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.

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You may at some point find yourself using something like this:AMS-DMX1580S-Copyright-Vintage-Digital-3.jpgor thisScreen Shot 2017-07-17 at 9.27.16 AM

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.


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To find the Delay Time in Milliseconds, first we are going to need a calculator:

(1000 Milliseconds = 1 Second)iStock_KidsKashCalculatorSmall.jpg

Next we will take 60,000 and divide it by our BPM
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Example: 60,000 ÷ 120BPM = 500ms

We see the resulting number is 500 MillisecondsScreen Shot 2017-07-17 at 9.57.57 AM

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.

120 BPM

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.

Stylistic Extras:

– 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

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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!Screen Shot 2017-07-17 at 2.00.33 PM.png