There are many ways to get a vocal to sit right in a mix. Simply using EQ and compression only go so far. One very effective way to achieve this is to use delay tricks. Simply using delay, you can put your vocals in the same space as the band, or send them deep into space! Here are a few tricks and tips to try adding some flair to your vocal track.


Slap back delay is an old trick used and made popular by The Beatles. The sound of a slap delay is very distinct. It is generally one repeat within 80 milliseconds. This effect is used to put just a subtle bit of space on a vocal track. If used subtly, it keeps a very tight and clean feel, without being too dry, however if you turn up the mix of the effect, you can achieve some psychedelic and even gritty effects. This is also used quite a lot on rock guitar tracks! If you need a close vocal sound, or just a little bit of space, a slap delay is a great alternative to reverb which can sometimes muddy up a mix.


Another type of delay trick commonly used on vocals is a long sustain delay. This is a very different sounding effect. Unlike a slap back delay, this uses much longer repeat times. The delay times can very drastically. For example, I tend to use 700-800 milliseconds on choruses. A good use of this type of delay is on vocals with longer sustained notes and phrases. Mixing a longer delay underneath the original vocal really thickens up, and spaces out the sound. *Especially when using stereo delay*. I tend to mix the effect in about 7-10%, with a minimal amount of feedback (1-3 repeats), to keep the vocal clean and not muddy up the track. If you time the delay to the tempo of the song it adds a whole new dimension to the track. Another very effective use of this type of delay is on backing vocals as it will add lots of width to the track. If you play around with the mix and feedback on this type of delay, you can create some very ambient and spacy effects as well!