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Delay + reverb in the mix, when recording

 
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Thumberstrummer



Joined: 12 Oct 2014
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2022 2:24 pm    Post subject: Delay + reverb in the mix, when recording Reply with quote

Hi Scott.
Hope you're doing great.
Pandemic has changed a lot of the golden rules in performing music, and / or has pushed forward some of the habits that (in my case at least) were barely in use before the covid.
Thus I happen to make a lot of recording at home. I prefer to record my guitar parts and solos using a classic amp + cab + mic set up (big thanks to my fair neighbors!), as I'm not getting a satisfying tone out of any of the modelers / simulators / digital stuff I own.
My main issue at the moment is how to replicate the good tone of the delay-reverb combo (= delay into reverb) I get using my effects units on the amp, on the mixing console on my DAW. How to manage the bus signal chain thing to have a good dark-sounding delay into a reverb sounding properly? I can't prevent the delay by getting lost in the reverb, or vice versa I hear too much of the delay with no to barely audible reverb before it swallows eveything... Think that since I'm getting obsessed with this task, I'm listening to your records (especially Vibe Station, which I love) focusing on the massive delay and reverb work behind your guitar amazing tones, discovering how much skills it requires. Any help on some basic rules to apply? Any tips to share? Many many thanks in advance Scott!
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Scott Henderson
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Joined: 20 May 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2022 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to give my gear most of the credit because the plug-ins I use don't seem to need much adjustment to sound good. I use delay into reverb as well, by putting the delay first in the FX slots of the DAW mixer. I use Soundtoys EchoBoy, usually Studio Tape. That goes into Valhalla Plate, usually the Steel setting. Sometimes I use Lexicon Plate or Hall, from a very expensive bundle I bought like 20 years ago - but Valhalla Plate usually sounds better at 1/10th of the price.

Without having to tweak anything, the reverb is already darker than the delay. If the reverb is too bright, the delay gets lost and I don't hear it at all, so a dark reverb is essential when mixing the two. All the EchoBoy delays seem to have the right amount of brightness to me - I don't think I've ever had to run any of them through an EQ.

There are some skills involved - Alan Hertz uses quite a few different reverbs. On some tunes he'll use the same reverb for the whole drum kit, but on others he'll use three different reverbs for snare, toms, and floor toms. Sorry but I'm not a good enough engineer to make those kind of decisions.

My very small contribution is about delay times. Sometimes I like to put the delays in tempo with the song - it either sounds good or it doesn't. If it doesn't, I usually use about 450ms - on slower tunes I might go as high as 600ms. Sometimes the delay time just doesn't fit the phrases, so I might have to program as many as five different delays on different buses, each with the desired delay time to fit into a hole after a particular phrase. Of course I have to automate each delay to turn off and on. I've heard this done on some Beyonce tunes - sometimes the delay is heard pretty close to the actual note, and sometimes it's in a hole pretty far away from the actual note. I'm sure some people would think this is being super anal but for me delay is an art form.


Last edited by Scott Henderson on Fri Jul 01, 2022 6:39 am; edited 1 time in total
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Thumberstrummer



Joined: 12 Oct 2014
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2022 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The delay is an art form!! Bumped!! Your records are a living proof for that!
How not to agree? Delay and reverb used as a form of art become an integral part of an Artist own voice, but can also turn the whole tune into something kinda tridimentional.
Thanks Scott, very much appreciated!
So if I got it right, you put the delay first in the channel strip FX box. That's a very simple, but precious advice! I've always thought that's the wrong way, as most of the guys out there say it's preferable / more professional to route effects via send / bus! On the other hand most of the instructional videos I've hapened to hit on YT, or are approaching such topic in general, or are made by hard rock / heavy metal players, resulting useless (to me).
So what about the reverb? Is it better to route it through the send / bus and tweak it to taste, or putting it in the FX box soon after the delay ?
Thanks again Scott!
Fabio
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Scott Henderson
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2022 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, I was wrong about something - I've put delay into reverb before, and it can sound good because the delay repeats have reverb on them. However, most of the time, the delay is on its own separate bus, as is the reverb. Having no reverb on the delay repeats separates them better from each other.

When to do it one way and when to do it the other way? That depends on the song. A slow ballad might sound better with delay going into reverb on the same bus, but on a more rhythmic tune it might be better if they were on two different busses.

If you're not using buses at all, you'd have no choice but to put the delay going into the reverb on the FX inserts of the track itself, but that's no different than putting them both on the same bus and using a send of the track to send to that bus.
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erakare



Joined: 07 May 2017
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Location: NY

PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2022 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it helpful to envision reverb as a cascading series of small delays that increase in length & intensity as the room becomes 'bigger'...I then think of delay as the reverse of that...you hear a decreasing cascade after the 1st large 'delay' that repeats with decreasing intensity depending on how many repeats you want...

When I'm mixing I decide whether I want a 'repeat' effect or a 'reverberation' effect first...alluding to comments above, reverb into delay 'delays/repeats' the entire reverberated sound; delay into reverb 'reverberates' the entire 'delayed' sound...
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Thumberstrummer



Joined: 12 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2022 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Scott.
Now everything has more sense to me.
I got cracking to test the delay on the trackís FX + reverb on the aux send thing, but the result was not as good as expected.
Considering how meticolously managed and awesome sounding are delays and reverbs on ANY of your recordings, I felt frustrated, wandering where ever am I getting wrong? LolÖ
Iíve experienced such kind of disappointing outcome also with my live rig, and in the end I decided there to set the routing of my multieffect so that the delay sits on its own, going straight to the output, and the reverb input is feeded 50% by the clean signal and 50% by the delay.
In any other way I feel the delay gets somehow lost, whilst the reverb tends to be too bloomy or dark with regard to the delay trails, depending on how you tweak them.
Iím gonna stick with the same approach when recording.
Thanks again
Fabio
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Thumberstrummer



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2022 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ÖI have to say also that - even though this approach is widely disliked, especially by sound engineers & producers - I love what I get when capturing the tone of the guitar with my pedalboard effects on. Nothing compares to delay /reverb tones when enhanced by a tube amp (it makes me dream of getting a good old tube delay machine to use as an external FX processor!).
Of course you will have issues when trying to change something / editing your recorded parts. At a certain degree this qpproach pushes me to play the relevant parts at my best, so that post editing gets unne essary. On the other hand thats not a tecnique usable very often, since uou canít process and / or set the mix between the guitar tone and the effects separately in post production.
But for some special mono guitar tones in the economy of a song, it can be useful.
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Scott Henderson
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2022 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish I could help further but without being there to hear it... Are you using EchoBoy and Valhalla Plate? I'm serious, inferior gear will ruin everything, and tweaking it will not help. To be honest I've never heard of anyone tracking with FX since the days of Zeppelin - punching in to fix mistakes would be next to impossible, and I make a lot of mistakes, so all my FX are post recording.

I use a wet amp live. A small line box the size of a small pedal turns speaker signal into line level, which goes into my multi-FX and then into a small Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. The amp reacts to the pickups much better when there's no FX in the same speakers.
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Thumberstrummer



Joined: 12 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2022 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Scott. I've been luky enough to see you many times in concert, here in Italy, and I'm probably one of the most informed guys out there about every single nuance in your gear setting. And... yes, I've bought both the Valhalla plate and the Echoboy (which has been in my radar for a while)! Good to catch the fair chance to pay this latter 50 euros instead of 200, thanks to a limited special offer!
Great to see you at the Blue note in Milan with your (by then) relatively new dry-wet setting, and once again in a small club near Taranto (Roccaforzata). I'm not talking about the main guitar parts, that might be a pain in the ass whether tracked with effects on throught the amp, I'm just referring to a special once-in-a-while effect, a single phrase or a refrain. It's like using a delay in front of a gainy amp... Not something I'd use more than once, and wisely fine tuned.
Fabio
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dizzy



Joined: 26 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2022 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I run my delay and reverb pedals in series before my amp.
I like reverb last because it seems to make the delay less prominentó
Not recording situation but somehow it applies.
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Thumberstrummer



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2022 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same as me Dizzy. At least in my live rig. However using a HX Stomp for delays and reverbs, Iíve found out that whether the reverb is feeded 50% with direct sound and 50% with the effected sound coming from the delay output, things work better. Otherway I feel an overall volume loss and way less clarity in the final tone merged with both effects.
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