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Music Software Bundles from Pluginboutique.com

Best Guitar Delay Pedals To Bring Your Sound To Life

May 30, 2024 
BY DAN SPENCER
best guitar delay pedals

Want to add dimension to your riffs or some nice slapback to your licks? A delay pedal might be just what you are looking for. Whether you're aiming to create lush, atmospheric soundscapes or tight, rhythmic repeats, the right delay pedal can transform your playing.

In this guide, we’ve rounded up five of the best guitar delay pedals. We’ll break down their top features, advantages, and disadvantages, to help you decide which one is your best match. Take your pick.

Line 6 DL4 MKII guitar delay pedal.
1Best Overall
Line 6 DL4 MkII

Boss DD-8 guitar delay pedal.
2Runner-up
Boss DD-8

Strymon Timeline guitar delay pedal.
3Top Pick
Strymon Timeline

MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal
4Top Pick
MXR M169

TC Electronic The Prophet Digital Delay Pedal.
5Lowest Price
TC Electronic The Prophet

1. Line 6 DL4 MkII Delay Modeler Pedal

Roland FP-30X digital piano.

Highlights

⚫ DL4’s classic sound, functionality, and more
⚫ Over 30 delay voices for creative guitarists
⚫ XLR, MIDI, and footswitch connections

A ubiquitous classic from the early 2000s, the Line 6 DL4 MkII delay pedal boasts a major update. Replacing the old green chunk is a leaner, sleeker, and more powerful design, doubling its predecessor’s delay algorithms and reverb options. While still encased in the familiar green Line 6 DL4 is known for, the MkII offers a whole new set of creative possibilities.

The knobs and foot switches, including the “Tweak and Tweez” dials, are found as they were in its classic iteration, except for one vital addition: “alt/legacy.” This fun little button allows you to switch between two collections of delay types. That means you’re getting 15 new sounds on top of the classic DL4 delay voices—plus the looper and 15 fresh reverb algorithms!

Pros

  • The new chassis is more compact
  • Versatile with two looper types
  • Four minutes looping time, expandable via microSD

Cons

  • The “Tweak and Tweez” function requires plenty of memorization

Line 6 DL4 MkII

This pedal produces the most lush tones on our list.

2. Boss DD-8 Digital Delay Pedal

Nord Grand 88-Key digital piano.

Highlights

⚫ Numerous delay types, including tape echo and analog
⚫ Stereo sound capability for enhanced depth and dimension
⚫ Versatile compatibility with many instruments and setups

Continuing the success of the ‘80s masterpiece, the DD-3, Boss’s new DD-8 is a reliable workhorse of a pedal. Encased in Boss’s standard metal body and solid plastic tipped with vibrant hues, this delay pedal is a solid beauty overall. The real surprise, however, lies in its versatility, providing a buffet of sound options you can certainly appreciate while playing.

The DD-8 is a total beast, combining all the effects found in the DD-7 and topping it with a host of 11 new delay modes. There’s a “Warp” mode for innovative, dynamic, and ambient sound textures and a “GLT” mode for creating rhythms and glitchy effects. It’s notably beginner-friendly, with a smart I/O functionality ensuring seamless setup for all applications.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly and intuitive UI design
  • A durable build quality to survive years of abuse
  • Allows 40-second loop with overdubbing

Cons

  • Can’t use delay effects during loops
  • A few settings, like the Warp and GLT, are less intuitive

Boss DD-8

If you want nostalgia, then this is the delay pedal for you.

3. Strymon TimeLine Multidimensional Delay Pedal

Yamaha CK88 digital piano.

Highlights

⚫ Exhaustive range of delay types
⚫ Sound quality suitable for live and studio use
⚫ Massive memory holding up to 200 presets

If you’re familiar with Strymon, you’re likely used to having your socks knocked off with their pedal lineup’s quality. Well, the Strymon Timeline is another masterpiece from the South California-based manufacturer. Equipped with 12 unique, customizable delay machines and a massive saving capacity of 200 presets, this delay pedal has everything you’ll ever need.

The Timeline is an all-encompassing pedal emphasizing functionality in its layout. It has a total of three footswitches and seven asymmetrical knobs, which allows you to modify delay signals, including their grit, filter, modulation, rate, and depth. Despite its seemingly busy appearance, the Timeline is an easy-to-learn pedal you can jump into to make trillions of cool sounds.

Pros

  • HQ modulated echoes and pitch-shifted configuration
  • MIDI compatible for expanded control options
  • Easy to navigate and program even for beginners

Cons

  • Limited looping time with only 30 seconds of recording

Strymon TimeLine

On our best guitar delay pedals list, this one is the most premium

Do you need a pedalboard for your new delay pedal? Check out our top picks for the best pedalboards of 2024.

4. MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal

Highlights

⚫ 100% analog bucket brigade technology
⚫ Top-notch sound for live and studio performance
⚫ Adjustable modulation that emulates tape echo sounds

If you prefer 100% pure analog sound, the MXR M169 Carbon Copy might be for you. While the market is plagued with digital reproductions, the MXR answers the demand for genuine echo repeats. It’s a dusting off of the classic technology, only better, without the few inherent issues of the ‘80s iteration of analog units.

This unit can produce between 20 to 600 milliseconds of delay time, all while retaining outstanding tones without your guitar sounding brittle or clanky. The adjustable modulation allows you to replicate the tape warble in older units, which is a great addition. Sound-wise, the three-knob, all-analog delay does not betray its siblings’ reputation.

Pros

  • Space efficient footprint
  • Complete analog circuitry
  • A triangular three-knob control that’s effortless to navigate

Cons

  • You can’t modulate using your foot

MXR M169

If analog is your thing, then add this pedal to your collection.

5. TC Electronic The Prophet Digital Delay Pedal

Highlights

⚫ Noise-free switching with True Bypass
⚫ Intuitive plug-and-play design
⚫ Affordable, with great value for money

From punchy modern delays to enchanting post-rock tones, TC Electronic’s The Prophet delay pedal is well worth your consideration. This pedal is award-winning and a versatile companion to your rig. It’s a game-changer for this price point, with up to 1300 milliseconds of delay time, intuitive controls, and sleek panel design. No wonder it made our best guitar delay pedals list!

The unassuming stompbox offers a simplistic approach with a three-knob configuration for time, mix, and repeats. Conveniently, a toggle switch that lets you set delay subdivisions between 1/8, 1/16, and 3/8. This feature allows you to recreate familiar delay sounds. But the most impressive feature of The Prophet is its True Bypass, ensuring faithful signal reproduction for your original tones.

Pros

  • Compact size to fit all pedalboard setup
  • Clear, uncolored repeats
  • Capable of gnarly oscillations and other unique effects

Cons

  • It’s best used with AC power as the 9V battery drains quickly

TC Electronic The Prophet

If you are on a budget, then this is the best option on our list.

Make your delay sound even cooler by adding a chorus pedal to your rig. Check out our top 5 picks for the best guitar chorus pedals of 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

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A delay pedal is an effects unit used by guitarists to create a repeated echo of the original sound. When a note is played, the pedal records the sound and plays it back after a set amount of time. The delay effect can be adjusted in terms of the length of the delay, the number of repeats, and the volume of the echoes.

A delay pedal adds depth and dimension to your sound. It can create a sense of space, enhance your solos, and provide rhythmic complexity. Delay pedals are versatile and can be used in various music genres, from rock and blues to ambient and electronic music.

There are several types of delay pedals, including analog, digital, tape, and multi-effect units. Analog delays provide a warm, natural sound, while digital delays offer precise control and longer delay times. Tape delays emulate vintage tape echo machines, and multi-effect units combine delay with other effects like reverb and modulation.

While both delay and reverb pedals create a sense of space, they do so in different ways. A delay pedal repeats the original sound at set intervals, creating distinct echoes. A reverb pedal simulates the natural reflections of sound in a space, producing a continuous, ambient effect. Using both together can enhance the overall depth of your sound.

A looper function in a delay pedal allows you to record and playback a section of your playing in real-time. This feature is great for creating layered performances, practicing solos, and experimenting with different musical ideas.

Product Recap

Ultimately, choosing the best guitar delay pedal depends on your musical needs. But if you want the best, Line 6’s DL4 MkII is the way to go for its massive library of delays and reverbs. The DD-8 is another no-brainer alternative with 12 delay machines and solid mode configurations. For those with a limited budget, TC Electronic’s The Prophet is a superb pedal for your rig, offering excellent bang for your buck.

If you found this guide helpful, please consider subscribing to our blog for more music production tips, product reviews, and buying guides. Also, you can support new content by contributing to our tip jar.

"Some of the links within this article are affiliate links. These links are from various companies such as Amazon. This means if you click on any of these links and purchase the item or service, I will receive an affiliate commission. This is at no cost to you and the money gets invested back into Audio Sorcerer LLC."

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