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Chapter 17: Mixing With Delays

AUDIO FILES (To download all WAV examples at once: 189MB ZIP)

  • Blend & Size Delays: Here are four versions of the same basic mix: a completely dry version (Ex17.01:WAV/MP3 bp), a version with blend delay applied (Ex17.02:WAV/MP3 bp), a version with size delay applied (Ex17.03:WAV/MP3 bp), and finally a version with both delays at once (Ex17.04:WAV/MP3 bp). Compare these files with the corresponding reverb treatments (blend Ex17.05:WAV/MP3 bp; size Ex17.06:WAV/MP3 bp; both Ex17.07:WAV/MP3 bp) to get a feeling for the differences, and also have a listen to what all four effects can do together (Ex17.08:WAV/MP3 bp).

  • Overall Reverb & Delay Effects Balances: Here are some examples which demonstrate the overall reverb/delay effects balances for several different mixes. The first is from this Mix Rescue, where I used three reverbs and a delay for the final remix (Ex17.09:WAV/MP3 bp). Here's what it sounds like without those effects (Ex17.10:WAV/MP3 bp). In this Mix Rescue, I used two reverbs and three delays for the final remix (Ex17.11:WAV/MP3 bp), but this file has all of them muted (Ex17.12:WAV/MP3 bp). There's a more detailed example in this Mix Rescue, where the final remix (Ex17.13:WAV/MP3 bp) used blend reverb (Ex17.14:WAV/MP3 bp), size reverb (Ex17.15:WAV/MP3 bp), sustain reverb (Ex17.16:WAV/MP3 bp), size delay (Ex17.17:WAV/MP3 bp), and ping-pong delay (Ex17.18:WAV/MP3 bp). Check out the corresponding article link for more detailed information on the effect settings used in each case.

  • Ducking Delay: Let's say I want to add a strong echo effect to this vocal part (Ex17.19:WAV/MP3 bp). Using a traditional delay effect clouds the vocal delivery itself (Ex17.20:WAV/MP3 bp), whereas a ducking delay allows the vocals much more space, while still delivering the same obvious echo tail (Ex17.21:WAV/MP3 bp).


  • Pitched Resonators: On page 257 I mentioned using short high-feedback delays to emphasise pitched resonances. However, I should have added that there is also a family of specialised effects that supply this kind of effect in a more controllable way: pitched resonators. Using pitched resonators is very similar to using sustain-enhancing reverb/delay patches, except that you can specify the exact pitches sustained more easily and accurately. It's best to use such effects as sends, not least because that lets you control the tone of the resonator harmonics better, and to apply them during balancing if they're going to considerably change the timbre of the instrument(s) they're applied to. In a subtler role, they can be particularly handy for trouble-shooting individual 'dead' notes in acoustic-guitar recordings.


  • Affordable Delay Plug-ins: I use Cockos's freeware ReaDelayWindows Logo for all my general-purpose delay effects, but there are some other affordable plug-ins I use regularly for more specialised applications or coloristic tonal/sustain treatments. For a start, there are a number of emulated tape/vintage delay plug-ins: GSI's freeware WatKatMac LogoWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit and affordable GS-201Mac LogoWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit; Smartelectronix's donationware Analog DelayMac LogoWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit; Tweakbench's freeware MaelcumWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit; Variety Of Sound's freeware Nasty DLAWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit; The Interruptor's freeware Tape DelayWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit, Bionic DelayWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit, and EchomaniaWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit; Bluenoise Mountain EchoWindows Logo; Retro Sampling's freeware Vintage Tape DelayWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit; Meesha's freeware Echo MasterWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit; E-phonic's freeware TapeDelayWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit and RetroDelayWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit. Then there are two simple delays with useful additional features: Kjaerhus Audio's freeware Classic DelayWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit, with its switchable ping-pong mode, and GVST's freeware GDuckDlyWindows Logo, with its built-in ducking facility. Another freeware ducking delay is available from MDSP: MdspDuckDelayMac LogoWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit.

  • Affordable Pitched Resonator Plug-ins: I first came into contact with pitched resonators via the Resonant Chords patch of Lexicon's studio effects units, and although this effect is now available in software form as part of the PCM Native EffectsMac LogoWindows Logo bundle, it's quite an expensive option if pitched resonance is all you're looking for. Stillwell Audio's cross-platform TinmanMac LogoWindows Logo provides a much more affordable alternative, although you'll need to use multiple single-pitch instances to achieve a similar level of functionality. Finding pitched resonators in freeware form isn't easy, especially because it's difficult to find a reliable download source for either of my two favourite examples, arcDev ResomaticWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit and Oli Larkin's DroneboxWindows Logo (32-bit)32-bit. If you can't find one of those somewhere through Google, then try Mutagene Macomate 88Windows Logo (32-bit)32-bit, which is also pretty good once you work out how to make sense of the slightly cryptic user interface.

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