Getting the right tone is essential – many musicians will spend months, sometimes years just to get the right setup for their pedalboard. This huge effort isn’t for nothing, though; being able to get the right combination of pedals can be as important as establishing an identity as a performer and musician.
Delay pedals often play a huge role in how a musician structures their pedalboard, so making sure that they pick the right delay pedal is essential. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to know where to start, given how saturated the market for pedals has become in the past few years. Even the most experienced musicians can have trouble knowing exactly where to go when it’s time to search for a new pedal, as the culture is constantly changing.
To help ease your search for the Best Delay Pedal, we’ve sifted through many different options and have narrowed it down to 6 options. We’ll be listing the specifics in the table below along with our own analyses, followed by a Buyer’s Guide so you know exactly what to look for if you do some of your own research.
6 Best Delay Pedals Reviews
- Great, portable size.
- Good sound quality.
- Decent range of options to change.
- Very affordable price.
- Size might be too small for some to adjust accurately.
- No tapped-tempo-based delay option.
This delay pedal is a very affordable option for those who are looking for something on the cheaper side. It gives you a number of controls to adjust such as the delay time, echo, feedback, and a bypass switch. This is already an impressive list of variables to change, but what makes the Donner Yellow Fall Vintage Pure Analog Delay Pedal notable is the quality of the overall sound.
Right, when you take it out of the packaging you’ll notice its incredibly lightweight. This is surprising especially given how powerful it is—the effects that you can adjust are varied, dynamic, and give you a great range over the overall tone. It’s also an incredibly small pedal, meaning that it’s very easily transportable and won’t get in the way of your general setup.
For a more standard delay pedal, this gives a surprising amount of quality and control that you likely won’t find elsewhere. The analog nature of the pedal gives it a really organic sound, though there are pitch shifts that result when changing the delay time.
Something about it that isn’t so positive about this pedal is the omission of a tapped-tempo-based delay, making it difficult to set a tempo while performing with others in live settings. Because this is an analog pedal, though, this is easier to forgive. There is also a light AC hum that happens when the pedal is plugged in, but this is a very small issue when you take into account how loud your overall sound will be once amplified, regardless of which pedal you use.
However, for those who are interested in having a more unpredictable delay or for those who typically play solo, this is a great way to manipulate your sound without having to drop a lot of money to do so.
- Goes above-and-beyond a delay pedal.
- Great set of factors to change.
- Very high sound quality.
- Price is on the higher end.
- Randomized modulation might not be ideal.
- The small button to push with the foot.
With the Belle Epoch EP3—being able to adjust the tone of your delay down to the preamp and record level of the tape itself is what this pedal is all about. You’ll immediately notice, though, that the pricing is the first aspect of this pedal that sets it apart from its competition. At $209.99, this is definitely the most expensive of the pedals on our Top 6 list, but if you are willing to pay for the luxury, that’s just what you’ll get.
As previously mentioned, the Belle Epoch EP3 allows you to adjust how hard the tape is hit for your delay, really allowing you to adjust the sound. There are also a ton of different ways that you can change the modulation, something that we heavily enjoyed. The modulation feature also has a slight chorus effect on it, so you’re able to get even more nuanced with the tone that you want.
To call this a delay pedal isn’t the most accurate term, because it can also do so much more. It does delay incredibly well, but you can also adjust things such as the mix, modulation, and even the preamp. We absolutely love how detailed this pedal lets you get, as it can really help people who have specific ideas of their sound reach their goal.
Something that might deter some musicians from this pedal is the randomized modulation that occurs when you use the modulation mode. We didn’t have a problem with this, as it added a great aleatoric aspect to the sound, but if you’re somebody who likes to control every single aspect of the music, that could be a barrier for you.
This is just as good of a pedal for amateurs as it is professionals, as it allows you to toggle your tone with great detail whether it’s your 1st time or your 101st time.
- Great variety for its price.
- Unique tape and oscillation sounds.
- Very portable.
- Dials can be oversensitive.
Donner’s reputation as a company that produces solid and affordable pedals continues with this model. Though a bit pricier than the other Donner pedal we’ve included on this list, the Echo Square is a pedal with an incredible variety of tones.
Something that you’ll notice from the get-go is the ability for it to switch between digital and analog delays, a feature that will surely bring a great deal of flexibility to those who understand the pros and cons of each type.
One of the most useful benefits of this pedal is the ability to tap in a specific delay, allowing you to stay focused during live gigs and keep your delay aligned with the entire band.
The pedal can have pretty drastic changes between notches, though, making it sometimes easy to put on much more delay than you mean or change a specific setting way past what you originally intended. This isn’t something that’s so negative as much as an aspect you have to get used to, which can definitely be done with practice.
A notable feature of this delay pedal that you won’t find easily elsewhere is the tape feature, which gives the sound quality a more retro, cassette feel to it. Through this, you’ll hear a warmer, less stable sound that gives the delay a very nostalgic quality.
Our favorite feature to toggle, though, is the reverse option, which lets you create a type of tremolo that produces a really unique accent pattern. The oscillation sounds in the analog mode also give a smooth quality to the sound, allowing you to create luscious soundscapes easily.
We recommend this pedal for anyone who’s looking for a cheap delay pedal that will also help them get a lot done.
If you’re not totally strapped to a budget, we recommend getting this one over the other Donner pedal for the sole purpose that it carries a lot of similar features, but gives you more freedom to customize the specifics.
- Impressive delay time up to 6.4 seconds.
- Warm-sounding analog delay mode.
- Wonderful pedal design.
- Price not as budget-friendly as other delay pedals.
BOSS is a company that is known for making pedals that are on the higher, more premium end of the delay pedal spectrum. This usually means that they are also priced much higher than other products in the market, but you can typically be assured that there is a higher quality that you’re paying for.
The DD-7 delay pedal does not stray from the standard that BOSS has set for themselves, allowing musicians to customize their delay to an incredibly thorough degree.
Off-the-bat, something that will make you feel at home with the DD-7 pedal is the switch itself; the DD-7 has a rather large switch that makes it easier for you to toggle your delay pedal on the fly. Contrary to other models that operate under a much smaller button, the DD-7 gives you a large margin for error to make sure that you don’t step on the wrong part of the pedal when playing. It can be dark in many venues, making this a good design feature that eases the overall experience.
The actual sounds that you can make with the DD-7 are some of the best in the market. The analog delay sounds rich and dense, with the delay time even being customizable beyond standard conventions, allowing you to set it for up to 6.4 seconds. This is really wonderful and offers a warm tone regardless of what the input sound is, something that we appreciated greatly.
We recommend this pedal for anyone who is not as concerned about budget and mainly focused on getting a clear, defined sound.
- Very, very clear sound.
- The warmth of analog sound with digital benefits.
- Good selection of delay subdivisions.
- Switches too close to knobs.
- Not many options beyond delay and echo.
Something that we love about the Wampler Faux Tape Echo V2 Delay Pedal is how deep it dives into being a solid delay pedal. There may not be as many options beyond delay and echo to toggle like other pedals, but what is lost in features is greatly made up by the quality of the delay and echoes.
The V2 Pedal is strictly a digital pedal, though it has great warmth within this type. For example, many different aspects of this pedal are trying to get the warmth and uniqueness typically associated with an analog delay pedal without any of the limitations of the medium (lack of clarity, too much resting noise, etc.).
The most impressive aspect of this pedal is surely the clarity of the sound. It has a really clear sound that does not butcher any frequency ranges in the process, likely the result of the digital nature of the pedal. It’s rare to find a digital pedal that has so much warmth and clarity to the sound, making the V2 a surefire fit for anybody who is looking for exactly that.
For a pedal of its price range, the V2 does have a pretty clunky design. Having the different knobs so close to the “Bypass” and “Tap Tempo” buttons make it difficult sometimes to accurately hit the switches with your feet, but we also understand that things like this can be worked out with more practice. The tape simulation feature of the V2 works remarkably well, really recreating the distinct warble and unstable aspects of a tape sound.
The pedal itself is also made of very durable materials, making it a long-lasting pedal that can take a lot before being affected heavily. We recommend this pedal for anybody who is looking for something to seriously increase their clarity in delay.
- Very sensitive knobs allow precise customization.
- Price is affordable for the quality that you get.
- Compact and portable.
- Size might be difficult for some.
As an analog delay pedal, the ADMINI gives you a great, dense quality that lets you have a vintage sound without sacrificing any of the thoroughness that can come with more modern pedals. The different controls that are given for repeat, delay, and blend let you customize just how thorough your delay is and control the various aspects that affect it.
Right when you open the package, though, you’ll come across the biggest flaw with the ADMINI: its size. For those who are specifically looking for a very small pedal, you’ll be at home with the size, but those who have trouble pressing the switches on micro pedals will be disappointed.
On the bright side, the size of the pedal makes it incredibly compact and easily portable, no matter what your setup is. In the package also comes 2 patch cables, which can also ease your mind if you’re tight on pedal-specific gear.
The highlight of the ADMINI in terms of sound is surely the repeater, which helps you recreate the style of a classic analog delay by accurately having each repeat starting at the tail end of the previous one. This is a subtle touch, but it really can drive home the wonderfully accurate notion of this pedal. There is an incredibly smooth aspect to the pedal’s repeats that make it easy to incorporate into a wide variety of genres, something that is a surefire benefit for the pedal itself.
Something about the ADMINI that gives you total control over the sound is the sensitivity the knobs have to be toggled with—there is a certain level of preciseness that is represented by the knobs, allowing you to really fine-tune the specific sound that you want. This is especially important when dealing with the tail-ends of repeats and delays, something that we think is a really nice feature for those looking for a specific tone over all else.
When looking for a delay pedal, there are many different factors that you should take into consideration:
- Clarity in Sound: Likely the most important aspect of a delay pedal that you should look out for, the clarity of the sound you’re working with can really make or break any given experience with a pedal. Some pedals will have great customization options but then have a delay that cuts off a significant portion of certain frequency ranges, ultimately making the delay not sound as crisp as it should.
- Different Customization Options: Customizing your delay is an incredibly intimate part of making a sound, involving many different effects and aspects to create a truly interesting tone. Many people often forget how strongly other effects can change a delay or echo, but it’s true—modulation, chorus, tape sounds, and even bypasses can change the way your delay sounds. Having many different options to choose from ensures that you’ll be able to have the exact sound that you want.
- Digital vs. Analog: There are just as many benefits to having an analog pedal as there are to having a digital one. At the end of the day, though, it simply comes down to preference; those who are interested in more classic and vintage-sounding pedals should pick analog, while those who want a more precise sound should go with digital. If the pedal is good enough, it might even have both, an option that can definitely
- Design: The design of a pedal can often indicate how effective it is in general. For example, a pedal that has great customization options but too much sensitivity with its knobs is ineffective, as you won’t be able to accurately customize your tone the way that you want. Instead, a pedal that has good design will equally benefit your specifications and give you a better sound overall. The design of a pedal can also affect its effectiveness due to how accessible the switches themselves are. Many pedals don’t give you an accurate amount of room to touch the pedal with your foot, making it difficult to trigger the specific effect you want at the moment.
Final Thoughts and The Best Choice
Finding the right delay pedal can be like almost finding a needle in a haystack. This is why we tried to make the process easier for you by providing you with some great examples over a wide variety of price points and different features.
Through this guide, we hope that you are able to have an easier search finding a delay pedal that works for you and fits within your budget!
It’s definitely very tough to find a pedal that is free of any flaws, whether it be in design or the effects themselves. Since creating this list, though, we have our own pick for our personal Best Choice:
The Catalinbread Belle Epoch EP3 Tape Echo Voiced Delay Pedal is the Best Delay Pedal You Can Buy
After taking into account all of the different variables that affect how we perceive a good delay pedal, we realized that the Catalinbread pedal is the most effective pedal you can find. The price may be on the more expensive side, but you definitely get your money’s worth through its extensive amount of effects and clarity of sound.
No other pedal on the market allows you to get such a distinctly crispy delay, even letting you specify the hardness with which the pedal hits the tape for the echo. These are features that we didn’t think would be done with such high caliber, so that is why we are very pleased about the Belle Epoch EP3. If you happen to have the budget for this pedal, we highly recommend you look into it.
- 6 Best Delay Pedals Reviews
- 1. Donner Yellow Fall Vintage Pure Analog Delay Pedal – Editor’s Choice
- 2. Catalinbread Belle Epoch EP-3 Tape Echo Guitar Effects Pedal – A Lot of Power for an Affordable Price
- 2. Donner Multi Digital Delay Pedal Echo Square Guitar Effect Pedal – Great Pedal for Variety
- 4. Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal – A Deluxe and Thorough Option
- 5. Wampler Faux Tape Echo V2 Delay Guitar Effects Pedal – Worth the Price
- 6. Ibanez ADMINI Analog Mini Delay Effects Pedal – An Analog Delay to Remember
- Buyer’s Guide
- Final Thoughts and The Best Choice
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