Add Variety to your Drum Beats using Delay Effects

Sound design tutorial on using delays to create a variety of drum textures using existing sounds.

Beat Construction


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Delay Effects are much more than simple repeats. They can be used to create really useful and unique textures for any sound and in particular drum sounds and beats.

Stereo delay effects come in all shapes and sizes and with feature sets that are nothing short of astounding. Gone are the days of simple feed delay processors that offer basic filtering and timing control over the left and right delay lines (channels). Nowadays, delay effects processors come with a well specified and detailed modulation matrix, tons of filtering tools, acres of editing possibilities and incredible control over how each delay line behaves.

Before we start exploring how to use a delay effect to manipulate drum beats let us ground ourselves in the workings of a delay processor. This FREE video tutorial explains how a delay effect processor works: Delay Effect – what is it and how does it work

Delay effects are perfect for processing drum beats as the delay effect is a time based processor and drum beats are governed by time based events that are synced to a song’s tempo (BPM). The ability to micro edit each repeat on a delay allows for creating some incredible textures.

In the video I use a staid and unexciting drum beat and run it through two different types of delay effects to show you how we can add life and vibrancy to a drum sequence. I explain how to use both delay effect processors to shape new textures. I explain in detail how to use various delay settings to achieve different goals. I explain how to use the modulation matrix of each delay processor to create filtered effects over time. I run through various sound design and production examples using both delay processors.

Plugins used in this video:

Soundtoys Echoboy

FabFilter Timeless

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Sound Design tutorial
  • The power of Delay in manipulating drum colours
  • Advanced Modulation tricks
  • When Reverb doesn’t cut it for Drums
  • Smearing
  • Diffusion and Density
  • Timeless Matrix
  • Echoboy tricks
  • Manipulating Echo bands
  • Filtering
  • Modulating Filters for Beats