Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
Video: Building interesting effects with delay effect processingIn this video, we will learn about delay effect devices and how they can help turn a stale mix into a much more interesting song. Delays are devices that delay or hold a copy of a signal for a user-defined amount of time. When the delayed signal is mixed back in with the unprocessed signal, it adds a sense of depth, or dimension. There are several types of delay effects devices, which are defined by the amount of delay time and the presence, or lack, of modulation. For example, doubling, echo, slap back, repeating delay effects typically don't use modulation, whereas flanging, phase shifting, and chorusing do.
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Ableton Live 8 Essential Training with Rick Schmunk offers a comprehensive overview of Ableton's live audio and MIDI sequencing software and the techniques required to compose, record, and edit music, in real time, on stage, or in the studio. The course includes tutorials on compiling live sets from audio and MIDI clips, loops, or samples, applying MIDI effects, warping audio, and recording and producing songs in any number of contemporary styles. Exercise files are included with the course.
- Putting together a DAW system
- Setting up Ableton preferences
- Importing and exporting content
- Recording MIDI
- Editing and quantizing MIDI data
- Recording audio
- Recording in Arrangement view
- Using sends and returns in the Live Mixer
- Grouping tracks
- Signal processing
- Creating and editing automation envelopes
- Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
- Looping and warping audio clips
- Mapping device controls to a MIDI keyboard
- Working with virtual instruments
- Integrating Live with Pro Tools and Logic
Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
In this video, we will learn about delay effect devices and how they can help turn a stale mix into a much more interesting song. Delays are devices that delay or hold a copy of a signal for a user-defined amount of time. When the delayed signal is mixed back in with the unprocessed signal, it adds a sense of depth, or dimension. There are several types of delay effects devices, which are defined by the amount of delay time and the presence, or lack, of modulation. For example, doubling, echo, slap back, repeating delay effects typically don't use modulation, whereas flanging, phase shifting, and chorusing do.
So I have got a track set up here called Simple Delay. And I have got a virtual instrument plug in on it and of couple of different delay devices that we are going to look at. So first of all, I will play a note, so that we can hear that we don't have any delay. (Music playing.) I am going to activate this first delay by clicking on the Activator button. And let's take a look at the parameters. So first of all I can set the delay time. And I can do that in terms of having the delays synched to the rhythm of the song. So right now these eight buttons here will determine the amount of delay time based upon 16th notes.
So 1 would be 1/16th note, 2 would be 2/16th or an 8th note, and so on. I can unclick this Sync button, and it will show Time. And now I can set that in increments of a specific time. Right now, it's on 100 milliseconds. So now if I press a key on my keyboard, I should hear that I've got the delay in. (Music playing.) And we're hearing several repeats happen. That's because I've got this Feedback switch turned up down here, at the bottom of the Delay.
And what the Feedback does is actually take the delayed signal and return it back to the input of the delay so that it can be delayed at the second time. So you get a repeat of the repeat, and so on. So if I set this on 0, we should hear just one repeat. (Music playing.) There you go. And as I increase this, you will hear more and more repeats. (Music playing.) Now with this particular delay, I can actually have a left and a right delay set up.
Right now, they're linked together. If I unclick the Linking button, you will notice that I get one delay time for the left and a different one for the right. And in this case, I have got it set for a 16th on left and then a quarter note on right. (Music playing.) And last but not least, I have a Dry/Wet setting here. Now when you place a time-based effect like a delay on a track, you are going to want to determine the amount of unprocessed signal to process signal, or dry to wet. If I set this all away to the dry side, I won't get any effect at all.
(Music playing.) Now if I set it all away over to the wet side-- (Music playing.) In effect, all I'm doing is just delaying that by the increment that I have here. I am not actually hearing the dry signal. So you are probably going to want to set this somewhere more in the middle to taste. (Music playing.) Okay. So that's one of Live's basic delay devices. Another one is this PingPong delay device. And this is very, very similar, with the exception that I have this EQ circuit that it's included.
And what I can do here is I can set a center frequency and then a cue amount on how wide around that center frequency that I am allowing signal to pass through. Outside of this orange line here, on the other sides, I'm actually rolling off or cutting back on the EQ. So again, I can move these center frequencies around, determine where I want that, and then with this setting I can actually open or close the cue. So I'm letting more or less signal passed through. Let's see what that sounds like.
(Music playing.) You can kind hear the degradation of the signal, in terms of the frequency. And if I move this around, you'll hear that change in time. (Music playing.) So that can create a very interesting and useful effect, and later on when we talk about automation, we will talk about how you can actually automate a parameter on a plug-in so it actually changes in real time. Now I am going to go over this filter delay track.
I will activate that one. And we'll see here that I have kind of combination of the two devices we saw on the other track. I actually we have three delays, now I have independent settings for each one. So I have got Delay Time, Feedback-- as well, I have little EQ circuit. But I can do that independently for three different delays, and I can also pan those left, right, and center--however I want-- and then set a volume, or gain level, for each one of the three, and then and overall output on that.
And this could end up creating a very, very rich sound. (Music playing.) So right now, I have got one of these set at an 8th note, the right side is set on a quarter note, and the center is set 1/16th past the quarter note. So that creates a very, very interesting delay effect. (Music playing.) Moving on, let's take a look at what we have got happening here on the chorus track.
Chorus is an effect that uses a most amount of delay. In this particularly plug in, I have actually got two delay lines. One is currently set to 18.9 milliseconds-- you can change with this slider--and a second one that I have currently got such 13.4 milliseconds. But one of the additional things that we are going to do here is we are actually going to modulate that delay time. And we can do that in one of three ways. If it's set to Off, the modulation is only going to effect the first delay line. If it's set to Fix, only the first delay line is modulated.
And if I set it on Mod, I will actually be modulating both of these. Now I modulate that by an amount. In this case, I have got it set to .84 milliseconds, so it's going to fluctuate the delay time on these delays an additional 8.4 milliseconds and a less 8.84 milliseconds. And then I can set how fast it's going to do that. Currently, we have got that set to happen 2.7 times per second. So let's here what that sounds like (Music playing.) Now if I take the Activator button and turn that off, we will hear that this is actually a pretty stale-sounding preset, (Music playing.) and that by putting the chorus on, its actually kind of de-tuning the sound of it and making it sound much richer.
(Music playing.) And again, we can change these individually, or I can drag this parameter right here to change both of those simultaneously. And you can hear how we can go from a pretty subtle effect to a pretty aggressive effect. (Music playing.) Here's subtle. (Music playing.) So depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, that can be a very interesting effect.
Now the other thing we can do is we can combine this with a delay. In this case, I've set up a delay on a send, so I am going to copy a little bit of signal from the chorus track and send it over here to this return track, where I've got a PingPong Delay set up. And if I activate that, we should hear both of these together. (Music playing.) Now notice, on the PingPong Delay, since I have it on a return track, I've set the Dry/Wet setting to 100%.
That's because the relatively unprocessed signal is coming through the chorus track and only the delay is being added to this return track. You can hear that that gives at a much deeper sense of dimension than without. (Music playing.) So hopefully, after this video you are as excited about delay effects as I am. In any case, try adding some delay effects to your mixes and experiment with what they can do.
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