The Best Delay Pedal That You Should Invest In Right Now!

By Monica | Product Reviews

Oct 06
best delay pedal

It is bad to delay your improvement and progress in playing the guitar. But it will be a good turn if you invest in the best delay pedal. With this stompbox, the quality of your performance would certainly elevate.

I can personally testify that a delay pedal should be among the first effects pedals that you should get on your pedalboard. In fact, it should come next to a tuner pedal. Of course, some of you will argue that a distortion pedal is quite a necessity, too. But I will leave you on to that. Either way, these pedals should be acquired the moment you familiarized the basics of electric guitars.

But why a delay pedal is important? Well, I can provide a short but crispy answer for that. Specifically, the mechanism of a delay pedal is not complicated as what you think. Instead, its function is just to "replay" all the notes and chords that you created. Many song intros are generated with the help of this pedal.

Of course, it has other unique functionalities, too. You can use a delay pedal to add supplementary notes to your solos. It is like having two lead guitars playing at the same time. You don't need to dig too deep, as this method is used in any musical genres (especially on recording applications). Moreover, delay pedals can boost the course of your rhythms as well.

Any experienced guitarist will tell you that there is no such thing as absolute best in the world of music. Even in small devices like a delay pedal, this concept still applies. However, I know some units of delay pedals that simply stands out from the crowd.

Want to know them? You should read on!

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For the meantime, I have to rank the TC Electronic Flashback X4 as the highest of this list. There are a lot of reasons for this. First, I find this it comprehensive. From the get-go, this device will offer you sixteen types of delays, and three default presets. With these available options, your versatility will never be limited.

This delay pedal also features the 2290 Dynamic Digital Delay System. When it comes to modern standards, the latter is the most sought gear. It improves the responsiveness of the effects, as well as the cleanliness of the delivery. Since this is an analog component, you can ensure that your sound will stay unflavored and authentic. All those unique vibes and mesmerizing echoes can be done without screwing the original sound of your instrument.

The TC Electronic Flashback X4 Guitar Delay Effects Pedal also features the TonePrint technology. I am sure that most of you are familiar with this innovation already. With the TonePrint system, you can download several delay effects for free. You can even access those effects that are made by Steve Morse of "Birds of Prey."  Don't worry. The construction of this pedal is never shabby at all. It is rugged and can withstand any abuses.


Pros:

  • Integrated both buffered bypass and true bass systems
  • Tonal integrity is secured at an optimum level
  • Specialized analog-dry-through system
  • Comes with multiple presets and delay effects
  • TonePrint technology improves your versatility

Cons:

  • Some people don't like its design

Let's take a look at this product...

TC Electronic Flashback X4 Guitar Delay Effects Pedal
  • 16 delay types
  • Three presets
  • Tap Tempo
  • Tone Print Enabled
  • 40 Seconds of Looping

The TC Electronic Delay Pedal is unquestionably a great option. But if you want an option that can compete with it, then I will introduce you the Carbon Copy Analog of MXR. I would never complete this list without including any MXR products. After all, this particular brand is one of the top manufacturers of effects pedal today. Of course, I have to pay my respects to their delay pedals, especially the MXR M169 Carbon Copy. As its name tells, the pedal can completely mimic all those elements that you have played. Since it is an analog pedal, you can guarantee that the effects it offers will never overpower the original tone of your instrument.

One of the notable features of the MXR M169 Carbon Copy is its high-quality delay time. Specifically, the device can provide you up to 600 milliseconds of delay, which is absolutely insane! You can easily improve your solos and rhythms because the delay effects are responsive and on time! Meanwhile, the functionality of this pedal is on point, too. All the knobs are properly arranged for accessibility. It is a compact model, so fitting it in your pedalboard should not become a problem.

There are three controls that the MXR M169 Carbon Copy will offer you: the REGEN, MIX, and DELAY. The REGEN will allow you to specify the number of repetitions or delays. On the other hand, the MIX essentially controls the delay's level. Lastly, the DELAY is the one that augments the rate of delay. These are just basic controls. But they are more than enough to keep your curiosity satisfied!


Pros:

  • Durable and rugged construction
  • Impressive delay time and responsiveness
  • All analog construction
  • True-bypass pedal
  • Knobs are easy to access

Cons:

  • It has limited versatility

Let's take a look at this product...

MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay
  • Rich, all-analog delay
  • Up to 600 milliseconds of delay time
  • Modulation controls emulate tape echo tones
  • Bucket-brigade technology

The Boss pedals are always available for any price level. But most of the time, they cater the needs of frugal and thrifty guitar players. This is what I realized when I played the Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal. It is a cost-friendly option, but its quality does not lag behind to higher-grade pedals.

This pedal features a delay time of up to 6 seconds. It is quite an improvement if you are going to compare it to its predecessors. Moreover, it comes with a Hold function that enables you to record inputs at a maximum of 40 seconds. You can now layer your sounds with sounds, regardless how you long you want to stand out in the mix.

Furthermore, there are two delay modes that the DD-7 sports: the Modulation and the Analog. The former enables a chorus-type of effect. Meanwhile, the latter provides a vintage and warm sound, which is pretty similar to the Boss DM-2.

You will also love the control that the Boss DD-7 can offer. If you want to maximize its capability, you might want to invest on a compatible external footswitch. But this is not really necessary at all. By its own, the Boss DD-7 is already great. It can create outstanding effects with audio sweeps. The device is also capable of generating different paths for wet and dry signals. This is a feature that you are going to need for live and studio applications.


Pros:

  • Impressive delay time
  • Compact and durable
  • Easy to use (beginner-friendly)
  • Capable of creating different signal paths
  • Essential delay controls are present

Cons:

  • It is a digital pedal (a drawback for some guitar players)

Let's take a look at this product...

Sale
Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal
  • Boss DD-7 Digital Delay Pedal

For those who can spend freely, I suggest that you should start looking at some high-end delay pedals, such as the Memory Man. Guitarists have different takes on the quality of the Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man. But for me, this delay pedal is one-of-a-kind. It is among the few delay pedals out there that feature a multi-tap delay capability. This one can improve your playing versatility, regardless if it is a live gig or practice. However, this is not the main selling point of this delay pedal. It is the Hazarai knob.

Specifically, the Hazarai knob is a specialized encoder. It allows you to access different delay modes, which are all awesome, by the way. There are different settings of echo, echo with modulation, and echo reverse that is present on this system. From a single device alone, you are getting an absurd amount of delay effects that you can experiment and modify. Of course, other basic delay effects are also present on this device, such as Decay, Filter, Repeat, and Blend.

The functionality of the Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man is commendable, too. All the knobs are properly spaced and arranged. The device is completely sturdy and doesn't lack anything when it comes to construction. Meanwhile, its power source can either be in the form a battery of a DC power input. Therefore, it is a professional-grade delay pedal that you can use in various applications.


Pros:

  • Analog pedal
  • Extremely versatile option
  • Durable and rugged
  • Ergonomic controls
  • Sound quality is authentic and distinct

Cons:

  • It is a bulky pedalIt is difficult to learn

Let's take a look at this product...

Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai Delay Looper Pedal
  • Controls: Blend, Decay, Filter, Repeats, Delay, Hazarai.
  • Tap/Record Footswitch.
  • DC power input for battery replacement.24DC-100 power supply included

If user recommendation is the only deal-sealer, the Line 6 DL4 would have won the competition already. Many guitar communities and forums have given their two-thumbs up to this delay pedal. But let me give you a caveat first: the Line 6 DL4 Stompbox is a digital pedal. If you are a "purist," this fact might disappoint you. But hey, there is no harm in trying, right?

I have tested this pedal by myself, and I can say that it deviates from the conventional delay pedals. It doesn't flavor the sounds at all. It keeps the authenticity of your signal, regardless of the effects that you pour in. That is something that you can't see every day.

Moreover, the versatility of this delay pedal is off-the-charts, too. After all, it can work as delay pedal and looper at the same time. This is the reason why you can see this pedal on the rigs of professional players like Jonny Buckland (Coldplay) and Thom Yorke. And if they don't ring a bell, maybe the name John Mayer would make you realize something.

The Line 6 DL4 Stompbox can easily replicate various echo and vintage delay effects. Of course, those that have sharp ears can easily identify that the sounds are produced by a digital pedal. But once more, I'll emphasize that the sounds are quite pure and great. Just don't mind its size, because it is as big as the Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man. Just think of its performance, and you will be certainly elated.


Pros:

  • Multiple delay effects
  • Fantastic replication of sounds
  • Professional-grade pedal
  • Sturdy and rugged
  • Versatile to any applications

Cons:

  • It is a large pedal
  • Once again, the digital pedal branding might turnoff some other players

Let's take a look at this product...

Sale
Line 6 DL4 Stompbox Delay Modeler
  • 3 programmable presets and on-board Tap Tempo
  • True Bypass switching, so your direct tone is exactly that; direct from your guitar to your amp
  • Expression Pedal Input - for real time control of all effect settings
  • DL4 runs in discrete stereo, both inputs and outputs, so Left stays left and Right stays right. (Loop Sampler sums signal to mono)
  • Runs from batteries or optional power adapter.

If you really want an inexpensive option for a delay pedal, then I have to recommend the BBE Two Timer. It is an authentic analog pedal that comes with pretty impressive circuitry and design. It is fairly smaller than most of the compact delay pedals. Because of this, you might feel difficulties on it during your first tries. But sooner or later, you will feel comfortable with this pedal.

There are two main selling points that the BBE Two Timer can offer to its users. First, it is using high-voltage poly caps. The latter ensures that the device can generate clear and uninterrupted signal for enhanced tone production. The second one is its circuit board. Specifically, you will be awed that this device is using a military-grade circuitry. As a result, its performance is very reliable. Moreover, it is impervious to damages, too.

Well, you will certainly get what you have paid for. The versatility of this pedal is not as great as the first delay pedals that I have featured. Therefore, you can never experiment new sounds for this device. I can say that it can work fine on basic delay applications. But if you want to explore outside the box, this device might not be the right choice. For me, it is a good stompbox for practice purposes. However, it still usable on live gigs and recordings.


Pros:

  • Compact and durable design
  • High-quality circuitry
  • True-bypass pedal
  • Authentic analog device
  • Basic delay effects are present

Cons:

  • Versatility is not its biggest strength

Let's take a look at this product...

Sale
BBE Two Timer Dual-Mode Analog Delay, 0-330 ms
  • High-voltage poly caps for better tone
  • Military-spec circuit board for reliability
  • Easy access battery compartment

How to Choose the Best Delay Pedal

I have already covered the most noteworthy delay pedals on the market today. Now is the perfect time to discuss some basics. Now, what does really make a delay pedal great? What are the features that you should look out for? The answers to these questions are just right below.

Analog vs. Digital Pedal

This debate will never be lost in the pedestal. As long as guitar pedals exist, this particular discourse will always have its place. In here, I will break down the nuances of these two pedals.

Digital Pedal

A digital pedal is a modern-day rendition of the classic and vintage analog pedal. As its name suggests, a digital pedal is a computer-operated device (through chips). It can create highly precise effects because it follows certain commands and algorithms. Albeit the popular belief, most digital pedals do not color or flavor the sound of your rig. Some of you might see it good while others will raise their eyebrows. It just a matter of personal preferences.

Digital pedals are less expensive than analog pedals. That's a fact. Moreover, they can produce extended delay times and more effects such as echoes, looping, stereo delay, and tap tempo. Despite these benefits, some seasoned players just can't stand the sound quality that digital pedals create.

Analog Pedal

Analog pedals, on the other hand, are usually called soulful pedals. They are not perfect when it comes to sound production. But this particular nuance makes them great. They provide authentic and riveting tones that can easily mingle with the sound of your rig. Their imperfection allowed them to induce warm and beefy characteristics to your signal. But of course, this feature poses some limitations, too.

You can never use an analog pedal that on thick and distorted signals. Moreover, their timing might get lost in track. Despite this, there are still a lot of guitar players out there who dig analog pedals!

Versatility

When choosing a delay pedal, you have to ensure its versatility. Well, if you just want to play the basic delay effects, a simple stompbox would already suffice. But for those who want to create intricate sounds and effects, they must go to those units with a comprehensive set of controls. I already mentioned the reverse, echo, and looping effects. You can still find other modes that could enhance the tonal presence of your rig. They will be the game changer whenever you are doing solos or intricate rhythms.

Build

The quality of pedal can also be seen on its design and construction. First and foremost, you should only go to stompboxes that can withstand constant usage and abuse. After all, these devices are always placed on the ground. Therefore, they are usually exposed to physical detriments. You will never want your pedal to have plastic parts because they can easily break.

Moreover, you should also consider the size of the pedal. If you are planning to put the pedal in your pedalboard, make sure that the former can fit in. But if you don't have any problems in bringing a stand-alone pedal, then you can get these large units freely. Usually, they are the ones that can offer better versatility. Just make sure that they are rugged and durable!

Final Verdict

I am confident that all the delay pedals that I listed here are some of the best in the community today. Investing in any of them is a great move, considering their quality, features, and build.

But among them, the TC Electronic Flashback X4 is indeed the superstar. It is an analog pedal with amazing design and construction. It has a foolproof circuitry that improves its performance and playability. The versatility that it has can match with other high-end delay pedals out there. The delays and effects are on point, making it as my best delay pedal.

But what do you think? Which of these delay pedals do deserve the crown? Are there any pedals that I have failed to mention? Tell me all your answers in the comment section below!

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About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don’t want to drop my zeal–especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!