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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.
Having a long list of delay plug-ins to choose from can be intimidating at first, but I have some good news. When you learn how to use one delay, you've pretty much mastered all of them. The basic parameters of level, delay time, low-pass filter, feedback, polarity reverse, modulation rate, and modulation depth are all found on almost every delay processor. This is one the most basic delay plug- ins you might find, but it's rich with all the controls we discussed. We have level control shown here as gain, we specify the delay time here, there is a low-pass filter, feedback, polarity reverse and a modulation section.
Because it's a plug-in, it has a view to the tempo of your project if you're using the tempo maps within your digital audio workstation. This lower section lets you take advantage of that, to simply specify the delay time in musically useful amounts, entering a quarter note or a dotted eighth note, or any other musical value, instead of a delay time in milliseconds. (music playing) Here's a more advanced delay plug-in, a 6-Tap delay from Waves.
The six simply refers to the number of delay outputs this plug-in has. Even this more complicated plug-in still has the familiar fundamental parameters we like to see. It's got a global level control and a global delay time. Then each of the six delay taps has its own individual level, delay-time, and low-pass filter, and here's feedback. With so many delay outputs, we add the ability to pan each of the six outputs to any location in the stereo field leading to some nice spatial effects.
The Waves H-Delay, or Hybrid Delay has all the usual culprits present. We see output level, delay time, filters, low-pass and high-pass on this one, polarity reverse, and a modulation section. This delay also adds some adjustable coloration to the signal, with an ear on some vintage delay lines that were themselves not exactly high fidelity devices. This LoFi button pulls out the high frequencies from the delay. It alludes to early digital delays which ran at such low sample rates that depending on the make and model they sometimes couldn't encode audio much above 6 kHz or so.
We know we're lucky to be alive in audio at this moment in history. Our high sample rates today mean we can work with audio systems that are clean and full bandwidth, but a strategically narrow-band can help some tracks play fair with all the other tracks in the mix. LoFi means our delay won't compete with the other tracks at high frequencies. Another source of sonic character on this delay is the analog parameter. Turn it off and this delay is clean and pristine. Engage any one of the four analog modes for unique character, largely tonal, inspired in part by older analog circuits and tape machines.
For some applications, we like the character and charm of the imperfections of old, and this plug-in makes it possible. It's got a lot going on right now, let me strip it down and then build back up to this. (music playing)
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