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In-depth Feature:  Native Instruments Spektral Delay
Fat Elvis writes: .

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In Use
Using the Spektral Delay as a VST plug in, the graphic interface filled most of my 17 inch screen but looked well cool with clearly laid out controls, edit graphs and the Sonogram - a mobile display showing spectral content of the signal over time. Audio flows from left to right and the extremeties of the display show the audio stream before and after treatment. Stick some straight percussion hits through and they go in as nice straight vertical lines but apply some of the SD's certified sonic mangling and the emergent visuals wouldn't look out of place at the Tate Modern, completely entrancing.

In between the before and after displays, the business end consists of three main graphical edit screens representing filtering, delay time and feedback with frequency represented on the vertical axis. At it's most basic, tweaking the sound is a simple matter of drawing on the screens with a pencil tool. Talk about giving a monkey a typewriter, but everyone's first impulse must be to have a quick scribble. My own first heavy handed attempt turned a simple sidestick clicktrack into a teeming rainforest full of exotic bird calls crossed with the sound of an emptying bath, planting the thought that if you seriously wanted to mess up a sound and turn it into something different, this was the program to do it. Further exploration (and a read of the manual) led to more measured adjustments with an altogether saner and predictable outcome.

The filter graph allows attenuation of the whole frequency spectrum by individual band, making it a very powerful EQ tool in itself regardless of any delay processing. Similarly, in the delay graph you can draw in the amount of delay required for each band then add some feedback for more repeats in the feedback graph. As the 160 frequency bands are equally spaced on the vertical axis, each corresponding to 137.5Hz, there is not so much precise adjustment available at the bottom end and lower mids as there is at the top of the spectrum, for example, the second band running from 137.5Hz to 275Hz covers a full octave, there are only 8 bands to adjust below 1kHz. There is, however, lots of precise adjustment available at frequencies that only dogs can hear. Some of the tweaks carried out up there didn't seem to be having too much effect but they sure got Fido confused.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • MP3s of Spektral Delay in action
  • Spektral Delay Pages @ N.I site
  • More Plug-ins @ Sonic State

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