Automating Delay Plugins – 3 Methods to Add Depth to Your Mixes by Using Delay Automation

By | October 12, 2015

Static mixes might be good-sounding, but they are often not very interesting. For this reason, it’s necessary to take the extra mile while mixing, and automating your  plugins to add depth and interest to your mixes. Here’s three different methods to add spice to your tracks by automating delay plugins.

In these examples, I’ll be using EchoBoy by Soundtoys, but the effects are fairly universal using any well-equipped analog-style echo plugin.

Automating the delay time in milliseconds (ms)

In the first example, I’ll be automating a delay’s echo time to vary the frequency of the echoes throughout the duration of the delay. Make sure to crank the feedback of the delay to create a long loop of delays. The important function in this method is the time knob.


The delay time automation graph for the first effect. The recorded effect in audio below.


The “Echo Time” -knob in EchoBoy is the important part to achieving this effect.

Listen to the audio example below to hear the tape-style speeding up and slowing down -effect.


Automating the groove of the delay

Second, another interesting method to squeeze some advanced effects out of a delay is to automate its groove or swing function. If your delay has a function like this, take advantage of it to change the groove in real time.


The “Groove” -function in EchoBoy is how the effect is achieved.

Listen to the audio example of achieving the “swinging” effect. You’ll hear the audio start gradually swing.


Automating the delay feedback

Lastly, one of my favorite uses for a delay – automating the feedback. The feedback of the delay can be used to create interesting, spacious soundscapes, tails and effects to any sound. Notice that I enabled the “DM-2” style in EchoBoy to give the delay a gritty, analog feel.


The automation graph for the delay feedback.


Automate the “Feedback” -knob in your delay to create interesting sounds. Use an analog-modeled delay style so the feedback doesn’t get out of hand and start self-oscillating like crazy.

Listen to the audio example below to hear the automated feedback -effect. Nice, eh?


Delay your music!

As you can see, lots can be achieved with a simple delay. It’s only a matter of imagination, really. So go ahead and take your favorite delay, and squeeze sounds out of it you’ve never heard before.


What’s your favorite delay plugin? Do you use a stock delay or a commercial delay? Leave your comments below.

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