Grain Delay: Ableton’s Hidden Gem

Here’s how you can use Ableton’s Grain Delay effect to transform your everyday recordings into glistening bursts of harmony.


For this example, we recorded and layered a few glass objects being struck with a small hammer.

1. Here’s the dry signal


2. Now we’ve added our first Grain Delay, set to rise a perfect 5th every instance. 

Time: 33ms

Pitch: +7

Freq: 4Hz

Spray: 0 


3. The second grain delay rises .2 semitones each instance, giving the effect of a constant rise. We use ‘Spray’ to randomize the delay timing slightly.

Time: 112ms

Pitch: +0.2

Freq: 18Hz

Spray: 28


4. The 3rd grain delay falls .2 semitones each instance.

Time: 54ms

Pitch: -0.2

Freq: 2Hz 

Spray: 28


5. Here is the final processed signal with pitch-shifted reverb and other effects.