posted this on February 26, 2010, 2:42 PM
Pre-delay is the time between the end of the initial sound and the beginning of the first reflections being audible. Imagine you’re back on that stage in a large music hall. This time you stand on the very edge of the stage and shout “Hello world!” toward the center of the hall. There will be a brief pause before you hear the first noticeable reflections of your voice, because the sound waves can travel much further before encountering a surface and bouncing back. (There are closer surfaces, of course—notably the floor and the ceiling just in front of the stage—but only a small part of the direct sound will go there, so those reflections will be much less noticeable.) Adjusting the pre-delay parameter on a reverb allows you to change the apparent size of the room without having to change the overall decay time. This will give your mix a little more transparency by leaving some space between the original sound and its reverb.