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Filter delays a one of my favorite effects to use on lead vocals, mostly because they provide a nice combination of rhythm and color. Delays are echoes that can be set to different durations of time, either in milliseconds or note values, and filters are adjustable EQ settings. My favorite note value delay is a dotted eighth note, and for the filter, I like to use either low-pass or a high-pass setting. A low-pass filter removes the high frequencies and a high-pass filter removes the low frequencies, depending upon where the frequency cutoff knob or slider is set.
As we look at the Arrange window here in Reason, I've set up a filter delay, and as we take a look at the mixer, underneath Lead Vox copy 2, which is an extra copy of the lead vocal track that I created, I'm sending it over to the mixer. If we go back to the Arrange window, as we look at our effects chain, we can see that there is a DDL-1 delay and ECF-42 envelope-controlled filter. Let's go back down to the Arrange window, and I will work my way through the entire arrangement, pulling out words at different points in the song and dragging them down to the Lead Vox copy 2 track. The Lead Vox copy 2 track is routed to the delay and filter effects chain.
Let's go right to measure 10, and I pull down one word, and let's take a listen, and then I will work my way through the rest of the song, finding the words that I feel makes sense to apply this treatment to. (song playing) So you can hear that very cool delay sort of dying out. It has a color to it. It's not clean like the lead vocal; it's got a little bit of a treatment on it, and that's the low-pass filter dialed down to remove some of the high frequencies to give it that little bit of color.
Let's listen through the song, and I will use the Razorblade tool over here to grab words and pull them down onto this track. Now, you could certainly achieve the same outcome by setting up a lot of automation, but I prefer to do it in this manner because it allows me to have control over a separate track. Automation definitely can do the job, but to have a discrete track dedicated to throwing words through a delay and a filter, to me, it gives me a little bit more flexibility when it comes time to doing the final mix.
(song playing) That verse has a lot going on vocally, so I am not going to grab another word. "Voicemail" worked; there was space around the Vocal before the next phrase began. I'll move on. I know I don't want to do the chorus.
I want to save this treatment for the verses. So, I'll scan further up here into verse 2 and take a listen. (song playing) (song playing) Again, verse 2 has a lot going on vocally as well. This is not a treatment or ear candy that I do just for the sake of doing it; it has to make sense vocally.
There has to be space in the arrangement to add this, because it's throwing a rhythm. It's a dotted eighth note syncopated rhythm, almost like adding another drum part or keyboard part. So you don't want to just add it to add it; it means to truly make sense in terms of the overall arrangement. Let's move ahead to the bridge. (song playing) Right there, right after the word world, I'll scan in.
(song playing) Take the Razorblade tool, and I will change the grid, the editing grid, to a sixteenth note. This will give me the ability to slice around the word and then pull it down. Now if I were to take snap off, I could just create an Edit point anywhere, but the danger in that is if I pull this down you saw how that moved. So, when you're moving audio files around, it's best to be against the grid so that that sort of slight shift doesn't occur.
Pull this down. Let's take a listen. (song playing) I'll grab this word. Again, it's world, but it's sung a little differently; it's a little shorter. (song playing) We can just take a listen. (song playing) Subtle, but I like it. Listening on.
(song playing) The word "see" after the phrase "sitesee." (song playing) That takes care of it. I only like to do three or four words maybe in the course of a whole arrangement. It's not something that you need to do necessarily every session of the song, and it's certainly a treatment that can be overdone if you're not careful.
For me, adding filter delays on certain words in certain phrases adds that third dimension to a track, and depending upon what the project is, you may not want to add any delays or any filter delays anywhere in the track. But if you're looking to add a certain glue to your vocal tracks, start by adding delays and experimenting with different settings: filters on, filters off. And much like the vocoder track, when I'm done, I will solo this out and export it so that I can then be import it back into Pro Tools, and of course I will start my audio file bounce at measure 1.
If you happen to be working within one DAW throughout this entire course, you need not take this step, but again, if you're interested in experimenting between working in different programs, this is the way that you would export your audio file to then import it back into your other DAW.
- Reviewing the different types of arranging: music, remix, and radio/club
- Referencing a previous version of the song
- Listening to stems
- Creating a sketch arrangement
- Adding synths and guitars
- Developing the drums and bass
- Using time stretching
- Creating a radio edit from a club mix
- Adding special effects like drum fills and delays