Ever heard the echo or playback effect created by professional guitarists like Steve Vai or the Edge from U2? Well, that’s exactly what a delay pedal does!
Apart from offering different types of features & options, the vast variety of available delay pedals produce anything from a soft hum back to a BOOM!
In our review, we’ve covered a wide range of the best delay pedals that will rock your world!
Buy the Best Delay Pedals in 2020
Delay sounds from this little buddy range from Tape, Echo, IC delays to many more experimental sounds like sample and hold, looper functions, etc. Every setting has unique parameters for additional tweaking. If you want to add wow or flutter for tape, there is a separate setting set for it.
It is equipped with many features. There are five controls in Canyon Digital Delay and Looper pedal. First is ‘Level’ which determines the amount of signal input and output. Second is ‘Delay Time’ which determines the delay time between repetitions. You can set it from 3 to 62 seconds. The third is feedback and the fourth is delay tope. You can switch between true bypass or buffered one. You can choose different inputs and outputs and set ‘Tempo’ if you want to. In the end comes the note division switch, which divides the notes. The power source it requires is a 9-Volt DC Adapter.
Users of Canyon come from a wide variety of musical background and all of them seem to like this little gadget. It shows it is a very versatile gadget that gives a unique sound. It comes in a very compact body. For some, that counts, too. Overall it is a great value for money. The downside of this delay pedal is that earlier it had a bad built-in tap-tempo until the company changed the structure and put an external tap tempo jack for your ease. Also, this delay pedal does not have stereo outputs. This is disappointing to many stereo sound lovers. Let’s just revise the pros and cons in the bullets below:
With Dunlop EP103 Echoplex, the manufacturer has actually attempted to recreate and rebrand vintage delay pedal called just the Echoplex. The latter has the legendary status for its usage by bands like Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Pink Floyd. But you might ask; why it needed the recreation then? The answer is; the vintage Echoplex used to be fragile and prone to malfunction sooner. The EP103 is a digital delay pedal that lasts longer and plays well in the crowd.
There is a switch called the ‘age mode’ which adds high frequency, wow and flutter simulations as well. It also reproduces the gradual tape delay. It can also be used to degrade the tape so you increase the volume, the tone gets darker gradually. It only happens when the ‘age mode’ is active. This pedal provides the true bypass. It also gives you the option to change its configuration. The pedal comes with other useful modes like tap tempo, stereo mode, and wet mode. Let’s discuss its salient features now. The EP103 Echoplex has four main controls; Sustain, Volume, Delay and Age.
Delay time can be set from 750ms stock to 4000ms with tap tempo, which is sold separately. This delay pedal also lets you switch between true bypass and buffered bypass. The power source it has is a 9-V adapter, which is a standard power adapter for delay pedals in the market. The company also sells a preamp pedal which models the tone of the Echoplex even further. It is good for some guitarists because of the availability of options to add tone. But some users of the EP103 Echoplex are not happy because it makes them spend some extra bucks. Overall, this delay pedal gives a natural tone without being malfunctioned like its predecessor.
This little buddy brings the classic echo sound into a digital format. This pedal has warm and salient qualities of a tape echo machine. dTape is handcrafted technology that utilizes a powerful digital signal processor to harness the maximum power. It has an extensive list of controls. El Capistan provides three tape machine types. Each type has further three unique modes. You get extensive control over tape quality and tone with ten parameters to tweak.
The Tape Age, Wow and Flutter, Tape head, and Mode have Time, Mix and Repeats controls. A Tap tempo is a second footswitch which is not possible on vintage tape gears. It has Max 770ms for standard delay mode and 20s for looper mode. Looper mode is actually a sound-on-sound mode. You can also switch between true bypass through electromechanical relay switching and Analog bypass which is selectable. Additional outputs and inputs include Input, Right out, Left out and EXP in. You can power it with a standard 9-V DC Adapter.
The delay sound produced by El Capistan is lush and natural with the right amount of modulation. Sneaking into the hidden parameters gives you a wide variety of options for experimenting. The character of the overall pedal is dark and rich. It lets you clear up the repetitions with the help of its parameters. For some guitarists, the delay of El Capistan may be too dark for them. So, according to them, it is not as friendly as it should be. The El Capistan lets you enjoy lush and natural soundscapes and warm slapback echos. It is not the most versatile delay pedal on the list but it still manages to give you richness and smoothness you want in your sound.
This delay pedal lets you produce the 80s delays without digital noise in the background. It has a high-fidelity tone which makes it unique from others of its rivals. It has two delay lines that can work together as well as independently. This creates a very unique rhythmic variation in repeats. Toggle a three-way switch and you can modulate your sound. One of those three switches provides no modulation at all. The other provides light modulation and the last provides a dark modulation. Feel free to modify the response of each kind of modulation with the help of a hidden switch.
This pedal is digital but it gives an analogue path to a signal that runs through its housing. Thus, your signals go straight into the pedal without digital conversion. In this way, you can achieve a very beautiful, natural sound. The ‘trails’ is an interesting mode that keeps your repetitions run after the bypass effect. In this way, your repeats fade away organically and gradually. You can use this feature with a buffered bypass rather than a true bypass.
It has 7 controls named Time, Time 2, Type, Repeat, Mod, Mix 1 and Mix 2. You can set a delay time from 20ms to 3200 ms. Switching between true bypass and buffered one is possible. With a standard 9-V DC Adapter, you can achieve Stereo Output, TRS Input and Switchable 1/4’’. The quality of Strymon DIG is natural and unspoiled. Without going into complex menus and settings, you can create a great sound. Stereo sound is remarkable. There is no reason not to buy this delay pedal other than the price. The price might be high for some people.
This is yet another addition by Strymon. TimeLine Multidimensional Digital Delay pedal includes a variety of delay modes. In addition to a digital and dual delay mode, it has pattern mode through which you can select repeat patterns. Ice mode lets you play selected signals at certain intervals. Then there is a duck mode that provides a reactive delay that runs according to your dynamics. The ‘trem’ mode delays with tremolo.
The filter mode filters the tone like an auto ‘wah’. The ‘lo-fi’ mode sounds like a junky tape delay. dTape models the tape delay and dBucket recreate an analogue delay. You might be thinking like ‘wow, so many modes to choose from’. Controls include Value, TIme, Filter, Repeats, Grit, Speed, Type, Depth, and Mix. As discussed some of them, there are 12 delay types to choose from. Feel free to set delay time from 2ms to 2500ms. You can also switch it to true-bypass.
Stereo input/output options are available. It requires power from a 9-V adapter. You will take time to comprehend this pedal fully. It is a very versatile delay pedal for your guitar. It also emulates vintage delays. It is the best delay pedal available in the market right now. If you are looking for a studio-class stereo delay pedal, you do not need to look for any other pedal than the TimeLine. We got to praise its sonic flexibility, sound quality, processing power, and the overall look-and-feel. It truly provides the most expressive, creative and tweakable delay effects.
M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay is a contemporary delay pedal with classic tones from the past. M169 Carbon Copy is easy to use for those who want to get their feet wet in the world of delay. Three controls named Mix, Delay, and Regen provide a wide variety of delay tones. Regen determines the number of repetitions in the signal. Delay controls the interval between the signals. And the Mix controls the level of delayed and dry signals.
If you press the Mix knob down and push the Delay and Regen on the lower-end, you get Nashville-like slapback. Whether you want to flip the Regen knob and put Mix knob to the max, you will enjoy fiddle in delay. The Carbon Copy does every job easily and efficiently. Its bucket brigade chip delays the time up to 600ms to get the crispy tone output. The tone stays warm and natural even in chaotic feedbacking sounds.
In addition to its standard parameters, the MXR Carbon Copy has modulation control which adds more colour to the delayed sound. It makes the sound more like coming out of a vintage tape machine. You as a beginner should adjust the Mod switch if factory presets is too subtle. You get beautiful repeats in the mix with your dry signal. It gives clear slapback as well as warm soundscapes. Some users complained that the repeats are too dark. This pedal lacks features like tap tempo and tempo division switch. MXR has come up with the Carbon Copy Deluxe pedal in order to provide such features as well.
You will fall in love with this maroon box of heaven for its classic tone and lush dynamics. You need to take time to play with Waza Craft because it behaves differently with every guitar or amp you use. Your strikes and picking hand play an important role in understanding this little buddy. After a while, you set it and it’s alive.
DM-2 Waza Craft is linked with your picking attack, offering various textures, gritty and warm slapback. And if you combine it with another quality digital delay, you get a gloomy and darker tone. The expression input lets you control the timing of the effect, so you change the delay time while playing. There is a ‘Custom/Standard’ switch that is useful for dark tone lovers. It supports delay time of up to 300 milliseconds. In custom mode, repeats give a brighter tone and it boosts the delay time up to 800ms.
There are other controls like repeat rate, echo, and intensity along with standard and custom modes. Reported it has buffered bypass rather a true bypass. It has a direct output which means dry signals only and mixed output as well. Its users are very much satisfied with the gadget. Some people compared it with MXR Carbon Copy where it came out to be darker than the other. It, somehow, does not have the clarity of a digital delay. Some people might love its dark voicing, others think it limits the gear’s versatility.
The Vapor Trail should be your choice if you are looking for warm and lush modulations with a few extra tricks and vintage tones. It comes in a compact body with a sleek design by providing three full-fledged control knobs. There are knobs for repeats, mix, and delay. There are two small knobs to adjust modulations’ rate and depth. The delay knob is transparent.
The pedal has ¼-inch input and output jacks along with TRS insert jack with which users mix the wet tone with separate effects, give wet-only signals. Delay time possible with this pedal is impressively between 15ms to 600ms. The mix control loudens the wet delays up to 3dB, which is amazing. There is a true bypass switching available in this pedal. There is yet another interesting feature called wet signal effects loop. Lots of people out there praise it for its loaded features and extra controls for the modulations. It’s very powerful gear yet compact in size.
You as a musician might feel like the footswitch is too close to controlling knobs but it’s not a big deal. The sound seems to be a bit of digital which may be a tradeoff for having more controls. Yet another impressive thing about the Vapor Trail is its dead silence. Many new analogue delay pedals cannot be silent and create a small amount of hiss in the background. The Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail is versatile, noise-free and gives out lush and warm tone overall. You can squeeze studio-level performance out of it.
Equipped with the tap-tempo, Rubberneck is a one-stop solution for all your delay needs. It has different settings to divide your delay time so that you fine-tune your delay effect. You also have the ability to choose the delays to be trailed off. Adding pitch modulation with Rate and Depth control knobs is yet an interesting story. The ‘effects loop’ is where things get even more interesting. You can use it to apply effects pedals to your delayed signals.
This little buddy has a lot more to offer in a compact and sexy body. It has extensive control knobs including Time to decide the time between repetitions, Repeats to give the number of repetitions, Level to extract the amount of the output sound, add modulations with ‘Rate’ and ‘Depth’ of the sound and ‘rubbernecking’ to set its rate. You can delay the signals up to 1.5 seconds and get a true bypass switching. With DOD Rubberneck, you easily ‘Send/Return’ ¼’’ TRS. Feel free to enjoy the power from a 9-V DC adapter.
The analogue tone of the DOD Rubberneck with the tweaking ability is exceptional. Many digital delay pedals only crave for it. We have witnessed some complaints that its power supplies do not power the gear correctly. So, we suggest you have a regulated power supply with more than 150ma of current. It is so versatile that you can do everything with it. Not only does it give you a powerful tone but also more controls than you might think.
This is the ‘last but not the least any case’ delay pedal from the Californian manufacturer, Deadsound which is quite new. It calls its pedals as ‘broke-tique’ rather than the boutique. It provides a range of amazing electric guitar pedals in the market. Delay Lay Lay is the pedal with an affordable price and reminiscent delay sound with a range of controls.
Delay Lay Lay gives tape-like echo effects with as many repeats as you want. The delay time ranges from 140ms to 360ms with true bypass switching. It’s a very small yet sturdy pedal. It has three basic knobs; Mix, Time, and Rate. For power, it comes with a foam-padded storage box for its 9-V voltage. The only thing you should consider before buying is that it contains a digital chip, the PT2399. So, it’s not ‘pure analogue’ delay pedal but it gives an impressive sound quality. But it stands out as a proper old-school and impressive analogue pedal.
The delay pedal is very sensitive and you can dial in easily and quickly. It does not colour your tone, so you get to listen to a very organic and natural sound. The packaging is cool and premium. Customer care by the Deadsound is second to none, so do not hesitate to do a purchase. The sound is equally impressive for recording and live sessions. When it comes pricing, the analogue delay pedals are very expensive but Delay Lay Lay is a beautiful exception in this case.
Buying Guide for Delay Pedals
Now you already know what a delay pedal is for. The credit for dry country slapback chunk or post-rock washes goes to this little buddy. Of course, all delay pedals are not created equally. Some offer an imitation of vintage gadgets. Some emulate tape-like echo. Choosing the best delay pedal for you depends upon your needs and taste. You should first decide if you want angular soundscapes or vintage tones. You define your taste, first.
Digital and Analog Delay Pedals
Choosing the best delay pedal depends upon the type of application. However, we have compiled a list of the highest-rated delay pedals in the market. Let’s first divide them into two categories; ‘The Best Digital Delay Pedals’ and ‘The Best Analogous Delay Pedals’. Let’s dive both the seas now.
The Best Digital Delay Pedals
Digital delay pedals utilize digital signal processing (DSP). This is perfect for those who are looking for more accurate tweaking ability. You should choose from the best digital delay pedals given below if you want to dial in with high-fidelity repeats. Let’s have a look at them now.