Using a Delay to create a Crackle Effect

A sound design tutorial showing you how to use a delay effect to create crackle.

Beat Construction


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Following on from the Using a Delay as a Reverb video tutorial this tutorial explores how to use the Echoboy delay effect plugin to create the crackle effect that is so popular in today’s genres.

Producers today have to wear two hats: one as a music producer and the other as sound designer. The most famous hits have a sound that is always remembered and associated with the hit record. It might be a stunning snare sound or some crazy vocal effect, it really doesn’t matter, what is important is that the sound was customised using sound design principles to suit the production.

The tools we have at our disposal in the audio production industry are not exclusively hardware. In fact, the most versatile and affordable tools are software driven. Additionally, the software processors are so powerful and well specified that they can be used for other purposes  as well as what they were designed for and in this tutorial we are going to explore how to use a delay effect plugin to create the famous crackle effect that you hear on so many EDM and Urban hits.

Before we begin our jaunt into the sound design processes required to create this very cool effect we need to get our heads around how a delay effect works and my recommendation is to watch this FREE video before jumping into the Echoboy sound design tutorial: Delay Effect – what is it and how does it work

Understanding how a delay effect works is critical in understanding how to use the inbuilt features of a well specified delay processor to create different sonic textures. The ability to break the process down into smaller components is how most delay processors function. There are sections that handle the timing of the delay, sections that deal with the filtering, sections that deal with specific styles and modes and so on. The sheer power and versatility of today’s virtual effects cannot be matched by the hardware counterparts and it is these added functions that we are going to explore in this tutorial.

In the video I use a drum beat sequence with the Echoboy delay effect plugin and show you how easy it is to create your own custom sounds. I explain how the plugin works and what each feature does and how to use the multitude of built-in processes to create a lovely crackle effect that can then be used in your mixes. I show you what settings to use for this particular sound design project and end by showing you how other textures like the slap-back effect can also be created using a delay effect processor.

Plugin used in this video:

Soundtoys Echoboy

Topics covered in this video are:

  • How to create the Crackle Effect
  • Creating Sizzle
  • Saturation Decay
  • Drums and Crackle
  • Sizzling Beats for clarity
  • Tempo-modulated effects
  • Step sequencing delays
  • Envelope and Rhythm Length control