>Step by step

Cre­ative de­lay pro­cess­ing in ac­tion

Computer Music - - Studio Strategies -

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.

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