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 brands that offer the the best delay pedals (and 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.
Our Top Choice
This delay pedal uses tone print technology to enhance its effects. As customers have said, it can be described as three Flashback Delays with a built-in tap tempo. Compared to other alternatives, it only has thirty seconds worth of loop time. This is the smallest version of the three TC options, and it features three adjustment knobs on the front to help you control the sound of your instrument. The options are delay, feedback and FX level.
This pedal does not come with a power supply. You need to buy it separately.
Regarded by many as one of the most reliable in the field, this option is indeed worth a shot.
A reasonably priced model with up to 600 milliseconds delay time, the M169 offers an all-analog alternative, only because it features the well-known bucket brigade technology. The design features two internal trim pots that allow the user to adjust the width and rate control of the modulation, giving you the opportunity to work on the sound until you get it exactly right. Eye-catching blue LEDs complete this design.
The one thing missing from this pedal is a tempo control, according to some reviews.
This analog pedal comes for an affordable price tag and significantly enhances quality.
Also To Consider
This innovative model uses the features that have proven their worth in its predecessors and takes them up a notch. The delay time available goes up to 6.4 seconds, a significant increase. Up to 40 seconds of input can be recorded and used when you wish to perform sound on sound. This model uses two delay modes, the modulation that provides chorus-flavored sounds and analog that offers a warmer tone, closer to the classic sound.
This model is not so reliable in a dark environment, so it’s not to be used on stage.
Given its price range, this option has more combinations of settings than you’ll ever need.
14 Best Delay Pedals (Reviews) in 2020
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 the best 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.
- 1. TC electronic Flashback Mini Delay
- 2. Dunlop Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal
- 3. Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal
- 4. Dunlop EP103 Echoplex Delay Guitar Effects Pedal
- 5. Eventide TimeFactor Twin Delay Pedal
- 6. Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo Delay Pedal
- 7. Catalinbread Echorec Multi-Head Delay Guitar Pedal
- 8. Mad Professor MAD-SSR Guitar Delay Effects Pedal
- 9. ModTone Guitar Effects MT-VD Pedal Analog Delay
- 10. Maxon AD-9 Analog Delay
- Yearly Guide & Report
- Frequently asked questions about delay pedals
- Best delay pedal brands
- How to Get the Most out of Your Delay Pedal
1. TC electronic Flashback Mini Delay
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, so it’s one of those good delay pedals you won’t forget behind.
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. Plus, some say that this is a good delay pedal for every budget.
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.
For such a small pedal it’s impressive how much tonal range it can offer and how it can improve your guitar’s sound.
This is one of those pedals that are compact and slim and fit really well on any pedalboard, meaning that you don’t have to compromise on other pedals.
Due to its versatility, it can be used by players of any style.
It comes with a true bypass function for when you want to get rid of the humming noise it makes while not in use.
There are many forms of repeat modes that it uses and that will help you experiment with your sound.
It has a function called Tone Print Technology that will let you use pre-made custom settings imported from other guitarists.
The pedal also has a solid build and it will last you a long time.
You won’t get an adaptor for this pedal and you will have to get that separately.Buy from Amazon.com for ($99)
2. Dunlop Carbon Copy Analog 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.
Experienced guitarists that like the classic sound of such a device will enjoy this analog delay pedal. But it is also great for those new players that like to hear the old-fashioned delay.
Being analog it also produces a natural sound that can be modeled in any way you want to get the effect you want.
The extended delay of 600 milliseconds will create an ethereal sound, something that you feel is out of this world.
The vintage sound of tape echo tones is usually hard to achieve, along with others, but you can do that with this pedal.
With the help of the trim pots inside you can adjust the width of the modulation and the rate as well.
You have many delay options, even some that sound like David Gilmour’s, but you can also just opt for a clear slap echo.
Some people consider that with a tempo control this pedal would have been complete.Buy from Amazon.com for ($109)
3. 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 delay pedal 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.
This is a brand known for making high-quality pedals that aren’t too expensive. This is one of those devices, and it is also one of the most reliable delay pedals out there.
It has an analog mode if you’re looking for that classic sound, but it also has a modulation delay mode for those guitarists that like to add more flair and imagination to their music.
To offer you a swift operation experience, there are some external pedal controls that you can use, and these will enhance your creative options, and give you the possibility to impress the audience.
You get an impressive delay of up to 6.4 seconds, which is huge, thanks to the Expanded Delay technology.
The pedal also allows you to record up to 40 seconds of play, so you can create a sound-on-sound effect.
You’ll have to purchase a footswitch to maximise its potential.Buy from Amazon.com for ($148)
4. Dunlop EP103 Echoplex Delay Guitar Effects Pedal
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.
Capable of providing you with a warm and rich tone, this vintage delay pedal will make any guitarist feel like he is playing smooth and clear music.
It is a model reminiscent of the 1960s and ‘70s period and that is why people that like those times will enjoy it to the max.
It has some of the features found on larger pedals from the same company, but it is still compact and easy to transport.
You can set a delay time from 4 milliseconds to 750 milliseconds with the help of the delay control and that gives you the possibility to play with the sound.
With the sustain knob, you can also control the number of times the sound repeats.
The “Age” mode will let you get a darker and aged sound, increasing the saturation.
There is no onboard preamp and that limits the quality of the sound.Buy from Amazon.com for ($199.99)
5. 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. (check out why guitar looper pedals are important)
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.
There are so many features packed into this model and it can thus be considered a high-end delay pedal.
You get to choose between two separate three-second delays, but you also have nine effects, and a looper that can replay the sound for 12 seconds.
It is a digital device and one of the problems that these pedals have in general is that they become outdated quickly, but with the USB connection that this pedal uses, you can keep its software updated constantly.
If you are the kind of person that only uses effects in the studio, it will do a great job there, but it can also be great on stage as it has ten knobs, each allowing for quick adjustments during live performances.
The external footswitch allows you to have control over all the parameters.
It has too many complicated functions for the casual player, and they are all hard to master.Buy from Amazon.com for ($399)
6. Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo Delay Pedal
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.
With its classic look, it is clear that this pedal will be able to give you the classic tape echo sound that you have grown with.
It has five tape adjustment kobs made for you to tailor the sound you want from the device.
This pedal is capable of transforming the sound of a modern guitar into a vintage experience.
You can make use of all the functions that it comes with, and you can modify the sound with the help of controls for Time, Mix, the ones for Repeats, Wow, and flutter.
There is also a control named “tape age” that will let you give an older feel to the delay.
It is a compact piece of equipment and that is due to the DSP (digital signal processor) that offers great performance in a small format.
This is a digital recreation of an analog device and some experienced players don’t like the job it is doing recreating old sounds.Buy from Amazon.com for ($366.87)
7. Catalinbread Echorec Multi-Head Delay Guitar Pedal
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.
Coming with some of the latest technologies that you can find in the world of delay pedals, this model will give you a wide variety of complex effects to choose from.
You can set the number of repeats you wish for each playback with the use of the Swell knob.
If you feel that your guitar sounds too bassy, or too thin, you can use the tone control to adjust the highs and lows.
The device offers you the possibility to express yourself whether you play an atmospheric rhythm, or if you start improvising in a solo.
You can change the delay in real-time, from 40 to 1000 milliseconds and that means you can alter your sound live on stage, which can produce impressive effects.
There is a lack of important buttons on the main interface and that makes quick adjustments difficult.Buy from Amazon.com for ($239.99)
8. Mad Professor MAD-SSR Guitar Delay Effects Pedal
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. (Learn how to assemble a road ready pedalboard)
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.
Using some components from its bigger brothers, this device comes in a compact shape and it also features a modern PCB that will deliver superior performance.
This is not only a delay pedal, as it also gives you reverb options, and that will help you save space on the pedalboard, or some money.
The sound is actually good and it will make you feel like you are recording in a professional studio.
The pedal has a natural-sounding decay and a bypass function, for the times you want to take it out of the system without any humming noises.
It can be used in many different ways and that increases versatility. For example, you can place it before distortion and tweak it to a low reverb and this will create a pleasant-sounding effect.
The power supply input is on the side and that will make it take more space on the pedalboard.Buy from Amazon.com for ($192.01)
9. ModTone Guitar Effects MT-VD Pedal Analog Delay
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.
This is a classic analog pedal that looks strong for a reason – the body is constructed of durable metal and it is resistant to stomps.
The wide range of controls will help you get the combinations that you are looking for when trying to get an innovative sound.
Its aircraft-style knobs are intuitive to use and they let you control everything you need on the fly. They are used for three functions – Time, Repeat, and Mix.
You can choose to have a delay time from 130 milliseconds to 350 milliseconds.
The pedal offers a true-bypass function that helps you get rid of tonal colorations or unwanted sounds, or to activate it fast for a full range of effects when you have to.
The effect is not as heavy as some might wish, especially if you are looking for something with strong gain.Click to see the price on Amazon!
10. Maxon AD-9 Analog 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.
Coming in a small stompbox format, this device is capable of providing you with 450 milliseconds of analog delay.
It accepts any kind of signal thanks to the improved headroom, and it works with an amplifier’s front end and effect loops too.
The pedal also comes with a tape echo simulation function that can be activated or not when you want.
It has a wide variety of effects that it can create, from a “ping-pong” one with a short delay to the echoes of a large hall.
Having a mechanical true-bypass, you can just press it and that ensures a pure unaltered tone when pressed.
Being an analog model, it is capable of creating precise tonal effects without any distortion to the natural sound.
The repeats are adjustable, depending on how you want to set them up.
It sounds really nice but the sound is not a true stereo one.Buy from Amazon.com for ($279)
Best mini delay pedal
11. Ibanez Mini-size
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.
This small device has every control you need for practicing on your own, but it can also be used for live performances.
Made in Japan by a popular company, you can trust that this product has been created to meet the highest standards.
You won’t have to worry that it doesn’t fit your crowded overboard, thanks to how small it is, and that also means it’s easy to transport.
Borrowing some circuitry from its bigger brothers of the AD9 line, it offers nearly the same capabilities, but in a more compact shape.
You can control everything from the delay time, the blend, and the repeating time.
The delay can be adjusted from just 20ms to an impressive 600ms, and that will give you a wide range of sounds.
This is a true analog device and it also has a true bypass function.
Coming with only three knobs it is a bit too simple.Buy from Amazon.com for ($116.38)
12. Fender Mirror Image Delay Pedal
If your musical gear is incomplete without a delay pedal, and you’re interested in a model that will help you shape your sonic journey beautifully and easily for a long time, this unit from Fender might be cut out for you. The various features, the simple yet stylish design, and the materials used all make this pedal worthy of consideration.
One of the things that set this unit apart is that it combines three delay types, including digital, analog, and tape delays. This will provide you with versatility, while the compact build will make sure that adding it to your pedalboard won’t be a problem.
Furthermore, the unit allows you to add a dotted-eighth note to your performance and thus get even more creative or tailor the lead tones. The pedal was also designed to make it easy for you to enjoy its various benefits and thus comes with LED-illuminated knobs and a simple design. The anodized aluminum renders the item durable yet lightweight.
Providing musicians with three types of delay in a compact body, this pedal is designed to help you get more creative, express your sonic personality, and keep up with extended use.
The delays featured include digital, analog, and tape modes, which means that you will be able to explore using a single pedal.
Thanks to the dotted-eighth note you can add, the versatility ensured by this unit is further enhanced; therefore, you can create new rhythm parts or nuance the lead tones.
What’s also worth mentioning is that the delay tails will fade out naturally, which is a nice addition.
The anodized aluminum body should stand the test of time, while the lightweight construction shouldn’t make it difficult for you to add it to your travel gear.
Even though the LED-illuminated knobs are a nice addition, especially if you use it on dark stages, the light might actually be too bright for you to see the other knobs on the pedal.Buy from Amazon.com for ($169.99)
13. 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.
This is another one of those true analog devices that will make old-school guitarists remember the sound of vintage pedals.
Its rugged design means that its a great partner, no matter where you use it. You can take advantage of how sturdy it is at home, or if you’re playing on tour with your band.
The creators of this product struggled and managed to design a pedal that creates a sound similar to a tape delay.
Being an analog model, it has a noise reduction system that ensures you will only hear the natural clear and crisp sound you want.
Thanks to the LED on the front of it you can tell which effects are on at the moment, the battery status is also shown, and you can see the device better in dark.
Its range in echo or delay is limited, and the pedal only works well for those looking for a fast delay.Buy from Amazon.com for ($22.85)
14. 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.
It’s no wonder this is called Stompbox, as it looks like it was made to endure a world war, with its army green color and the metal it is made of.
With this pedal you get to choose between three programmable presets, and switching between them is easy.
Coming with a true-bypass function, the pedal will ensure crystal clear sounds. You won’t be annoyed by unwanted distortions or tonal colorations.
One great thing about the pedal is that it has the expression pedal input and that will allow you to control all the effects in real-time, so you can change the presets as you play live.
It also has a loop sampler with a memory of 14 seconds, so you can record a small piece of your music and play over it.
This is not the smallest pedal and it will take the space of at least two compact models on your pedalboard.Buy from Amazon.com for ($298)
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.
Get the right product for your needs
When looking for the best delay pedals, it is crucial that you take a moment and think of what type of delay you need since, while modern multi-delay pedals can be your solution, not everyone can afford to fork a lot of money for it. As such, below we will show you what types of units you can use to get the best delay.
If you want a pedal for ambient sounds, then you need a product that is capable of providing a simple delay that you’ll then need to combine with a complex reverb pedal, or you can get a unit that features built-in reverb. For this purpose, it is best to get a digital delay pedal since you will also need to apply other delay effects to create those complex otherworldly sounds.
For rhythmic sounds, you should get a model that comes with a tap tempo built-in so that you can stay in time with the song and your drummer. The tap tempo will also let you alter the rhythm of the repeats so that you can create different delay effects instead of a simple quarter-note. Thus, for rhythmic sounds, tap tempo is a must-have feature for your pedal.
To recreate that iconic slapback delay that is associated with the sound of the 50s rock ‘n’ roll, you can use pretty much any type of delay pedal. Make sure that you use the expression pedal to keep the dieback low so that the repeats don’t keep coming.
For vintage sounds, you can either use a Tape Eco machine or a good analog delay, such as the high-quality Carbon Copy models. Any Tape Echo or Carbon Copy analog delay can help you create that warm vintage tone. This is something that even the digital delay pedals can’t achieve.
Guitar solos are another type of sound that is best achieved with a Carbon Copy analog delay or with a Tape Echo delay. This is not to say that you can’t achieve a similar effect with digital delay pedals, but most guitarists will prefer the analog delay or the Tape Echo over the digital delay.
This is because, with an analog delay or a Tape Echo sound, the repeats will be dark and will degrade faster so that every new note can cut right over the din of the delay. It is also easier to control than with an analog delay.
Lastly, if you need to create abstract delay effects, then you will need to invest in a powerful multi-delay pedal. This way, you can play with the tap tempo and use parameters of analog and Tape Echo delay effects to create unique interludes between songs or for intros without the final result being too obtrusive.
Another feature that is worth considering is Tap Tempo, and what this does is to allow you to tap a footswitch in rhythm with the song that you are playing so that each repeat is within the same timing and rhythm as the song you’re playing.
It is a very useful feature to have, and the reason you won’t find it in all the products on the market is that it takes up extra space on the delay pedal. This is why you will generally find this feature only on the best delay pedals.
With a Tap Tempo, you can use the same delay effects on multiple songs when you’re playing live, and using the Tap Tempo is as simple as using your expression pedal.
Tape Echo delay pedals
While digital delay pedals and analog delay are certainly the most popular options available on the market, there is still another type of delay that you should keep in mind before making a purchase. The oldest type of delay is Tape Echo and it’s been in use ever since the 50s.<
As the name suggests, this technology uses tape to record a portion of your guitar signal, and it then plays it back, thus creating an echo. This is a type of technology that is hard to find nowadays even in the best delay pedals since the Tape Echo machines were not the most reliable.
With so many physical moving parts in a Tape Echo machine, there were many sound inconsistencies and parts that would break over time. As the tape deteriorates with time and as it warps, the sound it creates gets strange, and the tones become very warbly.
You can still find certain models on the market that have an actual Tape cartridge on board, but most modern options use delay effects to emulate the sound of a real Tape Echo machine.
While digital delay pedals can still emulate the sound of a Tape Echo machine to some degree, if you want the genuine vintage sound, then you will need to get the real deal. All the moving physical parts in the cartridge create inconsistencies in the sound, and it is very difficult to emulate these analog delay effects to the same extent using digital delay pedals.
Presets and looper
While the best delay pedals do come with customizable presets, this is still an important feature to consider since not all pedals will let you save your own presets. Having personalized presets can be very useful since it allows you to switch between different delay effects and settings fast and easily.
This way, you can save presets for each of your songs and switch between them instantly from the footswitch. This feature is a must-have for people who don’t like having to bend and spend a lot of time to adjust the knobs of the delay pedal after each song. It’s much more comfortable to adjust everything from the footswitch and the expression pedal.
With that said, if you are in the market and looking for the best delay pedals with only one type of delay, be it analog or Tape Echo, then presets won’t be as important to you.
A looper is another useful feature that can make the life of a guitarist much easier since, instead of spending extra money on a standalone looper, you can get a digital delay pedal that comes with one built-in.
Frequently asked questions about delay pedals
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
Q: 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.
( Do you know how to modify guitar pedals? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered)
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.
How to Get the Most out of Your Delay Pedal
Whether you’re new to guitar playing or already a skilled guitarist, you most probably know that delay pedals are the most popular effects devices in this field of music. The reason why they are such a hit among guitarists is simple – they are powerful and flexible and they expand the sonic possibilities of one’s performance significantly.
What such a pedal does is to delay the playback of the guitar signal. The original tone of a guitar is called the “dry” signal whereas the delayed sound you get through a delay pedal is known as the “wet” signal. Although the principle of repeating a sound is simple, what happens to this segment of sound is where expression pedals show their beauty.
You can thus use effects to make this segment longer or shorter, repeat it a varying number of times, change the tone of the repeated segment, add modulation to it, distort it, and so on. To help you get the most out of your delay pedal, this particular article will provide you with a few ways and steps to take in order to do so.
Where to place the delay pedal in the chain
Yes, the place of the pedal in the chain counts a lot when it comes to the sonic output you get, especially if you use other pedals such as distortions, fuzzes, and overdrives. A delay pedal should be placed after dirt pedals. This way you will delay the distorted signal and not distort the delayed signal as it would happen when placing these pedals in the opposite order. (here you can find our recent post about overdrive pedals)
A distortion pedal is typically placed at the beginning of the chain or earlier in the chain, however, because it has the strongest impact on the tone. This means that the delay pedal should be placed toward the end of the chain so you can repeat the effects you’ve added to your sound.
As we’ve said before, you should experiment and see which order suits your sonic personality. In case you’ll place the dirt before the delay and use the distortion from the amp, you might want to insert the delay pedal into the amp’s effects loop in case it has one. By doing so, the delay will be placed in the chain after the preamp gain.
Know your pedal controls
You can’t get the best out of your delay pedal if you don’t know what its controls can do. Therefore, learn what they can do before you take the next step and use them. All delay pedals come with Time, Feedback, and Level controls.
As the name suggests, the time knob will give you control over the length of time between two repetitions of your signal which is measured in milliseconds. Different models come with different time ranges you can choose from.
The Feedback control will help you select the number of repetitions. When you set it at the lowest level, you will get only one repetition of the original signal whereas as you turn up Feedback, the number of repeats will increase.
By using the Level knob, you will control the volume of the repeats. When you use its minimum setting, you will actually hear no repeat. You can hear it as loud as the original signal when it is set at its maximum level, though.
Getting familiar with these controls and how they affect the sound produced might take a bit of time and practice but once you get to know them well, you can use them in various ways to personalize your sonic output and express your personality.
There are so many things you can do with a delay pedal that one could write extensively on the countless sonic possibilities. To keep it short, we will highlight a few tricks you can go for to flavor your sound with such a pedal.
In case you’re interested in thickening your sound by using a subtle delay and thus get a doubling effect, you need to set the Time control between 50 and 100 ms and the Level all the way up. Plus, the Feedback control should be set to provide only one repeat or two.
The repeat will occur so rapidly that you will feel like there’s another guitar playing with the original signal rather than hearing an echo-like sound. If you want to produce flanging or pseudo chorusing sounds, you will have to lower the delay time to 20-50 ms.
Faux reverb and slapback echo
Learning a few basic things will help you flavor the sounds you produce quite easily. For example, if you want to enjoy a reverb-type effect, the Time control should be set between 100 and 200 ms, the Level knob at about 50 percent, and the Feedback should be set to deliver 5 repeats.
For a slapback echo that can usually be heard in country music and rockabilly, you will have to set the Time to 80–140 ms, the Level knob at about 50 percent, and the Feedback set to 0, which means you will get only a single repeat.
In case you’re working with lead phrases and a shorter rhythm and you want to enjoy a phrase-repeater, then you will have to use longer delay times. Therefore, you should set the Time to at least 1,000 milliseconds.
The Feedback should be set to a single repeat and the Level should be a bit less than the level of the dry guitar. Once you’ve taken care of all that, you can play a short phrase of a few notes (two or three), then pause and allow the delay to play that back.
To sum up, you first need to know where the delay pedal goes into the chain and what its controls can do. From there, you can easily learn tricks that will up your sonic adventure and help you communicate more about your idea of sonic beauty through the endless nuances a delay pedal can produce.
Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail
The Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail is possibly the best 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.
It is an analog pedal that will bring you the old-fashioned delay, but it is also quite flexible, allowing you to shape the sound how you want.
The pedal allows you to choose the delay time, the repeats, and the mix, using three separate knobs.
It also comes with two small cables, and that is a nice addition.
One good feature that it has is the LED light that sits under the translucent delay knob, and this will let you see the knob even if you are performing in a dark room.
It is an analog device that is easy to use, and it also comes in a tough metal shell, making it resistant to constant stompings.
Increased flexibility and a wet routing that requires no effort are provided with the help of the TRS insert.
It has a modulation effect but that is not of much use on its own.
1) Delay Basics