The best pedals to buy in 2022: 15 best delay pedals

Whether it’s your first delay or you’re already a seasoned collector, the sheer abundance of echo and delay effects on the market could make it hard to decide the right one for you. Let’s explore some of the best ones out there today.

The world of delay pedals is a wonderful thing, ranging from old-school vintage units to massively powerful ambient digital workstations – sometimes they can even be both at the same time. Let’s look at some of the best examples on the market right now.

What to look for in a delay pedal

Delay pedals, like overdrives and fuzzes, come in a variety of flavours. Most can be categorised as either analogue or digital, with some hybrids offering digital controls for analogue circuitry.

Generally speaking, analogue delays have shorter delay times and bring a more “characterful” tone to their repeats, while digital delays offer longer delay times and a more accurate reproduction of your sound.

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A feature you’ll see often in the world of delay pedals is tap tempo, which lets you stomp on a footswitch to set your repeats at a particular tempo. While this can be useful for certain types of delay sounds – such as U2-style rhythmic pulses – other sounds, such as ambient washes, don’t really need it. With that in mind, it’s crucial to know what you plan to be using your delay for before dismissing a delay pedal for a lack of tap tempo.

Some pedals will also offer the modulation on repeats. In the heyday of tape recording, this effect was achieved by varying the speed of the tape being used to play the signal back, and some delays emulate this subtle pitch wobble. Others allow for much more extreme affectations of your sound, from adding reverb to delay trails, reversing them entirely or ping-ponging them across stereo channels.

Another feature to look out for is trails, which refer to the final repeats of a delay after the effect has been disengaged. With trails turned on, repeats will be mixed on top of your dry signal. This is great for smooth transitions in your set, but often comes at the expense of true-bypass operation.

Keep in mind that none of the above features make a pedal better or worse – but they do affect the kinds of sound it is suited for. Like tap tempo, not every pedal and not every player is going to benefit from MIDI connections or presets. Equally, you may swear by them, especially if you have a unique delay sound for each song in your set, and know your audience won’t be too thrilled watching you adjust pedal knobs.

The best delay pedals at a glance:

  • Electro-Harmonix Nano Deluxe Memory Man
  • Mythos Pedals Oracle Analog Echo
  • Universal Audio Starlight Echo Station
  • Maestro Discoverer Delay
  • Line 6 DL4
  • MXR Carbon Copy
  • Boss DM-2W
  • Danelectro Back Talk
  • Earthquaker Devices Disaster Transport Sr
  • Walrus Audio Mako D1
  • Electro-Haronix Grand Canyon
  • Strymon Volante
  • Eventide TimeFactor
  • Teisco Delay
  • Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall

Electro-Harmonix Nano Deluxe Memory Man

Electro-Harmonix Nano Deluxe Memory Man

+ Affordable, compact version of a classic
+ Excellent sounds right out of the box
– Compact controls are a little fiddly.

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The original Deluxe Memory Man is one of the most sought-after analogue delay pedals of all time – one of the first bucket-brigade delays, and certainly one of the widest-used. A vintage unit could set you back at least several hundred of your chosen currency, but luckily Electro-Harmonix recently revived the pedal in this ultra-compact format, offering the same dark, characterful repeats as the original, as well as the same musical modulation options.

The completely analogue nature of the pedal means that repeats are far from pristine, and have a lot of top-end rolled off – which might not be ideal if you’re looking for that super-clean, digital delay sound. However, for a lot of guitarists, the way the repeats sink into the background thanks to their filtering makes the pedal all the more appealing.

Price: £179 / $203
Description: Analogue delay pedal, recreating a vintage Deluxe Memory Man
Controls: Blend, feedback, delay time, master level, modulation rate and depth
Bypass: Switchable true or buffered, depending on trails setting
Mono or stereo: Mono
Tap tempo: No
Trails: Switchable internally

Mythos Pedals Oracle Analog Echo

Mythos Pedals Oracle Analog Echo

+ True-analogue grittiness
+ Has its own distinct character
– Some might want more tweakability

Mythos Pedals’ Oracle Analog Echo was designed in collaboration with John Snyder of the excellent Electronic Audio Experiments. It takes inspiration from much-loved analogue delay pedals of the 1980s, such as the Boss DM-2 and Ibanez AD9, but isn’t a direct clone.

Controls are pretty simple, with just three knobs for mix, delay time and feedback. There’s a secondary footswitch for tap tempo, as well as a jack for an external footswitch. The simplicity really means that there’s just very little in between you and excellent delay sounds, ranging from springy slapback to the more destructive longer delay times, thanks to a pair of MN3205 bucket-brigade chips.

Price: £259 / $259
Description: Fully analogue vintage-inspired delay pedal
Controls: Mix, time and feedback
Bypass: True bypass
Mono or stereo: Mono
Tap tempo: Yes
Trails: No

Universal Audio Starlight Echo Station

Universal Audio Starlight Echo Station

+ Huge amount of control
+ Three excellent and distinct sounds
– The lack of MIDI control might be a sticking point for some, especially at this price

Universal Audio is best known in the pro-audio world for producing recording hardware and a number of VST effects. So when it announced that it would be bringing a range of guitar effects to the world of physical stompboxes, expectations were high, and UA delivered. The Starlight echo station leverages huge digital power for some seriously great sounds, made all the more appealing by the lack of menu-diving.

The three core sounds include recreations of the Echoplex and the Deluxe Memory Man, as well the ‘pristine’ mode – a super-clean digital delay. Across the board, sounds are excellent, although the sheer amount of power and options on offer (as well as the slightly high asking price) might relegate this to serious delay enthusiasts.

Price: £355 / $399
Description: Digital delay workstation with three modes
Controls: Delay time, feedback, mix, time division, colour, modulation; toggle switches for effect type, preset store and sound A/B/C; manual/bypass and preset/bypass footswitches
Bypass: True or buffered bypass depending on trails mode
Mono or stereo: Stereo
Tap tempo: Yes
Trails: Switchable

Maestro Discoverer Delay

Maestro Discoverer Delay

+ Simple operation for great sounds right out of the box
+ Excellent looks and build quality
– Internal trimpots for modulation control might frustrate some

Maestro just recently made its surprise return, with its revived lineup of pedals including fuzz, overdrive, distortion, reverb and, of course, delay. The Discoverer doesn’t offer any huge twists on the analogue delay format, however its neat enclosure and wide range of sounds will appeal to many – and it’s square in the more affordable end of this list.

There is modulation on offer, however adjustment of rate and depth is assigned to internal trim pots – this might appeal to those sick of losing their settings thanks to bumped knobs, although you might want to explore another analogue delay option if you enjoy constant parameter-tweaking.

Price: £149 / $159
Description: Vintage-style analogue delay pedal
Controls: Delay, mix, sustain, modulation on/off switch; internal trimpots for modulation width and rate
Bypass: True bypass
Mono or stereo: Mono
Tap tempo: No
Trails: No

Line 6 DL4

Line 6 DL4

+ Tried-and-tested sounds
+ Onboard looper is a plus, as is the number of delay sounds
– Modern ears might be used to higher-fidelity digital delay

While it may be celebrating turning 22 this year, the Line 6 DL4 remains a staple of pro and amateur pedalboards the world over. It’s not the most compact pedal on the market, and it’s certainly not the best looking (it very much earns its nickname of ‘The Big Green Monster’), but there’s a reason it’s stuck around since 1999.

For the price, it’s packed with more delay sounds than you could ever hope for, and the cherry on top is the remarkably creative onboard looper. On paper, it should have gone obsolete a while ago, but the DL4 continues to capture guitarists’ imaginations long after its introduction.

Price: £195 / $299.99
Description: Modulated delay/looper combo pedal with characterful digital sounds
Controls: Knobs for mode select, delta time, repeats, tweak, tweez, mix
Bypass: Either true bypass or buffered.
Mono or stereo: Stereo
Tap tempo: Yes
Trails: Switchable

MXR Carbon Copy

MXR Carbon Copy

+ Straightforward operation
+ True analogue sounds
– Might be limiting

If you feel abject terror when you look upon a behemothic multi-footswitch delay pedal with a thousand onboard presets, full MIDI connectivity and knobs for wash, spin, rinse and dry, the simple-to-use MXR Carbon Copy could be for you.

There’s almost nothing to get between you and all the warm, lush analogue-delay sounds you want – just three knobs and a button to engage modulation. Despite the limited number of things to turn and press, the pedal isn’t limited in its variety of sounds, with up to 600ms delay time allowing for psychedelic swirls or funky slapback.

Price: $149.99 / £149
Description: Simple analogue delay pedal with optional modulation
Controls: Regen (feedback), mix, and delay time and a push-button to engage modulation
Bypass: True bypass
Mono or stereo: Mono
Tap tempo: No
Trails: No

Boss DM-2W

Boss DM-2W

+ A revived classic
+ Custom mode gives more modern voicing in the same enclosure
– Like the MXR, could be limiting to modern palates

This compact red pedal was first introduced in 1981 – but was only around for three years. A fully analogue bucket-brigade delay, it was superseded by the digital DD-2 in 1984. In those three years, however, it built up enough of a cult following to warrant a Waza Craft reissue in 2015. Still fully analogue, this reissue adds a ‘custom mode’ switch to engage a brighter voicing and longer delay time.

But aside from that, the operation and sound are largely the same – three knobs allow for control over delay time, feedback and overall mix, with 300ms of delay time in standard mode and 800ms in the custom mode. Thanks to the analogue BBD chip the pedal is based around, the repeats retain that saturated, old-school sound that won’t clutter up your signal.

Price: £149 / $153.99
Description: Reissue of a legendary Boss analogue delay with added custom mode
Controls: Toggle switch for mode select and knobs for mix, feedback and delay time, Bypass: Buffered bypass
Mono or stereo: Mono
Tap tempo: No
Trails: No

Danelectro Back Talk

Danelectro Back Talk

+ Another revived classic
+ Sturdier construction
– Only reverse delay

You might remember the original Danelectro Backtalk, however, yours mightn’t have survived the 20 odd years the pedal’s been around. The original was beloved for its sound – but somewhat bemoaned for its plastic enclosure and fragile audio jacks. Luckily, this reissue fixes that by offering the same swirling, psychedelic reverse delay of the original in a sturdy metal enclosure that’s far more pedalboard-friendly.

Controls are kept simple, with knobs for delay time, feedback and mix. The latter allows your reversed signal to sit subtly under your playing, or dominate it for a shoegaze-y wall of sound. Place before fuzz for maximum effect.

Price: £189 / $199
Description: Reissue of Danelectro’s highly-praised reverse delay in a more pedalboard-friendly metal enclosure
Controls: Delay time, feedback and mix
Bypass: True Bypass
Mono or stereo: Mono
Tap Tempo: No
Trails: No

Read the full review here.

Earthquaker Disaster Transport Sr

Earthquaker Disaster Transport Sr

+ Two delays for the price of one
+ Gets as weird as you want, or not at all
– Idiosyncratic signal path

Not many delay pedals have to come with a flow chart to explain their internal signal routing, but the Earthquaker Disaster Transport Sr is not your average delay pedal. It houses two delay engines, which can be run in parallel, series or a blend of the two, thanks to the bleed knob. Both can also be engaged separately, or engaged at the same time with the central bypass switch.

Delay A features a delay time of 600ms and pitch modulation, of which you can vary the speed and depth independently. Delay B features a reverb knob and a max delay time of 300ms. This idiosyncratic combo is a great blend of limitations and excess, and can be tweaked to achieve everything from the most bog-standard analogue delay tones to completely wild, pitch-bent, reverb-soaked shoegaze bliss.

Price: £329 / $299
Description: Dual analogue delay with modulation and reverb
Controls: Rate, Repeats, Tone, Depth, Time, Mix
Bypass: True bypass
Mono or stereo: Mono
Tap tempo: No
Trails: Yes, by leaving bypass on and disengaging each delay with its respective footswitch

Walrus Mako D1

Walrus Mako D1

+ Incredibly high-fidelity delay sounds and powerful DSP
+ Presets save you time on stage
– Pricey

Walrus’ first foray into its new Mako pedal format, the D1 quickly became one of our favourite delay pedals. The central program selector knob chooses between five different sounds, and the tweak selector switch multiplies the options by giving three different parameters to, well, tweak for each sound. There’s a discrete tap tempo footswitch, too, as well as a selector switch to divide delay times into quarter, eighth and dotted eighth notes.

One of the more unique controls on the unit is the attack knob. A problem with crystal-clear digital repeats is their tendency to overcrowd the signal, especially in the high-end – and so the attack knob essentially acts as pre-delay would on a reverb, meaning your echos bloom into their final form. Of course, this is just one example of how to use one control on a very in-depth pedal.

To make things less intimidating on stage, you can access up to 128 user presets with MIDI, or nine without, meaning you won’t have to spend half an hour dialling in a new delay sound between songs.

Price: £279 / $299
Description: Multi-function delay pedal with MIDI support
Controls: Time, repeats, mix, tweak (plus mini toggle for modulation, tone and age), program, attack, A/B/C memory bank selector switch, quarter, eighth and dotted eighth division switch.
Bypass: True or buffered bypass
Mono or stereo: Stereo
Tap tempo: Yes
Trails: Switchable

Read the full review here.

Electro-Harmonix Grand Canyon

Electro-Harmonix Grand Canyon

+ Packed with features and sounds
+ Fully-featured looper as a bonus
– Mono input but stereo output

The EHX Grand Canyon is the bigger sibling of Electro-Harmonix’s Canyon. It’s an incredibly advanced delay, packed with different sounds and an entire onboard looper.

The core of the pedal is its 12 different delay sounds, which range from clean analogue delay to modulated tape simulation and even an onboard recreation of the EHX Memory Man. Each mode has two parameters specific to it, controlled by two dedicated knobs. Each of these is written out on the Grand Canyon’s ample enclosure, so there’s no need to consult the manual here.

The pedal is also able to convert a mono signal to stereo, with optional ping-ponging between channels.

The variety of different sounds, and the depth to which you can customise them, mean this could be the only delay you need – and that’s before considering the editable presets, programmable expression pedal settings, multi-function buttons and footswitches, and a ‘hidden’ secondary mode that only applies to the pitch and drum delays.

Price: ‎£212 / $271
Description: Multi-function digital delay and looper pedal with in-depth controls
Controls: Delay type selector switch, knobs for two parameters per type, push-buttons for expression pedal operating mode, trails, tap division and stereo ping pong. Knobs for delay level, feedback and delay time.
Bypass: True or Buffered Bypass
Mono or stereo: Stereo
Tap tempo: Yes
Trails: Switchable

Read the full review here.

Strymon Volante

Strymon Volante

+ Extremely customisable approach to tape delay emulation
+ Retains signature Strymon connectivity
– Expensive

If you’ve fallen in love with the sound of any kind of tape delay, the Volante offers the best way to achieve and control that sound beyond dragging an actual studio reel-to-reel unit with you on tour. There’s also a drum-style echo, and four virtual-playback heads that can be activated/deactivated individually and set to full or half volume. Each can also be panned when using the unit in stereo.

Non-tape-simulating features include tap tempo, spring reverb and extensive MIDI support (as is custom when it comes to large Strymon delays and reverbs).

It’s impossible to sum up the features of the Volante in anything less than the full review, but given its price and complexity, you’re likely willing to do some extensive research before you drop nearly half a grand on a delay pedal.

Price: £399 / $399
Description: Workstation unit that simulates various tape delays
Controls: Tape speed selection and delay type selector switches, knobs for tape record level, wear and mechanical noise as well as knobs for low cut, repeats, mix, reverb and tale head spacing. Push-buttons to engage different tape heads and select their volume level.
Bypass: True bypass
Mono or stereo: Stereo
Tap tempo: Yes
Trails: Switchable

Eventide TimeFactor

Eventide TimeFactor

+ Highly-tweakable dual delay
+ Lots of onboard presets
– Expensive

Another entry into the “massive delay pedal with lots of controls and connections” genre, the TimeFactor sports nine dual delay sounds as well as a dedicated looper.

The sounds themselves range from clean digital delays all the way to wilder sounds like reverse, multi-tap and ‘FilterPong’ sounds, the latter making use of the fact that all the TimeFactor’s delays contain an LFO, Filter and a unique ‘Xnob’ control, which varies its operation depending on the preset.

The large enclosure means there’s room for dedicated bypass and tap tempo footswitches, as well as an infinite repeats footswitch in between. In looper mode, these take the roles of record, stop and play respectively.

If all the control is a little intimidating and you’re not sure where you’d start, Eventide provides 100 presets to get you going. If you’re more confident, you can make use of the onboard MIDI connections to control anything you need.

Price: ‎£359 / $399
Description: Digital delay workstation with
Controls: Knobs for delay A + B mix, time and feedback, as well as modulation depth, speed and filter, and proprietary Xnob control
Bypass: True or Buffered bypass
Mono or stereo: Stereo
Tap tempo: Yes
Trails: Switchable

Teisco Delay

Teisco Delay

+ Warm analogue repeats
+ Chaotic self-oscillation and modulation is an option
– Subtler sounds are harder to muster

Teisco returned in 2019 with a line of pedals reflective of the guitar brand’s quirky instruments – and quirky is definitely a word for this delay.

The modulation applied to the repeats comes in the form of pitch bends, and the controls for depth and rate have a lot of scope, thanks in part to the fast/slow toggle switch.

While this kind of ultra-modulated sound won’t be for everyone, the option to have seasick pitch dives mixed with the warmth and self-oscillating possibilities of an analogue delay will appeal to the noisier end of the guitar spectrum. However, with both modulation controls at zero, the pedal is a straightforward analogue delay with the added bonus of a secondary output jack for just your dry signal.

Price: $149
Description: Analogue delay with modulation
Controls: Delay time, feedback and mix, modulation depth and speed
Bypass: True Bypass
Mono or stereo: Mono with dry out
Tap tempo: No
Trails: No

Read the full review here.

Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall

Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall

+ Analogue signal path, digital control
+ Chase Bliss’ signature pedal format offers huge amounts of customisation
– Expensive

The core of the Tonal Recall is built around a pair of reissued MN3005 bucket-brigade delay chips, resulting in an unmistakable analogue character and velvety tape-like modulation. But it’s the pedal’s digital functionality that really sets it apart. While the guitar signal remains 100 percent analogue, the digital side means you get modern amenities such as tap tempo, optional bypass, expression control over any parameter and the ability to save presets, all while retaining the fidelity of the pedal’s classic analogue delay tones.

Simply put, it offers everything you could ever dream of from an analogue delay pedal, with the modern conveniences of digital.

Price: £349 / $399
Description: Digitally-controlled analogue delay pedal
Controls: Delay time, feedback, tone, regeneration, modulation depth and rate, dip switch array for expression/ramp operation
Bypass: True or Buffered bypass
Mono or stereo: Mono
Tap tempo: Yes
Trails: Switchable

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