Using Stereo Delays on Vocals

Using stereo and dual-mono delay effects for modulating the stereo width of vocal lines is a very potent process!


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Using stereo delays on vocals is not just about creating super wide vocals but about adding motion and colour to lead and backing vocals.

Stereo delay effect processors are truly dynamic when it comes to treating the human voice. Not only do producers use stereo delays for adding width to a sound but the more common use is for adding delay ‘throws’ to vocal lines within a mix context.

But first, we need to understand how a delay effect processor works and for this reason alone I have created a FREE dedicated video tutorial showing you how to use a delay effect:

Delay Effect – what is it and how does it work

Delay Throw

A delay throw is a triggered delay at a specific part in a song and usually on a vocal source. The usual approach is to use the automation lane in the DAW to trigger the delay and by a specified value (either time based or BPM synced). A simple yet common example of a delay throw is when using a delay that is triggered to a synced timing subdivision of 1/4 or 1/8 note after a specific word or words of a vocal recording. By using these BPM synced timing subdivisions we can give the vocal a rhythmic effect that makes the vocals sit nicely in a  tempo driven track. Additionally, we can add some interest to a staid vocal line just by applying short delay values to the end of sentences or words which result in the perception of extended note lengths and ghostly repetitions.

The creative possibilities of using stereo delays on vocal takes are endless. Manipulating either channel of the stereo delay effect allows for some serious stereo widening possibilities and is just one of the many textures we can create just by using a well-specified delay effect processor. Applying ghost-like delay throws adds a level of intimacy to the vocal take that is both pleasing and musical and it doesn’t end there –  we can use delay effects to add motion to a sound giving the listener the illusion that the vocal take is moving along the timeline all on its own. The list is endless…..

In the Using Stereo Delays on Vocals video, I show you how to use the stock Cubase stereo delay plugin and Soundtoys Echoboy to manipulate a female vocal take. I explain how to customise the timing values of a stereo delay effect processor to achieve different textures – from stereo widening to rhythmic delays.

Plugins used in this video:

Soundtoys Echoboy

Steinberg StereoDelay

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Using Stereo and Dual Mono Delays
  • Best Delay practices for Vocals
  • Phase
  • Offsets and Delay-offset
  • Tempo-synced Offsets
  • Creating Width

If you found this tutorial helpful then give these a try:

Delay Effect – what is it and how does it work

Delay Effect – Cross Feedback and Style

Using a Delay to create Chorus

Using a Delay as a Reverb

Vocal Production Masterclass

Studio and Multi Effects Masterclass

Creative Effects

Using Delay to Manipulate Stereo Width

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