Confusion About Using Delay

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

Post Reply
song-writer
alignin' 24-trk
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 6:20 pm
Location: Rockville, MD

Confusion About Using Delay

Post by song-writer » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:12 pm

I am a bit confused about deployment of delay. I read a book that recommends timing a delay to the beats per minute (BPM) of a song, which makes sense. Also, in my experiments, things sound good putting delay on a vocal or acoustic guitar from say 60 to100ms for a tape slap type effect. My confusion lies in the area where you get into higher ms of delay (e.g., at 120 BPM it recommends a 500ms delay when timed to ? notes and 250ms, when timed to 1/8th notes). Under 100 ms you don't really hear multiple echoes and things sound nice and big. However, if you do 500ms, you hear 4 or 5 echo repeats or so of the sound and to me it just adds a real soupy mess of confusion and clutter. Although I read that sometimes doing this can help smooth out things, I just can't see how. Unless, maybe you do it at a very low volume level so it is there doing it's thing subliminally not causing a mess, but somehow improving the sound ? but then if you cut volume too low, the track would lose its effectiveness because you would hardly be able to hear it. Anyway, the parameters of the delay effect on my recorder workstation, along with its default settings (which are tweakable) are depicted below, in case you have any possible setting recommendations or comments.

Type: (Stereo, Ping-Pong, or Multi)
Pre-Delay 500ms
FB-Delay 500ms
Feedback 70
Output Level 100
Song-Writer

User avatar
Nick Sevilla
speech impediment
Posts: 4988
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 1:34 pm
Location: Lake Arrowhead California USA
Contact:

Post by Nick Sevilla » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:15 pm

The best thing I can tell you, is to listen to some of your favorite records, to hear where delay is being used, and then try to figure out how they did it.

I myself use delays, but do not exactly match the tempo of the song, as that usually sounds like crap.

Do you play guitar?

If you don't, go find a friend who does, who can explain to you much faster how to get cool delay sounds.

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

User avatar
Gregg Juke
cryogenically thawing
Posts: 3531
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 10:35 pm
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA
Contact:

Post by Gregg Juke » Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:58 pm

There are formulas for delay times matching song tempos (which is a theory I happen to agree with, when a song or a section calls for that radical a delay time), but the best thing to do is listen and use your ears.

If it doesn't sound right rhythmically, it probably isn't.

These tipes of delays are typically used on _one_ vocal track (lead) or _one_ lead guitar sound. Doing more than that is what leads to what you described as a "soupy mess" (unless you are eithe The Edge or Robert Fripp).

GJ

User avatar
Snarl 12/8
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3404
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:01 pm
Location: Right Cheer
Contact:

Post by Snarl 12/8 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:43 pm

Type: (Stereo, Ping-Pong, or Multi)
Pre-Delay 500ms
FB-Delay 500ms
Feedback 70
Output Level 100
My guess is that this would sound "wrong" on most things. Try to imagine in your head what a "natural" or "pleasing" to you type of delay or echo would sound like, timing wise. Then set it to that timing.

I think if you have Predelay and FB-Delay both up at half a second, you've got 2 really, long, really solid delays coming at you. Then, Feedback at 70 (I'm assuming out of 100) it's not going to die off very quickly. And with Output level at 100 they're going to at least start off equal volume to the original sound.

I think you almost always want the delay to be much quieter than the dry source. Slapbacks might be the exception to this. You also want it to decay quickly. I'd take the PreDelay out of the equation completely if I was trying to dial this in to begin with. Or, in my experience you want this in the 10 ms range, not 500, which can really open things up, and add hugeness, actually.

Try a 0 PreDelay, 200-250 FB delay with the Feedback at 30 and the output at 50 and adjust from there. There's no way those settings are right (either set, really) for everything, but I think what I'm proposing is more manageable for you to get your head around the various parameters. You'll hear it as a distinct echo, you'll hear it dieing off, you'll hear it as quieter than the original. So then you'll hear whether it dies off too quickly or not quickly enough, whether it's too quiet compared to the source, etc.

Also, keep in mind while you're dialing this in that you're focusing on it in a way that the average listener won't be. It sounds contradictory, but even though you're focused in on that parameter while you're dialing it in, and you'd think it would be louder to you than to "normal" listeners, you're probably putting too much on. Especially if you're just learning how to do it.

All of this advice is about trying to get a sortof "natural" delay, whatever that means. Obviously disregard if you really want an over the top affect.
Carl Keil

Almost forgot: Please steal my drum tracks. and more.

User avatar
farview
tinnitus
Posts: 1204
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 1:42 pm
Location: St. Charles (chicago) IL
Contact:

Post by farview » Sun Feb 06, 2011 8:20 am

The feedback is way too much. I normally have my feedback on long delays down around 10%, if not 0. With that delay and that setup, you will get two echoes, one at 1/4 note and another at 1/2 note.

The thing that is confusing you is that you are using a tap delay instead of a simple delay. See if you have just a simple delay plugin. and set the delay time to 500ms with a feedback of 15%. Turn it down a bit so that the delay is not the same volume of the vocal and see if that doesn't work just a little better.

Tap delays are goofy things to wrap your head around if you don't have a clear understanding of what a simple delay does. Tap delays have multiple delay lines going at the same time and can get out of control very quickly.

User avatar
vvv
zen recordist
Posts: 9014
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 8:08 am
Location: Chi
Contact:

Post by vvv » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:16 am

A simple thing to do is, if ya want to keep the delay in time but low-level butt still audible, consider using, say, dotted quarter notes.

If a quarter note is 500ms, say, I'll put the delay at 750 ...
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; Geronimo Cowboys;
blog.
I mix with olive juice.

User avatar
palinilap
buyin' gear
Posts: 561
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Fort Wayne, IN

Post by palinilap » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:35 am

If you're ITB, I'd recommend a delay plug-in that has tap delay on it, like the Massey TD5, which you can demo indefinitely for free.

You just click your mouse to the tempo you want the delay to repeat at.

song-writer
alignin' 24-trk
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 6:20 pm
Location: Rockville, MD

Post by song-writer » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:22 pm

Hey guys: Thanks, much for your tips. I have gained a greater understanding through your comments and others received on gearslutz.com and tascamforums.com. I am anxious to start some serious recording employing the knowledge.
Song-Writer

User avatar
farview
tinnitus
Posts: 1204
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 1:42 pm
Location: St. Charles (chicago) IL
Contact:

Post by farview » Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:52 pm

palinilap wrote:If you're ITB, I'd recommend a delay plug-in that has tap delay on it, like the Massey TD5, which you can demo indefinitely for free.
Just to clarify, that is a delay with a tap tempo feature, it is not a multi-tap delay.

User avatar
Fletcher
steve albini likes it
Posts: 395
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2003 7:38 am
Location: M?nchen
Contact:

Post by Fletcher » Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:32 am

For whatever its worth - I usually start with delays that are timed out to things like a 1/4 note or 8th note - then bring them in with the drum groove - find something that feels good [usually a few ms of tweeze in either direction] then apply those delays to things like vocals [etc.].

There are other "time based" things you can do with delays... like moving a bass back in the groove a few ms to get the groove a bit "greasier" or adding 30-40ms of delay with a small bit of modulation to get "loud" guitars to get a bit larger.

I think the key is to experiment your ass off and find stuff that works for you.

Peace.

drumsound
zen recordist
Posts: 6875
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Bloomington IL
Contact:

Post by drumsound » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:31 pm

Delays don't always need to be "in tempo" Sometimes having them not on the quarter or eighth note makes them more useful or interesting. You have to first play around with your delay(s) and learn what each of those parameters do, and how you react to what you hear. Then you'll have a knowledge base from your experience.

Then you need to be able to know what you WANT for/from your mix. Then you tap into that knowledge base, and see if you can make the mix do what you want.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 63 guests