Effectively using delay effects on arp and lead sounds
One of my favourite tricks for applying delay effects to a running lead or arp sound is to create contrast.
If you have a sound that’s already cutting through nicely in the mix and you’re looking to fill up space around it, using a delay and creating contrast between the dry and wet can be a nice way to achieve this. Using a traditional delay setup can often create too many audible repetitions and in turn reducing the audibility or focus of the original sound.
My favourite delay plugins at the moment are uHe Colour Copy and Soundtoys EchoBoy because they both have great sounding filters and saturation algorithms on the feedback chain. Using these you can create a lot of contrast between your dry and wet signal, allowing the dry signal to remain the main focus in the mix.
For main leads and running arps I tend to use a 1/8D delay time, and for slower patterns which have space between the notes – I tend to use 1/4D. and depending on the amount of space between the notes or MIDI clips themselves would depend on how much contrast I’m trying to create.’
A little bit extra on reverbs…
I often use a similar approach with reverbs, some reverb plugins have internal pre/post EQs to create a bit of contrast, however I find it much more effective to use a send channel that is set to pre-fader.
This allows you to control each channel totally independently, you could potentially turn the dry signal all the way down for just the atmospheric effect or automate it for variation.
I also like to use LFOtool for a sidechain-style effect on the wet reverb channel, although this can be dialled in to taste or left out entirely if you want a more stable atmospheric effect.
For an in-depth walkthrough of how I apply these techniques check out the tutorial video here: