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Friday, December 22, 2023

Darrell Thorp delay reverb trick




Typically, when you want to add reverb and delay to a track in a mix, you do so separately using dedicated aux sends and aux tracks for each. But in this excerpt from the Puremix Inside the Mix video, Poppy “Her” with Darrell Thorp, Darrell shows an alternative technique, with a delay and a reverb in a serial configuration on one aux track, fed by a single send from the vocal track. He used the same method to get the ethereal-sounding vocals on the Beck album “Morning Phase.”

Delay Verb

Darrell calls this configuration “Delay Verb.” For Poppy’s vocal on the bridge he uses it to give that section of the track a different sound. He uses Massey TD5 and Avid D-Verb plug-ins, inserted on an aux track in Pro Tools. To Darrell’s ears, the Massey does one of the most accurate tape delay emulations.

Because he’ll only use this hybrid effect on the bridge, he sets up an automated mute that only opens up the aux track with the reverb and delay during the bridge.

The Massey TD5 and Avid D-Verb open in Darrell’s session, with the send from the Vox track and the effects on the Delay Verb track highlighted.

Darrell explains that the Massey is only available as an AAX plug-in. If you don’t have access to it or use a different DAW, he recommends Waves H-Delay, which also works well for this technique.

Darrell says the Waves H-Delay also works well for the Delay Verb technique.

Looking at how he sets each plug-in, it’s notable that he has the Blend (dry/wet mix) control on the Massey at only 40 percent wet. This differs from the norm for an aux effect, where the mix is usually 100 percent wet. In this case, quite a bit of dry vocal gets sent to the reverb. The mix control on D-Verb is set to 100 percent.

The signal flow for Darrell’s “Delay Verb” configuration.


Why is it necessary to send dry vocal into the reverb? Because if the delay output were 100 percent wet, the reverb would only affect the delayed signal. That might be cool, but it would be a different result. This way, the delay taps and the dry vocal are fed into the reverb.

Darrell sets the TD5 delay to sync to the session tempo with a quarter note delay. He also adds Avid’s Trim effect (a level control) at the end of the chain on the aux track. It makes it easier to adjust the level of the combined effect. Alternatively, he could use the output control in D-Verb, but Trim’s large slider is more convenient.

Another critical setting on the TD5 is the Feedback knob, which controls the number of delay taps. The more the delay repeats, the longer the reverb tail will last because each tap will trigger the reverb.

Darrell points out that one of the beauties of this method is that the output of the Delay Verb doesn’t take up too much frequency space. Or, as Darrell puts it, “It doesn’t chew up real estate.” For an example of how Darrell used Delay Verb with Beck, listen to the vocals on the song “Morning.”

Variations on a Theme

The following examples replicate the Delay-Verb trick, using Waves H-Delay into D-Verb on a vocal. We’ll start with a similar setting to what Darrell used and then make some changes in the delay settings to see how that affects the results.

The vocal is soloed so that you can hear the effect more clearly. If there were instruments on this, the effect would be more tucked into the mix, as it is on the Poppy track.

The delay gives the reverb more movement.

The settings for the first example.

In this example, the feedback is turned down to only create a single tap.

You don’t get as much motion in the sound, but it leaves more space.

The next one is back to the original setting, except the mix control on the delay is turned up to 100 percent.

It’s a somewhat different result because only the delayed vocal goes into the reverb. The dry vocal doesn’t get any reverb.

Written by Puremix Team