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Utilizing a low-pass filter and polarity reverse

From: Foundations of Audio: Delay and Modulation

Video: Utilizing a low-pass filter and polarity reverse

Our discussion of delay parameters so far has covered level, delay time, and feedback. A lot of effects can be built with just these parameters alone, but more cool features await. Another common parameter in delay devices might be a bit surprising at first, a low-pass filter. Low-pass filters attenuate high frequencies but allow the low frequencies to pass on through. Utilizing the low-pass filter to reduce the high frequencies in your delayed signal can be effective way to create the illusion of distance for elements in your mix.

Utilizing a low-pass filter and polarity reverse

Our discussion of delay parameters so far has covered level, delay time, and feedback. A lot of effects can be built with just these parameters alone, but more cool features await. Another common parameter in delay devices might be a bit surprising at first, a low-pass filter. Low-pass filters attenuate high frequencies but allow the low frequencies to pass on through. Utilizing the low-pass filter to reduce the high frequencies in your delayed signal can be effective way to create the illusion of distance for elements in your mix.

It can help to push your track back deep into the mix away from the listener. In addition, attenuating the presence range of the delayed signal, the mid-frequencies, can help prevent some delay effects from cluttering the mix and distracting your listener. In this way, the low-pass filter helps us fit more pieces into the mix without things getting too crowded. A potentially distracting delay effect can settle neatly into a full mix with just a little bit of this low-pass filtering. Many types of delay effects I'll be covering in this course benefit from having some of the high-frequency content of the signal tamed.

Fortunately, the low-pass filter is a common part of many delay effects and is a clever, stock feature in the delay processors we'll be using. Now let's discuss the last of our five delay parameters, the polarity switch. This switch turns things around a bit for interesting results. Take a look at this simple waveform. Reversing the polarity simply reverses things vertically. The part of the waveform above the line is now mirror imaged below. And the below-the-line portion flips up with the exact same shape to a position above the line.

Have you ever seen the woofer and a loudspeaker move? Music hits and the loudspeaker cone snaps forward and back. The sounds we hear come from the motion of that speaker cone which vibrates very quickly back and forth, forward and back from 20 to 20,000 times per second or more as it reproduces the music. When the loudspeaker reproduces a kick drum sound, that sound might begin with the woofer cone moving towards you only to move back and forth repeatedly. Polarity reverse swaps the motion of that speaker cone. Reproducing the same kick drum, the woofer with the polarity reversed would first snap back away from you only to vibrate back and forth.

If you want the sound of a kick drum or a piano or a vocal to be reversed in this way, hit the polarity reverse button. On its own, it's not a particularly audible change. But when your delayed signal is interacting with other signals in your mix, interesting things start to happen. You'll find times when a polarity reverse is particularly useful, and later in this course when we look at the tonal impact delays can have through cone filtering and through flanging, you'll hear this in action. The polarity reverse switch lets us shift the spectral impact of the effect to different frequency locations.

The need to reverse the polarity of the delay effect is common enough that it too is a standard feature in delay processors. Input/output level, delay time, feedback, low-pass filter, and polarity reverse, these are the basic building blocks of a delay processor. Knowing how to work with these parameters prepares you to use not just your processors but pretty much any delay unit you'll ever encounter.

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This video is part of

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Foundations of Audio: Delay and Modulation

32 video lessons · 8683 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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