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Oct 20, 2020

Best Multi-Mode Delay Pedals

Updated on 11.05.2020 – For a more comprehensive article about delays organized by type, see our Best Delay Pedals article. Find other best-of articles about delays here: analog delay pedals, tape delays, mini delays, pedals emulating the Binson Echorec, creative delays, and best affordable and used delay pedals

A Guide to the Best Multi-Mode Delay Pedals

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, complex 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.

Find out what makes them unique in the galleries below (mouseover/tap for description, click/tap again for video).

Best Multi-Mode Delay Pedals with a Large Footprint

The effects in the list are true do-it-all, fully-featured workstations with very deep functionality. Because of this, they require more real estate than your average compact pedal. Their learning curve is not the shortest, but the sonic possibilities they offer are almost endless.

Besides the multi-modality, 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
  • Presets
  • Stereo Output
  • DSP engine
  • Midi and Expression connectivity
  • Non-compact footprint

Here’s the top 3.

  1. Source Audio Nemesis
  2. Strymon Timeline
  3. TC Flashback x4

And the full list with descriptions and links to videos in the gallery below:

Best Multi-Mode Delay Pedals with Smaller Footprint (and less features)

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.

Here’s the top 3:

  1. Electro-Harmonix Canyon
  2. BOSS DD-8
  3. TC Electronic Flashback 2

And the full list with descriptions and links to videos in the gallery below:

Best Multi-Mode Delay Pedals  in Mini Format

If you are looking for even smaller multi-mode delays, there are some listed in this regularly updated article about Mini Delay Pedals.

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 article about the Best Ambient/Shoegazer Pedals.