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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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