NastyDLA – some tape delay fun

To make up a complete and sustaining sequence out of  some melodic pattern is a standard task for the electronic musician. The good old tape delay is his best friend then, providing not only consistent and sustainable echos which are glueing nicely with the original signal but also offering some realtime modulation possibilities as well, to animate some maybe rather static sources.

In this short demo a static pattern is used and NastyDLA is going to be in charge as a tape delay replacement. The chorus is not used in this example but the plug-ins coloring possibilities are shown to some extend: After some bars the timbre of the delay feedback loop changes to a higher pitch and then to a lower one (and vice versa) while simultaneously the feedback amounts are going to change. To the end when the pattern stops, the “tape speed” is slowed down first and accelerated back again afterwards to demonstrate its artifact-free modulation capabilities.

Note how smooth the saturation behaves when driven into self oscillation w/o the usual amount of aliasing artifacts. The delay line generation in this example is set to “dual mono” mode (with 8th to the left and dotted 8th to the right) and the time modulations can be done separate per channel. All animations were done in realtime with host automation and in general all plug-in parameters can be automated in the host.

NastyDLA – first public audio shot

A plain riff played with a simple Kontakt sample based guitar, no additional modulations or reverb is used.

Download both naked and rendered version in wav quality here.

introducing NastyDLA

There are just a few audio effects available that are capable of instantly turning a small and wimpy riff into something big and meaningful. One of them is the classic chorus/echo combination. Beside the individual classic echo or chorus devices these combined devices were historically build around true tape or bucket brigade delays.

From today’s production standards perspective they might be easily overseen (feature wise) but on the other hand they are still pretty much demanded due to their specific and warm tone and this unique sound quality is probably the charm which still today attracts producers and audio engineers to use them in their actual music productions.

NastyDLA is going to follow this path and recreates all the specific tone qualities while adding just some few but well selected modern features. The plug-in implements some of the most distinctive and much appreciated sonic effects generated by these devices:

  • classic chorus and echo effects
  • authentic signal path coloration
  • tape-delay style feedback and saturation

NastyDLA applies gentle feedback driven delay effects, performs smooth audio signal modulations and adds extra harmonics and saturation effects. It will be available as a freeware VST plug-in for Win32 compatible systems later this autumn.

related links: the classic chorus echo device

the classic chorus echo device

Beside the usual suspects when it comes down to the individual classic echo or chorus devices there were also some combined devices build around true tape delays or bucket brigade delays (BBD). Looking from todays production standards they might be easily overseen and this is no wonder since their golden decade refers back to the 1970s right before the digital delay devices emerged during the 1980s.

Some example devices are:

  • Rockman Stereo Chorus/Delay
  • Roland DC-30 Analog Chorus-Echo
  • Roland SRE-555 Chorus-Echo
  • Roland RE-501 Chorus-Echo
  • Ibanez AD202 Analog Delay
  • Yamaha E1010 Analog Delay
  • Dynacord VRS23

Beside the delay unit itself they typically contain a Chorus/Flanger/Ensemble sort of effect as a switchable option or offer a direct and straight delay line modulation instead. Comparing them to todays feature blown digital delay units they might appear feature wise rather poor and limited but in some cases they were groundbreaking to their time providing a sound palette ranging from smoothest chorus goodness up to weird and feedback distorted audio fx oddness. This and their unique sound quality is probably the charm which still today attracts producers and audio engineers to use this sort of stuff.

Does the list miss some crucial device and are you still using such device and why?

from phasing to phase alignment

In the recent article about audio signal coloration I’ve already talked about the importance of the signals phase response in respect to the perceived tonal spectrum and today I’m going straight ahead towards phase alignment and how a signal delay relates to the phase response. But first let’s have a look at some nice youtube stuff showing Jonathan Little on demonstrating his Little Labs IBP phase alignment tool.

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about audio signal coloration

In this comprehensive article some deeper explorations and explanations on this topic are given and at the end a brief but handy definition about audio signal coloration is proposed.  Some tips on mixing can be obtained here as well and – by the way – some myth about equalizing audio in the digital domain gets busted.

Digital image spectrum

Digital imaging spectrum

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