De­lay’s anatomy

Future Music - - FEATURE -

What are the com­mon con­trols you’d ex­pect to find on a mod­ern de­lay ef­fect? The most ba­sic – used to tweak de­lays since the dawn of the echo pro­ces­sor – is the De­lay Time con­trol. From the dis­tance be­tween the play­head and re­pro head on early tape de­lay ef­fects, to the dig­i­tal vari­able set in mod­ern soft­ware, this de­ter­mines the length of time be­tween the orig­i­nal sig­nal and the first echo (that is, as long as the first echo is played!) Along with De­lay Time, you may find a Time Base con­trol, which al­lows mul­ti­ples or frac­tions of the set de­lay time.

Feed­back con­trols the amount of the out­put (de­layed) sig­nal that is then fed back into the in­put to en­rich the ef­fect. This is usu­ally found set some­where in the mid­dle of its range – 0% means no feed­back; 100% means con­stant feed­back. Val­ues near­ing 100% are usu­ally used for glitch­ing and buf­fer ef­fects, as we’ll show you in a few pages’ time.

Be­cause feed­back ef­fects can build up quickly, you might find a lim­iter built into your de­lay to stop things get­ting out of hand and dam­ag­ing your ears or equip­ment. A Dry/Wet con­trol (or more so­phis­ti­cated Dry Level and Wet Level con­trols) will blend the out­put with the orig­i­nal in­put. Set th­ese to fully wet if you’re us­ing the de­lay on a bus.

You might have off­set con­trols to tweak the de­lay time slightly, or shuf­fle con­trols to in­tro­duce an el­e­ment of swing to the echoes’ tim­ing.

Many de­lays also fea­ture fil­ter­ing, help­ing the de­layed sig­nal lose a bit of weight and re­main sub­tle. Mod­u­la­tion is also a likely sight th­ese days, help­ing to get those fil­ters – as well as de­cay time, dry/wet level or any­thing else – mov­ing and grooving.

Pan­ning and width stages can help shape the de­layed sig­nal, mak­ing it wider, nar­rower, or just push­ing it to one side. As de­lays are so re­lated to mod­u­la­tion ef­fects, some may also in­clude some easy go-to set­tings for cho­rus, flange and other such ef­fects.

D16 Group’s Sig­mund is a fully-loaded de­lay unit with all the trim­mings needed to cus­tomise your sound

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