We all know for sure that the delay is a great effect for adding some space to your mix and make it deeper, but there are some other awesome things you can achieve by using a delay in some creative ways. Let’s see.
Making a mono track stereo.
One creative way to use delay is to take a mono track and make it stereo. Let’s pretend you’ve got a really nice distorted guitar, playing power chords in your chorus. If you pan it hard left or hard right, it seems like too much weight on one of the sides and the other feels kinda weak. You could just leave it in the center, but it might fight a little bit with your lead stuff or even your bass. Don’t you wish you had two different tracks of that particular guitar?
Well, an awesome trick is to insert a stereo delay (mono to stereo), and set the time of one of the sides (left or right, whatever suits you best) somewhere below 40 ms (I generally use something between 25 and 40), 100% wet, and no feedback, now you’ll have a stereo guitar that fills left and right sides with equal power! Next, try to apply some high cut to the delayed side with a low pass filter, and you’ll have an even better stereo image from your mono track.
Help the groove.
Sometimes, when producing using midi-driven delay VST or hardware synths, especially when midi was quantized, the groove can feel a little weak, maybe, too cold, like missing the human feel of the music. One way to help the relationship between the kick and the bass is to insert a delay in the bass track and setting the delay time somewhere below 10 ms (to my taste, 5 ms works great!). Just make sure that the delay is 100% wet, and no feedback. This will help to make you move your feet!
Fatten up your leads.
Being vocal, synth, guitar, or whatever, sometimes, the lead, just doesn’t cut through the mix, it sounds thin and cold. We’ll use some short delay to fatten it up, and when I say short, I mean it! As short as 12 ms will do the trick! Again, we need the delay to be shorter than 40 ms, and you can even use your calculator to keep in time with your song: 60.000 / BPM = Quarter note in milliseconds.
Then, you can just divide it by two over and over till you are below 40 ms. Anyway, this time, we are gonna send our lead to an aux track, and insert the delay there, we’ll set the time for the delay and no feedback. If you’re using a stereo delay, you may wanna have different delay times on each side, after the delay, insert an EQ and boost a little bit around 200 Hz and above 10 kHz, and set the aux track something like 3 dB below the original track.
All of this has a psychoacoustic explanation: the Haas Effect: any delay below 40 ms is not perceived as such but as a single fused auditory image. Great, right?