Top Delay Pedals – Guide & Comparison
If you’re looking for the best delay pedal but the huge variety available on the internet is confusing, then you’ve certainly landed in the right place. Just as with many other musical instruments and accessories, not all models are created equal. We can help you choose the best by presenting some of the most popular offers on the market which we have picked after countless hours of research. We’ve selected the pedals that offer the most amazing delay effects as well as other features. We recommend the TC Electronic Flashback Mini as the product you should get. This delay pedal has a compact body that makes it ideal for extensive touring, it has controls for Delay, Feedback, and FX levels, and you also get to benefit from modern technologies such as the Tone Print. If this unit is out of stock, you could also have a look at the MXR M169 Carbon.
- Comparison Table
- Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
- TC Electronic Flashback Mini Delay Pedal
- MXR M169 Carbon Delay Pedal
- Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal
- Dunlop EP103 Echoplex Delay Pedal
- Eventide TimeFactor Twin Delay Pedal
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently asked questions about delay pedals
- Best delay pedal brands
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
Whether you’re an amateur guitar player or a veteran musician, navigating the huge labyrinth of pedals can really take a load of time. If you don’t really have the spare time to go through dozens of delay pedals reviews, then we’ve created a list with some of the highly acclaimed consumer choices which offer the most value and best sound for the money.
TC Electronic Flashback Mini Delay Pedal
The Flashback Mini is a small delay pedal that comes at an affordable price and is capable of offering a wide tonal range and enrich your guitar’s sound. This unit is compact and slim so you should have absolutely no trouble finding a spot even in a crowded pedalboard.
You get a versatile device that’s suited to many playing styles. You can enjoy an accurate sound reproduction with the True Bypass as well as various forms of repeat modes so you get the most out of your musical experience. Thanks to the Tone Print Technology, you benefit from instant access to multiple custom-made settings that your favorite guitarists are using.
You get level controls for Delay, Feedback, and FX level so you can tweak your sound in any way you want to.
This unit also comes with a solid build that should last for a long time even if you’re touring a lot, while the small footprint saves you quite a bit of space.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($97.99)
MXR M169 Carbon Delay Pedal
The M169 Carbon Copy is an analog delay pedal that’s a great addition to the arsenal of a veteran musician, as well as a nice tool for a novice guitarist. This unit can create a rich sound that you can model in any way you want in order to achieve the desired effects.
This model is capable of offering up to 600 milliseconds of delay time for an ethereal sound. You get modulation controls for Delay, Mix, and Regen, and you can also emulate tape echo tones with ease for a vintage sound that’s normally hard to nail down. You can also use the 2 internal trim pots that allow you to adjust both the rate and the width of the modulation.
Besides getting a load of tonal options, you can also choose from crisp slap echoes to the crystal clear delay similar to David Gilmour’s. This little pedal achieves all of these through an old-school analog audio path.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($128)
Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal
If you’re looking for a reliable delay pedal that comes with all the goodies you can expect from this legendary brand but don’t want to break the bank, then the Boss DD-7 Digital is a smart choice. This unit is made according to the highest standards that have made Boss one of the most popular brands in the field.
The pedal comes with a Modulation Delay mode, as well as an Analog mode that’s modeled after classic designs. You also get several external pedal controls for swift operation and a multitude of creative options that will enrich your sound and impress the audience. Thanks to the Expanded Delay feature, you get a delay time of up to 6.4 seconds.
The Hold mode is capable of recording up to 40 seconds of input so you can create amazing performances with a ‘sound on sound’ effect. You can also use the stereo output to create various signal paths and new effects with ease.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($156.67)
Dunlop EP103 Echoplex Delay Pedal
The Dunlop EP103 Echoplex is a vintage delay pedal that can make even a seasoned musician proud. This pedal can deliver a warm and rich tone to your electric guitar as well as help you achieve vintage sounds reminiscent of the 60s and 70s.
This unit is compact and comes in the same size as the legendary Phase 90 so you get to enjoy superior sound control and a small device that’s easy to carry around. With the delay control, you can set the delay time to anywhere from 4 milliseconds to 750ms. The number of repeats is easy to set by using the Sustain knob.
The Volume control allows you to select an output level that’s appropriate for your performance. The Volume knob also controls the Age mode, which is perhaps one of the most important features of this pedal. It lets you obtain a darker and aged sound while also increasing the saturation and modulation.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($197.46)
Eventide TimeFactor Twin Delay Pedal
In case you’re searching for a high-end delay pedal, you simply can’t go wrong with the Eventide TimeFactor Twin. This pedal comes with 2 separate 3-second delays, a total of 9 effects as well as a 12-second looper. This device is also future-proof, as it comes with a USB port which allows you to upgrade its software and keep it updated.
This model offers both amateur and advanced guitarists countless delay possibilities. You don’t just get studio-grade effects, but also superior control thanks to the 10 knobs that allow for real-time tweaks. You also get tap tempo, mono and stereo delays, as well as a bunch of other goodies you’ll just love to have at your disposal.
You benefit from continuous control over countless parameters with the external footswitch, in addition to being the proud owner of a delay pedal which shares a legacy with some of the most iconic guitarists, from Frank Zappa to John Petrucci to Eddie Van Halen.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($399)
Strymon El Capistan
The Strymon El Capistan is truly an amazing pedal that is capable of delivering the performance and feel of classic tape echo machines you have grown to love. The dTape Echo comes with all the features you need to start playing and shaping the sound in precisely the way you want it.
This little device comes with 5 tape adjustment knobs to give you the tone you’re looking for. You get a Time and Mix controller, as well as adjustments for Repeats, Wow and Flutter, and Tape age – which can turn your modern electric performance into a vintage experience worthy of praise.
This unit also comes with a 115dB signal-to-noise ratio, as well as 24-bit D/A and A/D converters at 96 kHz. The El Capistan also uses a high-performance DSP or digital signal processor that comes in a small factor which keeps the pedal compact and able to fit anywhere. You get complete control over 10 parameters as well as 3 unique modes to play with.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($339.36)
Catalinbread Echorec Multi-Head
The Catalinbread Echorec is a Multi-Head delay pedal that’s suited to both amateur and experienced guitarists. This device features some of the latest technologies in the industry for a multitude of rich and complex delay effects.
You get several knobs to control each type of effect. The Swell knob allows you to set the desired number of repeats for each playback. With the Tone control, you can shape the sound from dark to bright and from thin to fat. You can pick the right settings for both atmospheric rhythm guitar as well as impressive solos.
You can easily tweak the delay time from 40ms up to 1000ms and the best part is that you can do that in real-time so you can either slow down or speed up your performance. With the mix knob, you can switch from full-dry to full-wet and make sure you’re using the right setup for maximum effect and a rich sound for every situation.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Mad Professor MAD-SSR
In case you’re looking to find a delay pedal that offers all the necessary features to control your sound without breaking the bank, then the Mad Professor MAD-SSR is surely a smart choice. This unit is made with the same quality components as its counterparts from Finland while also benefiting from a modern PCB that’s specially designed for superior performance.
The Silver Spring Reverb is actually a multi-functional pedal that offers both delay and reverb effects so you get to save money as well as space, especially if your pedalboard is already crammed. You get a sound that’s pretty close to studio-level, and you also get a noise reduction system so that the decay will sound natural.
Although it was designed to be used just like most other standard pedals, you can use the SSR before distortion and tweak the pedal to a low Reverb setting for a pleasant effect. The direct signal path is analog so you benefit from a natural sound that’s free of filtering.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($195.1)
ModTone MT-VD Analog
The ModTone MT-VD is an analog delay pedal that comes with a sturdy construction and controls to give you a wide range of combinations so you can achieve the sound you’re looking for. This pedal comes with a compact body that features a rugged metal chassis so you know it will be able to withstand a lot of use and abuse even if you’re constantly traveling and touring.
With this modern model, you also get 3 aircraft-style switches which give you control over the Time, Repeat, and Mix functions. You get to set the Delay time to anywhere from 130 milliseconds to 350 milliseconds. This unit is a true bypass pedal that is capable of creating rich and full effects that are free of tonal coloration and other unwanted sounds.
This analog model is a must-have for any guitarist that wants a reliable pedal but who doesn’t have copious amounts of cash to get one of the more expensive options.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($67.2)
Maxon AD-9 Delay
The Maxon AD-9 is an analog delay that is a true bypass pedal. What this means is that it can produce accurate and warm effects without tonal distortions or unwanted coloration that might spoil your performance. You get to benefit from a crystal-clear delay that will enrich your music while also impressing the crowd.
You get adjustable repeats and you can also set the delay time to any value up to 450 milliseconds. You also benefit from lots of headroom, thanks to the fact that this stompbox can accept any input signal and work in your amp’s effects loop and front-end. Additionally, you’ll get a tape echo simulation function so you can recreate a vintage sound with a simple switch of a button.
This unit has a mechanical true bypass circuit which works well for both dry and wet output thanks to the 4PDT switch. This ensures a clear tone that’s not altered so you get to enjoy a pure sound.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($154.52)
With the Ibanez Mini-size delay pedal, you get to enjoy an impressive delay effect without spending a fortune. This inexpensive delay pedal comes with all the controls you need for both private uses as well as performances at larger venues. This product is made in Japan so you can trust that it’s manufactured according to the highest standards.
The compact size of this miniature version ensures that you can carry it with you anywhere and that you will also have no difficulties with placing these even on crowded pedalboards. Despite its small size, this pedal comes with the same quality and classic sound of the popular AD9 line.
This pedal has controls for delay time, repeat, as well as blend so you get everything you need to start playing beautiful music. The delay time control allows you to select values from 20ms up to 600ms for a continuous oscillating effect. This unit comes with a full analog circuit offering a true bypass function.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($110.43)
Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail
The Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail is an analog delay pedal that offers a flexible system to shape the sound in any direction you want. This device comes with 3 knobs to help you adjust Delay time, Repeats, as well as Mix so you can obtain the right tones. This package also comes with 2 patch cables for bundles.
You get a bucket-brigade analog device that is easy to operate. Besides the 3 adjustment knobs, it also features Rate and Depth modulation buttons for endless possible combinations. The Delay knob is translucent and it also has a blue LED which helps with making adjustments on the fly even when you’re playing in dimly lit concert venues.
With the TRS insert, you can also enjoy effortless wet routing and an increased flexibility. This pedal can deliver a warm and vintage sound while the responsive modulation controls help you shape the delay tone with ease and allow you to add movement and shimmer.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($149)
Behringer Vintage VD400
The Behringer Vintage VD400 is a reliable delay pedal for your guitar that sells for a more than affordable price. This true analog device comes with a vintage design and a solid construction that make it the ideal partner, whether you’re playing at home, busking downtown or touring with your band.
This slap-back echo can help you achieve a sound similar to a tape delay, and the best part is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get one. This vintage model gives you a delay time of up to 300ms and you also get to benefit from an advanced noise reduction system which ensures that the sound stays clear and crisp.
The pedal has dedicated knobs to control Repeat, Echo, and Intensity so you can shape your sound and deliver amazing performances each and every time. This unit also features a LED which shows you which effects are turned on while also allowing you to check the battery status.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($34.99)
Line 6 DL4 Stompbox
The Line 6 DL4 Stompbox is a reliable delay pedal that comes with all the features you want and need. This model can help you deliver jaw-dropping performances with an impressive sound that you can tweak and adjust depending on your specific play style and tune. You get 3 programmable presets for easy switching as well as a Tap Tempo.
This unit comes with true bypass switching which ensures crystal clear sounds that are unaffected by tonal coloration and other distortions. Thanks to the Expression Pedal input you get to control the effects in real-time so you can tweak your sound with ease even while performing live.
The Loop Sampler comes with a memory of 14 seconds as well as a pre-delay of 800ms. You also get to enjoy reverse overdubbing and half-speed overdubbing, and digital modeling that’s based on 15 echo effects and vintage delays. This device can run on batteries or you can also use a power adapter.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($249.99)
Yearly Guide & Report
If you’re trying to find the best digital delay pedal or an analog alternative but you don’t really know which one to choose, then you should be glad to find this guide that can help you make the right purchase. Here are some essentials about delay pedals as well as the main features you might want to take a look at before getting a delay pedal for sale.
Digital or analog?
Before you start searching for the best guitar delay pedal, you need to consider whether you want a digital pedal or an analog model. An analog pedal works by recording the electrical signals coming from the guitar and then replaying them at different frequencies and durations. It does not convert the signal and so it is able to reproduce a more natural sound.
Besides being able to create organic delay effects, it is also great for performances that are trying to emulate a vintage style. This is where the best tape delay pedal can be your best friend, as it can create warm and dark repeats that decay more naturally. The downside to analog pedals is that they cannot sustain the duration and quality of the repeats for too long.
The good part is that you can always get a good delay pedal that comes with a digital processor. This will convert the electrical signals into digital info that will then be able to deliver precise repeats that last longer. A digital delay pedal will also offer more options in terms of sample recording, storage, and the quality of the repeats.
Get a model with multiple functions
Whether you want the best delay pedal for acoustic guitars or a model suited to electric guitars, you surely want to pick a unit that’s versatile. You want a pedal that comes with control knobs for delay time, effect level, feedback, as well as a few other functions such as Depth and Rate.
If you want to make sure that the repeats stay synchronized with what you’re currently playing, then getting the best delay pedal with tap tempo is the thing to do. This type of pedal gives you a footswitch that you can tap to control the timing of the repeats and make sure all your performances will sound great.
Use delay and reverb pedals
You don’t necessarily need to stick to a standard delay pedal, as there are quite a few models out there that can deliver other effects as well. For example, you can get the best delay reverb pedal, which, just as its name implies, has both delay and reverb effects.
Purchasing such a pedal can give you a simplified control as well as save money since you won’t have to buy 2 separate pedals. You’ll also save quite some space, which can be beneficial when you’re already packing lots of other accessories such as the best delay pedal for vocals.
Choose a modern multi-delay unit
If you want to get the best bass delay pedal but also need a good delay for your electric guitar, then you might want to get a multi-delay pedal. This is a type of pedal that’s virtually dominating the music industry nowadays.
What you get is a multifunctional pedal that allows you to stack loads of delays with your favorite settings so you don’t have to carry multiple pedals for every show. You still need specialized pedals, but a multi-delay unit will be beneficial if you want a single versatile unit. You can enjoy emulations of your favorite guitarists, get a Tape Echo delay, as well as enjoy other functions.
For example, you can check some reviews of delay pedals and choose one that comes with one or multiple USB ports. This will allow you to plug it into a computer so you can make use of specialized software to shape the delay effect in precisely the way you want to. You can then easily store it in a preset and use it anytime you need.
You’d also get a chance to experiment with an endless combination of settings and effects and stay busy creating beautiful soundscapes that you can later use on your guitar.
Frequently asked questions about delay pedals
Can you use a delay pedal for reverb?
While you should get a dedicated reverb pedal to obtain the highest quality reverb, you can also trick your delay pedal into reproducing a similar effect. This is helpful for experimentation and you probably won’t be using it too often. To create a false reverb, you need to set the delay time to at least 100 milliseconds.
Then you should set the feedback knob to about 5 repeats. In case you want to increase the effect, you can always crank up the time and the feedback buttons to achieve the sound you’re looking for.
What delay pedal does Slash use?
Slash is one of those musicians who always manages to captivate his audiences. Besides his obvious talent and play style, he also gets help from effect pedals. His use of delay pedals is widely documented. While he has used quite a few models over the course of his career, he seems to be currently using a Boss DD3 and an MXR Ten Band EQ pedal.
His delay settings are also important for fans trying to recreate his unique sound. It appears that he typically uses long delay times of around 800ms, while the feedback and level can range widely based on his particular settings, from Normal to Slither to Set Me Free.
What delay pedal does the Edge use?
The Edge from U2 makes great use of delay effects to create his trademark sound. He has used at least several dozen pedals over the years, the most notable being his Korg SDD-3000s, although focusing on just one model is hard. Another pedal used by the Edge which caught the eye of many fans is an MXR Carbon Copy, which was used in one of his documentaries.
His delay settings are probably more important than the actual pedals since he might be using one over another depending on different scenarios. What is constant is his use of real delays with delay times between 150 and 550ms.
What does a delay pedal do?
A delay pedal is certainly a major contributing factor when it comes to the sound of a musician. It can enrich an electric guitar’s performance and add depth and warmth to any song. But what does it actually do?
The delay pedal records an input signal and then replays it after a short amount of time (this is called a repeat). The delay time can be adjusted, and so can be the number of repeats which can turn into a decaying echo. With this device, you can tweak your settings to make your electric guitar sound in any number of ways depending on taste and needs.
What is an analog delay pedal?
An analog delay pedal is just what the name implies – an analog device. It doesn’t convert the electric signal into digital information but uses technologies such as Bucket Brigade delay chips to obtain the delay effect.
Although an analog delay pedal is somewhat limited when it comes to the duration and maximum amount of time the repeats can go on for, such a device is usually cheaper than a digital variant. It also helps you achieve a vintage sound easier, in addition to being able to reproduce darker and warmer sounds with each repeat.
Why use a delay pedal?
There are loads of reasons to use a delay pedal. For starters, it’s important to know that few guitarists in the world play a clean electric guitar, as most use a combination of pedals with delay, reverb, wha wha pedals, and a host of other accessories.
A delay pedal can enrich a sound and contribute to a smoother feel. It can replay the sounds of your guitar after various amounts of time and with varying frequency, intensity, and effect. This gives you a huge number of combinations to achieve a particular sound for a song or a certain passage, and you also get to create a staple sound people could recognize you for.
Can I make my own delay pedal?
While there are lots of both cheap and expensive delay pedals available online, you might want to build your own. You can certainly succeed at making one at home, although you should know from the start that the process is time-consuming, and you’ll most likely spend a lot more money compared to buying a commercial product.
If you have some knowledge of electronics and semiconductor technologies and love tinkering with stuff, then a homemade delay pedal would certainly make a fun project. In case you aren’t committed to spending loads of time on it, you might be better off buying one.
Best delay pedal brands
Electro-Harmonix is a company that specializes in designing and manufacturing high-end electronic audio processors. It was founded by Mike Matthews in 1968 in New York, USA. The company became known as one of the pioneers of the analog pedals, having introduced the first affordable pedal or stompbox during the 1970s.
Models such as the flanger Electric Mistress or the echo/delay Memory Man which had no moving parts became instant hits and the first of their kinds, cementing the company’s place at the top of the industry. Electro-Harmonix still manufactures quality delay pedals which are highly appreciated.
MXR has been a true pioneer in the field of effects pedals for decades. Established in 1972 by Keith Barr and Terry Sherwood in New York, the company brought many innovations in the field, designing and producing high-quality pedals that have been used by legendary musicians around the world.
Today, the brand is owned by Jim Dunlop, which continues the traditional pedal line started by MXR. Besides producing and selling carbon copies of reputable series that have made history, the brand also brings new additions to the field which benefit from innovative technologies and inspire a new generation of gifted musicians.
Line 6 is a reputable company that manufactures guitars, amplifiers, pedals, and other electronic music equipment. Founded in 1996 in Calabasas, California, it quickly grew into one of the most popular brands in the industry. Despite the initial success of its first Flextone amplifier, the company’s breakthrough came after releasing the highly acclaimed POD guitar processor line.
It went on to produce a large number of amps and portable devices, as well as a new generation of multi-effects pedalboards called Helix. The latest Line 6 Helix LT is a highly appreciated all-in-one effects processor that offers endless combinations without skimping on tone.
Boss is perhaps one of the instantly recognizable companies when it comes to effects pedals for electric and bass guitars. The company was founded in 1973 and released its first product, the B-100 The Boss, in 1974.
The line of compact effects pedals grew in the 70s and 80s, with many of its models being adopted by legendary guitarists such as Eric Clapton, Joe Satriani, and The Edge. Although the company is currently owned by the Roland Corporation, it continues to design and develop high-quality pedals that give musicians the power to impress and delight their audiences.
Digitech is an American company which makes digital effects devices for guitars. It was founded in 1984 in Sandy, Utah. The brand caught the attention of the world in 1989, with the release of its DigiTech Whammy pedal. It was the first pedal that allowed guitarists to control pitch-shifting effects by using their feet.
The company also launched the Time Machine delay pedal series which earned high critical acclaim. One of its latest additions is the Digitech Trio+, which was introduced in 2016. This stompbox can also generate drum and bass rhythms for chord progressions played on the guitar.
Dunlop Manufacturing, Inc. is a company that specializes in various musical accessories and effects units in particular. Although it is headquartered in Benicia, California, it was originally founded by Jim Dunlop in Glasgow, Scotland, back in 1965. What started as a part-time family business grew thanks to the talent and engineering background of Dunlop.
He moved his family to the US in 1972, where he expanded his guitar capo business. Perhaps the most popular contribution came with the Dunlop Cry Baby which was inspired by the original Cry Baby wah-wah pedal. The company continues to innovate and create improved effects pedals and other accessories for passionate musicians.
Ibanez is a company that surely needs no introduction. The Japanese giant is not only one of the most popular guitar manufacturers in the world, but also one of the first Japanese companies that managed to get a foothold in the musical instrument industry in the United States.
With a legacy going back to 1957, Ibanez has created some iconic guitars, as well as musical accessories such as effects pedals. Some of the most popular options include the Ibanez Analog Delay Mini Pedal series which offer superb delay effects for affordable prices and the Ibanez ES2 Echo Shifter.
TC Electronic is an audio equipment manufacturer from Denmark. The company was founded by Kim and John Rishøj in 1976. Its first product was known as the SCF, or the Stereo Chorus, Pitch Modulator & Flanger which was met with enthusiasm by the music industry.
After this initial success, the two brothers designed and produced a 19-inch rack mounted delay processor called the TC2290 back in 1985. The company still manufactures quality delay pedals that are more affordable and fun, such as the popular Flashback Mini, or the Nova line of pedals with effects such as delay, reverb, drive, and modulator.
Behringer is one of the largest manufacturers of musical products in the world. The company was originally founded by Uli Behringer, a Swiss engineer, in 1989 in Willich, Germany. Uli showed a great interest in music from an early age, building his first synthesizer, the UB-1, when he was 16.
After studying sound engineering and classical piano at a conservatory, Behringer went on to produce a line of audio processors which later diversified into other devices such as effects pedals. Many delay pedals, including the popular VD400, are affordable without skimping on quality, explaining part of the success of this brand.
Strymon is a brand of effects pedals for guitars that are manufactured by its parent company, Damage Control Engineering. The brand was established in 2008 and shares the company’s headquarters in Westlake Village, California, United States.
Some of the features that make these pedals stand out are the integration of DSP algorithms as well as the high-end design with multiple functions. Guitar pedals come with effects such as delay, chorus, flanger, distortion, reverb, etc. The El Capistan dTape Echo is perhaps one of its most successful pedals, although it’s hard to pick from so many quality models.
Eventide is an American company that operates in the audio, communications, broadcast, as well as avionics industries. The company is well-known for its digital audio processors which incorporate DSP software. There are also quite a few successful guitar effects pedals in its line of products that are appreciated by veteran and amateur musicians alike.
The company was founded in 1971 and it is headquartered in Little Ferry, New Jersey. After creating some of the most iconic harmonizers such as the H910, the company went on to create high-quality devices such as the Stompbox Line which includes the H9, the TimeFactor, and the Space model.
Seymour Duncan is an American manufacturer of guitar and bass pickups, as well as popular effects pedals that are sold all throughout the US and beyond. The company was founded by Seymour Duncan and Cathy Carter Duncan in 1976. After experimenting with guitars, Duncan started designing pickups for well-known guitarists.
The company has produced pickups used by some of the most popular artists of the day, from Jeff Beck to Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, John Frusciante, and Joe Bonamassa. Seymour Duncan also produces effects pedals such as the Vapor Trail Analog Delay Pedal which is a hit among the young generation of guitar players.
Other popular articles written by our colleagues: