View Full Version : Calculating delay times

11-22-2002, 04:45 PM
Hi guys,

here is a REALLY helpful website that I found like a year ago:

Calculator (http://deepsound.net/calculs.html)

You can use it to calculate all kinds of music-related time values. Scroll down and there is an option to calculate delay times... simply type in the bpm and press "calculate" and it shows the delay time down to 1/32 note.
I usually had to look up the correct delay times for a certain bpm value in a huge data sheet, these days I use this site, it is very useful ( I saved it to my harddisk, that way I can open it even if I´m not online or when the site is not available )


11-22-2002, 05:29 PM
i have a johnson amp that you just tap a button in time with the music and adjust from there its really nice :)

11-22-2002, 05:32 PM
Yeah, the tap tempo function is integrated into many of the newer generation multi effects and digital amps.
But the calculator´s helpful when it comes to programming recording software ( delay effect plug-ins ), or adjusting multi effects that don´t have tap tempo.
How do you like the Johnson ?

11-23-2002, 09:27 PM
Its awesome Its everything I will ever want in an amp except.....(doh!) .......I can't hook up an extension cabinet. STupid isn't it?! It has 2 12's in it and is hook up in stereo in like 120 watts. But I like having 4 12 inch speakers for some reason I just like the way half stacks sound. I've owned 1 half stack before this one which was a peavey and was a very nice stereo amp. But I wasn't playing with any body anymore and I trade my half stack straight up for this amp and it seemed like a good trade and it was except for the lack of the extension cabinet Oh well. I like the effects on it and only a few of the amp models are my cup of tea but then all sound great. Anyways thats enough for me for right now. TTYl


Bongo Boy
11-24-2002, 03:56 PM
Erik can you explain just a bit about delay time--what it is, etc? Are you talking about echo or reverb delay? Is the topic directly related to tap tempo, and what tap tempo is?

Has this info has already been discussed in a paper here?

11-24-2002, 08:29 PM
Hey Bongo,

sure thing...
>Erik can you explain just a bit about delay time--what it is, etc? >Are you talking about echo or reverb delay?

Ok, delay effects are used to create the echo effect. They repeat the signal they receive at the input after a certain period of time ( after a delay ), just once or more often than that.
Why is this called delay and not echo ? Well, you can usually set delay units ( at least the 19"-rackversions ) to delay what you play. That means, if you set the ratio of original and effect signal to 0:100, you can play something but you don´t hear it coming out of your amp, until the "delay" ( the time you adjusted on the effect unit ) has passed.
It kinda stops the signal and lets it through after a period of time defined by you.
But usually, a delay unit is used to create an echo-effect, repeatig the original signal.
Now, you can adjust the number of repetitions... only once or more than that. Often, the delay is set to like 5 or 10 repetitions, and those kinda fade, losing volume... the first repeat is at an equal volume of the original signal, the next one is not as loud etc. It kinda fades away, like a real echo ( in the mountains etc. )

Now, the delay TIME is very important. A really short delay ( like... 80-120 ms / milliseconds ) is called "slapback echo"... you don´t really perceive it as many repeats of the original signal, it rather neriches / thickens the sound. Used a lot in country.

When it comes to actual echo-style sounds, you want it to be in time with the song you´re playing.
If you i.e. play a song in 120 bpm, you wanna set your delay to the exact right time, so it will repeat what you play... in time.
So, if you want the delay effect to repeat what you play after the duration of a quarter note, you have to set it to 500 ms. To repeat after the duration of a half note, you´d set it to 1000 ms ( twice as much ).
If the song has a tempo of, let´s say 92 bpm, you´d set it to 652, 174 ms for quarter notes etc.
You can even use that echo to "play against you". Let´s say you set the delay to repeat whatever you play after the duration of a 1/4 note.
Now, play a run in 1/8th notes... YOu´re playing C and D. Now the delay repeats the C, while you´re already playing an E... you´ve got a harmony here, a major third.
Or you stop for the duration of an 1/8th note.
So you play C, D, the delay repeats the C, you play the E, the delay repeats the D, you play the F etc.

A delay set to the correct time is way more musical. It only makes sense, cuz the notes which are repeated by it are... well, actual notes, just like the ones you´re actually playing. So those should be in time, too.
Check out some of the stuff Dave Gilmour played on the "The Wall" album by Pink Floyd... like "Run Like Hell", or "Another Brick In The Wall", or check out "Cathedral" by Van Halen ( where Eddie uses a delay to create cascading, almost keyboard-like sounds )

Now, tap tempo is a feature with many new-generation multi effects, also integrated into units like the POD.
There is a designated button which you tap the tempo on. Like, teh drummer is playing a beat, and you tap the downbeats on that button ( you can also use one of the buttons on your MIDI board ). After you did that like 2 or 4 times, the delay adjusts itself to the tempo you´re tapping in. It calculates the exact right amount of time ( Hopefully, you´re actually tapping in time )

Of course, on most units ( not the POD, because of its limited display options ), you can enter the delay time manually ( i.e. calculate it with the website I linked to ), but when you´re jamming its a neat feature to "tap in" the tempo, so the delay calculate the right amount by itself.
Also nice when you´re drummer is playing the song on a different tempo than he usually does... tap in the new tempo, done !

With units like the Alesis Q2 ( a cool multieffect unit ), you could tap in the tempo, and then choose the note duration of the echo... like, you´d tap in the tempo, the Q2 would thereby measure it and determine that the tempo is like 112 bpm.
Now, you can set the Alesis to 1/4th notes ( or 1/16th or 1/8th trioles etc. ) and it would adjust to that.
Wow, did I ramble again or what ?
Hope this answers your questions

Bongo Boy
11-24-2002, 10:41 PM
Thanks...yes, excellent rambling! I thought there might be connection to 'tapping' as a rh technique...the Lexicon unit I owned had that feature--I didn't recognize the term/topic. Very helpful. I don't get out much, obviously :).