Updated on 09.18.2020 – For a more comprehensive article about popular delays organized by type, see our Best Delay Pedals article.
A Shopping Guide to the Best Analog Delay Pedals
Delay has become one of the most common effects on guitarists’ pedalboards, even if it is available in an uncommonly diverse number of flavors. Not only are there dozens of pedals to choose from, but the range of features on offer can be overwhelming: everything can be found from simple analog echo boxes to advanced devices that deliver multiple types of vintage and modern delay.
Many guitarists are looking for a delay to help them beef up their tone or create simple “echo-y” effects and there are plenty of analog effects that do a great job at delivering these things.
Analog Sweetness: Bucket Brigade Devices
The word “analog” and the unmissable adjective it comes with, “warm,” still resonate among many players when applied to the delay realm. All analog pedals are based on the famed Bucket Brigade Device chip (aka BBD), an analog device that, due to its noise on the high frequencies, forces pedal manufacturers to employ an eq roll-off to hide those artifacts, hence its “warm” sound – as opposed to the cristal clear one digital delay can deliver.
In an analog delay, the more BBD chips in the circuit, the longer the repeats can last, which is why the pedals in the following lists that can deliver higher delay times are more expensive (and also the reason why stereo analog delay stompboxes aren’t really a thing).
Modulation as Tape Emulation
The main delay technology before BBD was tape. Since humans tend to grow affectionate towards the character of old technology, to emulate the fluctuation created by old tape echos many of the pedals in this article feature a modulation circuit applied after the delay’s repeats.
After hours of online research, to facilitate the process of finding the best analog delay pedals for your needs, we decided to organize this article in three categories:
The lists in this article are based on the ratings of each pedal from various online music stores
Some guitarists don’t need tap tempo, time subdivision or other frills—just a basic analog, mono delay pedal that can deliver a wide array of delays for styles ranging from rockabilly to reggae to hard rock. If this is you, this next interactive list will give you several quality opntions for what you are looking for.
MXR Carbon Copy
A very popular, rich-sounding, three-knob analog delay based on the classic bucket brigade technology. It features up to 600ms of delay time with optional modulation controlled by two internal trim pots for width and rate.
Boss DM 2W Waza Craft
Based on the vintage Boss DM-2, the 2W introduces switchable sound modes and greater versatility, with Custom mode offering a cleaner analog tone with over twice the available delay time (800ms). It features an expression pedal input to control the rate and a direct out.
JHS 3 Series Delay
A simple 80ms to 800ms delay for everything from slapback to long ambient washes of pad-like echo. The Type toggle allows you to select between a clearer digital-voiced delay and darker analog-voiced delay. It delivers classic bucket brigade runaway when you max out the Repeats knob in the analog-voiced mode.
Electro-Harmonix Memory Toy
An affordable, streamlined version of the legendary Memory Man, this is a delay with lush sound and basic controls that also includes a modulation mode which adds a touch of chorus. Up to 550ms of delay, among the shortest in this list.
TC Electronic Echobrain
The most affordable bucket brigade delay on the market, this stompbox gets the job done with three knobs (Time, Repeats and Mix) and up to 300ms of delay, but gets mixed online reviews.
Ibanez Analog Delay Mini
Features two smaller knobs for Repeat and Blend, and a significantly larger Delay Time knob in the middle. The range of delay time is 20ms to 600ms. True bypass switching provides the shortest, most direct signal path, as well as the cleanest tone. 100% Analog Circuitry allows for the warmth of tone that players desire from analog delays. – see other Mini Delay pedals here.
Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail
This is the only delay in this list to feature a modulation that can be controlled through the two smaller knobs (rate and depth). It also has an effect loop in/out that can be used to connect other pedals or to send the signal to two different amps. Its Bucket Brigade chip gives you the usual rich, vintage-y tone with up to 600ms of delay.
Maxon AD-999 Delay
A great sounding delay, but not the most affordable option out there, maybe because it features eight custom Bucket Brigade IC’s for 900ms of warm, organic analog tone. Its repeats feature a slightly overdriven tonality that sits perfectly behind dirty tones and adds depth and dimension to clean sounds. See also the more affordable Maxon AD-10 (600ms delay).
Way Huge Aqua-Puss Mini
With its original, bigger brother selling used for around one grand (!), this mini version could be considered a bargain, although the delay time is only 300ms. It definitely does the job of adding depth and dimension to your tone.
Jam Pedal Delay Lama
A truly boutique, hand made pedal, this effect features a straightforward design and delivers up to 600ms of delay. It’s particularly loved by musicians for its slapback effect.
Deadbeat Sound DELAY LAY LAY
California based Deadbeat offers well-built yet super affordable non-hand made pedals. This basic delay is smaller than your average stompbox and offers between 140ms and 360ms of delay, with controls for Mix, Time and Rate.
If a basic echo pedal is too spartan for your needs, check out these analog stompboxes, which, within a smallish format, boast additional features for creative sonic manipulation, such as multi-tap delay, modulation, tap tempo and low-frequency oscillators that can emulate the pitch fluctuations of vintage tape-based delays.
Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy
A mid-size, “lighter” version of the classic (and huge) Memory Man, with up to 550ms of delay time and selectable Chorus or Vibrato modulation with triangle or square waveforms.
Chase Bliss Tonal Recall
Features a 100% analog signal path controlled by a digital brain, packing the unimaginable in a compact case: tap tempo, MIDI connectivity, presets (2 via footswitches and 100+ through MIDI), modulation controls (shape, rate, depth, and shape), wet/dry knob, a hold function to add self-oscillation and 16 DIP switches on the back panel for extra tweaks.
Panther Cub V2 Analog Delay
Half the size of the Panther Cub V1 and Panther Cub V1.5, it uses eight Bucket Brigade chips for a maximum 1 full second of delay with modulation and separate tap tempo. The latest version includes Wet Mix, smoother oscillation and run-away and an active EQ.
A rugged analog delay with modulation that can deliver anything from subtle to extreme tones.
Stone Deaf FX Syncopy
Digitally controlled analog delay with Modulation featuring 1000ms of delay time, Tap Tempo, 4 Preset Slots, four Subdivision, a useful Tone knob, and alternate knob controls to tweak the modulation’s rate, depth and shape.
Bondi Art Van
A tap tempo enabled analog delay + modulation pedal inspired by the delays of the late ’70s and early ’80s. It also features a subdivision function and self-oscillation by holding the Tap Tempo swith. holding the Bypass footswitch gives access to two presets. It’s also Midi Compatible and features an Expression Output.
CKK Electronic Fluid Time MK II
A more affordable take on the BBD delay with digital controls. DUAL TIME mode lets you set up 2 fixed delay times, and toggle between them.
TAKE OFF mode gives you a special increased feedback momentary swell.
STEP OVER delivers a strange effect with pitch-shifting modulation perfect for your sci-fi moments. Other functions include Six Tempo Subdivisions and Dry Kill, and extensive connectivity including CV In.
VS Audio Project Diana
A stereo BBD full analog audio delay, featuring six different individual modes, tape-like modulation, tap-tempo functionality and up to 550ms delay time. Each knob is controlled by a small microprocessor while your guitar signal stays 100% analog. This allows you to control, save and recall multiple delay tones instantly.
A bigger case allows (in most cases) for extra features. These are more sizeable guitar pedals that also push the envelope of what an analog delay can do.
Over a second of analog repeats with tap-tempo, subdivisions, and tails. Double concentric knobs give you independent control of the Mod, Rate, Depth, Gain, and Tone of the delay. Double footswitches allow for extended features like user customizable momentary control of oscillation and momentary control of the dizzying pitch sweep.
Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man 1100-TT
The classic EHX delay with added Tap Tempo, 1100mS of maximum delay time, Expression Control and an Effects Loop. Five Tap Divide subdivisions deliver rhythmic variation. The Expression Pedal Input provides real-time control over Blend, Rate, Depth, Feedback and Delay. For more affordable versions of this same series (with shorted delay times or fewer features) look at non-deluxe and 550-TT versions.
MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe
An expanded version of the classic Carbon copy with more delay time (1200ms), presets, tap tempo and subdivisions. It also sports and bright switch and exposed control for the modulation section (they were internal trim pots in the original).
Way Huge Supa Puss
Fully featured modulated analog delay with Tap Tempo, subdivisions, and several fine-tuning options, including Tone and Mix knobs and EXP In. The “out there” Chase mode gets your repeats to cycle through each of the subdivision values. Holding the Tap Tempo button enables trail mode.
Fairfield Circuitry Meet Maude
A simple, warm-sounding yet creative analog delay featuring a subtle random modulation that adds a vintagey tape feel to its repeats. Full CV and Expression connectivity allows control of Time and Feedback values from external sources.
Analog Man ARDX20 Dual Analog Delay
A truly boutique, hand made, dual analog delay by a pioneer in the guitar pedal world, the ARDX20 features controls for delay time, feedback, and delay level, and features effects loop and expression pedal jack for delay time. An expansion called AMAZEO gives it external tap tempo, modulation, and presets. It delivers up to 600ms of delay.
Jam Pedals Delay Llama Xtreme
A beefed-up version of the popular original delay with unusual functionality. 800ms of delay can be manipulated through a 4-Mode section that offers either Vibrato or “tape Age” character or Random repeats od Pitch*shifting. Tap tempo with subdivision, hold function, kill dry, trails, and expression/CV input round up the list of features.
A large footprint analog delay with 1000ms of delay with Tap Tempo, switchable modulation, tone control. FX loop, and an interesting take on the time repeats. An expression pedal can control the time or the number of repeats (feedback).
Ibanez Echo Shifter V3
Version 3 of the Echo Shifter adds a digital mode next to the original analog one for crisper repeats, and as Oscillation mode if the tap tempo footswitch is held. The effect’s modulation can now be controlled more in-depth thanks to the new Speed knob. Delay goes up to 600ms in Analog mode.
Diamond Memory Lane 2
Out of production – The first Memory Lane was the first analog delay with Tap Tempo. It had two delay times switchable through the central footswitch, modulation with Speed and Depth controls, Mix and EQ knobs and many other features that set the standard for following similar devices.
Here are some useful videos about analog delays:
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