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Getting Started Using Delay Processors in Home Recording

Delay is used a lot in contemporary music, and many times you don’t hear it unless you listen carefully. Other times, it is prominent in the mix, like the snare drum in some styles of music such as house, dub, or reggae music. Here are ways that you can use delay in your music:

  • Use delay as a slap-back echo on vocals. A slap-back echo consists of one to three repeats spaced very closely together, which fattens the sound of the vocals. You generally want to set your time parameter between 90 and 160 milliseconds.

    Set the level so that you barely hear the first echo when your vocal is in the mix and adjust it from there until you like the sound. In pop music, a slap-back echo and a vocal plate reverb are commonly used on lead vocals. (This technique was really common in the 1950s.)

  • Use the tempo match feature to have your delay echo in time with the music. This can add some depth to the mix without creating a muddy or cluttered sound. Be careful, because if you use this too much, it can make your music sound annoyingly repetitive.

  • To create special effects with delay, try using the pan or shift controls to move your instruments in the mix. This can be a lot of fun on background instruments, such as rhythm guitar and synthesizers.

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