Updated on 12.11.2019 – Please note: this article is part of a series of pieces about delay stompboxes. We already published four other articles in the series, one focused on basic analog delay pedals, one on mini delays, one on pedals emulating the Binson Echorec delay and another one on the best affordable and used delay pedals. Look out for more articles about delay coming out in the next few months!
For the guitarists who live and breathe delay and enjoy to tweak and experiment with this effect’s many variables, the modern multi-mode, digital, stereo delay pedal is the ultimate gift from heaven (but not a cheap one).
The pedals in this category are sophisticated, flexible, yet not exactly compact machines that allow access to several algorithms emulating all sorts of delays, from analog-style to digital, from modulated to emulated, from ping-pong to reverse – you name it. They tend to feature several controls that allow you to tweak every setting of the delay to suit your aural vision.
Besides the characteristics mentioned in the title of this article, all these stompboxes (apart from the Line 6 DL4, which started the delay emulation frenzy back in 1999) have the following features:
- Tap Tempo
- Delay Subdivisions
- Stereo Output
- Digital engine
- Midi and Expression connectivity
- Non-compact footprint
Find out what makes them unique in the gallery below (mouseover/tap for description, click/tap again for video)
Compact Multi-Mode Digital Delays with more than 4 modes
For those who are happy with a scaled-down (and significantly more affordable) version of these workhorse devices, there are several compact or semi-compact delays that offer many features of the powerhouse delays we included in the first list. In some cases (Electro-Harmonix, TC Electronic and Line 6) these share the same algorithms of their bigger siblings.
Multi-Mode Digital Delays we omitted from this list
There are several other compact multi-mode delays on the market, in particular with 4 or fewer modes (for example, by Walrus Audio, Old Blood Noise Endeavors and Red Panda), but we wanted this list to be about traditional delays, and these other devices tend to have a more creative if not experimental approach to echo. We are working on a list of creative delays, so stay tuned!
We also omitted units that feature both Delay and Reverb, you’ll be able to find a selection of these in our Best Pedals for Shoegazer List.