Understanding Delay Effects, Part 1

Delay Effects Delay FX

In this series, I will discuss some of the most common types of delay fx and how to use delay effects to achieve a range of task specific results. Many times people think of delay as a kind of ‘echo” effect. But delay can also be used to create effects not necessarily associated with “echo”.

In this first part of the discussion I will describe the main differences between delay times. As well as cover the results obtainable through the use of short, slap-back, and long delay settings.

Short delay

Short delay times create effects such as chorusing (or doubling), flanging etc… You can take advantage of short delay settings working in stereo. They can help bring width to a mono signal by opening up the center so you can allow other instruments or voices occupy that space.

Slap-back delay

Slap-back is a short delay with a single repeat. It can be used to create a sense of space. Not necessarily a wide open space, but very much like a small/medium room type of sound.

Long delays

long delay times are the point at which you start to hear the delayed signal as a repetition of the original signal (Yes this is the “echo” we talked about earlier). There are many ways to use long delays creatively. I’ll talk more about some of these creative uses, in the next couple parts of this series.


Yes! Reverb is a form of delay. It’s the combination of the many short delays resulting from a sound bouncing off the different surfaces in an enclosed space or room.

Over the next few parts I’ll cover each of these types of delays and their uses, in depth. Now that I’ve covered the basics of Delay FX and what they can add to music, I can discuss delay parameters and how to use them in the next article!

Delay Effects Delay FX

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