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Saturday, August 24, 2019

How to mix vocals with stereo slapback delay (with Free Vst plugin download)



Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we're going to talk about an advanced Delay technique for Vocals (click here for a dedicated article about how to mix vocals) and Lead Guitar (click here for a dedicated article) that will allow us to create some space and focus around our track without the downside of pushing it behind in the mix.

As we know, in facts, effecting a track is a double edge sword: it makes it smoother, gives it a sense of space and coherence with the other instruments, as if they were recorded in the same room at the same time, but on the other hand the more ambience effect we add, the more the track will sound distant, up to the point to end up quite buried in the mix.
It's a matter of finding a good balance, because we need to add thickness and fullness, without sacrificing the position of our vocal track as the focus of our mix, and one of the techniques that we can use is a stereo slapback delay, which is a delay with little or no feedback (the feedback controls the number of repetitions of the delay), meaning that with the slapback delay you use only one repetition (the so called "slap back").

In order to create a slapback delay we need to create an fx track and load on it our favourite stereo delay plugin, then set the feedback control anywhere from 0 to 10% (the important is to have only one repetition per side);
now we need to set a different timing for the left and the right repetition, so that the "slap" arrives from left and right in 2 slightly different moments, for example on the left side after 100ms and on the right one after 150ms.

The timing of the repetitions must be adjusted according to the how fast is the song, 50ms for a very fast one, up to 200ms to a slow one.

In the fx track obviously we can put also other effects, in order to send it to our single vocal (or lead guitar) tracks, each one in the right amount (let's not overdo it, not all the tracks needs to be hyper effected, though).

With a Slapback delay we will add depth, a 3D, "larger than life" effect, without pushing the track too far back in the mix.


There are several free Stereo Delay Vst plugins available, here's our 3 top picks:

- Voxengo Tempo delay: the most complete among the free ones

- Easy-Q Delay: a simple, easy to use Delay

- Entropy: a Delay with an interesting stereo crossover effect


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