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What's the Best Analog Delay Pedal?

Updated on July 24, 2013

The most useful echo you'll ever have

There are guitarists who have entire pedal boards made up of delay pedals. A delay pedal creates an echo it's input at set time intervals by either putting it through an analog (Bucket Brigade (BB) chip) or digital (programmed chip) circuit. Sometimes a delay will have built in modulation such as chorus or flange for added effect. Normal delay times for an analog delay range from 50 milliseconds (ms) to about 600ms, but varies greatly between individual pedals. There is no "better" or "the best" in delay, it depends on what you want to use it for, but there are some BAD pedals to stay away from, so hopefully this lens will give you some insight on a few good analog delay pedals in a range of price points.

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Pristine vs Lofi

Bright vs Warm

Analog and digital delays have very different sounds and features:

Analog delays are characteristically more of a dark, warm sound that gets warmer and more muffled as it fades away. Due to the technology that they are made with, it can be very difficult to find an analog delay with a delay time over 600ms (and even harder to afford one), and the delay will become more and more lofi the longer the delay time is. Many players like analog delays because since they are so warm and dark, the repeats don't get in the way of what you're playing. They also self oscillate in a way that is unique to BBD chips, and will not let clock sound into your signal.

Digital delays are typically brighter, and more vibrant than analog delays, and can create a perfect repeat whereas analogs may distort. They also often have delay times upwards of 1 second, and retain their pristine sound through their max delay time. Some players prefer digital, whereas some complain that it may make playing over the delays more difficult. Digitals can sometimes self oscillate, but often not the point of analog delays and certainly not with a nearly as pleasant sound. They often introduce clock noise with their oscillation. You can read an article I wrote on digital delays Here.

Analog SOUNDING digital delays (such as PT2399 delay chips) are a very good mix for some players. It combines the best of both worlds for many players, as they give a very dark, warm, analog sounding repeats with upwards of 1 second of delay. They oscillate fairly well, but introduce clock noise easily. The delays also begin to heavily distort at longer delay times (but this is normally fixed by using multiple chips). In addition, many of these pedals are DIY, so they are easy to customize!

What's Your Favorite Kind of Delay?

Analog, Digital, or Analog-Sounding?

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Analog Delay Pedals

We'll start with the most common and work our way down

MXR Carbon Copy

MXR Carbon Copy
MXR Carbon Copy

This is probably the most popular analog delay pedal ever created. It features 600ms of delay time with options for delay time, level, and number of repeats. It also features a button for modulation, and internal trim pots for adjusting the modulation settings. It's not a super expensive pedal, either, making it an instant win.

Retail: ~$125

Check out the official product page here.

Image from GuitarGear.com

Electro-Harmonix Memory Man Series

Deluxe Memory Man
Deluxe Memory Man

The Memory Man series gives you many options as far as delay, ranging from the Carbon Copy reminiscent Memory Toy, to the beastly Deluxe Memory Man, which features Tap Tempo, time divisions, and expression pedal control (the price range is every bit as broad as the number of pedals this series encompasses). Even in it's most basic form, it features 600ms of delay and switchable modulation in a tiny footprint.

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters uses this pedal. Check out this pedal and others here.

Lee Malia of Bring Me the Horizon also uses this pedal. Check out this and other pedals here.

Retail: ~$110 - ~$300

Check out the official product page here.

Image from EHX.com

Moog MF-104Z

Moog MF-104Z
Moog MF-104Z

This is probably the end of be all of analog delay; NOS BBD chips, an effects loop, external expression control, a drive control, and upwards of 1 second of delay, plus it only runs on 9v! This thing is a beast, with exceptional, unparalleled quality. If you want something that's going to last you, this is your ticket.

Retail: ~$650

*This has since been replaced by the Moogerfooger

Check out the official product page here.

Image from MusiciansFriend.com

Vox Satriani Time Machine

Vox Satriani Delay
Vox Satriani Delay

A great delay with great features: this pedal can go upwards of 1 second of delay, and has an EQ control for "vintage"(warm) and "modern"(pristine) delays. It also features tap tempo and a dry output as well as a standard out. Definately a keeper!

Retail: ~$140

Check out the official product page here.

Image from VoxAmps.com

Maxon AD-999

Maxon AD-999
Maxon AD-999

The standard analog delay, but with 900ms of delay time! No modulation on this one, but you can't complain with as much delay time as it can provide. This one is a tried and true keeper.

Retail: ~$330

Check out the official product page here.

Image from StevesMusicCenter.com

BBE Two-Timer Delay

BBE Two-Timer
BBE Two-Timer

This pedal is a bit off the wall... It doesn't have modulation or tap tempo, and it has a relatively small delay time at 330ms, but it does allow you to have two different set delay times and switch between them with a footswitch.

Useful: Yes, Practical: Yes, Delay Time: ... Up to you.

Retail: ~$100

Check out the official product page here.

Image from MusiciansFriend.com

Way Huge Aqua Puss

Way Huge Aqua Puss
Way Huge Aqua Puss

Another fairly standard analog delay with a range between 50ms-300ms. This is a favorite among many players.

Retail: ~$125

Check out the official product page here.

Image from JimDunlop.com

Malekko Ekko 616

Malekko Ekko 616
Malekko Ekko 616

This is a very cool pedal, it has 650ms of delay time, extended modulation controls which can be controlled externally, and an OPTIONAL BUFFER, which is very cool (not very many pedals can do this). This pedal can either be true bypass or buffered. The only gripe is that the level control is on the inside of the pedal.

Retail: ~$150

Check out the official product page here.

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Jet City the Flood

Jet City the Flood
Jet City the Flood

A standard analog delay with 550ms of delay, but there's one catch: you CANNOT beat the price!

Retail: ~$70

Check out the official product page here.

Image from JetCityAmplification.com

Behringer VM-1

Behringer VM-1
Behringer VM-1

This is basically a Memory man knockoff, with 550ms of analog delay and modulation. A very cool pedal, especially for the price, and very moddable. It can use either chorus or vibrato modulation.

Retail: ~$70

Check out the official product page here.

Image from Behringer.com

What's Your Favorite Analog Delay?

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    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      MXR because it's small, sturdy, not too noisy, and gets 600 ms of delay time.

      I've also used Ibanez AD-9 and the Way Huge Aqua Puss and tons of digital delays.