Using a Delay to create Chorus

Learn how to create the chorus effect using a delay effect processor.


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Sometimes we producers like to get a little creative when using effects and quite often the effect we think we need is not always the right choice and a little lateral thinking is required to achieve the same results using a different process. A great example of using a substitute process in place of the required process is that of Using a Delay as a Reverb. Using a delay effect in place of a chorus effect adopts the same thinking and the goal here is to use a delay effect processor to create a chorus effect.

But first, let us glean over how a chorus works.


With effects such as chorus, flanging, phasing and vibrato pitch modulation is used along with delay. With chorus an equal mix of the wet and dry signal is used with the wet signal being delayed and pitch modulated. The pitch is modulated using an LFO as the source and both the depth and rate are used to create varying ‘colours’ or textures of the effect. The modulation depth is defined as intensity which is the range between the maximum and minimum values. The rate determines the speed at which these maximum to minimum shifts occur.

Too much depth when using chorus can sound as if the output is detuned whereas too little depth can make it sound less and less pronounced. Rate can have a dramatic effect on the chorus as slow rates create a more undulating and smoother effect whereas fast rates will create a speeded up wobble effect.

The relationship between rate and depth is very important and it is about finding a good balance between the two when processing sounds. The modulator shape is also critical as the shape denotes the periodic (unless chosen otherwise) cycling of the modulation destination. A sine wave shape will give a smoother cyclic effect, and is the most common LFO shape for chorus , as opposed to a square or pulse waveform which will have an extremely distinct effect as it cyclically switches between two delay times.

Chorus is often used on guitars, basses (mainly acoustic) and keyboard sounds like electric pianos and so on. Although chorus can thicken and widen a sound it can also push it into the background, so you need to be wary of the rate and depth of modulation particularly when using it for these purposes as opposed to using it for a specific colour. For this reason alone we rarely use chorus on vocals although it can be used to thicken specific backing vocals, but to be honest, double tracking, reverb and delay are better options.


To understand how a delay effect works please watch this FREE video tutorial explaining what a delay is and how it works: Delay Effect – what is it and how does it work

Now that we understand how chorus and delay work we can use the timing section of the delay processor to create a chorus effect.

In the video I show you how to use a delay effect processor to create a chorus effect using a female vocal take as the audio example. I explain all the steps required in achieving a chorus effect using the taps of a delay effect. I explain what Multiply is and how we use it to create lush chorus effects.

Plugin used in this video:

Soundtoys Little PrimalTap

Topics covered in this video are:

  • What is Delay in Chorus
  • Using Multiply and Feedback
  • Why use Delay instead of Chorus
  • Creating Proximity effects
  • Creating a clean chorus effects using only Delays