At the beginning of 2016 I posted my top 4 Limiter Plug-ins. I decided to continue this theme and list my favourite delay plug-ins. Delays are a great alternative to using reverb plug-ins. If used correctly then delays are a good way of creating spaces around an instrument without having to reach for a reverb that can often muddy up a mix with long reverb tails. Creative uses of delay bring sonics to a mix that can help portray certain emotional cues and vibes in a mix.
Below are my top 5 delay plug-ins that are listed in no particular order.
Relayer By UVI
Relayer has many options that enable users to creativity sculpt their delay effects in weird and wonderful ways. I feel in love with this plug-in when it was released. I found myself really taken with the ability to add a Wahwah tone, amongst other modulation effects, to the taps and feedbacks. Over time though I have found Relayer to be sometimes too complicated for the simplest of tasks. All the extended functionality usually distracts me as I'll find myself playing with the interface for fun rather than quickly dialling in a setting I hear in my head.
My standout feature: Endless creative control
Watch the Pro Tools Expert review I did of Relayer
Slapper Stereo By The Cargo Cult
Slapper Stereo by The Cargo Cult is the newest delay plug-in to feature in this list and to my mixing workflow. In the short time I have been using Slapper I have found it to be a very intuitive tool. What I like most about it is that I can replicate rooms and spaces without having to use a well engineered reverb unit. In short Slapper makes me feel as though it has two uses. The first being a creative multi tap delay unit with the second being a sudo room emulator. I also like that the settings and presets for both the stereo and surround versions are compatible with each other. At present Slapper is AAX Mac only with Windows compatibility in development.
My standout feature: The presets of room reverb styles and spaces made up from delay taps
H-Delay By Waves
It seems every time I open one of my old Pro Tools session I find an instance of H-Delay. This was my "go to" delay plug-in for many years. H-Delay has an analog character to the sound that is entirly unique to itself, especially when the LoFi switch is engaged. I have always found H-Delay to be a very quick plug-in to manipulate. The tap tempo feature is brilliant. I wish it was included in other delay plug-ins as more often than not I usually mix music that does not conform to a set tempo.
My standout feature: Tap Tempo
Watch how Russ uses H-Delay in a vocal pop production scenario.
AIR Dynamic Delay
Following on from the simplicity of the H-Delay brings AIR Dynamic Delay. Up until recently this was a Pro Tools only plug-in but now AIR have available the entire Creative FX Collection in VST and AU formats which includes the Dynamic Delay plug-in.
Dynamic Delay is a cool tool as I believe it is a bit different from the rest. Dynamic Delay has an envelope control that shapes the delay output. Getting these setting right means the delays themselves will be ducked out of the way of the source feeding the plug-in. I find this helps to declutter a delay effect in the mix.
My standout feature: Delay ducking characteristics
Watch a demonstration of AIR Dynamic Delay by Russ.
AVID Mod Delay III
The AVID Mod Delay is a great delay tool for two reasons. The first being it comes bundled free with Pro Tools. The second being that it is a native and DSP plug-in. This means I can instantiate it in my HDX system. It's a powerful bread a butter delay tool with lots of versatility and control.
My standout feature: DSP
Read Jame Ivey's Vocal Chain article as he explains how he uses Mod Delay III to widen vocals.
Watch how Russ uses Mod Delay III on pop vocals
These are my top 5 delay plug-ins. I don't have a favourite delay as these five all do different things in different ways. What are you favourite delay plug-ins and why do you like them?