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