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Delay or echo as it's sometimes called is an integral part of the mixer's toolbox because it's able to make things sound larger than life or push them back in the mix, just like reverb, but does so by being somewhat less noticeable than reverb. In fact, there are some recordings where the only effect is delay and not a speck of reverb is used anywhere. In this segment, I am going to explain some of the principles behind adding a delay effect to your mix. Many of the reasons for using delay are the same as with reverb. For instance, delay can be used to push a sound back in the mix.
By using a longer delay, the track will seem further away from the listener if the level is high enough. Adding more repeats also enhances this effect. Make an instrument or vocal sound larger than life. A very short delay of under 40 milliseconds or so reinforces the dry signal, while artificially reproducing what's known as the first reflection in the room. This is the most powerful and audible part of natural room ambience. Also, panning the delay to one side of the mix and the dry signal to the other widens the sound of the track and the stereo soundstage.
Add an artificial double. By adding a 50 to 100 milliseconds delay, you can artificially create the slap-back double track effect heard on so many hits of the 50s, because that's the only effect they had back then. Add a "glue" to the mix. Delay that's timed to the track essentially disappears, but it has the effect of melding the track together in a way that reverb can't do. Better mixers call it the glue to the track. So to sum it up, delay is used either push the sound back in the mix or make an instrument or vocal sound larger than life.
And also be used at an artificial double track effect or add the elusive glue to a mix.
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