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Phase Shifting and Delay
Like Chorus and Flanging, Phase shifting and Delay are both time-based effects. Phase shifting sounds somewhat like Flanging but the method to achieve effect is a bit different. Delay can range from mild to wild as evidenced by Robert Fripp’s excursions into delay no man’s land.
Phase shifting is accomplished by splitting the original signal into two separate but equal signals. Then one signal is fixed in time while the second signal is slid forward and back in time in relation to the original signal. When the bottom of one sound wave of the signal lines up with the top of the other wave, they cancel each other out. As the second wave slides back into alignment with the first wave, the signal becomes more coherent until the tops and bottoms of the wave reach alignment. Try to picture the waves in a pond combining to either cancel each other out or reinforce each other and you’ll get the idea. Phase shifters can be cascaded just like chorus’ or flangers
Here are few example of Phase shifting
The basic controls of a phase shifter are the speed at which the second wave moves back and forth and the depth (also known as dwell or mix) of the effect. Phase shifters can be cascaded so that there are as many 12 independent phase shifters chained together. As with most time based effects, the tempo of the song needs to be taken into consideration. The speed of the effect needs to be a multiple or fraction of the tempo of the song. Any fraction should correspond to the number of beats in a measure. A 4/4 meter songs tempo should be divided by 2, 4 or 8 while a 3/4 song would be divided by 3 or 6.
While delay is probably the simplest effect, it can produce some of the coolest sounds. Delays are static time-based effects versus chorus, phase shifting and flanging, which have variable delay times that define them. The signal is split and delayed by a user determined amount that doesn’t change with time. Common controls for delay include number of delays, depth, feedback (creates the dying echo sound) and rate. Some delays also include eq circuits and tube and/or tape emulations.
A delay can be a single delay or can be multi-stage. Varying the delay time produces different effects. A short, single delay is known as a slapback echo and was a staple of artists in the 1950’s. A single delay with longer delay times allows vocalists or musicians to harmonize lines against what they’ve already sung or played. Listen to just about any early Queen song and you’ll hear Freddie Mercury or Brian May using this to perfection. A multi-stage delay with long delay times and variable feedback can produce other worldly sounds. Original delay units where tape-based where the original signal was recorded onto a loop of audio tape and the amount of delay was varied by moving the playback head closer or further away from the recording head. Modern delays are for the most part digital and function by making a digital copy of the original signal and delaying it accordingly.
Examples of various delays.
2) 4 tap delay