Delay Designer

Delay Designer is a multitap delay. Unlike traditional delay units that offer only one or two delays (or taps), that may or may not be fed back into the circuit, Delay Designer provides up to 26 individual taps. These taps are all fed from the source signal and can be freely edited to create delay effects that have never been heard before.

Delay Designer provides control over the following aspects of each tap:

Further effect-wide parameters include synchronization, quantization, and feedback.

As the name implies, Delay Designer offers significant sound design potential. You can use it for everything from a basic echo effect to an audio pattern sequencer. You can create complex, evolving, moving rhythms by synchronizing the placement of taps. This leads to further musical possibilities when coupled with judicious use of transposition and filtering. Alternatively, you can set up numerous taps as repeats of other taps, much as you would use the feedback control of a simple delay, but with individual control over each repeat.

You can use Delay Designer on channel strips with mono, stereo, or surround inputs and/or outputs. See Working with Delay Designer in Surround for details on using it in surround channel strips.

Getting to Know the Delay Designer Interface

The Delay Designer interface consists of five main sections:

Figure. Delay Designer window.

Getting to Know Delay Designer’s Main Display

Delay Designer’s main display is used to view and edit tap parameters. You can freely determine the parameter shown, and quickly zoom or navigate through all taps.

Figure. Main display.
  • View buttons: Determine the parameter or parameters represented in the Tap display. See Using Delay Designer’s View Buttons.
  • Autozoom button: Zooms the Tap display out, making all taps visible. Turn Autozoom off if you want to zoom the display in (by dragging vertically on the Overview display) to view specific taps.
  • Overview display: Shows all taps in the time range. See Zooming and Navigating Delay Designer’s Tap Display.
  • Toggle buttons: Click to enable or disable the parameters of a particular tap. The parameter being toggled is chosen with the view buttons. The label at the left of the toggle bar always indicates the parameter being toggled. For more information, see Using Delay Designer’s Tap Toggle Buttons.
  • Tap display: Represents each tap as a shaded line. Each tap contains a bright bar (or dot for stereo panning) that indicates the value of the parameter. You can directly edit tap parameters in the Tap display area. For more details, see Editing Parameters in Delay Designer’s Tap Display.
  • Identification bar: Shows an identification letter for each tap. It also serves as a time position indicator for each tap. You may freely move taps backward or forward in time along this bar/timeline. See Moving and Deleting Taps in Delay Designer.

Using Delay Designer’s View Buttons

The view buttons determine which parameter is represented in Delay Designer’s Tap display.

Figure. View buttons.
  • Cutoff button: Shows the highpass and lowpass filter cutoff frequencies of taps.
  • Reso(nance) button: Shows the filter resonance value of each tap.
  • Transp(ose) button: Shows the pitch transposition of each tap.
  • Pan button: Shows the pan parameter of each tap.
    • For mono to stereo channels, each tap contains a line showing its pan position.

    • For stereo to stereo channels, each tap contains a dot showing its stereo balance. A line extending outwards from the dot indicates the tap’s stereo spread.

    • For surround channels, each tap contains a line representing its surround angle (for details, see Working with Delay Designer in Surround).

  • Level button: Shows the relative volume level of each tap.

    Tip: You can temporarily switch the Tap display to Level view from one of the other view modes by pressing Command-Option.

Zooming and Navigating Delay Designer’s Tap Display

You can use Delay Designer’s Overview display to zoom and to navigate the Tap display area.

Figure. Picture showing the Tap Display

Tip: If the Overview display is hidden behind a tap, you can move it to the foreground by holding down Shift.

To zoom the Tap display
Do one of the following:
  • Vertically drag the highlighted section (the bright rectangle) of the Overview display.

    Figure. Overview display zoom technique 1.
  • Horizontally drag the highlighted bars—to the left or right of the bright rectangle—in the Overview display.

    Figure. Overview display zoom technique 2.

Note: The Autozoom button needs to be disabled when manually zooming with the Overview display. When you zoom in on a small group of taps, the Overview display continues to show all taps. The area shown in the Tap display is indicated by the bright rectangle in the Overview display.

To move to different sections of the Tap display
  • Horizontally drag the (middle of the) bright rectangle in the Overview display.

    The zoomed view in the Tap display updates as you drag.

Creating Taps in Delay Designer

You can create new delay taps in three different ways:  by using the Tap pads, by creating them in the Identification bar, or by copying existing taps.

To create taps with the Tap pad
  1. Click the upper pad (Start).

    Note: Whenever you click the Start pad, it automatically erases all existing taps. Given this behavior, after you have created your initial taps, you will want to create subsequent taps by clicking in the Identification bar.

    The upper pad label changes to Tap, and a red tap recording bar appears in the strip below the view buttons.

    Figure. Tap pad.
  2. Click the Tap button to begin recording new taps.

  3. Click the Tap button to create new taps. These are created at the exact moments in time of each click, adopting the rhythm of your click pattern.

  4. To finish creating taps, click the Last Tap button.

    This adds the final tap, ending tap recording, and assigning the last tap as the feedback tap (for an explanation of the feedback tap, see Using Delay Designer’s Master Section).

    Note: If you do not click the Last Tap button, tap recording automatically stops after 10 seconds or when the 26th tap is created, whichever comes first.

To create taps in the Identification bar
  • Click at the appropriate position.

    Figure. Identification bar.
To copy taps in the Identification bar
  • Option-drag a selection of one or more taps to the appropriate position.

    The delay time of copied taps is set to the drag position.

Delay Designer Tap Creation Suggestions

The fastest way to create multiple taps is to use the Tap pads. If you have a specific rhythm in mind, you might find it easier to tap out your rhythm on dedicated hardware controller buttons, instead of using mouse clicks. If you have a MIDI controller, you can assign the Tap pads to buttons on your device. For information about assigning controllers, see the Control Surfaces Support manual.

Note: Whenever you click the Start Tap pad, it automatically erases all existing taps. Given this behavior, after you create your initial taps you will want to create subsequent taps by clicking in the Identification bar.

After a tap has been created, you can freely adjust its position, or you can remove it if it was created accidentally. For details, see Moving and Deleting Taps in Delay Designer.

Identifying Taps in Delay Designer

Taps are assigned letters, based on their order of creation. The first tap to be created is assigned as Tap A, the second tap is assigned as Tap B, and so on. Once assigned, each tap is always identified by the same letter, even when moved in time, and therefore reordered. For example, if you initially create three taps they will be named Tap A, Tap B, and Tap C. If you then change the delay time of Tap B so that it precedes Tap A, it will still be called Tap B.

The Identification bar shows the letter of each visible tap. The Tap Delay field of the Tap parameter bar displays the letter of the currently selected tap, or the letter of the tap being edited when multiple taps are selected (for details, see Selecting Taps in Delay Designer).

Selecting Taps in Delay Designer

There will always be at least one selected tap. You can easily distinguish selected taps by color—the toggle bar icons and the Identification bar letters of selected taps are white.

Figure. Tap display, with several selected taps.
To select a tap
Do one of the following:
  • Click a tap in the Tap display.

  • Click the appropriate tap letter in the Identification bar.

  • Click one of the arrows to the left of the Tap name to select the next or previous tap.

  • Open the pop-up menu to the right of the Tap name, and choose the appropriate tap letter.

    Figure. Tap name and pop-up menu.
To select multiple taps
Do one of the following:
  • Drag across the background of the Tap display to select multiple taps.

  • Shift-click specific taps in the Tap display to select multiple nonadjacent taps.

Moving and Deleting Taps in Delay Designer

You can move a tap backward or forward in time, or completely remove it.

Note: When you move a tap, you are actually editing its delay time.

To move a selected tap in time
  • Select the tap in the Identification bar, and drag it to the left to go forward in time, or to the right to go backward in time.

This method also works when more than one tap is selected.

Note: Editing the Delay Time parameter in the Tap Delay field of the Tap parameter bar also moves a tap in time. For more details about the Tap Delay field and editing taps, see Editing Taps in Delay Designer’s Tap Parameter Bar.

To delete a tap
Do one of the following:
  • Select it and press the Delete or Backspace key.

  • Select a tap letter in the Identification bar and drag it downward, out of the Tap display.

    Figure. Tap display.

This method also works when more than one tap is selected.

To delete all selected taps
  • Control-click (or right-click) a tap, and choose “Delete tap(s)” from the shortcut menu.

Using Delay Designer’s Tap Toggle Buttons

Each tap has its own toggle button in the Toggle bar. These buttons offer you a quick way to graphically activate and deactivate parameters. The specific parameter being toggled by the toggle buttons depends on the current view button selection:

Figure. Toggle buttons.
  • Cutoff view: Toggle buttons turn the filter on or off.
  • Reso view: Toggle buttons switch the filter slope between 6 dB and 12 dB.
  • Pitch view: Toggle buttons switch pitch transposition on or off.
  • Pan view: Toggle buttons switch between the Flip modes.
  • Level view: Toggle buttons mute or unmute the tap.
To temporarily switch the mute state of taps
  • Command-Option-click a toggle button, regardless of the current view mode.

    When you release the Command and Option keys, the toggle buttons return to their standard functionality in the active View mode.

Note: The first time you edit a filter or pitch transpose parameter, the respective module automatically turns on. This saves you the effort of manually turning on the filter or pitch transposition module before editing. After you manually turn either of these modules off, however, you need to manually switch it back on.

Editing Parameters in Delay Designer’s Tap Display

You can graphically edit any tap parameter that is represented as a vertical line in Delay Designer’s Tap display. The Tap display is ideal if you want to edit the parameters of one tap relative to other taps, or when you need to edit multiple taps simultaneously.

To edit a tap parameter in the Tap display
  1. Click the view button of the parameter you want to edit.

  2. Vertically drag the bright line of the tap you wish to edit (or one of the selected taps, if multiple taps are selected).

    Figure. Tap display.

If you have chosen multiple taps, the values of all selected taps will be changed relative to each other.

Note: The method outlined above is slightly different for the Filter Cutoff and Pan parameters. See Editing Filter Cutoff in Delay Designer’s Tap Display and Editing Pan in Delay Designer’s Tap Display.

To set the values of multiple taps
  • Command-drag horizontally and vertically across several taps in the Tap display.

    Parameter values change to match the mouse position as you drag across the taps. Command-dragging across several taps allows you to draw value curves, much like using a pencil to create a curved line on a piece of paper.

    Figure. Tap display, showing multiple taps being edited.

Aligning Delay Designer Tap Values

You can use Delay Designer’s Tap display to graphically align tap parameter values that are represented as vertical lines.

To align the values of several taps
  1. Command-click in the Tap display, and move the pointer while holding down the Command key. This will result in a line trailing behind the pointer.

    Figure. Tap display, showing multple taps being aligned.
  2. Click the appropriate position to mark the end point of the line.

    The values of taps that fall between the start and end points are aligned along the line.

    Figure. Tap display, showing aligned tap values.

Editing Filter Cutoff in Delay Designer’s Tap Display

Whereas the steps outlined in Editing Parameters in Delay Designer’s Tap Display apply to most graphically editable parameters, the Cutoff and Pan parameters work in a slightly different fashion.

Figure. Tap display, showing filter cutoff edit.

In Cutoff view, each tap actually shows two parameters:  highpass and lowpass filter cutoff frequency. The filter cutoff values can be adjusted independently by dragging the specific cutoff frequency line—the upper line is lowpass and the lower line is highpass—or both cutoff frequencies can be adjusted by dragging between them.

When the highpass filter cutoff frequency value is lower than that of the lowpass cutoff frequency, only one line is shown. This line represents the frequency band that passes through the filters—in other words, the filters act as a bandpass filter. In this configuration, the two filters operate serially, meaning that the tap passes through one filter first, then the other.

If the highpass filter’s cutoff frequency value is above that of the lowpass filter cutoff frequency, the filter switches from serial operation to parallel operation, meaning that the tap passes through both filters simultaneously. In this case, the space between the two cutoff frequencies represents the frequency band being rejected—in other words, the filters act as a band-rejection filter.

Editing Pan in Delay Designer’s Tap Display

The way the Pan parameter is represented in the Pan view is entirely dependent on the input channel configuration—mono to stereo, stereo to stereo, or surround.

Note: Pan is not available in mono configurations.

Figure. Tap display, showing pan edit.

In mono input/stereo output configurations, all taps are initially panned to the center. To edit the pan position, drag vertically from the center of the tap in the direction you wish to pan the tap, or taps. A white line extends outward from the center in the direction you have dragged, reflecting the pan position of the tap, or taps.

Lines above the center position indicate pans to the left, and lines below the center position denote pans to the right. Left (blue) and right (green) channels are easily identified.

Figure. Tap display, showing balance edit.

In stereo input/stereo output configurations, the Pan parameter adjusts the stereo balance, not the position of the tap in the stereo field. The Pan parameter appears as a dot on the tap, which represents stereo balance. Drag the dot up or down the tap to adjust the stereo balance.

By default, stereo spread is set to 100%. To adjust this, drag either side of the dot. As you do so, the width of the line extending outwards from the dot changes. Keep an eye on the Spread parameter in the Tap parameter bar while you are adjusting.

Figure. Tap display.

In surround configurations, the bright line represents the surround angle. For more information, see Working with Delay Designer in Surround.

Editing Taps in Delay Designer’s Tap Parameter Bar

The Tap parameter bar provides instant access to all parameters of the chosen tap. The Tap parameter bar also provides access to several parameters that are not available in the Tap display, such as Transpose and Flip.

Editing in the Tap parameter bar is fast and precise when you want to edit the parameters of a single tap. All parameters of the selected tap are available, with no need to switch display views or estimate values with vertical lines. If you choose multiple taps in the Tap display, the values of all selected taps are changed relative to each other.

Option-click a parameter value to reset it to the default setting. If multiple taps are selected, Option-clicking a parameter of any tap resets all selected taps to the default value for that parameter.

Figure. Tap parameter bar.
  • Filter On/Off button: Enables or disables the highpass and lowpass filters for the selected tap.
  • HP-Cutoff-LP fields: Sets the cutoff frequencies (in Hz) for the highpass and lowpass filters.
  • Slope buttons: Determines the steepness of the highpass and lowpass filter slope. Click the 6 dB button for a gentler filter slope, or click the 12 dB button for a steeper, more pronounced filtering effect.

    Note: You cannot set the slope of the highpass and lowpass filters independently.

  • Reso(nance) field: Sets the amount of filter resonance for both filters.
  • Tap Delay fields: Shows the number and name of the selected tap in the upper section and the delay time in the lower section.
  • Pitch On/Off button: Enables or disables pitch transposition for the selected tap.
  • Transp(ose) fields: The left field sets the amount of pitch transposition in semitones. The right field fine-tunes each semitone step in cents (1/100th of a semitone).
  • Flip buttons: Swaps the left and right side of the stereo or surround image. Clicking these buttons reverses the tap position from left to right, or vice versa. For example, if a tap is set to 55% left, clicking the flip button will swap it to 55% right.
  • Pan field: Controls the pan position for mono input signals, stereo balance for stereo input signals, and surround angle when used in surround configurations.
    • Pan displays a percentage between 100% (full left) and −100% (full right), which represents the pan position or balance of the tap. A value of 0% represents the center panorama position.

    • When used in surround, a surround panner replaces the percentage representation. For more information, see Working with Delay Designer in Surround.

  • Spread field: When a stereo-to-stereo or stereo-to-surround instance of Delay Designer is used, Spread sets the width of the stereo spread for the selected tap.
  • Mute button: Mutes or unmutes the selected tap.
  • Level field: Determines the output level for the selected tap.

Editing Delay Designer Taps with the Shortcut Menu

Control-click (or right-click) a tap in Delay Designer’s Tap display to open a shortcut menu containing the following commands:

  • Copy sound parameters: Copies all parameters (except the delay time) of the selected tap or taps into the Clipboard.
  • Paste sound parameters: Pastes the tap parameters from the Clipboard into the selected tap or taps. If there are more taps in the Clipboard than are selected in the Tap display, the extra taps in the Clipboard are ignored.
  • Reset sound parameters to default values: Resets all parameters of all selected taps (except the delay time) to the default values.
  • 2 x delay time: Doubles the delay time of all selected taps. For example, the delay times of three taps are set as follows:  Tap A = 250 ms, Tap B = 500 ms, Tap C = 750 ms. If you select these three taps and choose the “2 x delay time” shortcut menu command, the taps will be changed as follows:  Tap A = 500 ms, Tap B = 1000 ms, Tap C = 1500 ms. In other words, a rhythmic delay pattern will unfold half as fast. (In musical terms, it will be played in half time.)
  • 1/2 x delay time: Halves the delay time of all selected taps. Using the example above, use of the “1/2 x delay time” shortcut menu command changes the taps as follows:  Tap A = 125 ms, Tap B = 250 ms, Tap C = 375 ms. In other words, a rhythmic delay pattern will unfold twice as fast. (In musical terms, it will be played in double time.)
  • Delete tap(s): Deletes all selected taps.

Resetting Delay Designer Tap Values

You can use Delay Designer’s Tap display and Tap parameter bar to reset tap parameters to their default values.

To reset the value of a tap
Do one of the following:
  • In the Tap display, Option-click a tap to reset the chosen parameter to its default setting.

    If multiple taps are selected, Option-clicking any tap will reset the chosen parameter to its default value for all selected taps.

  • In the Tap parameter bar, Option-click a parameter value to reset it to the default setting.

    If multiple taps are selected, Option-clicking a parameter of any tap resets all selected taps to the default value for that parameter.

Synchronizing Taps in Delay Designer

Delay Designer can either synchronize to the project tempo or run independently. When you are in synchronized mode (Sync mode), taps snap to a grid of musically relevant positions, based on note durations. You can also set a Swing value in Sync mode, which varies the precise timing of the grid, resulting in a more laid-back, less robotic feel for each tap. When you are not in Sync mode, taps don’t snap to a grid, nor can you apply the Swing value.

When Sync mode is on, a grid that matches the chosen Grid parameter value is shown in the Identification bar. All taps are moved towards the closest delay time value on the grid. Subsequently created or moved taps are snapped to positions on the grid.

When you save a Delay Designer setting, the Sync mode status, Grid, and Swing values are all saved. When you save a setting with Sync mode on, the grid position of each tap is also stored. This ensures that a setting loaded into a project with a different tempo to that of the project the setting was created in will retain the relative positions, and rhythm, of all taps—at the new tempo.

Note: Delay Designer offers a maximum delay time of 10 seconds. This means that if you load a setting into a project with a slower tempo than the tempo at which it was created, some taps may fall outside the 10-second limit. In such cases, these taps will not be played but will be retained as part of the setting.

Figure. Sync parameters.
  • Sync button: Enables or disables synchronized mode.
  • Swing field: Determines how close to the absolute grid position every second grid increment will be. A Swing setting of 50% means that every grid increment has the same value. Settings below 50% result in every second increment being shorter in time. Settings above 50% result in every second grid increment being longer in time.

    Use subtle variations of the grid position of every second increment (values between 45% and 55%) to create a less rigid rhythmic feel. This can deliver very human timing variations. Use of extremely high Swing values are unsubtle as they place every second increment directly beside the subsequent increment. Make use of higher values to create interesting and intricate double rhythms with some taps, while retaining the grid to lock other taps into more rigid synchronization with the project tempo.

Using Delay Designer’s Master Section

The Master section incorporates two global functions:  delay feedback and dry/wet mix.

In simple delays, the only way for the delay to repeat is to use feedback. Because Delay Designer offers 26 taps, you can use these taps to create repeats, rather than requiring discreet feedback controls for each tap.

Delay Designer’s global Feedback parameter does, however, allow you to send the output of one user-defined tap back through the effect input, to create a self-sustaining rhythm or pattern. This tap is known as the feedback tap.

Figure. Master section.
  • Feedback button: Enables or disables the feedback tap.
  • Feedback Level knob: Sets the feedback level. You can vary the feedback tap output level before it is routed back into Delay Designer’s input.
    • A value of 0% equals no feedback.

    • A value of 100% sends the feedback tap back into Delay Designer’s input at full volume.

    Note: If Feedback is enabled and you begin creating taps with the Tap pads, Feedback is automatically turned off. When you stop creating taps with the Tap pads, Feedback is automatically re-enabled.

  • Mix sliders: Independently set the levels of the dry input signal and the post-processing wet signal.

Working with Delay Designer in Surround

Delay Designer’s design is optimized for use in surround configurations. With 26 taps that can be freely positioned in the surround field, you can create some truly amazing rhythmic and spatial effects.

Delay Designer always processes each input channel independently.

  • In a mono/stereo input and surround output configuration, Delay Designer processes the two stereo channels independently, and the surround panner lets you place each delay around the surround field.

  • In a surround input and surround output configuration, Delay Designer processes each surround channel independently, and the surround panner lets you adjust the surround balance of each tap in the surround field.

When you instantiate Delay Designer in any surround configuration, the Pan parameter on the Tap parameter bar is replaced with a surround panner, allowing you to determine the surround position of each tap.

Note: In the Tap display’s Pan view mode, you can only adjust the angle of taps. You must use the surround panner on the Tap Parameter bar to adjust diversity.

Figure. Tap parameter bar, showing the surround panner.

To easily move the surround position, you can:

  • Command-drag to adjust diversity.

  • Command-Option-drag to adjust the angle.

  • Option-click the blue dot to reset the angle and diversity.

Note: Delay Designer generates separate automation data for stereo pan and surround pan operations. This means that when you use it in surround channels, it will not react to existing stereo pan automation data, and vice versa.