Part of understanding time-based processing is being able to translate your abilities between any piece of gear. Depending on where you work, you may not always have the luxurious advantage a being able to rely on a “sync” button.
You may at some point find yourself using something like this:or this
The benefit to being able to manually type in your own delay time using milliseconds (instead of syncing to your DAW Host) is the ability to give your Delay Effects a more human-like feel. This means literally offsetting the numbers by a few milliseconds, to enable a less predictable and more interesting Delay.
To find the Delay Time in Milliseconds, first we are going to need a calculator:
(1000 Milliseconds = 1 Second)
Next we will take 60,000 and divide it by our BPM
Example: 60,000 ÷ 120BPM = 500ms
We see the resulting number is 500 Milliseconds
This is your Delay time in Quarter Notes, or one repeat per beat.
If you wish to have a Faster or Slower Delay Time, simply double or half the number.
1000ms = Half Note Delay Time
500ms = Quarter Note Delay Time
250ms = Eighth Note Delay Time
125ms = Sixteenth Note Delay
With this number, we can then provide “swing” to our Delay Times by offsetting the number. Example 510ms = Quarter Note Swing or 493 = Quarter Note Swing
I wouldn’t suggest getting too crazy with the offset of these numbers, to avoid distracting the listener, or created unwanted noise. Remember, a severely out of time Delay can destroy a mix.
– Multiply the Result by 1.5 for Dotted Note Delay Time in Milliseconds
– Multiply the Result by .667 for Triplet Note Delay Time in Milliseconds
Now you can enjoy the comforts of creating less-predictable Delay Effects within a Mix. Remember this works on Reverb too, which is technically many delays. In most cases, you’ll want the Delay on a Stereo Aux Buss, with subjective low-end diffusion. Be careful to not abuse Delay Effects within a Mixing situation because it can quickly change the direction the Producer had intended for the track. As with most things, a little goes a long way!