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In this installment of Foundations of Audio, author Alex U. Case explains the fundamentals of delay and modulation effects and how to apply these effects, technically and creatively, to improve the sound of a mix. The course covers adjusting individual parameters such as delay time, level, and feedback; working with long delays to create echoes, enhance groove, and add support; using delay modulation for chorus and doubling effects; and dialing-in spectral effects from delay, such as flanging. This course also includes Get in the Mix (GITM) sessions for both Avid Pro Tools and Apple Logic Pro. Exercise files are also included with the course.
A single delay processor, tape, outboard, or plug-in offers a broad range of audio opportunities representing a nearly infinite number of sound qualities to be explored. Short delays create that family of effects called comb filtering and flanging. Medium delays lead to doubling, chorusing, spreading, and thickening. And long delays lead to echoes; echoes for emphasis, support, groove, and slap back. Making sound recordings is a wonderfully open-ended creative process, but there is the risk especially if you're new to this craft, that at any given moment, you may not be sure what your next step should be.
Maybe like me, you've been in this situation. You push up the faders and you wonder what to do. There are too many possibilities and you have so many ideas. You wonder, where do I start? So let's rule something out. You should never add delay to a track simply because you think it needs delay. That's too vague. Delay can do so many different things to a track. Instead, you should try to have a clearly defined sonic target in mind, a mix strategy. Once you've become familiar with the sound of a groove enhancing echo, a shimmering chorus, a radical comb filter, and the many other delay-based effects we've explored in this course, you will have access to a functional sonic vocabulary that can inform and inspire you.
Knowing more instinctively when to reach for delay and what parameter settings you might need can help you stay oriented towards the production goal and not get bogged down in the effects devices themselves. When you know, in your mind's ear, what your track could sound like, you're able to bring it to life using the techniques we've explored throughout this course. Separating long delays from medium delays from short delays, and knowing what can be accomplished with each, gives you a sharper production focus. It can help you get to work more efficiently, and more importantly free you up creatively.
I'm certain this leads to better sounding mixes. Thanks for watching Foundations of Audio: Delay and Modulation. If you like this way of thinking, come visit me at recordingology.com. And be sure to check out the other Foundations of Audio courses here at lynda.com.
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