Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best delay pedals 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated January 1, 2019
Best delay pedals of 2018
So, what exactly would anyone want to know about delay pedals? I know most of us don’t really care much about the history and the origin, all we want to know is which of them is the best. Of course, I will spare you the history and go straight on to the best delay pedals. Here we have compiled a detailed list of some of the best delay pedals of the 2018.
Not all delay pedals are created equal though. Many models on the market may be confusing to a person who is shopping for their first time.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – Tom’sline Engineering Digital Delay and Echo Delay Pedal APE3S by Michael Angelo Batio signature guitar effect pedal
Why did this delay pedals win the first place?
I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.
Why did this delay pedals come in second place?
Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office.
Why did this delay pedals take third place?
A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new.
delay pedals Buyer’s Guide
What to Look for in a Delay Pedal
While the things that apply to shopping for other pedals apply here as well (build quality, size, features, cost), perhaps the biggest consideration is akin to one of the greatest debates in audio of all time; analog vs digital.
Analog vs Digital Delay: As you probably guessed, this has to do with the circuitry that’s causing the delay to happen.
Digital Delay is controlled by a computer chip, i.e. pure logic, 1’s and 0’s. It’s a more perfect delay, since it’s algorithmic. Digital adds no coloration to the sound. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on the guitarist; sometimes we want a pure unadulterated sound, and sometimes we want some dirt and artifacts. Objectively, the benefits of digital delays are much longer delay times, and more versatility, i.e. the delays can be processed with other effects like reverse echo, stereo delay, tap tempo, looping, etc.
Analog Delays have more character, but are less perfect. If you think of the delay time as a clock, every repeat of the sound reuses the previous repeat, thus potentially introducing coloration and imperfections. Also, delay times are going to be shorter. Some guitar players seek this out, claiming analog delays have, “natural dark and murky warmth to them that really thickens up your signal.” Depending what signal you are feeding into your delay pedal, you might want to avoid analog. For instance, if you’re feeding it a big/thick or distorted sound, the harmonics will have to be reproduced on every repeat, and this can cause some unpleasant results.
It comes down to personal taste, and your existing rig. If you have a relatively clean signal and don’t need an immensely long delay, analog might be preferable since it will add some character and warmth. If on the other hand you want long delays, or are feeding a very dirty signal into your delay pedal, you might opt for a digital delay that won’t introduce any unwanted surprises with every repeat. Still not satisfied? We go into more depth on this topic in this article and video.
Versatility: An analog delay pedal tends to be simpler, i.e. it just serves as a delay pedal. Digital delay pedals have the advantage of offering more features – looping, reverse, tap tempo to name a few. This is exactly why you’ll often see guitarists recommend that you have both types of delay pedals on your pedalboard; analog for quality and warmth, and digital for the versatility and bells & whistles.
Build Quality and Size: How important delay is to your style and sound will dictate if you need to pay close attention to build quality and size of the pedal. As with any pedal you shop for, if you’re going to be playing live and stomping on it night after night you’ll want to make sure it can take a good beating and remain functional. A less robust build quality usually means a much more affordable pedal, so make sure that’s something you really require. Regarding size, the more feature-laden a delay pedal is, the larger it will be, and typically more expensive. One of the pedals we recommend actually comes in three different size variations.
Cost: Unfortunately we don’t all have the budget to throw a Strymon El Capistan on our pedalboard. Price can often be the deciding factor, so we made sure to select pedals in different price ranges. Whether you’re looking for a starter delay pedal, or something to invest in and keep on your pedalboard for years to come, we’ve got you covered with some options.
The looper is not quite as good as the DL4’s. Think of it more as a bonus, rather than a core feature. The strength of the Flashback is the tonal versatility; there are definitely much better loopers out there. If looping is important to you, the relatively low price tag of the Flashback should leave you with cash leftover to grab a TC Electronic Ditto. That said, this pedal offers a generous 40 seconds of loop time.
The MASH feature is pretty interesting, and while your milage may vary in terms of how practical it is, we sure had fun playing with it. If you give the pedal’s footswitch a quick tap, it turns the pedal on and off (like any other stompbox). However, if you apply sustained pressure to the footswitch, it basically acts like an expression pedal. There’s an LED in the middle of the pedal that shines brighter the more pressure you apply, which in turn modulates the current delay sound more and more. It does some pretty cool things like infinitely hold your last delay repetition, change the pitch of the delays, apply a synth-like shimmer, and all sorts of other crazy modulations.
One minor annoyance of the Flashback is tap-tempo is not built in – or rather, it’s not fully self contained. When you’re running the pedal mono, you’re able to use the stereo input jack to plug in a footswitch for tap-tempo.
TC Electronic Ditto X2
TC Electronic introduced the original Ditto looper as a compact solution for simple rhythm and lead playing. Its multi-functioning single footswitch acts as a record, overdub, stop, undo and redo button. For the more adventurous types, TC Electronic released the bigger brother to the Ditto family called the XWith the added “FX” footswitch, users can assign reverse, half-speed or a stop button with a flick of a switch.
Best for: Players with precious pedalboard real estate wanting to explore looping, practicing solos and making weird noises.
DigiTech JamMan Stereo
Plugging in the additional FS3X footswitch expands controls for reverse playback, instant undo/redo and setting the tempo of the loop. If that’s not enough, the Jamman Stereo features an amazing auto-record mode, which is great for capturing the entire length of your loop without the need to step on a footswitch.
Best for: Players wanting the ability to store multiple loops and samples, added looping controls in a relatively small pedal format, independent stereo signals for complex routing.
It’s built like a tank with oversized knobs, but don’t let its 1970s radio look fool you: this is no retro toy. While the repeats are generally less gritty than the DM2, there’s still the analogue warmth you’d expect from the bucket-brigade chip, as well as a decent maximum delay time of 300ms.
Dunlop Echoplex Delay
Production of tape-based Echoplexes ended in 1991, but the Echoplex name was bought later by Jim Dunlop and has recently been revived for its preamp-aping Echoplex Preamp and now, the Delay, designed to replicate the actual tape echo.
CKK Soul Echo
The Soul Echo is designed to replicate the warm tones of ’60s tape delays – it achieves this via its smart three-position filter switch.
Depending on which setting you choose, it will filter your repeats, either removing top- or bottom-end to mimic the tone degradation associated with tape units. Trust us, it works.
Source Audio Nemesis Delay
The pedal features 1different delay engines – available for selection from a front panel knob – but goes beyond that, in that it is compatible with Source Audio’s Neuro app for iOS and Android, which has something of a similar vibe to TC Electronic’s TonePrint and connects to the Nemesis via a wired connection from your phone’s headphone output.
Neuro gives access to 1more engines that can be loaded into the pedal, provides an editor with extra parameters beyond those controlled by the physical knobs, and offers access to a library of sounds – either factory sounds, sounds from other users, or sounds that you have created and saved.
DigiTech Obscura Delay
As well as being a robust and good-looking compact pedal, the Obscura is inventive, too.
The concept is thus: four delay types – analogue, tape, lo-fi and reverse – are manipulated via tone and degrade controls (the latter changes depending on delay type).
If you fancy a delay pedal with sounds a little different from the normal digital delay fare, the Strymon DIG – which boasts two simultaneous delays, one synchronised to the other – might be just what you’re looking for.
Walrus Audio Bellwether
An analogue delay with a level of on-the-fly controllability we’d only expect from a digital machine, the Bellwether is a mind-blowing piece of work.
The tap tempo gets things off to a start matching the delay to the speed of your playing. What’s great is that you can quickly chop your repeats into quarter notes, eighth notes, dotted eighth notes and triplets.
Moog Minifooger Delay
A true analogue delay, like the Moogerfooger MF-10variants, Moog’s Minifooger Delay features four BBD chips, allowing delay times of up to 700ms.
Korg SDD-3000 Pedal
Korg’s long-discontinued SDD-3000 digital delay is a rack unit with pedigree that has been in demand from guitarists wanting to partake of its mojo, but tracking down a vintage unit is as expensive as it is tricky.
Delay fans rejoice, then, as Korg has made things far simpler with the creation of the new SDD- 3000 Pedal, which puts the essential functionality of the original into a large stompbox, while adding some new features that ought to appeal to a wide range of players.
TC Electronic Flashback
TC’s Flashback XDelay is already a pedalboard mainstay, but with the Alter Ego X4, the tonehounds at American retailer Pro Guitar Shop have assembled a collection of carefully replicated vintage echo presets, including the likes of the Binson Echorec, Roland RE-20Space Echo and Watkins Copicat.
There are 1delay types in total, plus four slots to fill with TonePrints of your choice, while the rest of the X4’s functionality remains the same, with three assignable presets, tap tempo, a 40-second looper and a choice between true and buffered bypass.
Mad Professor Deep Blue Delay
Mad Professor has designed the Deep Blue to replicate the warm sounds of classic tape- based echo units of the ’60s. To enhance the old-school vibe, there are no provisions for noise reduction.
The intriguing part of all this is that the Deep Blue is actually a digital pedal, although the direct signal path is analogue.
Back in the year 2000, delay pedals didn’t offer a whole lot of options: you made your choice of digital or analogue, and that was about it.
The Line DLdelay modeller shook things up, boasting models of 1classic delay effects that you’d struggle to get hold of without a formidable overdraft – its tones still hold up today, and it’s used by countless pros.
Empress Vintage Modified Superdelay
Empress’ Vintage Modified Superdelay is a tweaked version of the standard Superdelay pedal with enhancements to the tape delay emulations.
You get several delay types, including reverse, a rhythm mode where you can set the intervals between multitap repeats with the tap tempo footswitch, and a looper.
Guitar Effects Pedals
After you’ve been playing guitar for a while it may occur to you that many of those awesome sounds you hear in recordings by your favorite guitarists are coming from something more than their guitar and amp. Those guys are using guitar effects, in many cases pedals and stomp boxes that alter their sound and impact their tone.
It is clear that learning how to properly choose and utilize guitar effects pedals can make a big difference in your sound. However, as a beginner it may not be so clear what each effect does, or even what it is supposed to sound like.
In this article you will learn the basics of guitar effects pedals so you will be better prepared to choose the right analog stomp boxes and digital effects to complement your sound. I’m not going to spend too much time on the science of how effects boxes do what they do. But I will do my best to explain, in plain English, the basics of each effect.
I’ll also present examples of different types of pedals, where possible, from some of the best guitar effects companies in the business. The point is to give you a taste of what’s out there, and a good idea of what each kind of pedal can do for your sound.
Distortion and Overdrive
Overdrive pedals are intended to mimic the sweet sound of an overdriven tube amp. They are generally more subtle, warmer and a bit richer in sound. Overdrive pedals typically don’t produce the kind of heavy distortion needed in hard rock and heavy metal, but they are fantastic for blues, country, rock and anything else where you need warm, textured distortion. A good example of a quality overdrive pedal is the Ibanez Tube Screamer.
Distortion pedals take things a step further. They often feature multiple gain stages, and most are intended to get that thick, meaty distortion guitarists love for heavier forms of rock. Some pedals take this to the extreme.
Many newbie guitarists seek out distortion effects because they don’t like the distortion sound that comes with their amp. Analog distortion and overdrive pedals can help, but it is important to realize they are not magic bullets. Even the best distortion pedal is still at the mercy of the amp you are playing through, and the same pedal will react far differently whether played through a 100-watt tube head or a 40-watt solid-state combo.
What this means is, when choosing a distortion or overdrive pedal, it is wise to spend some time doing research so you know you are getting exactly what you want.
Tremolo and Vibrato
When it comes to whammy bars the words tremolo and vibrato are used interchangeably. We’ll give that a pass because it’s standard in the guitar world, but it is important to understand that they are not at all the same effect.
The key difference is this: Tremolo describes a change or wavering in volume, where vibrato describes a change in pitch. Therefore, the whammy bar on your guitar is more accurately described as a vibrato bar, not a tremolo.
Tremolo and vibrato are in many ways the granddaddies of guitar effects. They can be heard prominently in early rock, surf rock, rockabilly, country and blues. These effects even came standard on many amps back in the day, most notably classic Fenders.
Wahs and Envelope Filters
The Dunlop Cry Baby is a classic example of a great wah pedal. This pedal adds a ton of texture and nuance to guitar solos, and can also be used to create some very funky ‘70s-ish effects. A wah is essentially a controllable frequency filter. By manipulating the pedal you can change your tone from treble to bass and anywhere in between. This control is part of what makes the wah effect so popular.
An envelope filter is similar to a wah, except the changing of the frequency is controlled via the input from your instrument rather than by a pedal. This means you can control the sound by how hard you pick, for example.
The Dunlop Cry Baby is a must-have guitar effect pedal, but the Original version is a pretty hefty hunk of gear. The new Mini Cry Baby makes toting a great wah to gigs and rehearsals easier than ever.
Compression is somewhat of a utilitarian effect, though I suppose some players see it as a key part of their sound. Essentially, compression is used to even out your sound. In recording situations this means helping instruments blend together by smoothing out the peaks and valleys inherent in the overall frequency spectrum. Louder sounds, like the crack of snare drum or a shout from a vocalist, become smoother, softer and woven into the overall mix.
So why would you want to make your guitar sound smoother and softer? You might not, but there are some smart ways to use compression for guitar and especially bass.
For example, bass guitar frequencies are on the relatively low end of the tonal spectrum. However, plucking a bass string can create a sudden, short burst of high and mid-frequency sounds. You need your bass amp to be loud enough to make those low-frequency sounds strong and audible in the mix, but you don’t want to flatten your band mates or blow out your speakers by sudden pops of high-frequency sounds.
The solution is to use compression, which many bass amps feature as an onboard effect. While the issue isn’t nearly as pronounced with guitar frequencies, you can use the effect to the same end.
Choosing Your Effects
There are a gazillion different effects pedals out there, and new ones are released every year. Legendary guitar players get their sound in part by the concoction of effects units they employ. They found their way by trial and error, and you will have to do the same.
Your first step should be to think about what you’d really like to add to your sound. If you like the clean tones you get from your amp but can do without the buzzy onboard distortion, consider adding an overdrive or distortion pedal to your rig. If you’d prefer to experiment with chorus, a phaser or a pitch shifter, start there. There are no wrong answers when it comes to effects, and the units you choose and how you decide to use them are part of the creativity of playing guitar.
Don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune either. While there are some very pricey boutique pedals on the market that get outstanding reviews, there are also affordable pedals that will do the job just fine. Consider brands like Boss, DOD and MXR for some great pedals at affordable prices. If you end up with a pedal you don’t like as much as you thought you would, you can always trade it in and get something different.
Good luck on your quest to explore the world of guitar effects pedals. As a beginner you have a lot to learn, but hopefully this article got you started off right.
Let’s face it, if the God’s on Mount Olympus wanted delay, they would have used a tape delay. But as someone who has used tape delays live and in the studio, I have learned one very important thing in my years of experience, don’t use tape delay’s live unless you like living on the edge (not in a good way).
I’m not one of those purists who thinks that digital killed the audio star and that tape was the best format or any of that other nonsense, but tape delays have those remarkable imperfections that create spontaneous sonic magic so I have been chasing that tone in a more relaible format for years. I have a tape delay unit as well as other analog and digital delays (including the Reel Echo) and each has their own unique cool, but my search is pretty much over. I don’t think I’m going to get much closer sonically and simply put, I love this pedal. It can re-create pretty much any delay sound I want including my coveted tape delay sound, without worrying if my tape unit made the journey safely. It’s durable, the switches are smooth and the unit is big enough to adequately see the controls when playing live. If you write songs, this has the power to inspire some really creative ideas.
There is one legitimate con, which is that it takes up a lot of pedal board space. The unit does sound a bit processed at times and not as natural, but I like that, so if you are a purist, you may find this a problem. Also, if you need exact setting references, there are no LED read outs to guide you (like the new Vox delay, which also sounds more transparent). I’ve tried the new Vox unit (big Vox fan one of my favorite amps), but, for a delay effect, I am looking for that smooth reliable sound, giving up on the tape benefits live and in certain studio situations.
This unit needs a lot of time to play with and I suggest that you read the manual first like other Line products to really get a full idea of the unit’s potential. All in all, this is now the best non-tape delay unit that I own.
The Ibanez Tube Screamer is the industry standard for overdrive pedals. Kicked into legendary status by the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Tube Screamer TS80was first released in the late 70’s and now catches a small fortune on the vintage market but fortunately there are reissues and many boutique clones out there. The Tube Screamer is not the only overdrive circuit of course, there are many excellent options, it is just clearly the most famous. What makes the TS so cool is the way it interacts with an already overdriven amplifier. It can add a nice amount of gain, sustain, and tonal shaping options. They do provide a bit of a boost in the mid frequencies that many people love as it helps to cut through a band. The list of TS users is extensive but Stevie Ray is the most notable.
Many distortion pedals can also be used as overdrive pedals simply by reducing the gain, so once again we see how these terms are a little loose. In high gain amps like a Mesa rectifier the amp is taking advantage of gain staging, many pedals do this as well. Gain staging is simply putting one overdriven tone into another and cascading them to produce even more gain or distortion. So in a Mesa, one preamp tube is being run into another to bump up the level of distortion, there can be any number of gain stages. We can also do this by stacking pedals as well, as we will see in the gain staging pedal chain section. Dialing in a good distorted tone can take some time and slight EQ changes can make a big difference.
You can hear one all over Led Zeppelin’s debut record and all over Jeff Beck’s trademark “Heart Full of Soul” intro riff from the Yardbirds. He also used it extensively on the Jeff Beck Group sessions. Of course the most famous fuzz pedal is the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face. This pedal was favored by Jimi Hendrix and set the benchmark for fuzz tones that we are still chasing to this day.
As a lover of fuzz pedals myself I have both kinds and find uses for them, they sound different and excellent. Other famous fuzz users are Eric Johnson, David Gilmour, Joe Bonamassa, and Stevie Ray Vaughan to name a few. When shopping for a fuzz, try to play as many as you can next to each other, even of the same model. Due to the transistor values the same model pedal can sound and feel very different from pedal to pedal.
Digital Delay Pedal
In the late 70’s digital technology boomed and made its way into the guitar community. It first entered in the form as rack units which were expensive and relatively large. As costs came down and the technology shrank, digital delay pedals were introduced into the market by Boss in 198with the Boss DD-Since then as technology advanced, delay pedals now offer many features in a very small box such as tape echo, analog, reverse delay, modulated delay, and loopers.
The main difference between analog and digital delays is delay time and note clarity. Digital delays can produce multi second delay times whereas the Deluxe Memory Man offered a delay time of 550ms. Digital delay units also introduced the tap tempo function which is extremely useful when using delay as a rhythmic tool. There are many excellent companies producing excellent delay units, certainly a ground breaker was the Line DLwhich is still popular today. Although I love the sound of a true analog delay, the latest offerings from companies like TC Electronics and Strymon offer so many options and analog emulation options it makes it a tough sell to stick with analog delays.
Chorus pedals can provide a nice subtle doubling effect to the guitar or an extreme “watery” effect when maximized. Famous tunes that use chorus is “Come As You Are” (1991) by Nirvana, and “Brass in Pocket” (1979) by The Pretenders. But basically almost any clean guitar sound in the 80’s had some chorus on it! Certain effects are timeless such as overdrive, reverb and delay. Other effects like chorus can evoke certain time periods such as the 80’s so that is something to keep in mind when using an effect.
Delay Time and Feedback Explained
Delay time is measured in milliseconds, which works out to 1000 milliseconds for every second. The higher you turn the delay time control the longer the time that the signal from your guitar will be captured. For example, if you dial in 500 milliseconds of delay time you’ll be capturing half a second of what you play.
Feedback is how many times the signal is reproduced. So, if you turn the knob higher you’ll get more repetitions.
Another thing to be aware of is that companies label their controls differently. Every delay unit has a setting for feedback and delay time, and many have settings for the volume of the repeats. If you’re ever unsure what certain controls do, odds are you can find a description on the company’s website. However, most controls are pretty self-explanatory.
Delay pedals are available in two configurations, mono out and stereo out. Mono out means that your pedal only has one output, whereas stereo means that it has two.
The main benefit of stereo output is that you can run two outputs with your effect, which makes it come through two amplifiers. This makes it sound “wider” and more full. The tradeoff here is that using a stereo setup is more expensive. A mono output is simpler than a stereo output, and while the sound is different to a stereo rig it isn’t inferior.
The bigger the pedal surface area, or platform, the better the relationship between the cleat and the pedal will be. This helps keep the pedal as comfortable during the fifth hour of a ride as it is during the first, while also providing the most efficient power transfer.
Q factor adjustment
The Q factor is the distance between the centreline of the pedals, laterally. Not all pelvic widths are the same! To produce maximum power, the knee needs to track in a vertical line as this is both most efficient and reduces the risk of knee pain. Look for cleats with good lateral adjustment or, even better, use pedals that are available with different axle lengths.
A cleat and pedal system with a zero-degree or ‘fixed’ float will lock your feet rigidly in place. However, most riders will prefer to have a little wiggle room. Measured in degrees, float is the amount that your heel can move side-to-side before disengaging from the pedal.
A good range and adjustment of rotation
Riders with biomechanical imbalances and lower-limb issues may need a more precise set-up and require more rotation. Speedplay pedals are the perfect choice for this, allowing 15° of rotation right down to zero. Time pedals also allow a large degree of float.
This not only protects your knees against potential damage, but means there’s less chance of you accidentally unclipping.
Time RXS Speed
French brand Time has a great reputation for producing some of the best pedals around for sensitive knees thanks to the available float and action of the spring mechanism.
For this round-up, we’ve included the extremely cost-effective RXS Speed – previously the headliner for Time and still sufficiently good that it remains worthy of consideration.
Using a steel axle and composite body gives a very respectable weight of 246g – an 11g lighter carbon-bodied version is an extra £40 – while a brass connection on the cleat means they’re more durable if you walk on them than many rival systems.
Being the previous generation means they’re not quite as supportive as the current crop, however.
Crank Bros Egg Beater 1
Designed to take a beating, the Egg Beaters are primarily designed for off-road use but thanks to their simple functionality, they make for a great system that we’d suggest for those starting out or crossing over from the dirt.
Any of the four contact points will allow you to clip-in, so getting in couldn’t be much easier – the release angle is from 1degrees.
The predominately steel construction makes for a tough and long-lasting pedal yet they only have a list weight of 286g.
If the Egg Beater seems a little too minimal for you then the Candy range offers the same system but with a small platform around it and starts at £74.99.
Wellgo is one of those brands you’ve probably heard of but aren’t sure in what context.
A significant manufacturer, it mostly supplies budget pedals to bike manufacturers but also makes some worthy clipless versions too.
The R09is an unashamed clone of the Look Keo. With a chromoly axle running on sealed needle roller bearings and an alloy body, it offers a great budget option for those starting out into the world of clipless, or for a winter bike that’s expected to take a beating – yet they still only weigh 326g.
Three cleat options give either nine, six or zero degrees of float; the red version (six degrees) are supplied as standard.
Shimano SPD A520
Big plastic wedges aren’t for every rider yet clipless connections make sense.
If this sounds like you then the Shimano SPD A520 are probably your thing.
Based around the small metal SPD cleat used by mountain bikers, the A520 is a distinctly road-oriented design.
At 318g and quite minimal in construction, the outer cage helps stabilise the connection between shoe and pedal, but allows the use of SPD shoes where the cleat is recessed into the sole, so does away with the horse sound effects whilst walking.
Single-sided and with adjustable tension, A520 is ideal if you expect to have to walk further than from your front door to you shed and back.
It’s best to start with the most obvious pedal, one you’ve probably heard of already. Distortion! The term “distortion pedal” is actually used quite a bit as an umbrella term to refer to different types of pedals.
Although it’s not really wrong to do this (they all distort the signal of the guitar) I’m going to be a little bit more specific and split the group up into types – distortion, overdrive and fuzz (these second two are discussed below).
Distortion is can be quit a heavy, obvious effect which provides a good amount of sustain & crunch to your sound. Because it heavily distorts the sound, it can sometimes hide the actual tone of the guitar.
However you can still hear the original tone of your guitar and amp in there somewhere. It just makes everything sound much more aggressive.
An overdrive pedal still distorts your sound, and gives it an extra punch, but it’s great at keeping more of the sound of your amplifier & guitar intact. So it sounds a little bit more natural.
It drives or “pushes” your amplifier more subtly than a distortion pedal so it doesn’t sound too heavy or overpowering. Yet it still gives you that beefy, thicker sound.
It’s often used in classic rock and blues but is a versatile pedal which is on the pedal board of millions of guitarists around the world.
Fuzz is the most extreme of the distortion effects and kind of sounds like it’s pushing your amplifier to breaking point. It provides a bass heavy and noisy guitar tone and means that it’s very hard to hear any of your original guitar tone.
However it’s still a very diverse pedal depending on how you use it. It can be used to create very heavy attacking sounds, or add more of a discrete buzz which isn’t too overpowering.
The different pedals are differentiated by the amount of the distortion / saturation they provide. Overdrive has the least, fuzz has the most, and distortion is somewhere in the middle.
Delay is another effect which does what it says on the tin. It delays your signal by a varying amount and then plays it back. This creates a doubling effect. The pedal will let you define how long the delay is.
The chours effect sounds like hundreds of different guitarists playing what you are, but very slightly out of time. The effect also creates a mild wobble type noise.
Overall the sound sound rich, full and thick because of the chorus effect.
It can be used effectively both as a subtle effect or a more obvious experimental effect.
Flanger is very similar to chorus, however it can provide a little bit more of an obvious effect.
It’s got more of a wooshing sound which goes up in pitch and then down again. People often say it sounds like a plane flying past.
Unlike the chorus effect it doesn’t sound like there are hundreds of guitarists copying your sound, but still can thicken your tone up.
Again the phaser pedal is similar to the flanger and chorus effects. It creates a sweeping sound by creating peaks and troughs in your guitar tone. You can alter the height of these peaks and troughs by manipulating the controls on the pedal.
The phaser also adds a similar, but not as obvious, effect to the guitar tone as the chorus. So it sounds like there are a few guitarists playing the same as you.
Tremolo sounds like your volume is being turned up and down very quickly after you play a note. However the sounds gets blended together nicely so it doesn’t sound too obvious or out of place. Essentially it proves a nice wobble sound.
The controls on the pedal control how big this volume change is, and how quickly it occurs. It’s not too far away from the phaser, flanger and chorus pedals, but still sounds unique when compared to them.
We’ve already covered the more all-rounder digital delays within the ’Digital Workstation Pedals’ article from a couple of months ago. This piece focuses on more specialist delay pedals – which do one or a few things really well rather than cover all the different delay algorithms possible.
There is a tiny undercurrent here of modulated delays, often with modes, and some really spacey effects. Some of these pedals are more vanilla in their approach – the Mad Professor Deep Blue Deluxe for instance, while others are more out there – like the Montreal Assembly Count to Five and the Red Panda Particle.
I personally am just looking for added flavours here, so the more out-of-the-ordinary one here have a little more appeal. In previous articles on this site I have already made mention of my fondness for the Tera Echo, Count to Five and Red Panda Particle, and I would probably add the Alexander Pedals Radical Delay II Plus to that list – it’s such a clever pedal that contains a lot more than it looks to have via the really smart ’Tweak’ dial – alongside smart modes and onboard tap-tempo and divisions. There is three pedals here I am likely to want to acquire at some stage – the two first listed, and the Count to Five.
Dedicated to Delay
Before we begin, let’s start with some brief background. BOSS and Roland (its parent company) have been innovating with delay effects since their earliest days. On the Roland side, the RE-20Space Echo—first introduced in 1974—is widely regarded as the premier tape-based delay unit ever made. Starting in 1983, rack units like the SDE-3000 Digital Delay were at the forefront in music tech, and they became vital components in guitar effects systems used by the biggest names in music.
While BOSS has made rack and tabletop delay units over the years, the main focus has been on pedal-based effects that sound great, are easy to use, and affordable for all types of players. To achieve these goals, BOSS has continually pushed the envelope with both analog and digital technologies, setting many trends that continue to influence the industry to this day.
BOSS’ latest delay pedals represent the company’s “excellence by any means” philosophy completely—the Waza Craft DM-2W uses old-school, all-analog tech to modernize a retro classic, while the DD-500 employs the most advanced digital tech to go where no stompbox delay has ever gone before.
That’s a Wrap…For Now
Wow—that’s a lot of cool pedals over the years! Throughout this historic review, a common thread is certainly clear: BOSS is always innovating, striving to create top-quality products that support the needs of musicians of all levels, from amateur players to high-end pros ripping it up nightly for audiences in the thousands. They’ve certainly achieved that goal, as BOSS pedals continue to be embraced by players everywhere, inspiring them to take their music to new levels of creativity, originality, and expression.
On the contrary, handlebars that are too low place beginning riders in a really aggressive position, which can cause them to tire out more easily as well as put strain on their neck. For more adventurous riders, a more aggressive position can be beneficial, but for the average young child rider, a mid-rise handlebar is ideal. For experienced older riders, the shape of the handlebars best for them depends on the type of riding they want to do, but for the average rider, low-rise to mid-rise is best.
To create an echo, it’s necessary to record the sound then play it back after the event. Reel-to-reel tape machines were the first high-fidelity recording devices, so they were used to create the earliest echo effects.
For additional repeats, some of the playback signal must be sent back to the tape machine input. Turning the return beyond a certain point will induce runaway feedback, which takes us from the 50s into the BBC Radiophonic Workshop of Delia Derbyshire, the psychedelic 60s of Pink Floyd and beyond.
There are limits to delay times achievable with a single tape machine because audio quality deteriorates as tape speed decreases. With the tape travelling between two tape machines, one can print the sound and the other play it back.
Tapes and drums
An Illinois music store owner called Ray Butts built a guitar amplifier with a built-in echo effect running on a short loop of tape. By 1953, he was selling EchoSonic amps to big-name players. You can hear the EchoSonic on Chet Atkins’ Mr. Sandman and Elvis’ Mystery Train.
Early machines were valve, but many prefer the sound of later solid-state tape echo machines – especially those with variable tape speed. Other notables include the Klemt Echolette, the Dynacord Echochord and Roland’s RE series.
Other vintage devices used rotating magnetic drums rather than tape. David Gilmour made extensive use of the Binson Echorec and Hank Marvin used a Meazzi Echomatic.
Passing the bucket
Tape echos need regular maintenance, and eventually they wear out. Today, we can appreciate their quirky characteristics because other options are readily available, but by the mid 1970s most guitarists were ready for something different.
Bucket brigade devices (BBDs) are integrated circuits containing numerous transistor/capacitor cells. Transferring packets of charge from one cell to another takes time, which delays the signal, and the BBD output is mixed with the dry signal to create an echo effect.
BBD-based delay units were small, and needed no maintenance. However, they were noisy, lacked fidelity and delay times were very limited. Some classic BBD delays include Boss’ DM series, the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man and the Ibanez AD9, and many remain popular with players.
On the rack
BBDs also provided the basis for countless flanger, chorus and phaser pedals, but for echo they were essentially a stop gap until full-on digital delays became more affordable.
It helps to think of digital media in terms of storage rather than recording. An audio signal is converted into digital information, where it can be stored in a buffer until required and converted into the analogue domain for playback.
At first, digital delays were expensive rackmount effects seen only in high-end recording studios. Like analogue synthesisers, they had switches and control knobs for every parameter – and no presets. The most exciting aspects of these units were unprecedented user control, clear sound quality and long delay times.
LED panels showed the delay time in milliseconds. Most engineers carried delay charts in their personal organisers to match delays to the tempo of any song that had been recorded to a click track. From simple quarter beats to dotted triplets or 3/16s, setting delay effects had become easy and exact. Previously, engineers had to rely on their ears to set delay times.
Effects loops became commonplace on guitar amplifiers, because rack effects worked at line level. Early examples seen in period guitar racks included the TC 2290, Roland SDE-3000 and the glorious but notorious AMS DMX15-80S.
By the mid 1980s, digital delay pedals were starting to appear on the market – most notably the Boss DD-Having such accurate control over timing enabled guitarists to build up rhythmic patterns of great complexity and sonic interest from the simplest of ideas. Edge from Uis perhaps the most well known exponent of this playing style.
GURUS ECHOSEX 2
Practically new boss dd-500 still have the box and Manuel. It didn’t come with a power adapter but came with batteries which I don’t have. It uses any 9volt power adapter. It’s a great delay pedal….
Amazing delay pedal stocked with replicas of sought after vintage analog delays. Includes power supply and original box.
If you’re on a limited budget but don’t want to go for something basic and low quality, the Behringer DR600 DIGITAL REVERB Digital Stereo Reverb Effects Pedal has you covered. This digital reverb is as convenient to use as any other high-end digital reverb pedal. It’s also a multiple reverb combined in one; there are six different types including plate, spring, room, hall, gate, and modulate. For musicians looking for even more options all-in-one pedals, we recommend checking our multi effects pedals review. In addition to these different reverbs, you have three other controls that let you make your sound even more distinctive. You have level, time, and tone to tweak the different modes even further. You have the level, time and tone to tweak the different modes even further.
Not all reverb pedals are stereo, so you should go for a stereo pedal specifically if you have a stereo rig. Iif most of your current pedals are stereo then you would want a stereo reverb pedal too. The reason is that the reverb pedal is usually the last effect in the chain and if it is stereo, the results can be significantly different. Obviously, the stereo reverb combined with another stereo will produce the best stereo rig.
TC Electronic Hall of Fame
The TC Electronic Hall of Fame ensures that every type of consumer can experience the joy of best reverbs. For more than 20 years, this was the trusted pedal used by leading icons of the music industry like Michael Jackson etc.
Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master
The company Earthquaker Devices believes a pedal should be compact, simple to use and contain a lot of features. They also have an opinion that pedals should work correctly all the time. That’s why every one of their products is hand-made, hand-tested and guaranteed for life.
The Dispatch Master by Earthquaker Devices is among the most popular reverb pedal in any music store. With its small size and lush sound, this pedal reverb is capable of working out wonders. It can produce a max of 1.sec of delay time with infinite repeats and a cavernous reverb. The delay signal outputs clear and strong sound with null after effects or degradation. Similarly, the repeat signal decays into a good ambient swell with no oscillation.
The delay signal outputs clear and strong sound with null after effects or degradation. Similarly, the repeat signal decays into a good ambient swell with no oscillation. For giving a thick reverb, repeat control can be tweaked (while using reverb with no delay) to give more depth and dimensions to the sounding. With many controls, compact design and lush sound this pedal smashes all the records.
Chorus is a classic effect that creates an illusion of more guitars playing at the same time. It can open up a wide expanse of previously unexplored sonic territory in your music. As an effect, chorus can cover from beefing up your guitars tone to drastically changing the voice of your guitar. The most popular example of chorus effect is the opening riff of Kurt Cobain’s Come as As You Are from Nirvana.
The most classic way to alter your guitar sound is by using a distortion pedal. A distortion pedal is now almost a practical requirement for every guitarist who can play anything from pop to metal. Most of the guitar brands have a distortion pedal to their name owing its popularity among the masses. These effects are in use by guitarists since the 1960’s with the Pro Co Rat (RAT) and Tube Screamer, from Ibanez being the most sought after when it comes to classic distortion.
A looper pedal is actually a tool that helps guitarists to record a signal from their guitar and play it over and over again to create their own backing tracks on the fly. For modern guitarists it makes practising more fun by adding a new dimension and reducing their dependence on other musicians. The loopers are not new to the music scene but had taken a back seat for some time and have now returned to their past glory in recent times.
The volume pedal is the simplest pedals of all. It is basically an external volume knob that you work with your foot. They are used to provide swelling and captivating sound effects when combined with other effect pedals in the rig. A volume pedal needs to be transparent, ie, they do not introduce any of their character to the sound, should have no tone loss, better be passive, have superior build quality, have tuner output and should be adjustable. Boss FV series pedals and Ernie Ball VP are the most popular volume pedals in the market now.
The function of a delay pedal is to play back the notes that you have played. Though it looks very simple, a great and versatile delay can make every soundscape you wish to explore. The effect is used in almost every genre due to which the pedal market is flooded with delay pedals from every conceivable brand making musical instruments however, the MXR carbon copy and Boss DD models lead the pack. Also, there is a raging debate among the music community about the analog and digital delays.
A compressor pedal adds character and distinction to your sound while elevating it and rounds out your acoustic or electric guitar tones in a very subtle manner. Though it does not add a great effect to your music, you will surely miss it when it is not around. It adds an element of control to your playing level – it will bring the quieter parts up and the louder parts down. For a guitar, it can give a more consistent volume output level and increase the sustain by raising the level of decaying notes.
Wah Wah pedals
The Wah pedals are the secret weapons used by guitarists from Jimi Hendrix to Kirk Hammet to bring the extra flavour in their solos. The pedal is popular because it has found a common use in every style of play ranging from classic rock to metal. A dedicated wah pedal will provide you with the most possible variations of sound possible giving you the most enjoyment. The Dunlop orginal cry baby wah is the most widely used and popular pedal that was used to create some of the most timeless sounds in rock music.
Multi effects pedals
Often touted as the do-it-all effect, the effect can cover all tonal bases for recordings and live performances. It is an efficient way for guitar players to keep their pedal set up under control by having an entire effects pedal board in one self-contained unit. The quality of multi effects pedals has increased tremendously over the years since they were first introduced, as a result of which its usage has improved to the point that even critics are finding less and less things to complain about.
There are many more pedals such as boost pedals, fuzz pedals, Octavia pedal, tremolo pedal, flanger pedal, univibe pedal, phase shifter pedal but they are not as widely used as those listed above.
Guitar effects pedals being as popular as the guitars themselves have attracted lot of brands to make effects. Boss, Fender, Dunlop, Electro-Harmonix, Ibanez, Wampler, MXR, TC Electronic, DigiTech, Xotic Effects, Line6, Morley are some noteworthy brands in the effects pedal market.
Ibanez TSTube Screamer
The TSTube Screamer overdrive pedal from Ibanez is the most popular and most copied overdrive pedals. This is a reissue of the original Ibanez TSTube Screamer distortion pedal that is one of the most imitated classis pedals ever made. It has been used by many famous guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan to create their signatures sound. It has three controls, tone, drive and level controls and is used in genres as diverse as country, blues and metal. The warm overdrive sound and tonal integrity along with portability led to the rapid rise in popularity of this pedal and made it one of the best distortion pedals ever.
Pro Co RATDistortion Pedal
The Pro Co RATis a distortion pedal produced by Pro Co Sound. It is a variant of the iconic RAT model which was built in 197The Pro Co RATis built using the same circuit that made the original Rat distortion pedal popular, though it is now being built in China without compromising on the quality. The Pro Co RAT distortion pedal became very popular in the 1980’s mostly because several artists started using it to great effects. It has knobs for distortion, volume and filter. It is perfect for hard rock, metal, punk, jazz or smooth blues solo. It is the most versatile and best guitar distortion pedal with a legacy of around 30 years.
TC Electronic Ditto Looper Pedal
The Ditto looper pedal from TC Electronic is an outstanding and popular looper that owes its popularity to being a simple and affordable pedal. It has a distinction of being the only looper designed by guitarists for guitarists. It offers minutes of loop time with unlimited edits. This is a true bypass mono pedal with just one control knob for volume adjustments. The Ditto’s superior sound quality can be attributed to its 24-bit uncompressed high quality audio. This exquisite guitar loop pedal also features a undo/redo functionality and analog dry-though design. Overall the Ditto is concise and basic yet highly effective and that makes it the best of the best loop pedal for guitars.
Xotic Effects SP compressor pedal
Xotic is a small California based company that manufactures guitars, bass and effects. The Xotic SP compressor is a boutique pedal that is counted among the best compressor pedals. It is built expending the same OTA (Operational transconductance amplifier) technology that is used by the Ross compressor, considered as the best ever compressor. It has a compact design and superb tone quality featuring a wide variety of compressor tones from subtle to modern to vintage and more. It has two knobs to control volume, upto +15db of boost and blend for that perfect balance between dry and compressor signal. There is a three way switch to toggle between, low, mid and high signal. It is a simple to use, great sounding and versatile boutique pedal that is a best buy for the price.
Zoom G3X Multi effects pedal
Zoom G3X is ranked as one of the best guitar multi effects pedal because besides being a multi effect pedal it is also an amplifier simulator, tuner, fully functional looper, USB audio interface and a built-in expression pedal. It provides 11great sounding guitar effects and amp / speaker models with three stompbox-styles each with its own dedicated foot switch. The G3X has three LCD screens each with its own footswitch and control knob, form a large graphical interface that makes it easy to edit effects. With the G3X, you can use up to effects and amp models simultaneously, arranged in any order.
Preset is an important feature present in most modern guitar pedals. A preset allows configuring overall sound setup. A few of them come with some good presets so you do not need to bother about creating your own. Also, you can tweak the existing presets or create an entirely new one and store them.
TC Electronics Flash Back Delay Pedal
The Flash Back delay pedal is a great sounding unit with plenty of versatility and options. Like Boss TC Electronics design a solid pedal built to last. However, the Flash Back has a few more delay options then the DD-has.
The different delay options are chalked full of some really interesting sounds to experiment with: · 2290: This is a basic clean digital delay. Very crisp and keeps the delayed signal free from any muck as it repeats. · Analog: like the DD-the Flashback has an analog setting. The delay is warmer and fades away a bit quicker then the 2290 option. · Tape: the tape delay setting emulates the warmness of using an actual tape delay. Can be a great option if you want the sustenance of a digital delay with the warmness of an analog delay. · Lo-Fi: the lo-fi option is a really cool delay effect that produces a really gritty sounding delay. Lo-Fi meaning low fidelity, making it a bit grittier. · Dynamic: This setting is dynamic to the way you play the guitar and when used correctly can offer some really interesting sounds. · Modulated: Like the DD-the modulated setting modulates the signal to produce a chorus/phaser type of sound within the delay. · Ping Pong: this setting can be used if you are using the stereo outputs. It “ping pongs” the signal from the left speaker to the right speaker. · Slap: this is a similar tone to what the slap back reverb would sound like we reviewed previously. But has more sustain on the delay then a reverb would… being it is a delay! · Reverse: this reverses the signal producing a backward sound, just like we explained above with DD-· Loop: a 40 second loop setting. · Tone Print: this setting is pretty awesome because you can print different kinds of delay sounds from the Internet to get the perfect sound you are looking for.
The Flash Back is a great delay pedal option and very versatile. It comes in at a comparable price to the DD-and would be a great pick due to the different options of delay that come stock. If the regular flashback isn’t enough for you, TC Electronics offers different kinds of flash back delay pedals with multiple presets as well as looping options.
Behringer VD400 Vintage Delay Pedal
The VD400 is a strong contender for the best cheap delay pedal on the market. It has one delay option that is a fairly clear digital delay sound. It has three knobs to control the repeat rate, echo and intensity.
Donner Delay Pedal
This is an extremely simple but great sounding delay pedal for the price it comes in at. I think I like the tone of the delay repeats from the Donner over the Behringer VD400, but both are good cheap delay pedals.
It is important to consider your guitar playing style when choosing a pedal and its material build. For example, a plastic pedal isn’t going to withstand hard stomps as easily as metal, though it will be cheaper. On the contrary, metal pedals will withstand excited heavy stomps, but will cost more.
Pitch modulation control that adds a little style to your delay loops.
Slap Back Echo
Slap back echo is caused by a very short delay time, with feedback set to the minimum (such as 30 milliseconds) and the level as high as possible. A good example of slapback delay is noticeable on the Beach Boy’s “Do It Again,” but on the drum rather than the guitar. This type of delay uses rarely because it is so dissonant, but it can be used to great effect by a skilled guitarist.
Setting an exact delay time
Most pedals that have an inbuilt screen (eg: Strymon Timeline, BOSS DD-500, or multieffects pedals like the Line HD500X) will allow you to set an exact delay time in milliseconds. Other pedals such as the Flashback Delay range can also set exact delay times by using their TonePrint app.
To work out the exact delay times needed for any tempo, use this Delay Time Calculator.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your delay pedals wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of delay pedals
- №1 — Tom’sline Engineering Digital Delay and Echo Delay Pedal APE3S by Michael Angelo Batio signature guitar effect pedal
- №2 — DELAY LAY LAY Analog Delay Effect Pedal by Deadbeat Sound
- №3 — Donner Yellow Fall Vintage Pure Analog Delay Guitar Effect Pedal True Bypass