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Delay School

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Joined: 06 Mar 2001
Posts: 235

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2001 9:21 pm    Post subject: Delay School Reply with quote

20 Delay Tips

Stuck for idea on how best to use delays?

Here are the best delay tips from experts Justin Berkovi, Sean Vincent, Alan Branch, John Musgrave and Phil Booth...

Simple and crude

An old favourite of mine is a very simple and crude method: recording on reel-to-reel tape the same source and offsetting each play point to create my very own, organic sounding delay. It can be hit or miss, but get it right and it's often a lot more rewarding than simply putting a source through plug-ins or hardware effects units. (JB)


I often use complex multi-tap delays in SoundForge, mainly DirectX-compatible plug-ins. I always make sure to add a touch of reverb over the tapering point of the tap ending. This works well in dance music breakdowns where the energy of the track has to be carried forward. (JB)

Cheap and cheerful

I use cheap delays such as those found in multi-effects like the Zoom series or cheaper Alesis units. These often carry a certain amount of noise and are less obtrusive than a cleaner delay found on the TC Electronic and higher end machines, which are great for slickly produced R&B material, but for grainy techno mixes I find the cheaper units work well. If I want something purer, I'll use the computer or a combination of both. Don't think by purchasing the most expensive dedicated unit you'll always get the best results for your genre of music. (JB)

Reverse delay

For a great reversed delay effect, reverse the sample, add delay, then reverse the sample back around the right way so the echoes lead up into the main sound. (PB)


With regards to the sound reinforcement of a large venue, delay is used to postpone the action of the secondary speaker stacks so they coincide with the sound arriving from the main speaker stacks. (PB)

Gate fx

Set up a gate with a fairly high threshold so only the biggest volume peaks pass through. Then run the output of the gate into the delay. The effect is that now only the accents of the voice/instrument have delay added. (PB)

Dub and bass

For some wicked dub or drum 'n' bass type effects, run your drum loop or just the snare through an old analogue echo box and then play with the delay time control while the track is playing. It creates the weirdest sounds that, with a little practice, can be 'played' in time and sampled for some really cool effects. You can also route the delay's return back into the input again for some wicked endless repeats. You'll need to keep your hand on the repeat button and the return fader on your desk to keep this under control. (SV)

Digital wah

Route the output of your digital delay to the input of an autowah. Play with the rate control on the wah until it oscillates in time with the track and you get a really strange delay effect where each successive delay has a different tonal quality (make sure the delay is beat matched with the track first).

This works better with long delay times (over 500ms) and especially if there are lots of repeats. (SV)

Beat test

Most older outboard delay units are inaccurate, so it's always best to check your delay by sending a regular beat (a snare is good) into it and turning up the feedback so the repeat lasts long enough to be in time with itself. Adjust the delay time back and forth a few milliseconds until you get a rhythmic groove going that sounds in time. (AB)

Add HFs

EQ the delay return and send it back to itself, but rather than roll off the high frequencies for the natural tape type echo, try adding some. With a long feedback it should spiral off into white noise. (AB)

Slowly sweep

Same EQ line again as last time (tip 10), but instead try a slow sweeping filter. Use heavy compression or a limiter to control the level. (AB)

Phase pedal

A classic reggae sound is achieved with a piano chop and a 3/16th delay. Then feed this through a
BOSS Super Phaser PH-2 foot pedal (the green one, over there to the left). (AB)

Easy reversing

This is usually done with reverb, but is basically a reverse delay. If you're using tape, flip the tape and record the delay effect on a spare track. When flipped back again you will hear the delay before the original signal. This is easily done with computers, and can be a nice effect on an intro vocal. Chop the first word or however much you want to use, copy it to a spare track and reverse it. Now set a long delay and bounce just the effect to another track, then reverse that and position it before the real vocal comes in. It's a case of trial and error but it can be a very cool and subtle effect. (AB)


One of the most popular effect settings in a lot of studios is this stereo spread that's used on vocals. Two delays are set at about six milliseconds, panned left and right (9-3 o'clock, not hard panned) with a pitch shift of about -8 cents on one side and +8 cents on the other. Send your main vocal to both delays. This will help cover any slight tuning shifts. (AB)


Here are some mad delays: Try changing the delay's setting while it's feeding back. This is one of my favourites! For some truly crazy effects in Logic Audio, try automating the delay changes, for example, adjusting the groove from 50-75 per cent. The feedback delay will gradually move from the beat to the offbeat, pitching the sound as it goes. Don't forget with the 4.7 release you now have the extra parameters button; try experimenting with the smooth and flutter settings. (AB)

Dub star

Apart from thunderous sub bass, the sound of dub owes everything to creative use of delays. Creating dub type delays really requires a 'hands on' approach. So, instead of setting the regeneration on the delay unit itself, try sending the single delay return up a channel and feeding it back on itself manually by winding up the auxiliary send back to the delay unit. Doing this in 'real time' as the track is playing gives you great control over the delay effect. But you may find the results a little tame, so try EQing the delay return as well.

Boosting the frequencies around 3kHz and rolling off the top and bottom can be really effective. Finally, don't be afraid to ride the level of the delay return as you feed it back on itself. (JM)


If you only want to add delay to specific words of a vocal, route the vocal to a second fader and send that to a delay (but not to the stereo mix buss). Then simply mute and unmute the fader for the words you want to 'spin'. (JM)

Get aggressive

Don't limit yourself to removing top end from the delay return to get that tape echo effect. Creative EQing of both the delay send and return can produce both very aggressive and quite subtle results. (JM)

Real drums

If you've recorded a drum kit and find that the ambience of the room isn't particularly desirable set up one or two single repeat delays with short delay times (between 10 and 30 ms). Sending a little of just the snare mic to these delays will give you control over the early reflection effect you want but failed to capture from the room itself. (JM)
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Joined: 13 Mar 2001
Posts: 111
Location: US

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2001 6:43 am    Post subject: Delay School Reply with quote

Respect to HM for the delay schooling. Very informative. Some of those points should be added to the dub production page.
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Joined: 06 Mar 2001
Posts: 235

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2001 7:51 am    Post subject: Delay School Reply with quote


I did just forward this thing,
becourse of it´s DUB relavans,
things are explained very fine
best short aticle I ever saw.


link to article
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Joined: 30 May 2001
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2001 1:10 pm    Post subject: Delay School Reply with quote

thanks HM.
there's also good advice in the tutorials section under the LoFI heading.
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Joined: 06 Aug 2001
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2001 9:16 pm    Post subject: Delay School Reply with quote

if you need some helicopter flying in your reggae or dub or aniting else track try this

I use a yamaha e1010 analog delay

delay time:max


delay short to long: max long

hit de uint with a a snare or rimshot sound
den de feedback will delay it more an more till it get fucking loud den turn the delay(short-long)button slowly to short and the feedback knob slowly to the 3-o´clock position and if make it correkt you will hear a car driving by or helicopter flying around

that the way i man Ruu only 14years old get my sounds

ya jus can make it wit some old analog stuff no digital no digital stuff in music no never never...


Ruu from germany

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 07, 2006 10:52 pm    Post subject: Delay School Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:25 am    Post subject: Delay School Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:10 am    Post subject: Delay School Reply with quote

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Joined: 21 Oct 2009
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks a lot for the info!

not for dub but good tips at all

life was easier with tapes
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