The Art Of Delay

The Art Of Delay Blog

The simple go to affect that is the delay has become a staple in most producers’ selections but many overlook the sheer versatility of such a humble devise.

From endless feedback loops to stereo width, adding space and dimension to false perceptions of panning the world really is your oyster.

In this article I’m going to explore a few of my favourite delay techniques that should hopefully inspire you to explore, experiment and get creative in your productions. 

False Stereo – Sample Delays

This simple technique can be applied to most delays that offer L & R delay flexibility but for this example we’ll use Logics very own sample delay.  This crafty tool allows us to delay the signal of one side of our audio creating the illusion that the sound, which was once placed centrally, is now off to one side.

Logic sample Delay

Tip: The further you push the sample delay the wider and more obvious the effect shall become.

Embracing the HAAS effect opens up a wealth of width within your mix when used properly. 

Note: Be careful when experimenting with this.  Push it too far and sounds can become out of time or sound confusing.

 

Logic's Sample Delay Plug in 

Logic's Sample Delay Plug in 

What’s better than one delay you ask?!  Two or three of course.
Tape Delay Image Blog

FX Stacking

Try stacking multiple delays on top of each other on an FX send in your DAW.   Ensure they have different delay times and different filter settings for things to get really crazy. 

Tip: Experiment swapping the order of the delays and changing one from mono to stereo, ping-pong and also experiment with dotted / Triplet settings. 

The interaction between the two often spits out results that you’d struggle to achieve with just one delay and the joy is in the unknown.  Often things happen you’d never expect and ensures your productions have a sense of originality. 

You never know, you might have just found a combination of settings that’s never been tried before.

Compression

Obviously compressors aren’t delays but I thought this was something that might be worth bringing up.  If you intend to explore extreme settings or just want the FX to be controlled a compressor / limiter with a high ratio setting can ensure things don’t get too out of hand without you noticing.  This is even more important if performing live and is something we covered in our From The Studio to The Stage blog.  

Tip: Try adding a side chain compressor after the delay to ensure the delays move and duck in time with your track.   This can be great for repeats that spill over that big drop or chorus.

Abstract FX

This technique allows the most simple of sounds to be transported into an otherworldly space of weirdness and originality.

Try placing a delay on your percussion channel with the feedback at 80% but the delay time around 10ms. 

This incredibly short delay time creates a weird reverb that can be adjusted by automating the delay time.  As the delay time changes the pitch of the delay also adjusts allowing you to tune the effect to the key of your track.  This effect is great for end of bar fills and offering something unique to the listener.  

Dub FX

Looking for that dub feel?!  Well look no further, try automating the feedback levels and filter settings on your delay for some perfect dub delay effects.  By bringing up the feedback level we can push the delay into self oscillating mode creating endless delay tails and noise.  Word of warning - The delays can often get out of hand with infinite feedback settings so just be careful.   

With this in mind what better way to learn and be inspired than to check out the work of dub pioneer Prince Fatty's dub masterclass that he recently created for the lovely guys at Point Blank.  The video below is pretty in depth but explains the principle in amazing detail. 

Top Tip

Not strictly delay related but don’t forget the secret panel in Logic’s very own Tape Delay plug-in has a sneaky little distortion level control that’s great for driving the input of the signal.  It’s also emulates Tape Saturation which is ideal if you don’t have a tape plug in.
Distortion Level control within Logic's Tape Delay plug in.  

Distortion Level control within Logic's Tape Delay plug in.  

So there you have it.  A few fun ideas for experimenting, investigating and creating a wealth of new ideas and space.  The world of delay really is endless and spending a little time mastering this king of production tools can go increase the quality of your productions endlessly.  

As always, feel free to get in touch with any ideas or thoughts on this and please do show us your dub experiments. 

Touch Loops team. 

Touch Loops