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Delay time, level, and feedback parameters

From: Foundations of Audio: Delay and Modulation

Video: Delay time, level, and feedback parameters

Conveniently, most delay effects have many of the same features and parameters. What I'll be sharing with you in this course will apply to all delay effect plug-ins, the ones you already have in your studio and others you may acquire in the future. Three of the most important delay settings are input/output level, delay time, and feedback. Input/output levels are pretty self-explanatory. The goal is usually to set input and output levels so that there's no significant gain change happening as a result of passing the audio through the delay.

Delay time, level, and feedback parameters

Conveniently, most delay effects have many of the same features and parameters. What I'll be sharing with you in this course will apply to all delay effect plug-ins, the ones you already have in your studio and others you may acquire in the future. Three of the most important delay settings are input/output level, delay time, and feedback. Input/output levels are pretty self-explanatory. The goal is usually to set input and output levels so that there's no significant gain change happening as a result of passing the audio through the delay.

That is we use the faders in the DAW, or on the mixing console, for major level adjustments and try to pass signals into and out of the delay processor without too much level change. Watch the input level to make sure the device isn't overdriven to the point of distortion, unless of course distortion is part of your intended effect. Next, we need a way to adjust the timing of the delay. So a time parameter is provided. You can set your delay in standard units of time like milliseconds, or by a direct reference to your song's tempo in various rhythmic increments like eighth notes or quarter notes.

For plug-ins and outboard digital processors, you can freely adjust the delay time to taste. On a tape delay, you're a little more constrained. Your only means of changing the delay time is to change the tape speed or to change the distance between the record and the playback heads, or get another tape machine if you're feeling ambitious. While delay time adjustment seems almost trivial on a digital delay, we can become better mix engineers when we learn from history. Once upon a time, not very long ago really, the delay parameter itself was rather crude, offering no numeric readout.

On old analog delay lines and most early digital delays, you turn the delay time setting to the left to shorten and to the right to lengthen. There was no numeric readout. I mentioned this bit of anachronistic charm to emphasize an essential point. The delay time can be set by ear, not by eye. I'll go further. The delay time should be set more by ear than by eye. So listen, please listen to the sonic implications of your delay time setting. What might look good on the screen or check out mathematically when you setup the device, may not make much musical sense when you listen to it.

So set the delay time control to the right sounding value. I'll show you how to set the delay time by ear and in mathematical relation to the song's tempo in upcoming videos in this course. After level and delay time comes feedback. Feedback, sometimes called regeneration, is another common feature in almost all delay processors. It allows us to send the output of the delay right back into the input. With this parameter, our delayed signal gets delayed yet again. Strange at first, you'll soon see that it offers intriguing possibilities.

Through this feedback control, a single echo can be made to repeat. It can repeat as many times as we like. (music playing) Level, delay time, and feedback, but we're not done. I'll show you some additional delay parameters in the next video.

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Foundations of Audio: Delay and Modulation

32 video lessons · 8721 viewers

Alex U. Case
Author

 
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  1. 4m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      50s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      54s
    4. Using the "Get In the Mix" Pro Tools session files
      1m 34s
  2. 25m 46s
    1. What is delay?
      2m 7s
    2. Creating delay effects overview
      1m 41s
    3. Delay time, level, and feedback parameters
      3m 0s
    4. Utilizing a low-pass filter and polarity reverse
      3m 7s
    5. Setting up an effects loop for delay
      1m 6s
    6. Setting up an effects loop in a DAW
      5m 40s
    7. Setting the delay time by tempo
      5m 40s
    8. Setting the delay time by ear
      3m 25s
  3. 31m 29s
    1. Overview of short, medium, and long delays
      3m 49s
    2. Long delays
      3m 17s
    3. Get in the Mix: Using long delay on key lyrics
      7m 2s
    4. Get in the Mix: Establishing groove with long delays
      8m 42s
    5. Get in the Mix: Creating slap-back echo with long delays
      6m 6s
    6. Advanced tape-delay effects
      2m 33s
  4. 49m 48s
    1. LFO
      2m 39s
    2. Get in the Mix: Modulation rate and depth
      7m 32s
    3. Get in the Mix: Modulation shape
      7m 43s
    4. Delay effects examples in various plug-ins
      3m 52s
    5. Medium delays
      3m 52s
    6. Get in the Mix: Chorus
      5m 54s
    7. Get in the Mix: Double tracking
      6m 23s
    8. Get in the Mix: Spreaders and thickeners
      11m 53s
  5. 16m 31s
    1. Constructive and destructive interference
      2m 16s
    2. Short delays
      1m 6s
    3. Get in the Mix: Creating a comb filter and a flange effect
      5m 34s
    4. Get in the Mix: Flanger and phaser effects
      7m 35s
  6. 19m 11s
    1. Using delays in a real-world mix
      16m 59s
    2. Course summary and goodbye
      2m 12s

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