Slapback Delay – A Must Have On Vocals & Guitars

[Editors Note: This is blog was written by Scott Wiggins and it originally appeared on his site, The Recording Solution, which is dedicated to helping producers, engineers and artists make better music from their home studios.]

Slapback delay is a very common effect on tons of hit records. It’s really easy to set up!

When you think of delay, you probably think of yelling down a long canyon and hearing your voice repeat over and over. In my mind that’s an echo.

That’s what a slapback delay is, except it’s one single echo. One single repeat of the original signal.

It’s more like you clap while standing in a small alley between 2 buildings, and hearing a very quick repeat of your clap.

It’s a super fast repeat that adds a sense of space.

Guitar players love it when playing live, and I love using it on guitars and vocals in the context of a mix.

It just adds some energy and sense of depth without having to use a reverb and running the risk of washing out your dry signal.

I tend to use more effects after the slapback delay, but I more times than not start with it to set the foundation of the sound I’m trying to achieve.

A little Goes A Long Way

This effect is used more as a subtle effect on vocals or guitars.

It can be used on anything you like, but those tend to be the most popular in my opinion.

BUT… there are no rules, so if subtle bores you, then go crazy!

Also you can start with a preset on most delay plugins, and then tweak to taste.

If you are tweaking your own slap delays, just make sure your delay times are not in increments.

For Example: 32ms and then 64ms.

That would put the delay on the beat and that’s not technically a slap delay.

I learned that tip from the great mixer and teacher Dave Pensado,  so  I wanted to pass it on to you.

Watch the video above to see how I set all this up inside a real mix.

Comment below and let me know your thoughts.

  • Rafael

    “Hello friends”:

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    Hello, I’m Spanish, my name is:

    “Rafael Predicador” Rafael Fuentes Rodríguez (The Man of God)

    I want to upload my music on the internet in Music stores for
    Let me know, and in passing “make a profit”

    “For the Glory of God Jesus Christ”: This is my mail:

    I am new to all this, and that is why I need your help to advise me and tell me what is best. Remember: “This is a work of God”


    “This is the song to spread all over the world.”

    “And you … With what did you fill your heart?”

    Listen to the song, it’s very beautiful.

    Nothing more: God bless you.

    “Remember what Paul of Tarsus, an apostle of Jesus Christ told us in his days”

    Col.3: 23 “Whatever you do, do it with your heart,”
    “As for the Lord” and not for men;

    24 “knowing that you will receive the reward from the Lord”
    “Of the inheritance”, efe.1: 1-7-11-13-14-17-23 because
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    (Meditate on this)

    God bless you.

    Since the Blessing of God is what everyone NEEDS
    Here on Earth. “NEED YOUR BLESSING”

    “And his blessing is eternal life” to the people who obey him ”
    John 5:24; 6:36.

    Pro.10: 22 The blessing of the Lord is that which enriches,
    And does not add sadness to it.

    • tunecore

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  • Venkatesh Kandel Kamath

    nice tips.wish I could be advised on applying these for Audacity 2 and Adobe audition CS6 which I am using at the moment for my recording and editing

  • Great tips like they say every day you learn something new