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Audio Mixing Bootcamp

Using delay to layer the mix


From:

Audio Mixing Bootcamp

with Bobby Owsinski

Video: Using delay to layer the mix

Just like Reverb, there's no rule for where or how Delay is added to a mix. In some mixes, a single delay can work for every instrument vocal. That's what they did on all those great hits in the 50s, 60s, and 70s when the Delay came from a tape machine. Another mix might sound better with the separate delay for every mix element. Here are a few examples that will allow you to hear each scenario. So we have our three delays set up. We have a Haas Delay which is a delay of 40 milliseconds or less. We have a Short Delay, this is somewhere between 50 and 150 milliseconds, and we have a Long Delay that's somewhere around 300-400 milliseconds.
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  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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Audio Mixing Bootcamp
8h 53m Beginner Nov 11, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Optimizing your listening environment
  • Setting up sessions, subgroups, and effects
  • Understanding which mixing elements to avoid
  • Understanding the principles of building a mix
  • Panning instruments
  • Setting up the compressor
  • Using noise gates and de-essers
  • Understanding the concept of frequency juggling
  • Using the magic high-pass filter
  • Timing reverb and delay to a track
  • Using reverb to layer the mix
  • Understanding the Haas effect
  • Modulating guitars, keyboards, and vocals
  • Mixing with subgroups
  • Tweaking the final mix
Subjects:
Audio + Music Mixing Music Production Audio Effects
Software:
Pro Tools
Author:
Bobby Owsinski

Using delay to layer the mix

Just like Reverb, there's no rule for where or how Delay is added to a mix. In some mixes, a single delay can work for every instrument vocal. That's what they did on all those great hits in the 50s, 60s, and 70s when the Delay came from a tape machine. Another mix might sound better with the separate delay for every mix element. Here are a few examples that will allow you to hear each scenario. So we have our three delays set up. We have a Haas Delay which is a delay of 40 milliseconds or less. We have a Short Delay, this is somewhere between 50 and 150 milliseconds, and we have a Long Delay that's somewhere around 300-400 milliseconds.

In this case, everything is timed to the track. If we look at our Haas Delay, it's at 36 milliseconds timed to the track, Tempo is at 104 BPM. If we look at our Medium Delay or Short Delay, it's at 216 milliseconds and that's a dotted 16th note delay. We look at our Long Delay. It's a 8th note delay at 288 milliseconds. So let's hear how we can use just those three delays to layer a mix. First thing we'll do is, listen to what a Delay does to a Snare Drum.

Now you might think that you would only add Reverb to snare, but sometimes you would be surprise that what a little bit of delay can do. So let's move down here to our Snare Drum and Solo it up, have a listen -- (Music playing) And let's listen with the Delay. And this one now is going to our Short Delay which is 150 milliseconds or thereabouts. (Music playing) Okay, by itself it doesn't sound too good.

Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) You can hear it's very subtle, but you can hear that the Snare suddenly gets a lot bigger in the mix and you don't hear the delay because it's timed to the track. So we'll leave that there for now and let's go over and look the most important part of our mix which is the vocal.

It's always the focal point and let's get a delay. Solo it up first and listen -- (Music playing) That's a Long Delay. I don't know if that's going to work for the track. Let's go to the Short Delay and have a listen. (Music playing) Let's listen in the track.

(Music playing) Now you can hear what's happening here. You barely hear the Delay itself, but yet you can hear as soon as you turn it off, as soon as that Delay is muted, suddenly the vocal sounds naked.

When you put the Delay on, it just sounds bigger and there's a sense of space and depth. And that's what we're trying to do. We're not necessarily trying to call attention to the Delay itself. We're just trying to put the vocal into an environment, just give it a sense of specialness, and the Delay does that. So let's leave that right there for a second. Let's go to the background vocals. Let's have a quick listen to them on their own -- (Music playing) Let's listen in the track.

(Music playing) What might work really well, is to spread those out and put the Haas Delay [00:03:56.24 on it. Let's solo it up and that's on Bus 19. Let's listen as we put the Haas Delay in the track. (Music playing) Now the cool thing about this is it makes this sound like there are more singers than there actually are.

It actually beefs up the sound of the background vocals. Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) Now the other thing we can do is stereolize this. Already the Haas effect is panned at 45 to the right. Let's take our main background vocal and we'll pan that about the same. Have a listen now.

(Music playing) You can hear suddenly there's a sense of space, there's also a space just for the lead vocal up the middle. When we pan the background vocal suddenly, we never have to worry about them stepping on the lead vocal, and that's the beauty of using the Haas effect. Let's go to our guitars and see what it sounds like with the delay on a guitar. Let's go to our Guitar number 1 first of all, have a listen, Solo it. (Music playing) Now this is Bus 16.

Bus 16 is the Long Delay. Let's hear what it sounds like. (Music playing) That's pretty good. Let's listen what it's like in the track. (Music playing) Now again, it doesn't call attention to itself, but all of a sudden, the electric guitar sounds just a bit more special, there's some space around it. It feels good.

All of a sudden, there's a sense of polish that you feel not only on the guitar but on the mix as well. Let's go the other guitar and have a listen to that as well. Solo it up. (Music playing) Let's try a different delay on this one. Let's go to the Short Delay which is on Bus 15, have a listen. (Music playing) Now let's listen in the track.

(Music playing) Now same thing happened. All of a sudden, there's a sense of polish that comes over the track. We don't necessarily hear the Delay and that's what we're actually trying to achieve by timing it to the track. One more track that we can work on, and that's the Hammond Organ, the B3 track. Let's listen just by itself -- (Music playing) This is obviously recorded in a small room.

What we want to do is put some space around it. So what we'll try to do is put the Long Delay on it and the Long Delay is on Bus 16. Let's hear what it sounds like. (Music playing) Let's have a listen in the track. (Music playing) The other thing that might sound good is to try the Haas Delay on it.

Let's go to Bus 19, have a listen. (Music playing) Let's hear in the track. (Music playing) I think that actually gets in the way of the background vocal. So let's go back to the Long Delay which is on Bus 16 and have a listen.

And what I'm going to as we listen, I'm going to mute the Delays just so you can hear what it adds to the track. (Music playing) You can hear there's a sense of polish that the delays add, and that's what we're trying to achieve here. By combining the three delays with three reverbs, all of a sudden, you have not only the sense of polish and space that they'll bring to the mix, but all of a sudden, the mix sounds complete.

It sounds full, it sounds real. And as compared to the way it sounds now where it's flat, all of a sudden there's a sense of specialness and that's what we're trying to do by adding Delay and Reverb. So that's how we layer a mix by placing different mix elements in different environments with the Delay. As with Reverb, try to visualize if an instrument is in front of, behind, or with another instrument to determine which layer the instrument should be in.

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