of weirdness and originality.
Try placing a delay on your percussion channel with the feedback at 80% but the delay time around 10ms.
This incredibly short delay time creates a weird reverb that can be adjusted by automating the delay time. As the delay time changes the pitch of the delay also adjusts allowing you to tune the effect to the key of your track.
Not strictly delay related but don’t forget the secret panel in Logic’s very own Tape Delay plug-in has a sneaky little distortion level control that’s great for driving the input of the signal. It’s also emulates Tape Saturation which is ideal if you don’t have a tape plug in.
(Logic Tape Delay – Tape Saturation Control)