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Understanding delay parameters

From: Audio Mixing Bootcamp

Video: Understanding delay parameters

Delay has fewer control parameters in reverb, but that doesn't make it any less powerful. In this movie I'm going to show you the various delay controls and explain what they're for. The very first one we're going to talk about is delay time and that's similar to the decay time on reverb. What that does is set the time between repeats. It's usually measured in milliseconds since it's rare that it ever goes as long as a second, which is 1000 milliseconds. Let's have a listen to what it sounds like. Here we go with a soloed electric guitar, have a listen. (Music playing) Now, let's go down to 34 milliseconds and have a listen what it sounds like.

Understanding delay parameters

Delay has fewer control parameters in reverb, but that doesn't make it any less powerful. In this movie I'm going to show you the various delay controls and explain what they're for. The very first one we're going to talk about is delay time and that's similar to the decay time on reverb. What that does is set the time between repeats. It's usually measured in milliseconds since it's rare that it ever goes as long as a second, which is 1000 milliseconds. Let's have a listen to what it sounds like. Here we go with a soloed electric guitar, have a listen. (Music playing) Now, let's go down to 34 milliseconds and have a listen what it sounds like.

(Music playing) We can't really hear too much of a difference and once again like reverb, the shorter a Delay gets, the bigger the sound gets. It doesn't necessarily get pushed back from here. It gets bigger. Now let's move this out as far as it will go and this is 2726. In other words this is 2,726 milliseconds, which is 2.7 seconds. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) And you see that it's so long that it gets disconcerting, and now let's move it back to about a second so you can hear what it sounds like there.

(Music playing) Most of the time we have delays under 500 milliseconds and somewhere around 350 is usually a nice place to start. Let's listen to it. (Music playing) The next parameter is repeats, although sometimes it's called regeneration and sometimes just feedback. In this case on the Pro Tools Native Mod Delay, it's actually called Feedback. It sets the number of repeats that we'll hear.

What we're going to do is actually click on this, because what this does is it sets the repeats to the tempo of the track. Let's listen to it. (Music playing) Let's listen as we add feedback. I'll start at 11%. (Music playing) As we get longer, listen to what happens. (Music playing) Actually let's make this longer so you can hear it.

(Music playing) And we can make it very, very long, 94%. (Music playing) The problem here is if we put it at 100%, it'll actually go into feedback, which is why it's called Feedback, and there will almost be a loop that never stops. Let's try that.

(Music playing) Not an effect that we use all the time. In this case we can also have negative feedback. It sounds a little bit different. (Music playing) Bring it all the way down here. (Music playing) You can't always hear the difference between the positive and negative feedback, but I would always use the positive feedback in this case, just to be safe.

The next thing that most delays have is a low-pass filter or sometimes it's just called a filter. And what this allows us to do is shape the tone of the delay. Sometimes we don't want it to stick out in the mix, so we want to roll off the top-end and that's what the low- pass filter does. Let's listen. (Music playing) I'll add some feedback just so you can hear the repeats. (Music playing) And now if we turn it off.

(Music playing) You can hear it's much brighter. It sounds exactly like the original guitar, but a lot of times we don't want that. If we roll off the high frequencies it will blend into the track a lot easier. Last, we have a dry/wet control or sometimes called a mix control. In this case, it's called Mix. And what this does is it allows you to mix the delayed signal with the dry signal. This is essential for dialing in the correct amount of delay, if the delay is a plug-in that's inserted on the track. But it's normally set to 100% Wet when it's inserted into a dedicator affects return channel like this one.

Let's have a listen. (Music playing) Now you can hear the Mix is set to 0%, which means it's all the dry signal, and we can actually control the balance from here. We can do it in two different ways. We can control it with this fader, which is the Send or we can control it with the Mix control. Most of the time we want it at 100%. (Music playing) Sometimes delay plug-ins also have a parameter that's called Meter or Tempo.

In this case we have both of them. And what that does it allows us to time delay to the track. Now normally we can set the delay time by using something like the Ultimate Delay Time iPhone app or the chart from the Mixing Engineer's Handbook, but the easy way is to just find the tempo of the track and then use these notes here to dial in the exact delay time that we want. If we go on a quarter note and it gives us 576 milliseconds of delay. Have a listen. (Music playing) If we set it at an 8th note, it sets at exactly half of that, 288 milliseconds.

(Music playing) If we set it at a 16th note, it sets it at exactly one half of the 8th note value. (Music playing) The other thing we can do is dial in a dotted note, which you can see now up to 260 milliseconds. (Music playing) Or we can put it into triplet figure, which cuts it down to 96 milliseconds. (Music playing) I found the triplet and dotted note figures actually work better sometimes than the straight 1/4 and 8th and 16th note, but again, it depends upon the track and it depends upon the arrangement.

So that's an overview of the various parameters of a typical delay unit or plug-in. Delay time is similar to decay time in reverb and sets a distance between the repeats. Repeats or Regeneration or Feedback, sets the number of repeats. The filters allow you to shape the frequency response of the delayed signal, and the Dry/Wet or Mix control allows you to balance the delayed signal with the dry signal.

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This video is part of

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Audio Mixing Bootcamp

103 video lessons · 20695 viewers

Bobby Owsinski
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
  2. 8m 20s
    1. Determining the listening position
      2m 27s
    2. Fixing acoustic problems
      2m 5s
    3. Setting up your monitors
      3m 48s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Setting up your session
      5m 52s
    2. Setting up your subgroups
      7m 50s
    3. Setting up your effects
      6m 35s
  4. 8m 45s
    1. Developing the groove
      3m 46s
    2. Emphasizing the most important elements
      3m 44s
    3. Knowing what to avoid
      1m 15s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Learning the principles of building a mix
      1m 1s
    2. Assigning the drums to a subgroup
      3m 55s
    3. Building the mix from the kick
      10m 8s
    4. Building the mix from the snare
      8m 46s
    5. Building the mix from the toms
      5m 25s
    6. Building the mix from the overhead mics
      3m 53s
    7. Checking the drum phase
      4m 44s
    8. Balancing direct and miked bass channels
      3m 36s
    9. Building the mix from the bass
      3m 26s
    10. Building the mix from the vocals
      4m 19s
    11. Balancing the rhythm section
      2m 44s
    12. Balancing the rest of the instruments with the rhythm section
      5m 22s
    13. Making a mix without building it
      4m 20s
    14. Balancing the harmony vocals
      2m 35s
  6. 23m 2s
    1. Looking at the three main panning areas
      9m 23s
    2. Panning the drums
      6m 9s
    3. Avoiding pseudo-stereo
      7m 30s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding compressor parameters
      3m 42s
    2. Setting up the compressor
      14m 44s
    3. Compressing the drums
      7m 53s
    4. Compressing the room mics
      4m 9s
    5. Compressing the bass
      5m 24s
    6. Using the New York compression trick
      4m 23s
    7. Compressing the clean electric guitars
      4m 40s
    8. Compressing the distorted electric guitars
      4m 48s
    9. Compressing the acoustic guitars
      8m 7s
    10. Compressing the piano
      6m 35s
    11. Compressing the electric keyboards
      4m 32s
    12. Compressing the vocals
      4m 34s
    13. Compressing the horns
      3m 55s
  8. 25m 36s
    1. Learning noise gate basics
      9m 23s
    2. Using the noise gate on guitars
      3m 57s
    3. Using the noise gate on drums
      7m 38s
    4. Learning de-esser basics
      2m 15s
    5. Using the de-esser on vocals
      2m 23s
  9. 36m 4s
    1. Understanding equalizer parameters
      10m 16s
    2. Learning subtractive equalization
      8m 57s
    3. Learning frequency juggling
      8m 28s
    4. Using the magic high-pass filter
      7m 39s
    5. Learning the principles of equalization
      44s
  10. 49m 46s
    1. Equalizing the kick
      6m 7s
    2. Equalizing the snare
      2m 57s
    3. Equalizing the rack toms
      5m 4s
    4. Equalizing the floor tom
      4m 32s
    5. Equalizing the hi-hat
      4m 56s
    6. Equalizing the cymbal or the overhead mics
      6m 49s
    7. Equalizing the room mics
      5m 13s
    8. Equalizing the bass
      3m 59s
    9. Editing the bass rhythm
      4m 21s
    10. Equalizing the rhythm section
      5m 48s
  11. 47m 58s
    1. Equalizing the electric guitar
      8m 15s
    2. Equalizing the acoustic guitar
      4m 55s
    3. Equalizing the hand percussion
      3m 28s
    4. Equalizing the lead vocals
      6m 5s
    5. Equalizing the background vocals
      4m 14s
    6. Equalizing the piano
      4m 46s
    7. Equalizing the organ
      6m 49s
    8. Equalizing the strings
      6m 4s
    9. Equalizing the horns
      3m 22s
  12. 30m 47s
    1. Learning the principles of reverb
      1m 59s
    2. Understanding reverb parameters
      6m 49s
    3. Timing the reverb to the track
      6m 6s
    4. Equalizing the reverb
      2m 51s
    5. Using the two-reverb quick setup
      5m 35s
    6. Using the three-reverb setup
      7m 27s
  13. 59m 8s
    1. Adding reverb to the drums
      7m 56s
    2. Adding reverb to the vocals
      11m 59s
    3. Adding reverb to the guitars
      5m 17s
    4. Adding reverb to the piano
      4m 19s
    5. Adding reverb to the organ
      3m 43s
    6. Adding reverb to the strings
      5m 36s
    7. Adding reverb to the horns
      2m 57s
    8. Adding reverb to the percussion
      4m 46s
    9. Using reverb to layer the mix
      12m 35s
  14. 46m 8s
    1. Learning delay principles
      1m 40s
    2. Understanding delay parameters
      6m 54s
    3. Timing the delay to the track
      1m 28s
    4. Using delay timing variations
      2m 51s
    5. Equalizing the delay
      4m 23s
    6. Understanding the Haas effect
      2m 51s
    7. Using the three-delay setup
      7m 23s
    8. Adding delay to the vocals
      8m 43s
    9. Using delay to layer the mix
      9m 55s
  15. 21m 35s
    1. Understanding the types of modulation
      2m 43s
    2. Understanding modulation parameters
      4m 13s
    3. Modulating the guitars
      4m 7s
    4. Modulating the keyboards
      3m 17s
    5. Modulating the vocals
      4m 17s
    6. Modulating the strings
      2m 58s
  16. 12m 22s
    1. Mixing with subgroups
      5m 5s
    2. Using mix buss compression
      4m 21s
    3. Understanding the evils of hypercompression
      2m 56s
  17. 39s
    1. Goodbye
      39s

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