What is a Delay?
Delay is one of the simplest effects out there and one of the most valuable. A little delay can bring life to dull mixes, widen your instrument's sound, and even allow you to solo over yourself. Delay is the also a cornerstone of other effects, such as reverb, chorus, and flanging.
Delay is created by taking an audio signal and playing it back after the delay time. The delay time can range from several milliseconds to several seconds. Most delays have a control that allows you to repeat the sound over and over, and it becomes quieter each time it plays back.
Long delay times can open up some cool possibilities. Once you get over a second, you can virtually loop on the fly. Just pay a riff, then play over that riff while its repeating. You can actually solo over yourself when you don't have a rhythm player.
A slapback delay has a very short delay time, usually between 30 and 100 milliseconds. Most folks consider a longer delay an echo.
Multi-tap delays allow you to create more complex patterns. Taking outputs from points within the delay line is called 'tapping'. The amount of delay between the various taps can be different. You can set the multi-tap delay to follow the rhythm of a song, or create amazing textures.
Ping-Pong delay bounces between the left and right channels of a stereo signal. It uses two distinct delay lines, each driven by an input. This produces two output signals, that create the classic 'bouncing' sound when panned hard left and right.