MainStage's Delay FX
MainStage features some great delay plugins. They're all good at different things, so here's a little breakdown on how you can use each of them.
Echo operates as a basic digital delay with the option to darken the repeats by turning down the "color" parameter. You might use echo for bright, clean repeats and also where CPU is a concern. This plugin is VERY low CPU usage. Great plugin!
2. Tape Delay
Tape delay is a more character based delay designed to emulate the warm, modulated repeats of vintage tape units. It also does a decent job of emulating analog delay tones. Here's a few settings to try: play around with the high and low cut to adjust how the repeats blend into your mix. Use the modulation section to add an analog chorus type of feel or the flutter section to model those tape flutter sounds. The "character" section of the plugin allows you to further tweak the character of the repeats. The "diffuse" tape head mode is non-traditional, but very cool!
3. Stereo Delay
This unit offers two delays in one that are panned hard left and right by default. You can adjust the subdivision of each separately which is useful for creating rhythmic delays for percussive sounds like plucks, pianos, and guitars. A similar high and low cut section to the tape delay plugin allows you to play with the thickness and presence of the repeats. The "global" section allows you to play around with the routing of the output. You can achieve hard and soft panning, swirling, and ping pong delay FX!
4. Sample Delay
This unit allows you to delay your initial playback by a specific number of samples or milliseconds. Useful to space your left and right signal out a few milliseconds to give it a doubled feel, but be wary of phase issues. We don't use this plugin very often but it can give you some cool results, especially when you're trying to thicken up synth sounds and add some stereo space.
5. Delay Designer
It can be helpful to think of this plugin like an arpeggiator that finishes it's pattern even if you stop holding the note. It operates on a linear left to right timeline that can be adjusted to display a grid of any common subdivision. From there you can draw notes on the grid to represent repeats, adjust their color, panning, volume, and even their octave (with glitchy results). We use this plugin from time to time in place of the arpeggiator in MainStage. You can also use it to create cool delayed FX when layering in a second channel strip.
Loopback isn't really a delay. It's MainStage's "looper" function. It operates similarly to the "Playback" plugin. It is a fun practice or jamming tool.
That's a quick look at the delays in MainStage! The two we use most often are "tape delay" and "stereo delay." If you have a go-to, comment on this blog post and let us know!
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