Welcome to the second instalment in a series of articles that showcase the top-selling pedals from different categories on Reverb.com. As the world’s largest music gear marketplace, we at Reverb see thousands upon thousands of pedals and effects sell through our platform every year giving us a unique pool of data from which to glean insights about the industry at large.
Last time around, we looked at the ever-expanding overdrive market. This month, we’re turning our sights on that trusty sidekick to shoegazers and U2 tribute acts alike: the delay pedal. Today’s rankings reflect sales on Reverb over the past year for both new and used delays, and include staples such as the MXR Carbon Copy, as well as some adventurous upstarts such as the EarthQuaker Devices Avalanche Run.
If you’re in the market for a new delay for your pedalboard, hopefully these rankings provide some useful insights into what other players are opting for. Now, let’s count down the top 10!
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1. MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay
The MXR Carbon Copy continues its reign as the most popular delay pedal on the market, a spot it’s held for several years. This straightforward analogue box has become the default first choice delay for a wide range of players, and has spawned two different offshoots: the Carbon Copy Bright – which lightens the tone of the repeats – and the Carbon Copy Deluxe, which adds a few useful features.
2. Strymon TimeLine
The Strymon TimeLine is the undisputed benchmark for a growing class of pedals you might call ‘do-it-all delays’. This box from the always-innovative Strymon can achieve just about every type of delay tone imaginable with 12 base modes and an enormously tweakable control set. It’s a bit on the pricier side, but is probably the only delay pedal you’ll ever need to buy. It sounds great when used with synths, too.
3. TC Electronic Flashback Delay & Looper
For something a bit more flexible and versatile than the Carbon Copy, lots of players look to the Flashback from TC Electronic. This pedal is readily available for not a lot of money on the used market and offers basic looper functionality in addition to its suite of delay styles.
4. Electro-Harmonix Canyon
Similar in format to the Flashback, the Canyon from Electro-Harmonix also includes a looping mode along with 10 distinct delay styles. This stompbox was launched in 2017 and ranked as the most popular new pedal on Reverb across all categories in our year-end rankings.
5. Line 6 DL4
The DL4 has been in production for nearly 20 years and is a true modern classic. Entire sub-genres of experimental rock music have been formed around the DL-4’s sound set and its ‘tweak’ and ‘tweez’ controls.
6. Boss DD-7 Digital Delay
Carrying the torch for the ever popular and influential DD-3 and DD-5, the Boss DD-7 has been going strong for a decade. This pedal expands on the Boss delay template by offering longer delay times and an engrossing reverse delay mode.
7. Strymon El Capistan
Whereas Strymon’s TimeLine is primed to cover virtually every delay type known to guitarist-kind, the El Capistan hones in on glorious, Gilmour-worthy tape echo. While not the only tape delay emulator on the market, the El Capistan is the most popular, probably due to Strymon’s artist pedigree and superb build quality.
8. EarthQuaker Devices Avalanche Run
EarthQuaker Devices of Ohio has a reputation for superbly artful pedal designs that are less about comprehensive utility (like you’d find in the Strymon TimeLine) and more about offering a expressive, singular set of tones to play with. The Avalanche Run is a great example and combines delay with reverb for a stompbox that any soundscapist will certainly have fun exploring.
9. Boss DD-500
The DD-500 is Boss’ foray into the ‘do-it-all’ delay subgenre and marked the first usage of a new large-box enclosure that has more recently been expanded to include the MD-500 Modulation and RV-500 Reverb. The DD-500 is another delay that can achieve essentially any setting you can imagine.
10. Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
As is the case with many Boss compact pedals, the DD-3 helped define the very concept of a digital delay stompbox. In production since 1986, there are a tonne of used DD-3s floating around on Reverb, so they are easy to find and relatively cheap. They sound great, too.