Most guitarists know that the best-sounding amplifiers are analog ones. They use tubes and not some digital solid-state drive. Most also know that analog effects pedals are superior to digital ones.
So why do so many people use the best digital delay pedals?
It might have to do with analog delay pedals being phased out a couple of decades ago. The “digital revolution” swept in and the old analog delays were forgotten about. Until recently…
Now, analog delay pedals are having a huge comeback. And it’s not hard to see why. They offer the kind of tone and sound that filled the early days of country, blues, and rock. The sneaky slap-back and eerie elongated echoes are once more making music great again.
But which analog delay is the right one for you?
No need to run over the same ground because we have you covered. Join us as we take a look at the best analog delay pedals out there and find the perfect one for you…
- Top 8 Best Analog Delay Pedals To Buy In 2020 Reviews
- 1 MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay
- 2 Donner Yellow Fall Vintage Pure Analog Delay Guitar Effect Pedal True Bypass
- 3 Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Analog Delay Pedal
- 4 Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss Analog Delay
- 5 Behringer VD400 Vintage Analog Delay Effects Pedal
- 6 Boss DM-2W Delay Waza Craft Guitar Effects Pedal
- 7 CNZ Audio Analog Delay Guitar Effects Pedal, True Bypass
- 8 Rowin Analog Vintage Delay Guitar Effect Pedal
- Best Analog Delay Pedal Buyer’s Guide
- So, What’s The Best Analog Delay Pedal?
Top 8 Best Analog Delay Pedals To Buy In 2020 Reviews
1 MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay
A rich and diverse full-range analog delay. Just a few twists and this pedal runs from meek and mild to wet and wild.
The best feature on this delay pedal is the 600ms delay time. Along with optional modulation, that emulates tape echo tones, you can work in some slippery looping sounds. Think Edge from U2 and you get the picture.
You can shape your sound to crispy bathroom slap-back, all the way to epic space time-travel. Thanks to the Bucket Brigade Device, the sound is completely analog. It harkens to the old school delay sounds. Steeped with depth, sway, and swim.
There are three control knobs to easily shape your sound. The Delay knob controls the delay time. The Mix knob allows you to adjust how much effect is added to the signal. The Regen controls how much the delay regenerates.
This pedal won’t suck any tone or color from your clean signal. The True Bypass feature ensures nothing from the pedal bleeds in while switched off. As a result, you get the pure, full sound and tone of your guitar.
It can be powered by battery or with a 9V adapter. However, running on the battery doesn’t offer the same amount of playing time.
- Rich and warm tone.
- Up to 600ms of delay time.
- Optional delay modulation.
- True Bypass.
- Battery or DC power.
- Components are not the most durable.
2 Donner Yellow Fall Vintage Pure Analog Delay Guitar Effect Pedal True Bypass
A delay pedal with pure, whole analog circuitry. The result is clear, round, and smooth delay effects.
This best delay pedal features a classic aluminum alloy design structure. It delivers smooth and fluid delay effects. Furthermore, the analog circuitry offers incredible time balance along with rich tone presence.
It features a delay time range of 25ms to 600ms. This means you can shape a wide-variety of delay settings. Tripping out or elongated echoes are just a turn of the knob away. The three control knobs are Echo, F.Back, and Time. These let you quickly and easily shape the kind of wave you want to ride.
Echo is the mix control. It sets how much of the effect is added to the dry signal. The Time knob sets the time intervals between the delays. And the F.Back controls the delay repetitions. Set it subtle for slow and short slaps or twist the knobs to time-travel trippy. No matter what setting you choose, your guitar tone will stay pristine.
This pedal features True Bypass. The result is there’s no signal distortion or tone loss when the pedal is switched off.
Another nice feature is the slim size. It is discrete and takes up less space than normal size pedals. Therefore, you can save some room on your pedalboard.
- Classic aluminum alloy design.
- True Bypass.
- 25ms to 600ms delay time.
- Balanced timing.
- Very affordable.
- Control knobs are not very durable.
- Some concerns about circuit wiring.
3 Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail Analog Delay Pedal
Vintage warmth and richness you’d expect from an analog delay pedal. Tricked out with a little extra for more creative options.
At the heart of this analog delay, is a Bucket Brigade Device (BBD). This classic delay circuitry delivers exceptional warmth and smooth ambiance. Furthermore, it provides you with great tone clarity and presence.
This pedal features natural compression along with treble-balancing abilities. The result is dry notes that are more apparent and not overpowered by the effect. The tone and sound of your guitar carry on and on.
The modulation feature adds an extra dimension to your sound. It can range from a soft flutter to a raging vibrato.
The Rate and Depth knobs allow you to shape the strength of the modulation. Dialing back the Depth will cut the modulation out. This leaves you with nothing but an organic, smooth analog delay effect. Furthermore, these are located on the top for easy access when performing live.
The basic analog controls are Mix, Repeats, and Delay. With these, you can have anything from stinky slap-back to LSD-laced long liquid lunges.
This pedal features delay times that start at 15ms and go to 600ms by using the Delay knob. Also, the delay knob features a flashing LED light. The Mix knob controls the pedals strength over the dry signal. While the Repeats knob controls the number of effect repetitions.
A nice addition is the Wet input jack, or TRS insert. This allows you to stick any other effect in front of the delay. So, you can let your creative side flow.
Featuring True Bypass, battery and DC power options, the Vapor Trail is a solid piece of equipment. Having it handmade in the USA means you know its legit.
- Classic Bucket Brigade Device.
- Independent modulation.
- Wet insert allows for effect loop options.
- 15ms to 600ms delay time.
- True Bypass.
- Made in the USA.
- Modulation isn’t the best.
4 Way Huge WHE701 Aqua-Puss Analog Delay
The rebirth of a legendary analog delay pedal. With simple controls, gorgeous tone, and sound, this pedal redefines what a delay can do.
This pedal offers the lushest and liveliest delay effects without any tricks. It uses a BBD that can reach self-oscillation for a total mind-bending schizo experience. In other words, the repeats never end.
A vintage-style sound means pure tone clarity. Your guitar sounds just like it should. With fantastic transparency and responsiveness, the Aqua-Puss works with your playing. The harder you play, the harder this pedal works.
Three control knobs are all you need to shape your perfect accents. Get sharp slap-back or long lingering spookiness. This pedal can sharpen your solos as well as rattle your rhythms. The Delay knob controls the delay time. It goes from a twitchy 20ms to a throbbing 300ms and has plenty of in-between.
The Feedback knob lets you shape the duration and intensity of the delay. Keep it low for those quick, slick snaps. Tweak it up for underground echoes. The Blend allows you to determine how much of the effect is added to your clean signal. From damp to drenched, you’ll find your ideal sound.
- Vintage Bucket Brigade Device.
- Self-oscillation is possible.
- Great tone and sound.
- Easy to control and use.
- True Bypass.
- Battery and DC adapter powered.
- Only 20ms-300ms delay time.
5 Behringer VD400 Vintage Analog Delay Effects Pedal
An analog delay pedal made to stand up with the leading ones on the market. Exceptional value and excellent tone.
This pedal offers elastic delay that swoops and swirls. It can also deliver the classic slap-back sound of the 1960s.
It uses a Bucket Brigade Device to provide you with pure analog delay effects. Furthermore, it features a noise reduction circuit that works to keep your signal sparkly sweet. It can offer up to 300ms of delay time. Turned all the way up you get wavy gravy echoes.
The straightforward controls are Rate, Intensity, and Echo. You can easily shape classic rock sounds or dabble into the more ambient experimental styles. The Rate dial controls the delay speed. The Intensity dial lets you play with how much effect is blended in the signal. Finally, the Echo dial lets you adjust how many and long the delay will last for.
This pedal is powered by either a 9V battery or DC adapter. It also has an LED indicator to let you know when the pedal is engaged.
Simple and affordable, what more could you ask for?
- Bucket Brigade Device.
- Up to 300ms of delay time.
- Very affordable.
- Vintage tones.
- Plastic housing.
- No True Bypass.
6 Boss DM-2W Delay Waza Craft Guitar Effects Pedal
A special recreation pedal. Designed to bring you premium analog tone and sound.
Based on the discontinued BOSS DM-2, this pedal offers the vintage styles of delay. It uses a Bucket Brigade Device to deliver warmth, clarity, and smoothness. It features two different modes to shape your sound desires. First is the Standard Mode, with an authentic DM-2 tone. The Standard Mode offers 20ms-300ms of delay time. Ideal for those old school slap-back delays.
The Custom Mode opens things up. The delay time can be maxed out at 800ms. This means you can get some serious syrup and gravy sloshing delays going. The tone is clear and warm with loads presence.
Does what it says on the tin…
The control knobs are standard fare. The Rate controls the delay time. The Echo controls the amount and length of the delays. And the Intensity controls how much of the pedal adds to the dry signal.
Certainly not the most amazing analog delay pedal, but nothing to scoff at either.
- Full-analog circuit.
- Switchable modes.
- Up to 800ms delay time.
- Sturdy and efficient.
- Not as good as the original.
- Some issues when used in an FX loop.
7 CNZ Audio Analog Delay Guitar Effects Pedal, True Bypass
Part of the Vintage Series from CNZ meant as an homage to days gone by. This pedal has a solid build and miniature size.
This nifty little pedal has awesome analog tones and sound. It can even self-oscillate when pushed over the edge and does a great job of recreating the vintage delay sounds of the past. It is crisp, smooth, and detailed.
Its compact miniature size means it does not take up much space. It also has a very sturdy housing and True Bypass. As a result, the dry signal stays clean, and the internals are well-protected.
In fact, many miniature pedals suffer from internal crowding. But, not this little guy.
Three controls are you need to go from subtle slap-back to supersonic oscillator. There are Echo, Time, and Feedback control knobs. All do what they say they do. Rate controls the delay time. The Echo knob controls the strength of the effect. And lastly, the Feedback knob lets you control the number of repeats. Crank the Feedback knob for some serious self-oscillation.
A surprising little analog delay that is lively and dynamic without costing much.
- Vintage analog delay tones.
- Capable of self-oscillation.
- Sturdy housing and durable internals.
- Easy to use.
- Miniature size.
- Made by a family-owned business.
- No battery power option.
- Control knobs are not that strong.
8 Rowin Analog Vintage Delay Guitar Effect Pedal
An organic-sounding analog delay pedal. Housed in a miniature casing that hides an awesome classic tape and echo delay inside.
This little guy has lovely analog warmth and clarity. From tangy country slap-back to sweeping spaced-out solos, the Rowin LEF has you covered.
It features the basic analog delay controls. There are Time, Echo, and Feedback control knobs to dial in your perfect sound. In fact, turning it all the way on the Echo and Feedback will give you some sick self-oscillation.
The Time knob adjusts the delay from 25ms to 600ms. With this range, you can conjure up every kind of style. The Echo knob controls how much of the effect is added to the signal. Keep it light or pour on some intense waves. And finally the all-important Feedback knob. It regulates how many times the delay repeats. The decay is nice and crispy. It trails off in a genuine analog tone and feel.
Along with True Bypass, this pedal is dead quiet with no coloration or tone loss of any kind.
A real gem among analog delay pedals. The Rowin LEF-314 offers value and vintage vibes all in one.
- Smooth, clear vintage analog delay tones.
- 25ms-600ms delay time.
- Able to self-oscillate.
- True Bypass.
- Easy controls.
- Miniature profile housing.
- Very affordable.
- No battery power.
- Not that durable.
Best Analog Delay Pedal Buyer’s Guide
Now that we have looked at the best analog delay pedals, we have a few extra thoughts.
First of all, the True Bypass debate. Many think that any effects pedal that does not include True Bypass is not made for live performers. And that if you are going to be playing gigs, you need a pedal with True Bypass. Otherwise, your tone can diminish, and your sound is likely to get distorted or degraded.
This is true to some extent, but, if you are running a lot of true bypass pedals, you will be losing signal, especially high end. Buffered pedals stop this from happening, therefore if you are only running one or two pedals, true bypass is great. However, if you are using more than that including a buffered pedal, especially at the start and end of your effects chain can help make up for the losses.
Secondly, a real analog delay pedal should only have analog circuitry. Anything mixed with digital modulation, or that uses a carbon copy won’t have the same soul. Sure they can sound cool, but something will be missing, especially if you’re playing live.
So, What’s The Best Analog Delay Pedal?
Each of the analog delay pedals we reviewed is a fine option. However, we all know that one will show more soul and substance than the rest. For us, that is the…
This pedal is a pure throwback to the old school styles and sounds. It has got all the chops to give you gnarly slap-back with lots of thwacks. And it can get wavy and gravy with plenty of long-lasting repeats.
The controls are easy to use. It features a genuine Bucket Brigade Device for pure analog enjoyment. Truth be told, you have to be careful with this pedal. It can easily spiral into maddening self-oscillation. But hey, you want that as an option, right?
True Bypass keeps the noise out. Likewise, it is built solid and sturdy. Overall, it’s as close to the vintage delays as you can get.
That’s all for now. We hope you enjoy your new analog delay pedal. Just be careful not to trip out so far you can’t get back. Gravy, baby! Gravy.