- by Kevin Deal
For guitar and bass players, effects are the most important thing that they must know at least. Today, the effects units are getting more and more diverse, making it difficult for beginners to learn, especially Delay and Reverb.
Therefore, the article will help you understand about delay and reverb concept as well as whether you should put a delay before or after the reverb.
Information about delay and reverb
Delay and Reverb are two essential effects that every guitarist should master. They create space for sounds and are often used in conjunction with Chorus for sentences used for solo.
Reverb sound, which is a series of echoes, comes from many close angles to your ears. It is carried out by the infinite amount of reflected waves with all different frequencies and time delays. We hear reverb almost as often as we hear a sound in the room, and it makes the result seem more natural.
The purpose of reverb devices is to simulate natural sound environments such as rooms in a house or hallway. It can imitate natural sound with quite a good reverb.
Adjusting several parameters on reverb units can give you a completely different sound because each type of reverb has its characteristic and tonal differences. It can add more than just a few reverb sounds for a mix.
Any Reverb has two main parts:
Early reflections: sound reverberation (echo) occurs in about 1/20 milliseconds of the original direct sound. It helps determine the size of the room to create these reverb sounds.
Decay: when the echo increases in quantity over time and gradually decreases the sound or decays into silence. The decay is a washy sound, and unspecified. The effect dies because every time the sound gets reverberated, it loses its energy.
Reverb time, also called decay time on some devices, is the time it takes for the reverb to decrease 60dB below the original audio level.
In the bedroom, you probably won't notice any reverb at all, because reverb time is too short, perhaps about 0.2-0.3 seconds, and maybe less.
However, in the stadium, you may have a reverb time of 5-6 seconds, or even more. There are two extremes, and there are many values between them. In general, you can have reverb time from 0.1 seconds up to 99 seconds.
Another commonly used unit is the delay device which creates a discrete resonance. Sometimes it is abbreviated as DDL (digital delay line), but most device names are on the mixer.
Delay is quite understandable. It means that you give a signal to the delay device, and it keeps the signal slowing down a bit; then it sends itself back.
Unlike reverb, you are receiving repeated repetitions that increase the density over time. You only get the same repetitive signal many times until it finally disappears.
The sound given is the echo. Delay or repeat is not sound, but both of these terms are widely used when referring to realistic sounds along with delay equipment.
Delay time is the time between the live sound and its first repeat sound from the unit, which is also the period between multiple echoes. You can set the delay as long as you like, and it is measured by the number of beats per minute (BPM) or milliseconds.
Most delay pedals have several buttons on it, allowing you to lightly press the music and get a delay time that matches the progress of the song.
The trick here is that the audio delay is a bit more interesting when speeding up and slowing it down for each song section and changing the repeat.
Delay before or after the reverb?
For general use, the delay should go before reverb. But, in some case, people try both ways and get the best sound. Therefore, the ears will decide the method to use delay or reverb.
Usually when your delays aren’t being modulated, then it doesn’t make much of a difference which order they go in.
For example, you can use a lo-fi delay into a reverb, and you may want your reverberated signal to stay reasonably clear, so the verb goes last.
For a live show, you can play a little while back and use a shimmer style reverb into the delay because the repeats of the delay can cause a sort of jarring effect when they consistently hit the shimmering reverb.
Therefore, reverb being last makes sense most of the time unless your reverb is profoundly affected by such as modulation or octave/ shimmer, etc.