utilizing early reflections in a production

A quite often underestimated or even forgotten production technique is to take advantage of artificial early reflections which could be added somewhere during the mixing process. Without inserting any fully fledged reverberation at all, applying such techniques allows to dramatically increase stereo width and depth perception as well as a way better instrument localization even in a busy mix. Creating density is not the goal here but the opposite is the name of the game: achieving a clear and intelligible mix.

In a simple case, one can place a short and plain delay (a slap-back echo) on a track and properly place it in the stereo field – maybe on the opposite side of the source but that’s just an example. More sophisticated tap delays could be used to create a sort of room experience and some reverberators are allowing to disable the late reverb diffusion and just to use their early reflection generation. There are no restrictions in general – allowed is what gets the job done in that specific mixing situation.

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NastyDLA mkII version released

NastyDLA mkII – A classic chorus echo device with tape-delay simulation

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

The mkII version of this plug-in is  an overall technical redesign and features “stateful saturation” algorithms for an improved sound experience and changes several things under the hood. Basically, NastyDLA mkII  remains feature wise the very same but introduces the input stage modelled by this new and exciting technology and also redesigns the tape compression algorithm for an improved IM distortion performance. In general, the distortion generation appears to be more analog like and the perception of width and depth has been improved significantly. [Read more…]

the many shapes of delay

VRS-23

About the different applications of audio delay effects.

There are quite a number of different types and applications for the audio delay effect in the audio production ranging from plain technical delay application up to all the musical and creative ranges of application. The rather technical or correctional delay typically is a plain digital delay which serves as a sample accurate alignment tool. Such alignments might be necessary for example for plug-in delay compensation (when a plug-in introduces latency) or during the mixing process to align a group of recorded tracks or samples. The so-called pre-delay can also be seen as an alignment sort of thing where the direct source signal has to be aligned in a positive or negative manner in relation to a processed signal, e.g. in a reverb effect. [Read more…]

reverb and delay, retro style

(via preservationsound.com)

some great freebie tips

Urs' Tyrell Nexus6

Quite recently u-he released his awesome “Tyrell” software synthesizer as a freeware for the german online magazine amazona.de. If you are seriously into synth based music production then this is a must try for sure. It does not feature any fancy fx section but just raw synth waveform combination and modulation which are executed brilliantly. Soundwise this offers true analog qualities which includes both, punch and balls as well as some mojo which you rarely find in digital synths as of today. [Read more…]

short links, year end 2010 edition

Since we’ve had a great delay plug-in release this year some might be interested in some further reading about that topic. A short history about delay effects is given here and some more specific readings about tape delay can be found in the mixonline magazine. Need some overview about the Roland tape echo stuff? Just look here.

From time to time some effect developer apprentices are asking where to start. Today, almost everything can be found in the cloud. Sometimes DSP suppliers/developers are offering good overviews and introductions such as this example. Don’t hesitate to search for all those papers which are freely available, [Read more…]

NastyDLA – released today

NastyDLA – a classic chorus echo device with tape-delay simulation, is released today.

The free download for Windows x32 and VST compatible systems is available via the download page or just click here instead and please acceppt the end-user license agreement.

Related links:

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.

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?