Using Pre Delay To Add Clarity To Your Mix

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Pre Delay is an easy thing to set up inside a reverb to help add clarity to your mix.

What a pre delay does is control the amount of time between when you hear the original signal end and reverb begin.

If you set your pre delay to 0, then there will be no distinct separation between the original signal and the audible reverb.

The best example in my opinion is using it on a vocal track.

Have you ever slapped a reverb on a vocal inside your mix and it just sounds washed out?

You want a “wet” vocal sound with lots of reverb, but you don’t necessarily want to completely wash out and lose the vocal.

This situation is where you could set a pre delay time to put a little space in between the vocal and the reverb.

We are talking millisecond delays.

Any reverb that has a pre delay setting will work.

You can start with a preset on your delay and tweak to taste for your vocal.

I would mess with the pre delay time and the size of the room. Maybe mess with the decay of the reverb as well.

It’s subjective to what sound you are looking for, but once you start trying out different settings of the parameters I’ve mentioned above, you will eventually find the sweet spot.

Using pre delay on a snare drum.

If you’re like most home studio owners, you probably don’t have a large great sounding live room to record drums in.

Most likely you’re recording in a living room or bedroom.

You may be able to get a good snare sound on the close mic, but you can forget about having a large room mic to blend in with the close mic.

In this situation you can add a reverb to the snare sound and give it a sense of space that was not there on recording day.

Here is a good spot to use a little pre delay on your snare reverb to make it sound a little more natural like it was recorded in a nice large space.

Just like the vocal example above, if you just slap a reverb on the snare it may get washed out.

In the context of a mix with lots of instruments being sent to a reverb, you can lose clarity and things start overlapping each other in a non musical way.

Using the pre delay setting to your advantage can help you separate tracks and add clarity to your mix.

You can use pre delay on any instrument you like. Just play around with it and have some fun!

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, or if you’ve used pre delay and it helped your mix.

Don’t forget to share!

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  1. Pingback: Vocal Effects Tip: Vocal Throws - The Recording Solution

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