5 Tips for Vocal Delay

by | Oct 30, 2015 | Latest | 0 comments

In Concert takes NY sound engineering very seriously. For this reason, we love researching best practices and methods so that we’re always providing you with a quality sound for your event.

We also love the science behind music and enjoy studying it so we can pass on the knowledge to you. Today we want to talk a little bit about vocals in music.

Vocals can be an essential aspect to any track but it’s crucial that the reverb and delay be well thought out. Here are 5 of our favorite tips for vocal delay.

Delay Timings

It makes sense to set vocal delays so that they are in time with a track but straight delays can get easily masked within a track. Try starting with an offbeat delay such as three sixteenths instead.

Then, vary the delay just slightly until it sounds right. A slap delay can be useful because it often sounds like a tight reverb when mixed low.

Use Real Reverb

Try using a real reverb in your next track if you’ve never tried this method before. Real reverb is all around us and every space has it’s own, unique sound.

Whenever possible, try recording a vocal in a live space while using a screen to keep a close mic dry while recording the room at the same time.

You can even record vocal ambience outside to get some unique noises such as distant traffic, birds, and chatter.

Use Echo Instead

You can also try to use an echo instead of a delay to mix things up. This method will give you a very similar sound so it’s not noticeably different, except for the amount of repeats.

Whether you use a delay or an echo for your vocals, it doesn’t matter so give each method a try so you can determine which works best for you.

Slap Echo

If you’ve used slap echo before, you know that it has a very unique sound. It’s a short delay with only about one repeat. This style was popularized with bands like The Beatles back in the day.

It can also be used to add some space to your vocal sound but make sure to be subtle. Using this instead of reverb can provide you with a cleaner sound overall.

Long Sustain

In songs that have long, sustained vocal phrases such as ballads, you can lengthen the delay. With long, sustained notes, the delay will just thicken the phrase while not getting in the way.

If you mix the delay beneath the vocal, you’ll get a thick, juicy vocal sound. If you time the repeat with the music, the one repeat at the end will add some character to your track.

NY sound engineering can be fascinating and we hope you were able to take away some valuable information by reading this. If you ever have any audio engineering questions, give us a call and we’d be happy to assist.

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