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In this video, I wanted to discuss how Delay effects work and how to apply them well in your Pro Tools session. Delay effects record a signal, then play it back at a user selected time delay. A single Delay of less than 35 milliseconds is called a Double because this effect makes the track sound like there are two of the same part being played and sung at basically the same time. A slap back Delay is a single repeat with a Delay time over 35 milliseconds. Slap back Delay times of 35-75 milliseconds are good for thickening vocal or instrumental tracks. While Delays of 125 -350 milliseconds are useful for making a vocal or guitar track sound large. Longer Delay times will yield echo like effects. I'm going to open up the extra long Delay plug-in on this Aux track here. Now it's usually a good idea to set the Delay time in relation to the beat and tempo of the song. That is, an eighth note, a quarter note and in this case, I have it set as a whole note. The rhythm you create with the Delay can add a nice groove element to your mix.
To do this, make use of the Tempo Sync function in most Pro Tools Delay plug-ins which will synchronize the Delays to the Session Tempo, just click the Tempo Sync icon, the little metronome or the Sync button and set your plug-in parameters as you want. Let's listen to an example that I have got set up here. In this session, I have an Effects Loop that I have set up on Bus 5 and 6. These tracks are routed to this extra long Delay on this Aux track. Notice how I have got a whole note set as the Delay time, which is going to make for a very long Delay. I'm going to press Play and listen for the delayed signal that's a whole note past when the original signal is played. (Music playing.) Let's take a look at some of the parameters that are here in this Delay plug-in. First, we have got the Gain. This affects the volume level of what's going to come out of this Delay plug- in. The mix determines how much of the original signal is being delayed. Often if we have set up an Effects loop like this, we'll use 100% as the Mix value.
LPF stands for low pass filter and this is used to filter out the high end, so that it doesn't build up if you are using a lot of feedback. Delay is the Delay Length, in this case, 1700 milliseconds, pretty long. Depth and Rate refer to the amount of modulation and the rate of modulation and we'll cover this stuff in the modulation video later in this course. Feedback refers to the amount of signal that is sent back into the Delay input creating a Delay of the delayed signal. The higher the feedback level, the more delays are created.
Obviously, we see down here that the Tempo is locked up with the tempo of the session because we have our little Tempo Sync button activated. If we inactivate this, we'll see that we could actually change this by dragging and you see that the Delay length changes as we change the Tempo, I'm going to re-lock that up. We can change the meter, we can also change the note value or add triplets or dot the notes and we can change the Groove percentage. Now I'm going to switch over to a different plug-in, I'm going to bypass this one and add in this new AIR Dynamic Delay plug-in and you will note that the Sync button here is active and that means that it's Tempo Synced with the session.
Now we'll use this one to playback and listen to a bunch of feedback, we have got 100% feedback in here. So that's going to create a lot of delays that are repeated on themselves. We can use this feedback actually to smooth out the sound of a track or given an infinite never-ending field, let's play a track and listen to this. (Music playing.) So as you can hear on that last note, the feedback continues and continues and so I roll that off to actually stop it. In this plug-in, there is a lot of different parameters that we can tweak. Obviously the Delay time, we have got the left and right ratio and the stereo width, which can be used to change up how this effect is used in the stereo field. We also have Feedback mode, which is mono, stereo or we can cross the left and the right.
We can change the EQ by cutting some of the highs and the lows and we can change the Envelope Modulation as well as the Mix percentage. Now, I'm going to show you another Delay technique. In this session I have got two separate acoustic guitar tracks record. Two different performances. One here and one here. I'm going to solo those to actually first and you can hear the differences between the two performances. (Music playing.) Pretty well played, pretty tight, but if I want to make this tighter and even more rhythmically aligned, but also keep the doubled sound. I can electronically double one of the guitar tracks and not use the second one, here is how. On this acoustic guitar track, I have set up a Send and busted out Bus 7 to this Aux track, which is receiving it on Bus 7.
So I'm doubling this track, sending this signal to this Aux track and then I add a short Delay with just 16 milliseconds as the Delay length and then I have kept all of these other parameters at 0, have the Mix at 100%. Let me solo both of those. Note that I have made this Send Prefader, so that the Volume fader on the original track doesn't affect the Send level. I have also panned this track to the left and the Aux track to the right. So that we can have the stereo spread.
Now, I'm going to play just these two tracks and you can compare that to the double tracks that I played before. (Music playing.) So, you have to be the judge as to what you like better between the two doubling techniques. But as you can hear, they both have their advantages.
There are numerable Delay effects to choose from. Experiment with all the parameters, check out all the presents and create your own. You can definitely have some fun with Delay effects and get very creative in your mix.
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