Sound Designing with Delay

In this lesson, we'll be looking at some really cool ways to design sound effects using Ableton Live's Delay audio effect.

We love the delay effect. It’s a really cool effect used in popular music parallelly on top of the vocals, synths and let it do its thing. But did you know that the delay effect is also a great sound design tool? 

Click here to download free sound effects.

The above link contains a pool of 20 sound effects you can use! All these effects were designed using only the Delay effect. Let’s look at a few tips to help build our own pool of sound effects!

#1 - Time Delay Mode 

Switching the Delay Mode from Synced to Time allows us to create smooth accurate changes in Delay time over high Feedback. Especially changes in terms of milliseconds can animate a dull sound. Check out this illustration to find out how this can be cool!

#2 Time Modulation with LFO

If we modulate Delay time using an LFO set to a relatively high rate (10-40 Hz), we can get a very interesting Rhythmic effect while drastically mutating the original sound. Watch the clip to learn how this can be done!

#3 Modulate the modulations

When we change the rate of modulation as the sound feeds back, we can design very complex sound effects. Watch the below clip to see what we mean.

#4 Freeze that Feedback

The freeze button not only allows the feeding back sound to repeat perpetually, but also allows further manipulation on the frozen sound! Check the below clip for cool effects you can make from this.

Remember that we get different results based on different sounds we use for the same process!

#5 Adding Width & Changing Tone

By setting Delay to Ping Pong Style, we can make the sound feel wider in stereo, by setting very low delay times. This can also affect the tone, more so when we increase feedback in this setting.

Your Own Sound Effects Library

Making sound effects isn’t just a great exercise. You can organize and use them as your own sound library. This is a great way to save time and creative energy while making music! Here’s a link to some music I made later, where I dropped these effects!

Do try this at home!

Try building your own set of sound effects using the delay effect. Reply to this post if you have any questions. If you’d like to share some sound effects you've made with the community, feel free to reply with a link here. We’d also like to know about what you did to get those sounds!.