Monday, September 23, 2002

Delay -a synopsis by Rob Carbone

Delay is a time domain controlling device, versus the more normal tonal domain
control found in disortion, wah-wah, and even the flanging/chorusing/phasing
family of tonal manipulation. The one common thread between the
flanging/chorusing/phasing family is that there is still an oscillator
controlling the effect where as wah-wah is a manually controlled oscillation and
distortion and overdrive are merely overpowering the signal.

Okay, with that said, delay is like having a constant linear sampler being put
through an oscillator, the oscillation is the amount of repeated sound with the
decay control being the rate/time factor.

Mix is the amount of original sound you will hear with the delayed effect, it is
in essence a mixer, since it is a mixing knob, and this alone opens up a facet
of sonic potential.

Attack is how the delay will sound from a staccato saw tooth wave to a resonant
sine wave. This can be used to accent the delay, from single note or chord
stutters to a singing vibration of resonant chord/arppegiation/note/ sound.
What ever you want from the note, this will accent.

Delay Amount/Repeat is how many times you want the sound to repeat. This can be
from a simple note for note repeat to a long series of repeats.

Delay Time is how long you want this to carry on for, just like a decay control
on an analog synthsizer.

Now, combinations of amount and time can carry out a variety of effects. A
short repeat amount and a long delay time can be like a slap back/empty room
repeat. A larger repeat amount and a shorted time can generate a reverb like
delay. Large amount of repeat and longer delay times yield anything from Pink
Floydian delay to cascading walls of glorious feedback as sounds crash upon
sounds in a cacophanous symphony. It is all in how you manipulate the envelope
of repeat and decay.

Placemant of the delay in a chain of effects is another point to think about,
while you may want to repeat a manipulated sound, you would put it at the end of
the effects chain, and if you wanted the delay to be subject to tonal
oscillation as it repeats, you would situated it at the front of the effects
chain. Wah-wah is the same principle, if the wah-wah is to be delayed, put it
in front. If the delay is going to be manually manipulated by the varying tonal
envelope, put the delay in front of the wah-wah.

It can be fun to put the delay within reach of fingers (or toes, if you are an
evolved ape man like me,) so you can manipulate the factors of amount and time
at you or the song convenience. Twist a knob while a chord rings out or a note
starts to decay naturally.

Other things to consider are song tempo, and how you are playing the piece of
music through it. The more you play, the more that is going to be repeated in
the phrase, remember this is a constant feeding of sound going through the delay
envelope, so less playing means a more precise repeat. Think of it as duh ...
duh. Dahdunh duh ...dahdunhduh. But if you keep playing or feeding back it
will rush and swirl together.

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