Three Delay Tricks for Techno

Although delay is one of the most common effects, it’s still one of the most effective. Techno is a genre that calls for both subtle and staggering delay effects. If used with precision, delay can be used to create movement and add original flavour to techno percussion and synth lines. Here are three classic delay tricks for techno.


Spot Delay FX

If you have a track with a repeating line and want to add interest to your arrangement, spot delay FX would be a good technique to use in the mix. Both instrumental and vocal sections can be finished with an automated feedback delay effect. The time of the delay can be set to 1/8 notes, 1/4 notes or any triplet setting. Turn up the feedback on the delay to give a repeating sound.  If there is a filter section in the delay plug-in, then the low and high frequencies can be rolled off to make the section sit better in the mix.


h delay 1_8



You can also automate the feedback tail in the mix:



Reverse Delay


Delay can be used to create interesting reverse effects.This technique below can be used on synth parts, drums and percussive sections.

Here’s how you can create reverse delay effects:


1. Begin with the audio you want to process



2. Make a copy of the audio and paste it onto a new track

3. Reverse the audio on the second track


delay settings for reverse


4. Insert a delay plug-in as an insert effect on the reversed track and set it to 100%



5. Bounce the audio with the delay and insert it on a third track

6. Reverse the newly bounced audio

7. Position the new audio file so that it rises upwards into the original audio track



Here’s how the reverse delay sounds with techno percussion:



Delays are useful for creating great effects on synth lines and can give predictable lines more movement. Delayed signals can be processed alongside the dry audio signal to create new sounds. Here’s an example of how to process your synths with delay:


1. Take a simple synth line and program an eighth note pattern.



2. Add a stereo delay and slightly offset the right and left delay times, to increase the stereo width of the effect.



3. Add a medium sized reverb and make sure the effect is relatively subtle.


reverb with top


4. Add a compressor after the delay and reverb and set the compressor, so it applies approximately ten dB of gain reduction. Adjust so that the compressor is compressing the original pluck and then releases before the next delay.


r compressor



Here’s how the synth line sounds with drums:



The delay and reverb elements seem to be more prominent in the mix. The compressor is applying ten dB of gain reduction to the whole effects chain whenever the synth line plays, which ducks both the delay and reverb.


A variation on this is to adjust the left delay time of your stereo delay to a different value while keeping the right delay time to 1/8th notes. You can also create a climatic peak in the synth. When the feedback is turned up on a delay, it will begin to self-oscillate, and the delay will get louder and louder. A limiter can stop the delay’s output level from getting out of control.


Use the delay from the previous example and slowly bring up the feedback of the delay. Set the threshold so you can see a small amount of gain reduction and set the level to something relatively low (between -7.5 and ten dB). Slowly bring up the feedback of the delay, and listen to how the limiter keeps the delayed sound within a tolerable range.


If you take the time to explore a few delay techniques, you’ll find that this effect is capable of taking your techno tracks to the next level! Have fun on your adventures in the world of delay.

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