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Brian May's delay trick and ping pong delay units


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Now, some of you may know of Brian May's delay trick on songs such as Brighton Rock where his delay sound multiplies.

 

Now, I know the trick is setting two delay units at the same time rate but when I called an FX builder he said the same can be achieved using a ping pong delay unit.

 

Is it true?

 

Any opinions?

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It will make life much easier for you if you use a stereo delay with panning, rather than trying to use two separate delays and setting them separately (note that they're not set at the SAME rate- one should be set to twice the delay time as the other, (say, 500 and 1000 milliseconds) so you hear the same thing three times at regular intervals).

 

Yes, the latter method is the way Brian May did it in the 70s, but if he had the option of doing it with a small, reliable digital delay that did all the work for him rather than two bulky, temperamental tape echo units that had to be dialled in to get the correct sound, he would have done that instead.

 

Most stereo delays will pan repeats left and right automatically, and the repeats will automatically come back equally spaced- use two separate delays and you'll have to tweak them to get this- and in many cases can be set by tap tempo so that you don't have to dial in the right tempo for the song, then rely on your drummer to play at the same speed every time!

 

Brian's setup used three amps (or three SETS of amps!) for dry signal, left and right echo repeats. You can get away with two amps, as the dry signal from the delay will normally be output through both amps.

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Maybe you could rephrase the question? It seemed like english bob answered it pretty thoroughly to me, so maybe we're just not understanding it right.

 

But if we are, you're going to need two amps. A "ping-pong" setting on a stereo delay (like the DL-4) uses the stereo outputs to pan the delays from one amp to the other. I could be mistaken, it's been a long time since I played a DL-4, but I think it just sounds like regular digital delay if you use the ping-pong setting into just one amp.

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Maybe you could rephrase the question? It seemed like english bob answered it pretty thoroughly to me, so maybe we're just not understanding it right.


But if we are, you're going to need two amps. A "ping-pong" setting on a stereo delay (like the DL-4) uses the stereo outputs to pan the delays from one amp to the other. I could be mistaken, it's been a long time since I played a DL-4, but I think it just sounds like regular digital delay if you use the ping-pong setting into just one amp.

 

I think I understand what you mean.

 

I dont need the actual ping pong sound but what I need is the stacked delay sound.

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Well, I dont have money for a Nova but there is a guy that can build me a custom pedal.


Can this thing be done on one pedal?

 

correct me if im wrong but,

Yes. have him build you a pedal that is two delays in one box with one output.

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I dont need the actual ping pong sound but what I need is the stacked delay sound.

 

 

(note that they're not set at the SAME rate- one should be set to twice the delay time as the other, (say, 500 and 1000 milliseconds) so you hear the same thing three times at regular intervals).

 

there is your answer right there. 2 delays - one at 500 ms one at 1000 ms. thats it.

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The problem is that to do it properly, you need to split your signal to at least two amps. If you really want to pare it back to the very minimum, all you need is a delay capable of around a second or more of delay, set up to give you two repeats.

 

You won't get the same clarity as you would with separate amps, but you'll get the repeats. The "stacking" sound is just how the repeats interact with whatever you're playing.

 

If you go this route, there's really no reason to have the pedal specially made- any old digital delay will do it. If the guy you're thinking of using is going to do the job properly, I doubt he can undercut the prices of large manufacturers with their own tooling and massive bulk discounts from the component manufacturers.

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there is your answer right there. 2 delays - one at 500 ms one at 1000 ms. thats it.

 

I think I probably underestimated the actual delay times- I just picked nice round figures for the sake of illustrating the point. I reckon 800ms and 1600ms is probably nearer the mark. One delay unit will do. Set the delay time to give you the interval you want, then any further repeats will automatically fall in line with the first.

 

After that, max the effect level so that the repeats are the same volume as the dry signal, tweak the feedback so you get the number of repeats you want, then play "Brighton Rock" til your fingers bleed. Job done.

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