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In this course, author Bobby Owsinski reveals industry tips, tricks, and techniques for producing professionally mixed audio on any digital audio workstation. He offers recommendations for setting up an optimal listening environment, highlights the most efficient ways to set up and balance a mix, and shows how to build a powerful sound with compression. The course also explains how to master the intricacies of EQ; incorporate reverb, delay, and modulation effects; and generate the final mix.
Both lead and background vocals are frequently the primary recipients of some sort of delay in the mix. For a lead vocal, it can provide a sense of space and polish without pushing it too far back in the mix. For the background vocals, it can be a way to distinguish them from the lead vocal. In this movie, I'm going to demonstrate just how different types of vocal delays sound in the mix. So first of all let's listen to the vocal in the track without any kind of delay on it. (Music playing) The first thing we'll do is we'll solo it up and we already have our three delays set up from another movie, so we're going to use the Haas effect first.
And this is on Bus 19, which is already preset. Let's hear what it sounds like. (Music playing) Now what a Haas effect is, it's a delay of 40 milliseconds or less and the reason why is anything above 40 seconds sounds like a very distinct event. So in other words we'd definitely hear the delay. When it gets below 40 milliseconds, we don't hear the two separate events any longer. We hear them both as one. In this case, if we look, we can see that this is set to 36 milliseconds, so it is definitely below our 40 milliseconds.
Now the cool thing about the Haas effect delay is we can use it to stereoize a track. Let's do that now. What we're going to do is take the delay and we're going to pan it out a little bit, take our normal lead vocal track and pan it out a little bit. Now listen to it. (Music playing) Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) This works better with other instruments rather than vocals.
Sometimes it works really good with background vocals. I wouldn't always use it on a lead vocal, but that just gives you an idea what it sounds like. Now let's go to our next delay. It's a very short delay of 50-150 milliseconds or so. This is on Bus 15. Let's bring this back down. We'll send this to Bus 15. Let's solo it and have a listen. (Music playing) Now let's open up the Delay and see what it is.
This is set to a 16th note delay, which is 144 milliseconds. Anything around 150 milliseconds sounds more like a slap, kind of like the old-time Elvis Presley sound. We've gotten his vocal way back when, which is tape slap. But we can actually try a couple of other things that might work. One of the things I like to do is use a triplet or a dotted note denomination. And sometimes that works a lot better in the track than just a straight order or 8th or 16th note delay. Let's have a listen.
(Music playing) Now this is a 16th note triplet delay. You can see it's at 96 milliseconds now. It sounds pretty good actually. Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) The other thing we can try is a dotted 16th note delay. And that brings this out to 216 milliseconds, which is a little bit higher than we wanted, but listen to what it sounds like. Let's solo it.
(Music playing) Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) That sounds pretty good too. That will work. And you can see how sometimes the dotted note or the triplet denominations actually sound better than the straight quarter or 8th or 16th note.
The quarter, 8th, and 16th note tend to blend into the track in a way that we don't even know they are there. And sometimes that works great, sometimes it doesn't. Where you find that you get a little bit more depth and you can hear the delay just a little bit better on the triplet or the dotted denomination, try them all. The other thing we haven't done is play with the Feedback and the Feedback is number of repeats. And let's do that now. Let's have a quick solo. (Music playing) You can hear we have more and more repeats.
Sometimes this works really well because it fills out the space in between a vocal phrase, but sometimes if there's a lot of words in the vocal, it kind of steps on the various notes. So you're better off to have less Feedback or less repeats. Usually two or three kind of work pretty good in all cases and this is somewhere around 2-5%. Bring this is back to where it was and the way we do that, we hit Option and click on it and it brings us back to 0. Let's close this up. Let's go to our long delay now. The long delay is on Bus 16.
So let's bring this up here. Have a listen. (Music playing) Now you can definitely hear the delay as a separate event which sometimes works great in a track and sometimes doesn't. Let's hear it. (Music playing) It doesn't really sound all that good in the track and let's see what it is. In this case, it's a quarter note triplet at 384 milliseconds. That might not work really well.
Let's see what happens if we lower that a little bit. Let's try a straight 8th note delay. Let's see what it sounds like. (Music playing) Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) That doesn't really work either. So let's go to a dotted 8th note delay. Have a listen. This is pretty long. (Music playing) The other thing we'll do is we'll add a little bit of Feedback.
So there is a couple of more repeats. (Music playing) Let's have a listen. (Music playing) That might work for some songs. It doesn't work for this one. Let's try a triplet now and see what happens. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) That's a little better. Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) And you can hear that one pretty much works.
It sounds pretty good. It gives the vocal a sense of space. It gives it a little bit of dimension and yet it doesn't get in the way. And that's what we're looking for. Finally the last thing we'll do is an untimed delay. And usually what this means is it's a delay that's not timed to the track and because of that, it sticks out and this is just what we want sometimes. We definitely want to hear the delay. So a good starting place is always 350 milliseconds. Let's have a listen to what it is. (Music playing) When you go and hear bands live, a lot of times they'll use a 350 millisecond delay because it kind of works no matter what the tempo of the track is.
And if they want some dimension, they'll just dial that in. And this is kind of very useful number for live delay times. It doesn't always work for recorded delay, but let's hear what it sounds like with the track. (Music playing) It's not bad with this track, but you can definitely hear the delay. Whether you want that or not of course is a question of taste, a question of what the producer wants, a question of what the artist wants.
So as you can hear, delay adds a sense of space and polish without pushing the vocal too far back in the mix. Make sure that you experiment with both timed and untimed delays as well as different delay lengths and note denominations to find the right one for the track.
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