Join Larry Crane for an in-depth discussion in this video When to set delays off tempo, part of Real Recording School Weekly.
- [Instructor] Many digital recording platforms these days default into setting delay effects in sync with the session tempo, if one has been implemented. While this can be handy, there are many times that setting a delay slightly or massively off can be more effective and more audible than setting it dead on to the BPM of a song. Especially with drums, a direct delay in time with the song will mask the echo. If I'm looking for a cool slap echo on the snare drum, I find that tapping out the tempo, and then looking for fast repeats, usually doesn't satisfy me. (drum music) You can see here, this has been locked in the MIDI.
And I'll tap in with the song. And then try to speed that up. (drum music quickens) I never quite get in the right zone. And if I go into this mode, time, and it's like it's a, playing it like it's an old school analog delay, I find some more interesting repeats in between the actual on tempo.
You can see using something like this for a cool effect. (drum music intensifies) Once again, realize this is not perfectly in sync with the song, but we're looking for a creative. A creative echo, and one that reinforces interesting tones in the song. This also happens with guitar solos quite a bit. With something like a guitar solo, at times I may be looking for the weirdest repeats, so being too locked into time might not work.
(guitar music) Take it out with the BPM of it. And finding spots where it does something interesting. Right here, would a long repeat work? (distorted guitar music) (Instructor laughs) And that might even be interesting there.
A lot of times, I think back to when I first started recording, and the delays I was using just had a knob, like an old analog delay, to change the time setting, and you couldn't lock it into tempo, it didn't have MIDI, and there was nothing that was a reference point. So every echo you set, you had to do by hand and by ear. The same things happens a lot with vocals. Let's queue that up, and turn on the plugin here.
Starting at the default. ♪ So for the first step ♪ ♪ Let's power down ♪ - Tapping it in. ♪ Tell me what do you see ♪ - [Instructor] You should only end up with a few variations by using this tap tempo and BPM mode. And love to get in on the time mode. (laughs) You hear some funny pitch bends there. ♪ So for the first step ♪ - [Instructor] But you can get like a doubling.
Which we weren't getting with the BPM and note mode. Or you can get something longer. ♪ For the first step, let's power down ♪ ♪ Tell me what do you see ♪ - [Instructor] So I find that a lot of times, by freeing myself up from the tempo of the song, and kind of ignoring that, I can create more interesting effects on vocals, and guitar solos, and drums, and other things that I'm processing. When I'm mixing, I'm always looking for sounds and textures that feel interesting.
And I always have to remember, there's never a right or wrong approach to getting to that point.