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Delay - what do you like?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by DonnyThompson, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Not a delay setting per se', but a type of delay, be it a plug (Waves, Sonitus, Blue Tubes, Lexicon, Kjaerhus, etc) or even perhaps an actual outboard model, and any reasons you prefer one over another.

    Although, your preferences as to what delay settings you like on particular instruments or scenarios is more than welcome as well!

    There are times I don't always reach for reverb, and instead use a delay - depending of course on the application - but I find that in many scenarios, delay can work better at adding a certain space/depth to a track than reverb does, as I find that from time to time, reverb can be detrimental to the "definition" and "clarity" of parts/instruments/tracks.

    I'm not really talking about echo/delay used in the "classic" sense where it's an obvious effect (Us...us....us...us... and Them...them...them...them...)

    I'm referring more to amounts and types that can add subtle spatial or depth qualities in place of reverb - things like doubling, panning different delays, vocals, or guitar, or strings, etc., and if you ever EQ the delay so that it's darker, or maybe has more sparkle,... those types of things.

    There is no right or wrong answer, this is just a thread posted for fun to see what members are using and how they use it.

    What say you?
  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Well, there are clean delays and analog or early digital simulating delays with some manner of degradation with each repeat. For what you're doing the clean kind works fine. I've rediscovered short delays in the last couple years and have come to like them for higher tempo songs that can lose their clarity with even a short reverb. A nice 100ms single delay can add space to a vocal without taking up too much space in the mix. I mostly use generic clean delay, going to an emulating effect less than 10% of the time.
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Yup. Me too. ;) That's kind of why I posted this thread, as I've also "rediscovered" short delay in the last few years as well. Very often, the ratio of wet-dry is, well, barely wet. LOL... but I've found that adding a clean delay, as you mentioned, at or around a 10% - 20% ratio of effect return, can really make a difference in spatial characteristics, and with a clarity that reverb can often wipe out as far as the definition of the instrument goes.

    And, there are also times where I will intentionally make the delay return tonally darker... for example, on vocals, I may roll off the hi end around 6k or so, to avoid things like sibilance - or other top end issues that may sound wizzly when processed with delay... things like that kind of nasty "crispy" texture on the upper end, as opposed to the more favorable "silk".

    (I know these terms may sound funny to some, but those of us who have heard these tonal characteristics understand things like "crispy" and "silk".) LOL

    When you say "generic"... can you mention what "go to" delay you use?
  4. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i like my mxr rackmount digital delay from late 80s. it was the first piece of studio gear i got after a portastudio/mics. it's fun cuz all the knobs are there and it can make some really whacky noises when you mess w/ the frequency based knob and the time knob. i don't use it much anymore, maybe once in a while live, but it sits close to my heart :)

    the only two digital reverbs i've heard and went wow were the adobe audition stock one, the bricasti M-7 when audiokid put it on one of my tracks one time. although, i've heard that the new lexicon plug-inssound really good too, and that's coming from a dude i know who doesn't like reverb plugins.

    i almost by default put delay and reverb (just a little) on vocals at least, it sounds natural, because in real life you hear reflections too, as well as when they become indistinguishable, and hence change into 'reverb'. as far as other instruments, i haven't used artificial reverbs since i discovered the beauty of room mics in a decent room, witch was about 4 years ago.

    i always cringe when the band i been doing live for asks me to use the cheesey, built in reverb, and then go 'ah thats better', i'm like um, ok.

    i will use delay pan opposite a single tracked guitar to help clear the middle and balance the overall image. never thought about eqing a delay (thanks D, gonna try that!), i tend to keep it basic cuz most of the stuff i have been doing is rock/pop, and most of the stuff is pretty dry, and the effects are usually really subtle, or really obvious as effects. it'd actually be fun to work on a project that wanted a really processed, electronica type sound, where it's like constantly morphing, it'd be good for my development.

    haven't seen ya round here much D lately, you get your album all done? been alright?
  5. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    K, for example, on vocals...you should try adding small amounts of delay (say, 15% - 20% wet) using a tight delay time - try around 60ms -100ms or so, keep your feedback/regen to a bare minimum, and then roll off the top end of the return at around 5 - 7k by -3db or so, more or less, and then pan accordingly to where it best sits in the mix.

    Also, if you have a stereo delay plug that allows you to unlink the stereo sides, you can experiment with adding one delay value on one side, while using another delay value on the other.

    For example, if you were to assign one side with 50ms of delay, and then assign a value of 100ms on the other, it can really open things up. You can then select how wide you want them panned from each other, as well as sculpting the EQ on the return of one side without effecting the other side. I've found this to be favorable on other tracks too, like guitars, strings, etc.

    Try it on electric or acoustic guitars. It can result in a very nice space without drowning the track to the point of saturated mush. LOL

    I think at times you may find this favorable - as opposed to reaching for the obligatory small room verb that we've all done at one time or another... ;)

    As I mentioned before, the main thing I find with this is that it results in the spatial thing that I'm looking for, without negatively effecting the definition of the track, which reverb can sometimes absolutely destroy. ;)
  6. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    I like to return a delay to a channel. Not only can you eq it, you can use the aux send from the channel as your feedback control, and if you're cutting the highs that eq becomes cumulative like an analog delay. You can also pan it and put it in monitors easily.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    I like the delays in my Waves bundle. Specifically the H-Delay which has a tap feature. But I dont use em very much on anything. Convolution verb and a careful selection of first repeat surfaces does it for me. I dont like echos and verb getting into the next segment of the beat.

    Here's an old skool trick for you guys.

    Split your signal....say a guitar track into two identical mono sources. Pan hard L-R. Delay one side with a stereo delay in a side chain and split that signal sending the short delay to the other side over the top of the unaffected mono track and keep the long delay with the original panning it closer to center(the delayed signal only). At some point they will all focus the part to the point that it wont collapse when things get busy.
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    LOL... Hi K.... yeah, I got a wee bit sidetracked by some personal stuff - some health issues - and other things.

    I'm still gonna release. Probably March or so. I just have to take care of some other pressing issues first that seem to command a great deal of my time these days... But, thanks for asking pal! :)
  9. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    well hopefully they don't weigh ya down too much and go away fast (the issues). Let me know when the albums out and i'll grab a copy.
  10. mrcoldstone4

    mrcoldstone4 Active Member

    For verb, i sometimes use TL Space with the Large Church preset panned to mono (stereo sounds unnatural to me with that verb on a lead vocal). i don't like an obvious verb for leads, though. so, i'm not sure that's what you're looking for. i just like to set the vocal in a nice place with it.For delay, i love Echoboy by soundtoys. it's very versatile...nice stylistic options: studio tape, telephone, echoplex, memory man, etc... Using Waves H-Delay is amazing too. You can also use CLA guitars without verb on the vocals and it sounds HEAVENLY!!!! Here's some Eqing Advice too: 2StoneProductions: 3 Tips on Eq-ing Vocals | The start of Eq-ing Vocals
  11. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    My favorite delays; Sound Toys, PCM 80, 91, 42, H3000, D-Two, H949
  12. Mojavegary

    Mojavegary Active Member

    Hey Donny thanks again for the help with the Tascam thing. I like to use outboard analog delays while tracking and then sometimes digital plugins when mixing in pro tools. I am still kind of an old school hold out when it comes to effects. I subscribe to the "good in, good out " school of thought and in my opinion you do the best work with the tools you use the best and having been around the business since the late ............uh not gonna say........smoke
  13. Mo Facta

    Mo Facta Active Member

    I have been using Bootsy's NastyDLA MkII almost exclusively for a while now. It is beyond BADASS. Don't be fooled because it's free or Windows VST only. It is one of the best delays in existence.

  14. ChrisH

    ChrisH Active Member

    Vote 2 for the Waves H-Delay. That is my go-to, there's nothing you can imagine that you can't get with that delay and have fun while doing it too.
    It's a very intuitive delay, which is important to me the way I like to work.
    Sounds fantastic, lots of features but all very practical.
  15. Josh Conley

    Josh Conley Active Member

    simple delay for basic repeats
    U-He's morefeedbackmachine2 for everything else.
    i like to drop a couple instances into a mixer track and modulate their mix levels so you get a different mix of each as the song progresses, or sidechain the mix level of one to a peak of another signal like a pad to make delay swells. lots of movement that way.
    maybe route several instances of such madness into Audio Damages Replicant, which has a 16 step sequencer.
    one delay line is boring and... repetetive? lol!!
  16. audiosphinx

    audiosphinx Active Member

    I love Massey's TD5 analog delay. It's super inexpensive for the quality you are getting. Echoboy is a no-brainer too. If all you need is no color delay, the basic delays the come with your DAW are usually sufficient.
  17. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    On of my favorite is Fabfilter Timeless : http://www.fabfilter.com/products/timeless-2-stereo-tape-delay-plug-in
    A lot of control and well sounding ! Can't replace hardware, but when you don't have the hardware !! ;)

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