5 Best Delay Pedals Of The Year [Buying Guide]

Maurice Lundgren

Effects pedals are always interesting and will definitely be one of the most pleasing things a guitarist can do to instantly take the sound to another level. One of the most important effects pedals that every guitarist should have is the delay pedal. It is one of the simplest yet one of the spiciest effects in terms of pedals. It is pretty crucial and every guitarist probably has one in their arsenal.

It has evolved through the decades and now we have the best delay pedals available. These pedals have been used by many famous and legendary guitarists throughout the history of the music. One of the most notable is The Edge of U2 and Steve Vai, and there are also many more musicians that have used this effect to great success.

I am writing this guide, to help you find the best delay pedals in the market. I have written this guide based on countless hours of research, expert consultation, playing and teaching experience, and buyer feedback. We are going to first take a look at the best models when it comes to delaying pedals, I will then try to inform you better about delay pedals and answer some frequently asked questions in the end. Without further ado, let’s get down to it.

The Top 5 Best Delay Pedals

First up we are going to speak about the top picks. These products listed here are all handpicked by me personally. I have picked these as a result of countless hours of research, personal experience, vigorous testing, expert consultation, popularity and buyer feedback. These are all fail-safe choices that will deliver you performance, accuracy, speed and excellent value for your money. You won’t be disappointed in these. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

5. Donner Yellow Fall

We are going to start this list with one of the most affordable options in the market the Donner Yellow Fall. This pedal is definitely great for delay performance but it doesn’t offer much more. But if you are searching for a delay only and a great price, this is it.

This thing is an eye-catcher, coming in with a bright yellow aluminum casing and a super compact size. It is a true bypass mono pedal that comes with a single input and a single output that is pretty good. It has a 9V battery for powering it up or you can also opt for a standard adapter. IT weighs just 8 ounces in total and it measures about 4.7x3x2.5-inches in total.

The controls are pretty simple to wrap your head around, and you won’t get confused at all, it does what it says it does. I didn’t expect to say this for such a cheap pedal, but the signal is extremely clean and the delay effect is perfect overall, without any hum or distortion, just delay. Great overall up to 620 milliseconds, definitely a bargain.

4. Boss DM-2W Delay Waza Craft

Next up we have a super popular, simple and easy to operate yet super powerful delay pedal, the Boss DM-2W Delay Waza Craft. It is a compact analog delay pedal that delivers a perfect performance, based on the original BOSS model that has done wonders in the 70s, bringing in the retro performance that has made it much appreciated to great success, let’s take a closer look.

One of the biggest features of the Boss DM-2W Delay Waza Craft is that it allows you to plug in an expression pedal that will allow you to control the timing of the effect. Meaning that you can increase or decrease the time of the delay while playing the guitar, which is extremely useful for all of us.

I particularly liked the custom/standard switch, which made things easier for equipment that is more inclined to darker and warmer sounds, with more bass and mid-range performance. It can create a great delay performance of up to 300 milliseconds in the standard mode and the custom mode allows you to deliver a slightly brighter tone with up to 800 milliseconds of delay. Super impressive overall definitely the best.

3. JOYO D-SEED Multi 

For those that want to get the most of their money, I have the JOYO D-SEED Multi delay pedal that delivers superb performance for the delay. It is also extremely versatile and will make everyone happy, regardless of the skill level from professional guitarists to beginners. It is one fo the pedals that have always been in my arsenal and I wouldn’t swap it with anything else.

The features of the JOYO D-SEED Multi are multifunctional, as they deliver plenty of versatility. For example, it works as a dual-channel delayer, meaning that you will be able to select two different settings for each channel individually. One of my favorite features of this beast is that it eliminates all the hum, and has a true bypass feature.

It is packed in a strong metal body that measures 4.1×1.8×4-inches in total and weighs about 1.2-pounds. In terms of controls, it has 4 knobs that are pretty standard consisting of Mix, Mode, Time, and Feedback, delivering plenty of performance. From the performance perspective, the JOYO D-SEED Multi is pretty much exceptional delivering plenty of value for the price and will also make you happy with its functionality.

2. Boss DD-7

In the guitar industry, there are a few names as prominent as BOSS, and the company’s reputation has always been a synonym with reliability and performance. With the Boss DD-7, the company has provided us with one of the most impressive digital delay pedals allowing you to recreate priceless pieces of music without much effort. Simply but extremely functional.

The Boss DD-7 has come as a great successor of the already excellent delay pedals in the company’s lineup, it has taken the best features of its predecessors to create a powerful little beast. It is a classic and compact delay pedal that comes with a traditional design and interface that is extremely readable even in darker rooms. It measures 0.5×0.3×0.2-inches and weighs just a pound in total fitting into most gig bags without a doubt.

The controls of the device consist of four knobs, delivering plenty of creative freedom to you. It is also a pretty versatile beast in terms of that fitting into the needs of various guitarists from different styles. This pedal delivers a super clear sound that is immense in terms of performance and it allows you to fine-tune your sound without any difficulty, definitely one of the best in the market.

1. TC Electronic Flashback X4

On top of the list, we have the definite best delay pedal in the market the TC Electronic Flashback X4. This pedal has been extremely popular with guitar players for a long time now, and the company has always delivered some of the best and most impressive pedals without a doubt. Let’s check out the features and performance of this amazing delayer.

I should start by saying that the TC Electronic Flashback X4 is definitely one of the most versatile pedals in the market delivering a wide range of features that will be extremely useful to you on stage while practicing and in the studio. The TC Electronic Flashback X4 has 16 awesome delay types and three preset modes, the Tap Tempo switch and the TonePrint technology which is exclusive for the company.

It can reproduce 40 seconds of loop time as well and it has TrueBypass technology and the Analog-Dry-Through. You can control the device via 5 knobs and 4 buttons that will deliver you a perfect performance.The delay performance is simply amazing, and as a guitarist I have taken advantage of all the functions, allowing me to craft and recreate the sound that was in my head perfectly. Definitely well worth its price, a must-buy for every guitarist.

Things You Should Know Before Buying A Delay Pedal

What is the delay effect?

Delay in the most simple term of words is exactly what it sounds. It delays the sound by storing it for an allocated amount of time than releasing it. A digital delay pedal uses digital circuitry to reproduce time-based effects. It was made very popular in the 70s and 80s by bands and musicians including, Van Halen, Pink Floyd, U2, Elvis Presley, Steve Vai and so on. Before digital delays came on there were, analog delay pedals that were not as prominent and convenient as modern ones. However, the digital delay pedals take it up a notch and they deliver great echo or decay effects, to thicken up your sound and give it another layer of personality. It is a matter of textures and layers delivering a great dynamic to deliver spacy sounds with lots of texture.

an analog delay pedal

How to use a digital delay pedal?

I can say that most of the digital delay pedals in the market are pretty easy to use, straight from unboxing. The simplest units have mostly three controls to shape the sound that will come out, some might have some presets inside that allow you to switch between delay options that might take up your time to tune manually, so you won’t waste time on stage or in the studio. There are also delay pedals that offer a super wide range of controls and adjustments so you can choose your settings and shape your sound precisely and accurately.

The three knobs I mentioned that are in all delay pedals are level, feedback and time. The level knob is the simplest one. This one simply allows you to adjust how wet or dry the signal coming from the pedal will be. For example, when it is at the lowest you won’t hear any delay, and at the highest, the repeating delay will be at the same intensity as the source. The feedback sound allows you to control how many times a sound will be repeated. However, the time knob is the most important, it will allow you to set the timing of the delay, measured in milliseconds most of the time. This is what will affect your tone mostly and it is the most important factor to master.

What are the pros and cons of true bypass?

True bypass is a word very loosely thrown around in the pedal market, and most of us don’t know what it means. Simply explained true bypass is used to explain when the signal doesn’t pass through the pedal’s circuitry besides the input and output section. This is beneficial when you deactivate the effect the sound passes through the pedal in the effect chain unaltered. This is great for most pedals in the market, however, when it comes to delaying pedals I should mention that this is not always the case. Delay pedals delay the sound that is what they do, and when you deactivate it and true bypass kicks in it cuts out the delay and ruining your sound in an instant. So you should definitely keep that in mind, and time deactivating your pedal at the correct time, or choose a delay pedal with no true bypass.

What Kind Of Other Pedals Are There?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you use a delay pedal for reverb?

To get the best reverb effect you should use a dedicated reverb pedal, however, you can tweak your delay pedal a little to get some kind of reverb effect. It will help you find if you want a dedicated reverb effect but won't take the place of a dedicated reverb pedal. First set the delay time to at least 100 milliseconds and then set the feedback to about 5 repeats, it should get you a nice fake reverb and you can experiment to find your sound, great overall.

Where do I put my delay pedal in the effects chain?

The order you put your effects pedal will depend definitely on the overall impact of the effect on the general fundamental tone. For example, you should place the distortion pedal at the beginning of the chain or somewhere early since it has a very strong impact on the tone. Whereas the delay pedal is typically placed near the end since it produces repeats of all your earlier effects. Placing it near the beginning of the chain will not do it plenty of justice, however, some experimenting will give you a better idea.

Conclusion

There you have it, my fellow guitarists, you know now exactly how to buy a delay pedal. This guide will help you now and in the future and you won’t make the wrong choice ever again. You should also take a look at the top picks that I revealed which are fail-safe options. Those pedals will make you happy and deliver you a perfect performance when it comes to delaying. Some more versatile than the others, but all of them will deliver the basic delay performance. Until next time, keep on rocking!