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The art of delays


New Member
After 5 years working as a professional mixing engineer, I decided to buy and read the great book \"The mixing Engineer's Handbook\", and I must admit that I'm quite pleased to be able to agree on most things, with all their differences.
But one thing I rarely use, and everyone seems to use, is delay units.

How do you use them, what kind of speeds and volumes on what kind of material? I'm very curious.



Active Member
Do you use reverbs to create space?

If so, you might like to start trying to replace some of them with delays.
I tend to use reverbs when I want to create space as well as smear the track a little.

But often, instead, I like to use delays that are timed to the tempo and usually very very short. These create a reverb like space but one that is very clean and can tend to kind of pulse with the track. I might do 1/16note on the right and 8th on the left or slower combinations. The blurrier I want to get it the more I might cross feed the channels

Also, I will usually roll off the highs and lows a little on the delay, or EQ it in a way that compliments or contrasts with the track depending on the song.

Beyond that, longer delays are certainly cool sounding on things like lead guitar or sax or vocal tracks.



New Member
Thanks, I'm starting to get it.
I must say that since I've had the UAD Plate I've mainly been using that (and a few reverbs on the powercore). And each time I used delay (or echo), it was always for the effect (meaning I put it up loud).
I never really thought of using them as a accoustic natural reflexion kind of effect (meaning that if you hear it, it's too loud, but if you switch it off, you can sure notice it's gone).
It's a whole new world that's opening up to me (that and mono monitoring).


I use and love delays with a lot of automation on wet/dry ratio and feedback.

I use them in insert before reverbes (so I use both) most on vocals,
and lead instruments.

I really like to add them at very low volume (no more than 5/100 in wet/dry ratio) to add space and, as said before, i use automation
to add volume or feedback when (i feel it) necessary.

by the way, I'm only an home recorder :)

here you can find an example. this is a song of a friends of mine,i've recorded and mixed (with uad) at home
(don't mind his italian-style english :) ) with automated dealy on vocals and guitar solo.



It's always good to use delay as well to change the phase of a sound (I double the sound between 1-12 ms), to get a phasing effect without the sweeping of a phaser.

I don't use reverbs, except those guitar amps spring reverbs, even on vocals! But use short delays on voices...

And when I work on some dub, guess what!
I use all sorts of different delays in different flavours, different times...

I couldn't do without delays!!!
here's an example used extensively on guitars, a bit on drums...


Active Member
The advantage to using timed delays for space as opposed to reverbs is the effect is a bit more clear, clean or open. You won't get the reverb mush but you will get some space.


I try to use delay to ajust timing between mics when multi-miking to minimize combfiltering, but mostly to avoid bad space stereo localisation because of a \"earlier\" mic.
I tryied to use delay too to \"enlarge the sound\" (and I got some results with paning left and right the same signal, delay one of them and compensate left right shift by volume adjustements) until I tried the Dimension D plug, which do it far better with less artifacts..
Delay units (or delay parameter in digital desk) are also usefull in a multi speakers concert sound system.

a powerfull process I've just discovered is Phasetone plug, I don't know much how it works but It seems permit phase adjustments between the part of audio spectrum of a sound and the other part (ex: phase between 0-200Hz and 200H-20000Hz), I've just open a topic in the forum to try to learn more on this particular subjet if you are interested.
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