Sweet'n Phantom Image/Delay Lines For Panning


Nov 21, 2006
Regarding Vocals, but also pertaining to other instruments.
I was reading the book Total Recording, by Dave Moulton, and he speaks of sweet'ning the phantom image using delay lines.(Center/Lead vocal with a floating image(so to speak)). As well as panning, using delay, instead of the pan function.

He didn't go into how to "Sweet'n the phantom image" too much.
Did have a chart on what frequencies support the phantom image.
Gave 1 example of routing, but not too much info.

Here is a link that has some of the info from the book.

Anyone care to devulge some info on these matters/techniques, from your own experience.

Also really interested in using delay for panning.
Any multitrack routing methods that work for this.

Edit: He also talks about routing techniques for imitating mid-side microphone recording.

Basically, in Dave Moulton's book, he speaks about how using Delay for panning, gives more convincing results when creating a "soundstage" than regular panning.
And he preaches only 3 panning settings. Left/Center/Right, exclusively.
I pan everywhere in between, however needed.

But Im really interested in this panning with delays.
I have experimented in the past with VST's that have Independent left and right channel delay lines on vocal stereo bus/group.

Definately read this page: pretty interesting, though I am lost in the routing of the effects, in a multitrack setting, such as Cubase SX3
I believe the first schematic is what Im looking for, and can control panning by using longer/shorter delays.?
Under schematic 1, reads "Longer delay return should have higher level to offset Haas effect pulling image toward shorter delay"

If someone could reinterate on the routing within a multitrack program, that would be great. Or we could discuss anything in this post.
Links are always good too.


Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2005
Basically what Tom is talking about is if you had a lead singer track, you would generally Pan it center. If on the other hand, you were to take that single track and split it into 2 inputs into a console with a "Y" patch cord, feeding one, to the left Channel and feeding the other input to the right Channel, the signal would still sound like it was coming from the center. Now if you put even 1 ms of delay on either one of those channels, the sound would appear to be coming from the Channel without the delay. Even though the Channel with the 1 ms of delay was as loud as the one without the delay. To make it sound like the vocalist was still coming from the center, you have to increase the delayed track by nearly 6 DB. Of course, with the delay that short, if you collapsed to Mono, it will sound like you have bad phasing. Which you have artificially created with the 1 ms delay.

So more and longer delays, stuffed into left & right channels will start to create a feeling of broad stereo spaciousness. But these are largely, small delays. Which helps to create the Haas effect. Longer delays are just echoes which of course create a different sense of spatial distance. Really, Haas is really a fixed time Doppler shift.

Taking a lead vocal track and adding a stereo, slow VCO'd & not deep phaser, can give you a great sense of stereo vocal. It can be really spooky and eerie sounding too. Conversely, using " Pitch Change C" on an old, Yamaha SPX90 II, was one of my favorite presets. It's a slight pitch shifted up in one channel and a slight pitch shifted down in the other with very short delays due to the digital sampling. A preset I haven't seen on any plug-in yet? Go figure?

Sorry for the delay
Ms. Remy Ann David


The Phantom Image is Jim Morrison's vocals in The Doors' recordings.
Jimi Hendrix never had it, he did not think that vocals were important.
Janis came close to having it.

Many band members will fight amoung themselves and want their instrument to stand out, or at least be equal in the mix.
This can not happen if you want to make Rock and Roll because Rock is about the singer....not the song.

This is the reason that Velvet Revolver broke up this week, and the reason Guns N' Roses collapsed. Scott Weiland is amazing, as is Axl.
They need to be in the center and in front of everything.
Slash needs to realize that his guitar is backup for the singer, and the voice needs to pop out from the speakers.
The Doors, recorded by Bruce Botnik under direction of Paul Rothchild, were made to sound like the vocals were in the living room with you floating in front of the speakers.


Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2005
What's this hang-up you have with Jim Morrison and The Doors? I mean, he wrote some interesting music, but damn, you seem to force him into every conversation here. Many, if not ALL of the times you do this, you go completely off tangent into total jibberish. Or is that just the drugs kickin' in...?
And as far as his vocals sounding like he was in the "living room, with you floating in front of the speakers". Yeah, they're definitely kickin' in...