Do You Know the Three Basic Controls of Delay? 👨‍👦‍👦

Sep 30, 2019

All right. Today we're going to talk about delay.

*Full Transcript Below*

We're going to talk about one feature of delay that kind of gets overlooked when people break down the elements of what a typical delay does.

But first let's just start with the basics. Right here I've got a Sound Toys EchoBoy Jr pulled up, and we're not going to get into everything because there's plenty of tutorials on Youtube about all these plug-ins - like basically how to work a Sound Toys EchoBoy Jr. I just want to talk about the elements that are pretty much in every delay plug-in and that is the mix, the echo time, and the feedback.

The echo time - we're going to start there - is the easiest to grasp. This just tells you how much a delay is going to happen. So right now it's set to a note increment, so this is one-eighth note. So it's going to be delayed by one-eighth note. If I move it up, it'll be delayed by one quarter note and then a half note and so on. Then you can take it down to a 16th note, a 32nd note. So I'm going to take you back to an eighth note here. You can also set it to time, so that's like a 375 milliseconds. And things like that. The feedback tells you how long the a delay is going to send that signal back to itself.

And therefore, how long is that delay going to happen for one note. So if you've just got one note that just happens on, you know, just 'dhhhhh' - how long is that signal gonna keep on looping back to itself and trying to delay and eventually fade out. You'll hear examples of this as I get going here.

The knob that we're going to talk about that doesn't get talked about as much is this mix knob. And I'm gonna show examples of this. But what can happen is when you start getting creative with your delays, maybe you want to have a delay, say on the last word of a phrase, you know of a vocal, right? And it's like 'let it be' and you want the word 'Be' only to have a delay. So let it ‘Be’ 'be' 'be' 'be'' be'.

What can happen is if you have your mix NOT set to 100%, you are also going to let in the original audio source, which is gonna make it so that your word ‘Be' is going to sound louder because not only do you have the original, but now you've got the double coming from the delay happening at the exact same time. So what will happen is it'll sound like, 'let it BE' and then it will delay. So it'd be like, 'let it BE' 'be' 'be' 'be' 'be'. And you don't want that. You just want the vocal to sound normal up until the delay starts happening. So you just want it to be 'let it be be be be be'. I'll show you exactly what I mean here.

So right now we've just got a piano set up and I'm just going to play it with no effect.

[Music Playing]

And it just loops there. And then if we have the delay on, and I've set the delay to try to be as weird as possible so you can hear what the original sounds like and then what the delay is doing.

[Music Playing]

So right now you can hear that it's pretty much just giving one slap back. Now if I increase the feedback, you're going to hear that it lengthens the amount of time that the delay happens.

[Music Playing]

And you can hear it there when when it's trailing out, it's really extended.

[Music Playing]

Whereas if I just have it here and I do that same thing, [Music Playing] it just ends with just a single one.

So let's check out what I was talking about with the mix knob here. I just want a four bar phrase. Let's say that I just want to mute all of them. And let's say that I just want the last cord here to have a delay. All right, so let's listen to this.

[Music Playing]

All right, so that sounds cool. What I'm going to do is I'm going to turn down the output so that the delay isn't so loud.

[Music Playing]

Nice. That's better. So now the delay is a little bit quieter than the initial. Now if I turn the mix to say 50% that means that it's going to let in 50% of the original and blend that with 50% of the of the delay. So let's listen to that

[Music Playing]

All right. So let's take it from here and listen.

[Music Playing]

Now, if you're listening carefully, you'll hear that last chord was actually played louder. It actually sounded louder. And that's because we're getting double the amount of information on that one cord. So we want to set it to a hundred percent 'wet' so that you're only hearing the delay from the delay plug-in.

[Music Playing]

All right, and just to show you, if you set this to 100% 'dry' and you actually mute the original track, your actual piano track here, you will still hear the piano played through here. I'm going to set it so it's not muted there. You will actually still hear your piano even though it's muted because 100% of it is still going through the echo plug-in.

[Music Playing]

You see that? Your piano track is muted, but it's still sending that audio to your EchoBoy Jr here and it's set to 100% dry, so it's not giving you any echo. So that's what's causing the sounds to double up on each other.

So if we set it to 100% wet, that means that none of the original signal is being played as being passed through. And we're only hearing the echo.

[Music Playing]

So right there because our piano is muted, we're only hearing the echo, we're not hearing the actual main source. So if I unmute that now we'll hear the main source.

[Music Playing]

Here is just the echo.

[Music Playing]

So yeah, that was something that caused a lot of issues for me. I didn't realize it - because some of the pre-sets on here won't have the mix set to 100%. I don't really know why. But yeah, it was causing a lot of issues. All of a sudden I was like trying to figure out why one word was super loud when I was just trying to put delay on it.

It's that 'mix' knob that you need to watch out for!

xxx - Josh

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