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Whether one is producing music, podcasts, game sounds, or film sound effects, Digital Audio Principles provides the tips and techniques that will make the project a success. Author Dave Schroeder explains the basics of digital audio production techniques and covers the essential hardware and software. He also discusses sound theory, frequency response, the range of human hearing, and dynamic range.
In this section, we'll take a look at echo and delay. Now, you might be thinking, well, isn't echo and delay really reverb just longer and more of it? It's actually not. There is kind of a distinction that we use in that echo and delay involve a distinctive repeat of the original sound, whereas reverb is kind of the reflections of that original sound decaying slowly over time. So if you out to the Grand Canyon and you yell your name out there, 'Hello Dave!' you get 'Hello Dave!' that comes back. As opposed to if you go down to a cement parking garage and yell hello Dave, you won't hear that come right back at you as a distinct repeat.
You'll just kind of hear all the reflections, and it will feel like that sound goes on longer, but it's not the same as it being repeated. So let's look at applying some delay to a few different things. We'll start with a drumbeat. We'll go in here and grab this version of drums, and we'll insert a delay plug-in. So we can set a few things in here, but I'm just going to play a little bit and let you hear what delay is.
(drums playing) I'll bypass it. (drums playing) So that's delay, distinct repeats of the sound. Generally in delay, you'll get the mix control again, and then you'll get the actual delay length.
In this case, we're here and working with milliseconds. This lets me to select how long the time between the initial sound and the next sound is. So, that's your main control to pay attention to in delay. The other important one to think about is feedback, and that's the number of regenerations of the sound. If I have my Feedback set very low like it 1 and I play it, we'll hear that there is kind of one distinct echo. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on a little sound here, so we can have one distinct hit for demonstration purposes.
We'll just grab these last few beats. Then we'll go for a pretty long delay. Then we'll add more feedback. So let's go back down and no feedback. We'll turn the mix up so we can hear the delayed signal a little bit more, about 50-50. Let's make that really long. Now, I'm going to launch a longer delay, because we can go a lot farther than that; we can really put this in the canyon.
We'll keep the mix, but now we can say I've got a lot--we can go much farther up to them, probably even this. Again, let's try that. (drums playing) Cool, much longer. Then we can add the feedback to add lots of repeats. (drums playing) So that's cool.
So let's just queue up this track and just kind of play with it, and see what kind of different textures we can get. You can use it to add a little bit of depth. We can use it really subtly and we'll use a-- (drums playing) Delay is very cool on drums.
You can do a lot of cool stuff. You can see that just by adjusting the length of delay, we can get a lot of different effects. This can be applied to all kinds of different instruments. It's just good to kind of demonstrate it on drums, and also I think a lot of fun. Let's go ahead and apply it a little bit of voice just to get a sense of how you might use it on a vocal. Again, we'll use the podcast voice and insert a medium delay. On a voice you can use it to create what's known as the slapback echo, which has a very, very short delay time.
Sometimes it'll be referred to as a bit of a doubler, and it can have a cool effect, especially on vocals. It can really make them pop out of the mix. (Female Speaker: Welcome to the lynda.com video training podcast for Friday, January 19th, 2006.) (Female Speaker: Oops. 2000. January 19th, 2007. This is episode 47.) Another thing I have is I have a Low Pass Frequency option here where I can actually reduce the frequencies of the delayed sound so that the first sound, the wet mix, has the same frequency as the original sound file, but the delayed repeats don't have the same frequency response.
So I can cut off the high frequencies a little bit here, and that will actually makes the sound a little less metallic. (Female Speaker: Welcome to the lynda.com video training podcast for Friday, January 19th, 2006.) If you like old Beatles music and old John Lennon stuff, (Female Speaker: Oops. 2000. January 19th, 2007. This is episode 47. This--) they use a lot of this kind of doubling slapback effect on the vocal tracks, and if you go back and check those out listen to the effects that they use on the different vocals, they make the vocals really stand out from the mix.
So that's a few ways to use delay. Of course, you can bring it in and use it for a sound design and making special effects, for adding a little bit of depth or kind of warmth to different instruments, and just generally putting things in a different space. By using delay you can send sounds to the back of the mix or bring them to the front. Or you can just make them seem a little bit bigger than they really are and fill them out. So that's delay. Next, we'll talk about modulation tools and how you can use those to kind of add a little bit more character to some of the sounds you're working with.
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