Video: How to Choose a Delay Pedal

Whether buying your first or your tenth delay pedal, there's enough variation in design and function to toss any decision you've made back up in the air. Some delays excel in vintage-style effects you could create on tape machines, while others exist purely in the digital realm. Do you want a simple, straightforward stompbox like a Boss DD-3, an experimental unit like the Chase Bliss Audio Thermae, or a do-it-all delay like a Strymon Timeline?

In our video above, Andy Martin explains some of the major types and plays through examples of each. We've also created a delay pedal buying guide you can visit for more options and in-depth explanations.

Andy breaks down the spread of delay pedals into five main groups:

Analog delays employ bucket-brigade circuits to offer repeats and echoes similar to those possible with tape machines. Popular pedals in this category include the Supro 1313 Analog Delay, Ibanez AD9, Boss DM-2, MXR Carbon Copy, Carbon Copy Bright, and EHX Deluxe Memory Man.

Digital delays do not have to be overly complicated. In the '80s and '90s, these standard digital delays were a big deal, offering greater versatility than had otherwise been possible in a stompbox. Pedals in this category include the Boss DD-3, DD-5, Walrus Audio ARP-87, and TC Electronic Flashback Mini.

Digital multi-mode delays offer a range of different delay types, from tape-style emulation to extreme digital-only possibilities. These include the TC Electronic Alter Ego X4, Strymon Timeline, Source Audio Nemesis, and Empress EchoSystem.

Vintage-style multi-tap delays offer tape-style repeats and effects (like wow and flutter) in powerful, all-digital devices. Examples of these delays are the Strymon Volante, Dawner Prince Boonar, Boss Space Echo, and Catalinbread Echorec.

Experimental delays are not limited to any one kind. Recent years have seen many different takes. These include Red Panda's Particle V2—which combines granular synthesis with delay effects—Alexander Pedals Radical Delay DX, and Chase Bliss' Thermae, which brings pitch-shifting and harmonization to a powerful yet compact stompbox.

For more, check out our delay pedal buying guide here.

Buying Guide: Delay Pedals
Learn more about delays and find recommendations.
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