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Calculations for vocal delay then predelay on reverb
Old 17th September 2011
Gear Addict

Calculations for vocal delay then predelay on reverb

I generally do a delay of a 4th, 8th, or 16th note and blend that in a bit under the lead vox, on an aux. On the same send I put reverb after the delay, rather than on another aux, so the delay itself gets reverb.

And I also add predelay to the reverb -- usually a 16th note (and then pad it just slightly but a few extra ms)

I've back and forth with the idea of not adding reverb predelay since it's coming after the delay itself. But I generally like the predelay -- for all the reasons I always like predelay, that it opens up the directness of the sound while maintaining reverberance 'around' the sound.

I'm too young to know, but in the real heyday of excellent recording using the old format technology, late '70s to early '90s, were engineers putting delay and reverb on separate auxes or on the same one?, and were there commonly followed rules with time and delay calculations?

I never thought to ask exact formalities about this until recently and so far I can't get any specific answers.
Old 17th September 2011
Registered User
I'm pretty certain that all possible configurations have been used, and still are.

If you read Recording The Beatles for example, for an earlier example, you find that they were experimenting using tape delay to give a pre-delay to real echo chambers.

It's very common to send delays into reverbs, so that each repeat gets some reverb tail. That requires patching the delay unit into the reverb unit, so these are series or insert effects.

By the time studios starting using hardware digital delays and reverbs, many mix engineers describe setting up sends for reverbs, delays, chorus etc, and these would have typically been in parallel. I have no doubt that many mixes were done simply like this, so these are parallel or send effects.

A suggestion for setting up reverbs and delays is to audition them with the drum track, and just setting them so they work with the groove the best. You can calculate how many milleseconds for the tempo - but ideally you will fine tune this by ear anyway, so why not just set them up by ear in the first place.

There is no right or wrong - basically you are creating an artificial space, so you can design it however you want it to be. Personally, I would try to stagger the delays and the reverb pre-delay so they don't hit at the same time. For example - you might have a slap delay at 50ms, and a long repeating delay at 200ms. You could have a pre-delay of 100ms on the long reverb, and maybe a small room reverb with a 30 ms pre-delay.

Whatever sounds good to you is fine.
Old 17th September 2011
Certainly by the early 80s, when I got my formal start in studio recording, people were calculating delays -- at least if they had access to a digital (or analog -- bucket brigade [shudder]) delay. Otherwise, you'd probably set up your tape delay using an Echoplex which, as I recall mine, had some vague time markings, I think, but I always set mine by ear. I mean, it's either right or its not, eh? You just swing the delay slider (which controlled the PB head position) forward or back and adjust the feedback knob. Not a lot of science required.
Old 17th September 2011
Lives for gear
Unclenny's Avatar
I use a lot of different delays in my stuff.

I have never done any specifically timed repeats. Instead I just dial in a delay that makes me smile. I specifically like to find a place in the song to stop it abruptly and listen to how the verb comes in and then tails off or how the delay does.

If the groove goes on briefly after the song stops, then I get to smiling.

I have worked in collaborative situations where everything is timed just right, and that works ok.......but I still like to do it by feel at my house.
Old 17th September 2011
Lives for gear
ears2thesky's Avatar
Way back in the day delays were tape-based and reverb was an acoustic chamber, so they likely would have been on separate sends.
The only time I calculate delay time is when I want a held delay that aligns with the tempo of the song: convert tempo to time/divide time by number of beats per measure.
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