Best Delay Pedal (2019) – A Comprehensive Guide

Best Delay Pedal (2019) – A Comprehensive Guide

The delay is an effect that records an audio segment of your sound input and plays it back with a timed delay. The echo can be played once or several times, or fed back into the sampler, to create the effect of a repeated decaying echo.

When should you use a Delay?

The delay is a versatile effect that enhances your sound by filling the space between your notes. It is above all known to enrich the guitar sound with soft, melodic repetitions. Often, this creates the impression of several instruments being played simultaneously, or overlaying each other.

You can roughly describe the audible effect of the delay based on the delay duration:

  • 0-25ms: The human ear can recognize an echo starting from about 25ms, so the delay in the <25ms region is suitable for “thickening” the tone, e.g. for solo segments. The resulting effect is a dynamic, spatial sound to the human ear
  • 25-50ms: A short, stuttering echo is the audible effect of this region – similar to a reverb or hall, but more dominant in it’s form
  • 50ms-400ms: The “classic” delay sound is in this region. In the lower half often heard in funk and rhythm-dominant tracks. Adjusting the echo for x3-5 repetitions (feedback parameter) will create a tremolo-like effect
  • 400ms-800ms: In this area, the echo is clearly delayed and fits especially well into quiet and slow melodies

The Delay makes a clean, slow sound fantastically beautiful – In my humble opinion that is – but even in combination with a distortion you can create very cool tunes – Here you should pay attention to precise rhythms while playing, so as to avoid dissonant echo overlays.

How do these different delay types sound? The effect has given us a plethora of legendary tunes. Some examples to name here are:

What you should know before buying a Delay Pedal

What to look for if you are looking for the perfect delay for your own pedalboard? The following criteria are a must in search of the perfect echo.

1. Sound quality & Noise ratio

One of the key factors in choosing the delay is obviously the sound. Is the echo clean and uncoloured? Is the sound precise and noise-free? The sound quality is often correlated to the components used and in particular the A/D converter in the delay pedal.

2. Maximum Delay Duration

What duration is possible with this delay? Each pedal should deliver at least a delay of 300ms-400ms. Good pedals usually deliver up to 600-800ms, high-end delays can go beyond the 800ms mark.

3. Feedback Range

The feedback parameter controls the number of times the echoes repeat. A good delay should deliver a range of 1 to 10 echoes.

4. Presets & Memory

A simple delay offers two modes: ON and BYPASS. Advanced treadmills allow you to store predefined delay settings, allowing you to switch between different delays: Great for performing.

5. Modulation Options

Sometimes a distorted or patched echo is just the thing to bring in a fresh sound: While most delays do not have this feature, you should consider from the beginning whether it makes sense for you to invest in a delay with modulation features.

6. Usability & Design

Is it easy and intuitive to operate the pedal? Can the pedal be learned without wasting time on the user manual? For simple 3-pedal controls, the operation is clear, but as soon as it goes beyond 5 controls this question plays a crucial role. Is the effects unit intelligently designed? Can the desired effects variations be created intuitively? Is it easy to save settings and retrieve settings?

7. Inputs & Outputs

Most effect pedals have only a mono input and output and that’s a good thing. A good delay should also have a stereo output. If you ever had the chance to connect a delay to a stereo system (or 2 combos / amps), then you know exactly why: The echo “bounces” between the speakers and creates a heavenly spatial feeling! An expression input and Midi In / Out are also a plus, although the entry-level models rarely gave these connections.

8. Reliability & Durability

The housing is the deciding factor when it comes to longevity. Finally, the pedal should be able to do a few (even less gentle) kicks in the rehearsal room or the hasty rammer on the stage without falling into the components.



Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 1

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 2The Strymon Timeline is the holy grail of the delay pedals and has achieved a legendary status since its first release in 2011. The timeline offers many possibilities to customize the delay sound, which is reflected in the number of knobs. Strymon provides a clear design concept and so the setting runs – after a short learning phase – on its own. From Ambient sounds to synth-like sounds to soloing, the Timline with its 12 different delay types offers everything you could wish for. You even have the possibility to set a tremolo and a chorus-like sound, which I really like. If you are looking for a modulated delay, you will have a lot of fun exploring the 12 delay types – each of which you can finet with 8 knobs. The Tap Tempo allows you to enter your own tempo and the Loop function allows you to save up to 30 seconds of loops. A great feature of Strymon is the ability to choose between True Bypass and Buffered Bypass: This prevents sound loss in complex signal chains. For the guru, a midi input is also available, which greatly simplifies the control of the effects pedal. If you are looking for quality and variety in a delay effect and do not shy away from the price tag, the timeline is a perfect choice.


  • High quality components & Sound quality from Strymon
  • 2500ms Max Delay Time(!)
  • 12 delay types for modulations (Tape, dBucket, Digital, Dual, Pattern, Reverse, Ice, Duck, Swell, Trem, Filter, Lo-fi)
  • 8 fine-tuning knobs (Value, Time, Repeats, Mix, Filter, Grit, Speed and Depth)
  • Tap Tempo button
  • 200 storable presets
  • 30 seconds looper function
  • True / Buffer Bypass
  • Mono &Stereo I/O
  • Expression pedal & Midi I/O


  • It takes a bit longer to learn
  • The 8 sliders are less clear
  • 2 knobs are push pots and you occasionally get knocked out playing it
  • The instructions are incomplete, you have to research the features yourself
  • The case is made of thin sheet steel and therefore not very robust
Strymon Timeline Demo



2.Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 3 Boss DD-7

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 4

The Digital Dalay 7 (DD-7) from Boss is an established delay pedal in the mid-price segment. The Boss pedal can be controlled via the classic 3 control system (Volume, Feedback, Time), so learning is easy. The fourth controller allows switching between different delay spectra (eg 0-50ms, 200-800ms). The pedal impresses with a delay time of up to 6400ms, which is what few pedals can deliver. The fourth knob also allows you to turn on the additional modes Analog, Modulate (Chorus) and Reverse, but these can not be fined. With this pedal you also get a strong looper extra: The DD-7 allows you to loop samples up to 40 seconds. As usual with Boss pedals, this pedal also has a very sturdy case – you do not have to worry about longevity at all. A bonus is the patented “Freeze Sound” by Boss: If you keep the pedal while playing you can create an “endless delay”. Not necessary, but cool! If you want to include a versatile all-in-one delayer in your signal chain, the BOSS DD-7 is a great choice.


  • Max Delay Time up to 6400ms (!)
  • 40 Seconds Looper Function
  • Analog, Chorus, Reverse Modes
  • Expression Entry
  • Mono / Streo I / O
  • Most robust Gehäuse (Typical Boss!)
  • Boss ™ Freeze Feature
  • Learn about Baterrien (1x9V)


  • Delay Modis cannot be finetuned
  • Tap Tempo is implemented very cumbersome (easier with separate external module)
  • No memory function
  • The power supply must be purchased separately
Boss DD-7 Demo


3. MXR Carbon Copy

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 5

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 6

The MXR Carbon Copy is a cult icon among analog fanatics – and rightly so. It has everything you would expect from a good delay pedal. The operation is kept very simple via the 3-controller system. There is also no fourth knob to control delay time – this is controlled by the 3 pots all. The MXR has a delay time of up to 600ms – slightly less than the digital ones, but understandable (and quite sufficient), the effect is much more difficult to implement analogously. Above all, the MXR stands out with a warm and clear sound that has certain “something” that only analog pedals have and digital pedals try to replicate. The case is made of a thick metal layer and is extremely sturdy. The pedal also has a modulation knob which gives a subtle vibrato to your echoes. If you are a friend of analog pedestrians and are looking for a simple, stable and reliable natural sound delay, then the MXR Carbon Copy is a very good candidate.


  • Analog signal path with warm sound
  • Easy to use
  • Robust metal enclosure
  • Can be operated with batteries
  • True Bypass


  • Modulation is very subtle
  • Up to 600ms delay (analog circuit)
  • No time scale on the delay knob
  • AC adapter must be purchased separately


4. TC Electronic Flashback Mini

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 7

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 8

The TC Electronic Flashback Mini is a reissue of the classic feedback – now in an extra-slim case but with all the features of the big brother. TC Electronic is known for miniatur pedals that have it all! With a delay time of up to 600ms, the Feedback Mini is just as good as its big brother. The special feature of this model is the “TonePrint” and “Beaming” feature. You can use the free TonePrint app (available for iPhone and Android) to set your own sound or “steal” the sound of your favorite guitarist and then download the sound directly into the Flashback Mini Delay via app. Pretty cool, right? At the same time this means that due to this finetuning can not do without app. The pedal has another weak point: The button head is neither glued nor screwed and will take off after the 1000 pedal, which does not hurt the function but could be better solved anyway. For the price the pedal is a very good option!


  • Very simple operation
  • TonePrint App Sound Editor
  • TonePrint “Beaming” Feature
  • True Bypass
  • Durable enclosure


  • 600ms Max Delay Time
  • No finetuning possible without App
  • No time scale on the delay knob
  • Cannot be operated with batteries
  • AC adapter must be purchased separately
  • Button head is not installed in a robust manner (weak spot)


5. Donner Yellow Fall

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 9

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 10

The Yellow Fall Delay from Donner stands out as a high quality pedal in the lower price segment. The delay can be controlled via a simple 3-control system with echo, feedback and time pots. The pedal is a pure analog circuit and offers delays in the range 20-620ms. There are no extra modes or effects, which would be too much for the price. Some users report a cracking sound when switching, although personally I have not noticed this yet. The pedal threads a slight noise into the signal path, probably due to cheap components, but it is within acceptable range. The housing is narrow, therefore very space-saving and mobile. The case is made of a relatively thick metal layer, which gives a reliable impression – a very important decision factor in the lower price range, since most pedal housings in this area are made of plastic and are often very short-lived. Thunder has a built-in True Bypass, so you do not have to worry about signal bleeds. Overall, the pedal is very impressive for the low price. If you are looking for a good entry-level delay pedal, the Yellow Fall could be the right action for you.


  • Compact dimensions: More space on the pedalboard
  • Analog signal pat: Warm sound
  • Very easy to use
  • Robust metal enclosure
  • Can be operated with batteries
  • True Bypass
  • Very good value for money


  • Up to 620ms delay (analog circuit)
  • No time scale on the delay knob
  • Bleeds subtle noise into signal while playing
  • Slight cracking sound when switching On/Off



The best Delay Pedal for Newbies (Below $50)

Best Price

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 11

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 10

Donner Yellow Fall
You want to emanate echo-like audio waves in your room as soon as possible – but the golden coin is missing? Don’t worry! This stompbox by Donner allows you to enter the world of echoes even if your wallet is slim. At anunbeatable price, the pedal impresses with workmanship and sound quality.

$35 on Amazon

The best Delay Pedal for Snobs ($100-200)

Best Price-Performance Ratio

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 13

Boss DD-7
You have a few coins set aside and looking for the best pedal on the market? The DD-7 from Boss offers quality and functionality at a competitive price. Prominent guitarists like David Gilmour and Joe Satriani rely on the DD7 as an integral part of their pedalboards.

$144 on Amazon

The best Delay Pedal for Gurus (Above $200)

Best Quality
Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 2

Best Delay Pedal (2019) - A Comprehensive Guide 15

Strymon Timeline
You are looking for the perfect echo. You want variety, functionality and quality. From subtle ambient to multi-layered echo walls, Stymon’s timeline is truly the holy grail of delay effect pedals. Invest in the Timeline so you will gain a loyal friend that will last a lifetime on your pedalboard.

$627 on Amazon



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