4 Delay Tips in PreSonus Studio One

If you need to add extra depth or interest to your tracks, it's common to reach for delay effect plug-ins. In this tutorial, Gary Hiebner provides 4 delay-oriented tips for PreSonus Studio One users.  

Delays are great effects that can be used in your music productions to add depth, width and interest. You can use delays to beef up your sounds in the mix, or use the tempo synced delays to create rhythmically interesting repeat effects. Studio One comes bundled with 3 delay effects: Analog Delay, Beat Delay and Groove Delay. Let’s take a look at how these can be used in your productions.

Tip 1 - Doubling Effect 

Sometimes when you track a vocal part it can sound a bit thin in the mix. What really works well is to insert a delay effect and use it to create a doubled-effect with the vocal part. This gives the vocal more body and will be more prominent in the mix. The Analog Delay can be used for this. Insert it on your vocal track. Make sure that Sync under the Time section is disabled, then you can set the delay time in milliseconds as opposed to being synced to the tempo. Set the delay time to somewhere between 45 and 70 ms for a very short delay effect. Now play back your vocal part and hear how it sounds like it has been ‘doubled’. Use the Wet dial to tweak how much of the doubled delay effect you want to hear. 

Pic 1: Analog Delay Double Effect

This effect also can work quite well on guitar parts to beef them up as well in the mix.

Tip 2 - Synced Delays on Guitars and Synths 

Synced delays can really work well on clean guitar and can impart a rhythmic element to them with the delay repeats. Try this out with the Analog Delay. Insert it on a guitar track, and set the sync time to 1/8T. Listen to how this creates a more rhythmic sounding guitar part, especially with strummed chords. Now add in some modulation. Set the LFO wave to Sine, set the Beats time to 1/4 notes, and slowly start increasing the Mod parameter, somewhere subtle between 0.5 and 0.7 % should do the trick.

Synced Delays

Tip 3 - Ping Pong Delays 

The Beat Delay also works very well to create great tempo synced delay effects on your audio and instruments. Let’s use this plug-in to create a ping-pong style delay effect. Insert the Beat Delay on a synth Instrument track. I’ve used the Cutter Lead preset on the Presence Instrument. This is quite a nice sharp sounding lead preset. Program in a very simple MIDI pattern. 

Now insert the Beat Delay on the Instrument track. Set the Beats time to 1/4 notes. Dial the Feedback to about 60%. Now turn the Width parameter to the left to introduce a ping-pong style delay (if you turn this dial to the right, it’ll increase the stereo width of the delay effect). About 80% will be good. Increase the width until you get an amount that you like. Somewhere around 60% should be good because then the original sound will still remain quite present while the ping pong delay sound will tail off with less volume.

You can also fine tune where the delayed repeats sit sonically by using the Low Cut and High Cut to key in a frequency range. Tweaking these filters allows you to create some tonal difference between the original sound and the delayed sound.

Pic 3: Beat Delay Ping Pong

Tip 4 - Multi Tap Delays

If you’re looking for a more complex delay effect, try out the Groove Delay. This is a multi-tap delay effect. What this means is that the plug-in includes four delays on each Tap tab. There is a graph with four vertical lines (colored red, green, blue and yellow). These lines indicate the Tap delays. And under this you can click on each Tap to show you the settings. You can set a different groove percentage, feedback amount, volume level and pan settings for each Tap delay.

Try this out: set a different pan setting for each Tap delay. Keep the first delay set to the center, then set the 2nd Tap delay somewhere on the left, the 3rd on the right and then the 4th back to the center.

Now also go in and tweak the groove amounts for each Tap delay. By default the groove is set to straight. If you turn this left the groove percentage goes below 100% and pushes the tap delay closer to the original sound, where if you turn the groove parameter to the right above 100% it pushes the delayed sound further away from the original. Also try different feedback amounts and levels for each Tap delay.

Pic 4: Groove Delay Taps

There are Global parameters for the Beatlength (which is different intervals of the tempo) and then a global Feedback and Dry/Wet control. The global Cutoff Mod will be determined by the filter that is set for each Tap delay.

On each Tap delay you can dial in a Cutoff and Resonance amount on the top XY graph. Make sure the Filter button is enabled to apply the filter to the Tap delay. On the bottom XY graph you can modify the filter type, and in the middle is the percentage of this cutoff modification applied. Apply a different Cutoff Mod for each tap to further enhance the groove delay effect, and then go try out different global Cutoff Mod amounts.

Pic 5: Groove Delay Filter

On the top graph, you can also jump between the Level, Pan, Cutoff and Swing graph representations of the Tap delays. And what’s also nice is that you can also tweak these Tap delays on the graph by just grabbing one of the color-coded Tap delays and moving it around to change its settings.

Pic 6: Groove Delay Tabs

Also try out some of the Groove Delays presets. These are a great source of inspiration if you're looking for something a bit different to try with the groove delay. Make note of what Tap settings and filters have been used to create the effect. This is a great way to learn how the delay is altering the sound.

Conclusion

That’s how to make use of Studio One’s delay plug-ins in your productions. They can be used as simple effect to enhance your mix, or you can use them for creative effects like ping-pong delays and multi-Tap filtered groove delays. Try these out in your next productions to really beef up your music productions.

Check out these following tutorials for further Studio One tips and tricks:

https://www.askvideo.com/courses/application/studioone

Gary Hiebner is an enthusiastic South African Sound Designer and Apple Tech Head! Gary has been involved in the South African music industry for the decade, and in this time has also been involved in the sound design and music production for many advertising agencies and media houses. Gary is a devoted Logic and Ableton user, but he al... Read More

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