10 Great Delay Mixing Tips That Work Every Time!

Delay Mixing Tips!


Utilizing delays in your mix is a good way to add depth and width to a track when used appropriately in the best conditions. Beneath we will explain a few of our high suggestions and methods for utilizing delays when mixing your tracks, however, all the pieces can be utilized to complete different sound sources or devices!

Firstly, listen to your sound source — does it want a delay? Not every part needs effects and processing, if it sounds good it sounds good! Spend time selecting a delay, all of them sound completely different. From analog delays to digital delays, there are so many out there! Use your ears on this one.

Delay is essentially the most primal factor that defines our sense of the environmental area. The amplitude, frequency response, and timing of delayed acoustic signals present essentially the most powerful cues for localization and figuring out the scale of our surroundings. When delays are artificially added to sounds in a mix it will probably create a way of recognizable depth and space that provides intelligibility and presence.

Delay Parameters

Every producer might present the user with barely completely different parameters.  Nevertheless, there are some commonalities between most delay processors.

  • Wet/Dry:  Determines the relative ranges of processed and unprocessed alerts.
  • Delay Time:  This enables users to regulate the size of time between the unique and delayed signals.
  • Feedback:  This determines the variety of instances the delayed signal is repeated.
  • Depth:  This determines the quantity of modulation.
  • Rate:  This determines the speed of modulation.

Regulate these parameters till you discover a sound that you simply like. In case your track is recorded with a click on, you might need to sync the delay time to the tempo. For live recordings, delay instances might need to be automated with the track.

For an extra atmospheric sound, attempt to raise the feedback. Cranking the feedback knob will trigger tape delays to become a feedback loop, producing a guitar amp-like sound. This can be utilized creatively for excellent effect.

Attempt using some modulation in case you are searching for an odd, spacey sound. Regulate the depth and rate till you’ve achieved a pleasing sonic character.

delay parameters

#1 – Enhancing Stereo Image

One actually cool factor you are able to do with a delay is to turn a mono sound right into a stereo one. This works by pulling up a mono sound on two channels, panning one hard left, one hard right, and placing a delay on one side. Flip the wet/dry ratio to 100% wet, set the feedback to zero, and time the delay between 5 to 20ms. Magic stereo sound.

Often, you’ll wish to use a clear delay that has no particular sound of its own to do that, however, there’s no rule towards utilizing a stylized delay to create a singular sound.

An alternative choice to this method is to use three channels: one panned left, one panned right and one panned up the center. Put your delay between 5 to 20ms on one side, and between 15 to 30ms on the opposite side, and ensure the instances usually are not identical.

Then pull the volume on the hard-panned signals down till you don’t actually hear them a lot. This creates the effect of a mono instrument that spreads throughout the stereo field. Usually, this works better on sounds that aren’t too transient heavy: guitars, keys, and pads. With drums, this is usually a bit tough to make work.

#2 – Delay Throws Concept

Usually, a Delay Throw is conceived by automating the send level to a particularly timed delay at certain factors where the specified phrase or phrase comes up within the track. With this new methodology, you gain much more management and freedom, versus utilizing the same ¼ note delay on each word.

That is what we refer to as ear candy. It’s catching the listeners’ consideration by perhaps filling a gap within the track or vocal with a delay throw. Performed accurately and also you’ll be sure to be a focus for a listener and draw them in.

For this one, we might be inclined to make use of a totally different delay with totally different characteristics. Once more, automation is vital when doing this type of thing as relying on the style you might only use a delay throw on one or two words.

What you’ll find yourself doing is modifying every desired phrase to be repeated and placing it by itself on a separate track. Since every word or phrase is by itself track now, you’ll be able to add a special delay to each and personalize every phrase, particularly to your liking, including things like distortion and reverb as well.

delay for throws

#3 – Dull Down the Delay

One of many giveaways of a nasty delay sound is that the echo or slapback of the delay return is just too bright. Utilizing the easy Mod Delay, for instance, consider knocking down the LPF (Low Pass Filter) slider to make your delay darker. In this manner, it would not sound cheap.

Be aware that totally different delays have alternative ways to darken the tone. For instance, one thing just like the basic SoundToys EchoBoy has a HighCut filter with Min and Max settings.

By turning the HighCut up (clockwise), you darken the general tone of the delay returns. Or taking a look at one thing just like the Massey TD5, you have a tone switch for Normal, Dark, or Bright, in addition to a mode switch for Classic Retro and Modern. Setting it to Dark and Vintage will assist blend those delays into your mix.

#4 – Sidechaining Delay

Sidechain compression is one other approach that can be used to unlock space in a mix. Typically we will use a heavy quantity of delay on the lead vocal or lead guitar. This will add a pleasant sense of depth to a recording. Nonetheless, things can become simply cluttered when utilizing lengthy delay times, or a lot of feedback. When you really feel that the mix turns crowded, attempt to utilize sidechain compression.

Insert a compressor in your delay send. Route the dry signal to the key input in your compressor and allow this to operate. It will trigger the extent of the delayed signal to rise only when the unique track becomes silent.

Utilizing this system on a number of devices in a recording will trigger the track to develop into roughly reverberant with dynamic changes. This may be an effective way to add some delicate emotional content to a mix. Utilizing the following pointers it is possible for you to achieve better depth in mixes and craft sensible delays.

sidechaining delay

#5 – Fill the voids

Silence can add some nice pressure to a mix. However, an excessive amount of empty areas and your track is gonna get boring fairly fast.

An effective way to maintain your mix attention-grabbing is to let the echoes of your delay fill within the silent areas you don’t want. Typically it’s not about how you utilize delays. It’s about where you utilize them.

If an element ends abruptly before the following part is available, arrange an easy delay with a low feedback setting. The feedback setting in your delay plugin will decide what number of echoes of the unique signal you’ll hear.

You possibly can even let the delay echoes bleed into the following section of your track. This provides you with extra dynamic transitions. It’ll mix your components better and retains things fascinating all through the mix.

#6 – Module the Delays

Put a delay on something; perhaps a vocal — no matter. Now, hit playback, and as it’s playing begin altering the time constant. Not only will you hear the delay change in tempo, but you’ll hear the pitch shift up (if sped up) or down (if slowed down). This effect works rather well on triggered delays: delays that might be set up to hit only one phrase or one note.

A very fun alternative is to arrange a twin mono delay. For those who make micro-adjustments to the timing constant on one delay going one way, and going the other way on the opposite delay, you will get some actually cool results.

If panned aside you get a delay that has a “doubler” effect with a really huge sound. If panned together the delay really choruses, making a cool texture. And the actual fun is when you do a partial panning — like 50% left and 50% right, you will get a spread-chorus effect.

Since you wish to be making very tiny changes — like sine wave automation/LFO within 10-20ms time variations, you’ll be able to really use this as a consistent delay on a component like vocals or guitar. The rhythm of the delay stays identical — only the feel actually changes.

modulating delay mixing tips

#7 – Telephone EQ your Delay

That is one more well-liked approach in popular modern music. The phone EQ effect has been around for a number of decades now. Merely place an EQ before your favorite delay plugin (Could be carried out after as well) and use a Low-Cut Filter to chop out the whole lot beneath 520 Hz.

Then use a High-Cut Filter and take out the whole lot above 3500 Hz. Lastly, Increase the remaining frequencies a bit at possibly 2 dB and Voilà, a phone effect EQ. This will even serve to offer your delay throws additional distinction and curiosity from the lead vocal by which it originated, which is good on your listeners.

#8 – Repeating Delays

A method to add rhythmic enhancement to vocal efficiency whereas including depth and space is through the use of repeating delays. Relying on the tempo of the vocal performance and the tempo of the track, delay instances will normally vary from sixteenth notes to half or whole notes. The addition of dotted or triplet values also needs to be considered when straight values are usually not fairly providing you with the sound you need.

One consideration with repeating delays is that they’ll simply construct upon themselves in a busy vocal part and obscure the depth field and readability of the vocal. A great way to get around that is to selectively decide what words or phrases to emphasize utilizing delay.

Words or phrases that outline the hook of the track or which have an empty space following them are usually the most effective decisions.

echo boy delay

#9 – Pan Two Delays

Why use one delay when you can use 2? Most delay plugins mean you can add a number of delays to a single signal. Attempt making use of 2 delays at offset delay instances to the identical sound. Then pan one delay to the left and one to the right.

The offset delays will sound like they’re weaving out and in of one another throughout the stereo spectrum. That is generally referred to as a stereo delay effect. This may give your mix a superb sense of motion, depth, and space. All with simply 2 easy delays.

Here also you will need to do a bit of experimentation to be able to find the best times that will fit your signal. The fun is actually when looking for the right delay times and feedback.

#10 – Ping Pong Delay

If you’re interested in slightly more motion with these repeating delays, the “ping pong” effect is a well-liked means to add extra rhythmic motion and curiosity whereas opening up the stereo sound field. An easy ping pong delay will pan every repeating delay to the alternative side, with the feedback control figuring out the variety of repeats.

If you’d like to boost the rhythm a bit, add a dotted note to 1 side. For instance, if the left side delay is programmed for a 1/4 note, use a dotted quarter note delay on the right side. The H-Delay Hybrid Delay is ideal for this when set to ping-pong mode. You may as well set how much feedback can be fed to the opposite side independently.

Adding Delay on Vocals


Delay is crucial for getting a fascinating mix. Experiment together with your delays and take a look at making use of them in groups of instruments as an alternative to simply single sounds.

As an effect delay is an inventive and versatile tool. So try these tips in your mix and push them additional to fit your sound.


Nikoloski is the founder and main content writer and editor of Mixing Tips. With his experience in audio engineering, mixing, and mastering for over 15 years, will provide hands-on experience and expertise in all the matters covered on this website.

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