Delay effect and free hip hop instrumentals

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A Small Guide to the Delay Effect

Delay is a fundamental audio effect used to mix an incoming signal with a copy of itself after a given amount of time. The effect of feeding a delayed signal back into the effect’s input is multiple sustained echoes.

Plug-ins can make the delay effect better. Quite a wide range of plug-ins are on the market nowadays. They range from the no-frills to all out complex. It takes trial and error to figure out what works best for your sound. For example, when used properly, a vintage delay plug-in can contribute to the overall sound significantly. In the wrong hands however, it can sound like a big mess.

To add rhythmic interest to a synth line, a simple mono delay will do the trick. The mono delay can also add bounce to a bass section. For rhythmic perfection, it is best to synchronize the temp of the plug-in to keep the delay time at some fraction of the length of the beat.

To add dimension and depth, experiment with a stereo delay. This technique sets a different delay time for the right and left channels, thereby augmenting the stereo effect. You should take caution however, not to distract the listener from the most important part of the mix.

Flanging and doubling are also accomplished with the delay effect. When very short delay times are used, the delay plug-in produces a variety of modulation effects. The type of delay is particularly useful for guitar effects.

OK, now let’s get down to business. Delay plug-ins don’t take up a lot of CPU or RAM and can be used in either send or insert configurations. The output mix control should be set to 100% wet when using the send configuration. In the insert configuration, set the output mix fairly low to prevent the effect from dominating the mix. It is best to use the insert configuration when the delay time is unique to one part or if the delay is used in combination with other effects on free hip hop instrumentals.

Next, set the feedback amount (how many times the delay signal loops around), after loading the wet/dry free hip hop instrumentals balance. Be sure not to clutter the mix with too many sustained echoes. Try to experiment the sub-effects, including filters and saturation units, offered with many plug-ins. They can give a subtle, effective enhancement to the sound.

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