>Step by step
Creative delay processing in action
1 To start, here’s a new Cubase Pro project featuring a metronomic hi-hat on every beat. I drop a reggae-style vocal stab on a new stereo audio track – placed on the first offbeat of the project – and send this track to an FX Channel hosting an instance of Ohm Force’s OhmBoyz delay plugin.
2 Next, let’s set up the delay effect. I flip OhmBoyz’ Delay Time to 1/2 beats for a simple offbeat echo rhythm. Feedback is cranked to a super-high 90%, causing the repeats to extend over eight bars; and to restrict low end, I engage the HP filter.
3 To shape tone and character over time, I automate the delay’s filter Cutoff and Resonance over 16 bars. To do this ‘live’, punch the plugin’s Write button, hit Record and sweep the parameter in real time. For added warmth, I push up OhmBoyz’ Overdrive and Puncher dials.
4 To control and customise the signal’s tone, I use EQ to remove unwanted low-end boom and ringing frequencies. Then, for reverb, I insert Audio Damage EOS2’s Super Hall preset after the delay in the chain – a low mix of 11% subtly ‘blurs’ the echoed signal.
5 Next, for even more dub flavour, I call up a new stereo audio track and load in a reversed rave stab sample. This track is sent to a fresh FX Channel containing another OhmBoyz. For variation, I automate the Delay Time every eight bars, starting off a a Rate of 3/8 before moving into a slower 3/4 rhythm.
6 Time for some resonant band-pass filter movement. I modulate the filter’s Q with a square-shaped LFO for choppy motion, while a one-beat sine wave wobbles Feedback. After that, I raise the filter Q to sharpen the peak even more around the cutoff frequency. Panning the delay to the right positions the repeats to one side of the mix.
7 Moving on, I set up two small percussion loops to fire alternately every eight bars, through another instance of OhmBoyz. For the first loop, a one-beat Time value continues the rhythm. Again, more automation is used to change the echo timbre over time.
8 For the second percussion loop, I change notes to get a different rhythmic feel. I then automate Feedback to build up and rise to the end of the 16 bars. I do the same with the Delay Time to design a unique ‘fluttering’ riser, beginning with a 1/4- note rhythm before gradually sweeping through the values.
9 Next, I create additional texture by duplicating the last percussion hit. I bounce this to audio, reverse it, chop it in two and place it underneath the main rhythm. I add brightness with EQ, then coat the signal in a small room reverb to create ambient decay and space.
10 Now all my delayed sounds are done, let’s blend the signals, concentrating on volume and panning balance. I route all tracks except hats to a Group Channel (bus) for greater collective control over the sounds. This FabFilter Pro-Q 2 EQ is taming low-end boom, ringing mids and treble harshness.
11 On the group, I insert a final instance of OhmBoyz, creating some bizarre textures and dubby tones by automating the Feedback and Delay Time. I also do the same with Resonance, subtly sweeping through to highlight the feedback loop’s frequencies. Drive (courtesy of Saturn) heats the signal up.
12 Lastly, to generate added space, I create a new reverb FX Channel containing Valhalla Plate. Dipping the midrange with EQ gets rid of any clashing harshness. Now everything is set up, I head back and adjust parameters in context to refine the mix.