When we hear a sound followed by it’s echo happening at an extremely fast speed, our brain interprets the sound as one. By extremely fast, I mean something around 30 milliseconds or less. However, our brain has the capability to distinguish the fact that one sound is happening first and then the other, as well as where the sounds come from (or which side). This is a concept that can be used to our favor when mixing music. And combined with panning techniques this can create wonders in terms of stereo spread, depth, and ambiance perception. This is called the Haas effect.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you have a mono hi-hat track that you’ll pan all the way to the left speaker. Then you’ll send this track via a mono bus channel to a delay effect. Pan the bus channel all the way to right. Set the delay time to around 20 milliseconds. Play with the volume of both tracks so that the original signal is slightly louder than the delay track. What happens is that all of a sudden we have space, and space is a magical ingredient in music. We always want space.
Check out this video for several ways to use HAAS delay to our advantage when crafting new music. Enjoy!
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