Best Delay Pedals: Due to the wide range of products available on the market, finding a good quality delay pedal can sometimes be difficult.
You have come to the right place if you are on a budget or if you simply want the best bang for your buck! We have distilled the best delays for you here.
Where Can I Find The Best Delay Pedals?
To avoid creating two separate posts for analog and digital delay pedals, I have combined both into one post.
It is important to note that “Analog Delay” pedals are not necessarily analog pedals. There will be very few analog delay pedals that are truly built with purely analog components. Thus, analog delay is a sound that has a warm and round quality, meaning it produces a delay sound that is as if it were analog.
This is the best way to provide you with a wide range of high-quality pedals equally distributed across your target price range as well as your readers’ different needs.
Just as a quick reference, here are the common controls that most of the delay pedals have:
- Time: controls the delay speed
- Echo/Mix: controls the delay volume
- Feedback/Repeat: controls the delay length
Top 5 Delay Pedals Under $100
The Behringer VD400 is an analog delay pedal that offers an extraordinary sound quality for a ridiculous price.
Designed to mimic the classic delay types of the 60’s, this pedal has conquered the pedalboard of countless guitarists across the world.
- Perfect choice for beginners or musicians on a tight budget
- Analog delay and vintage slap-back echo
- Up to 300 ms of delay
- Customize the delay effect with the Intensity, Echo and Repeat Rate dedicated controls
- Separate dirty-out to independently manage the unaffected signal
As for the negative points, there is a common feature shared between almost the entire Behringer effects pedals: the plastic case. The overall construction quality is pretty cheap.
This can be a turning point if you are looking for a durable and gig-ready pedal. In that case, a pedal with a metal/aluminum is a must.
Donner Yellow Fall
The Donner Yellow Fall is, in my opinion, the best analog delay pedal you can find at the moment for tight budgets (under $50).
This pedal has propelled itself to the top-selling lists on Amazon by its own merits, for the great combination of sound and build quality and an unbeatable price.
- More than 500 reviews on Amazon, with 4.4 stars
- It does NOT color the sound!
- Aluminum case
- Up to 620ms of delay
- Customize the delay effect with the Echo (mix), Time and Feedback (repetitions) dedicated controls
Despite the Donner Yellow Fall pedal’s lower build quality and price compared to Mooer pedals, it is a really good sounding pedal that works well in any environment.
You can also check out the Joyo JF-33 as an alternative to the Donner Yellow Fall. Despite its less popularity, this Analog delay pedal has a good sound and is cheap and durable.
The Mooer Reecho is an excellent delay pedal, easy to use, and gives you awesome delay effects.
It comes in a sturdy full-metal case and offers three different but all-useful delay types, giving you a wide range of experimenting options with the Time, Mix and Feedback knobs.
There is a time knob ranging between 5 ms and 780 ms.
Although it’s called a digital delay pedal, Mooer’s Reecho can generate analog delay sounds as well. Below are the different delay types available:
- Analog: simulates a warm and smooth echo sound created by classic analog delay equipment
- Real Echo: simulates a natural echo sound in real environment
- Tape Echo: simulates the sweet and spacy echo sound from a vintage tape echo machine
If you want a pedal for any use case (home and gigs), durable, easy to use with lots of customization options and you don’t want to pay for a “professional” delay pedal, then this is clearly your best bet.
Mooer also has the Mooer Ana Echo: an analog delay pedal with a single delay type (analog).
I don’t include it in this list because it doesn’t add any value to the Mooer Reecho, as this pedal already includes an analog delay mode + 2 extra modes… for virtually the same price.
It is one of Joyo’s most expensive pedals (if not the most expensive)… and for good reason: this pedal exceeds all of Joyo’s quality standards!
Due to its customizable features, this pedal can be used for a wide range of music styles.
The Mode control lets you choose between four different delay modes: Copy, Analog, Modulation, and Reverse.
You have plenty of options when you combine them with the three additional knobs that control Mix, Time, and Feedback.
How did the term “Dual Channel” become popular? By switching channels, right? The delay parameters(presets) vary between two different channels.
Time knob ranges from 17 milliseconds to 1000 milliseconds. TAP TEMPO mode allows for up to six seconds worth of delay, which can be set for two different times. When the two footswitches are pressed simultaneously, this function will be activated.
Negatively, I would say that the pedal is a bit confusing to use, at least in my experience. There is an official manual provided by Thomann.
Also, for 15 extra dollars, you can get the Xvive Memory, which is better in every aspect.
The Xvive Memory Analog Delay was designed by Howard Davis, the guitar effects guru behind the wildly successful Electro-Harmonix Memory Man Deluxe, known as one of the best analog delay pedal of all times.
The idea behind the Xvive Memory is simple: to replace the Memory Man and improve it in all ways. And these guys nailed it…
- Up to 600 msec of delay time
- Buffered bypass with a 900K input impedance
- Controls for: delay, depth, speed, blend, feedback, drive gain (creamy overdrive!)
- Provides a clean high-frequency response, even at long delay settings
- Separate stereo output
The flexibility that this pedal provides makes it a must-have on any pedalboard. One of the things I really love about this pedal is the Blend control, which lets you choose from a 100% dry signal to completely wet.
Its small size and affordable price make it even more difficult to resist from buying it.
Top 5 Delay Pedals Over $100
This compact pedal provides authentic analog delay tones that place even on the smallest of pedalboards.
As a reissue of a classic pedal, the Ibanez AD9, this pedal has a disproportionate price increase, which is only acceptable among pedal collectors.
With the 20ms to 600ms delay time range, you can dial in everything from short slapbacks to echoes.
While it isn’t the most ideal selection for a delay effect pedal, the signal path is 100% analog and true bypass. Bypassing true means that lingering repeat effects are lost when the unit is disengaged.
There are some delay pedals that allow you to switch on buffered bypass, which lets the trails naturally fade out.
The Boss DD-3 is without a doubt the first pedal that comes to my mind when someone asks me for a digital delay effects pedal recommendation.
For the last 20 years, this built-like-a-brick stompbox has proved to the world to be a durable and high-quality pedal, earning the title of “Classic Digital Delay” for a lot of musicians.
Exploring The Delay Modes
The DD-3 provides 4 modes (50 ms, 200 ms, 800 ms and Hold) and three knobs to control the parameters (delay time, feedback and effect level).
If you select one of the first three modes, the selected mode will define the Delay Time knob range:
- S 50ms: delay time range from 12.5ms to 50ms
- M 200ms: delay time range from 50ms to 200ms
- L 800ms: delay time range from 200ms to 800ms
Finally, the Hold mode that lets you repeat a delay indefinitely while you play over it.
More DD-3 Features And Limitations
The Direct Out feature of this pedal can be used to send the untreated signal to a second amplifier to achieve a true stereo delay effect.
DD-3 is one of the best delay pedals out there. It covers almost every need a guitarist could have in a delay stompbox.
You get clear delay tones, no problem.
While this pedal does have some specific delay features, it will not suffice if your focus is on atmospheric textures or looking for something more specific.
For example, the DD-3 lacks tap tempo, so if you need it, check out its big brother: the Boss DD-7
If that’s the case, I’d recommend checking out delay pedals that cost $150+.
Way Huge Aqua-Puss
The aquapuss analog delay pedal is an extremely rare pedal to find. Fortunately, Way Huge is offering a reissue of this coveted model for a fraction of the price of a vintage used one.
Fun fact: Noel Gallagher is dedicated to this heavy and well-built pedal.
Delay analogically using vintage components. What does that sound like?
In most cases, this product is described as a “stunning analog delay pedal”. Unless you’ve had an analog delay before, you won’t understand what they’re talking about.
Country music has a warm and sweet sound that Aqua-Puss produces.
There is a slight noise at the highest delay setting, but this is to be considered as a genuine feature, since most old vintage delays behave in the same way.
Easy To Use But Short In Features
I found handling the device to be quite easy. At the top of the pedal are three knobs: one for delays (depending on the length of time), one for blends (ratio of wet/dry mixes) and one for feedback (quantity of repeats).
The Delay control will enter in a self-oscillating state if you rotate it from 7 to 5 o o’clock. View the video for more information.
The delay time is limited to 300ms, and there are no trim pots or tap-tempo controls. This is a straightforward delay with no extras.
There is a supercharged version, called Way Huge Supa-Puss, with an extra cost of approximately $100, if you love the Way Huge Aqua-Puss sound but want more advanced features.
MXR M169 Carbon Copy
With a high-quality sound and a wide range of customization opportunities, the MXR Carbon Copy is probably the most popular delay pedal on pedalboards thanks to its affordable price.
Combining vintage analog delays with the warmth and organic sound of analog, without the fragility.
Despite not being competitive with digital delays, the delay times on this pedal are significantly longer than those of other analog delay pedals.
If you want to view the pedal specs or sample settings, check out the official manual.
Three Knobs For Absolute Delay Control
There are three knobs on this pedal: Delay (delay time up to 600ms), Mix (dry/wet ratio, also called Blend in other pedals) and Regeneration (number of repeats, also known as Feedback).
Delay control at its lowest value (7 o’clock), it produces classic slap back delay tones.
Regeneration can be set at the far right end of the knob to enable the self-oscillating effect that can be used for creating even more mind-blowing experimental sounds.
Aside from being a clone or an emulation of some classic design, Carbon Copy has an entirely unique personality.
Using The Modulation Control
This extra control adds another layer of customization by allowing you to enhance the pedal’s repeats.
Modulation is toggled with the modulation button. Two internal trim pots accommodate the user’s selection of width and rate in order to customize its sound.
I highly recommend playing around with the settings to find your own preferences.
Why Is It So Popular?
According to Amazon’s best-selling delay pedals within the 100-200 range, the MXR Carbon Copy has over 200 positive reviews and is followed by the Boss DD-7, a digital delay pedal with about 100 reviews.
You may wonder why one pedal gets over 200 reviews while others of the same price get between 10 and 50.
You’ll see this not only on Amazon but also on sites like Sweetwater.
How does this pedal work?
The Carbon Copy is an analog delay, but its tone is somewhere between vintage analog delays and more modern digital delays.
The balance between reliability, affordability, and customization options makes this pedal the most attractive choice for most guitar players.
Dunlop EP103 Echoplex
Based on the vintage 1970s Maestro Echoplex EP-3 (a tape delay “machine”), the Dunlop EP103 Echoplex can produce everything from subtle chorusing and slapback effects to long modulated echoes.
This pedal is used by one of my favorite guitar players: George Lynch! (check this link to see his full setup)
Default Delay Mode
Its default mode offers a slightly modified EP-3, with a dynamic delay range from 4ms to 750ms.
When connected to the MXR Tap Tempo pedal, the delay time stretches to a four-second tape loop.
I consider this to be a very negative aspect since it has to be purchased separately. Either you add the feature or you don’t, but don’t half-add it so that you force the user to buy a pedal they won’t use with anything else.
Sustain (as expected) adjusts the number of repetitions, whereas the default mode offers gentle equalization and modulation.
What Is That “Age” LED?
Pressing the Volume knob activates the Age mode, and the Volume knob now becomes a virtual age control, adding wear and tear to the delay.
This is translated into a variation in the delay tone from bright and clean to dark and saturated.
Trails, Stereo And Auto Step-Up
If you look deeper into the guts you will discover options like buffered and true-bypass modes, as well as wet mode. You can learn how to enable the trails bypass in the official manual.
By using an internal switch, both inputs and outputs can become stereo inputs and outputs. It is necessary to use a TRS splitter cable in order to use the stereo setup.
The Echoplex features a 100% analog dry path and an internal step-up converter which raises the operating voltage to 20V, eliminating clipping in highly stacked pedal boards.
Additionally, the Echoplex Delay is optimized for the Dunlop Echoplex Preamp.
The following reviews have covered a range of different options in design, delay types, features, and tones for the best delay pedals.
Last but not least, I would recommend getting a durable and concert-ready pedal that costs at least $50. But if you’re looking for a pedal you can use at home or if you’d like to try out new sounds, then stick with something cheaper!
To close this article, here is an awesome video from Roland that shows you how to use delay pedals. Throughout this video, Johnny DeMarco walks you through every knob on the Boss DD-7, many of which are common in other models, explaining the effect they have on the tone, as well as the different delay modes you can use it with. Hope you enjoy!