15 Best Delay Plugins of 2020 (VST, AU, AAX)

15 Best Delay Plugins of 2020 (VST, AU, AAX) | Integraudio.com

Delay plugins come in all shapes and sizes. Today’s market is highly saturated with a ton of delay plugins from many different developers. Having a delay plugin is highly important for producing music, but having the right delay plugin is what is going to bring out your best work.

What Is The Delay Effect In Music Production And Mixing?

A delay effect in music refers to an audio effect that sounds like a little echo is being played alongside the main track. Delay tools generate this effect by taking in incoming signals and play them back in duplicate form to simulate the echo effect.

How Does Delay Work?

Almost all delay effect plugins function in a similar manner. The effect is generated by recording the signal and then playing parts of it back at different timing. Differences in delay effect types come from the way the signal is repeated or how the delay tail is modulated.

What’s The Difference Between Delay And Reverb?

Delay and Reverb are similar in a lot of ways, and a lot of people can’t differentiate them, especially because both effects are time-based and function by altering the signal in different ways.

The main difference between delay and reverb them is that a delay effect is created due to repetition in the signal after a short amount of time, and the number of repetitions is controlled by setting the amount of feedback.

On the other hand, the reverb effect is a “natural”  effect meaning the effect is created due to sound waves bouncing off of surface types that we can hear, and they make up our room acoustics like short, tall, hard, soft, etc.

If we were to describe reverb in technical terms, we would say that reverb is like multiple delays where the feedback is merged together and “blurred” to generate a sense of space and atmosphere. For example, if a person is in an empty room, and he/she claps their hands, the first reflected sound/echo is the delay. After a while, this sound keeps traveling and eventually dies down. This is reverb.

Reading the review of the delay plugins mentioned will further give you an understanding of what delay plugins are and what they do.

The 15 Best Delay Plugins For Mixing (VST, AU, AAX)

15. Applied Acoustics Systems Objeq Delay Review

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Objeq Delay Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

Objeq Delay plugin by Applied Acoustic Systems has a creative method of adding acoustic resonance to the delay effect making it a really unique plugin.

This works by taking a dry signal and sending it through a virtual resonator (string, beam, or a drumhead) before passing it to the delay lines. In addition to that, the virtual resonators are not fixed and can be changed by the user for different sound characteristics.

Features & Specifications

  • A resonator section with different presets for different sound characteristics
  • Several presets that function really well
  • Sync buttons to match the effect timing with the project bpm
  • LFO section that can be routed to the resonator or the dry signal filter or the delay parameter

Compatibility, Formats & Price

Objeq Delay comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats and works well with Windows 7 or higher or Mac OS 10.7 or higher and supports 32/64 bits. The Objeq delay costs $139.

Conclusion

While several users complain over the insufficient modulation controls, overall, the Objeq delay is the perfect plugin for users willing to add unique sound characteristics to their delay effects and be experimental with it.

14. D16 Group Sigmund Review

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D16 Group Sigmund Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

This gigantic delay plugin by the D16 group is highly useful for engineers who like to add their own sound design to a track.

Sigmund is made up of four delay lines, each line having a separate multimode filter, amplitude modulator, and overdrive.

Features & Specifications

  • A very powerful plugin that is highly customizable
  • Each multimode filter is completely independent of the feedback loop
  • Tempo sync button to match the track
  • A wide preset gallery to use as a starting point

Compatibility, Formats & Price

Sigmund runs on Windows 7 or higher for PC and OS X 10.7 or higher for Mac. It is compatible with 32/64 bit systems and has AU/VST/AAX versions for different host applications. D16 Sigmund costs € 69 which is around $79.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the D16 Group Sigmund is an extremely powerful plugin that has a ton of settings and options which can be very CPU heavy at times. It is great for users who want a huge input on the sound design of the delay effect.

13. MeldaProduction MSpectral Delay Review

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MeldaProduction MSpectral Delay Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

MSpectral Delay has a highly customizable edit mode and comes with many active presets. The MSpectral delay is an incredible sound design plugin.

By using the MSpectral delay, the user can assign delay effect to particular sections of a track, for example, the different delay time for a snare and another for a hi-hat in a drum loop. The user has complete control over feedback, delay time, and many other parameters within a frequency range.

Features & Specifications

  • A highly efficient edit mode allowing the user to edit the sound design of the plugin effect
  • Active presets each functioning as a separate plugin since each has a different sound design
  • A colorful interface that is easy to work with
  • Display screen where the user can control the pitch, width, and EQ of the effect

Compatibility, Formats & Price

This plugin runs on Windows Vista or higher for PC and OS X 10.9 for Mac. It has AU/VST/VST3/AAX format. It is compatible with both 32/64 bit systems for Windows but only 64 bits for Mac. MSpectral Delay costs € 50 which is about $59.

Conclusion

Overall, the MSpectral delay is unique in its abilities and is great for users who are knowledgeable about delay effects and are able to set their own delay effect settings. If not, it’s an amazing plugin – presets are incredible, highly efficient, and very useful.

12. Pulsar Audio Echorec Review

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Pulsar Echorec Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

With a successful attempt at emulating the analog sound of the classic Binson Echorec 2 delay hardware, this plugin serves as a strong debut by the Pulsar Audio.

The original hardware had 6 valves, each adding its own saturation characteristics. The delay feedback could also be edited to self-oscillate, thus acting like an overdub to the track. The Echorec hardware was quite expensive (can be bought at $2500 second hand) so having it as a plugin is great.

Features & Specifications

  • This plugin maintains the original analog sound of the hardware it’s developed after
  • Tap the tempo button to sync the effect with the BPM
  • This plugin models three different units, Used, Good, and Mint each offering the user a different sound design
  • Drive knob to increase the intensity of the saturation added to the effect
  • Tone knob which is useful to make the delay effect either have a warmer or a brighter feel

Compatibility, Formats & Price

Echorec runs on both Windows and Mac OS and comes in VST/VST3/AAX/AU support. It comes at a starting price of £88.96 or around $115.10.

Conclusion

Overall, the Echorec delay is an interesting and efficient delay that is a vital plugin to those aiming to achieve the vintage, analog sound that sounds “warm” and pleasing to the ear.

11. Eventide UltraTap Review

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Eventide Ultratap Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

The UltraTap Delay by Eventide never used to be a plugin but instead was an effect built in their H9 processor as an algorithm. However, due to its popularity, Eventide decided to release the UltraTap as a standalone plugin.

Though the UltraTap is basically a multi-tap delay, Eventide takes it upon themselves to infuse strange sounds and secondary effects to the plugin. Secondary effects include comb filtering, effects that sound like reverb, volume swells, crunchy delays, comb filtering, and many more.

Studying the workflow of this plugin allows users to appreciate the engineering behind this plugin more. Signals first go through a Pre-Delay followed by Tone adjustment, a Slurm (which is a mix of random effects like detune, reverb, modulation, and many more to reduce the impact of the taps), Chop, and then lastly the Tap delay.

Features & Specifications

  • A horizontal ribbon at the bottom of the interface to switch between different setting modes
  • Compatibility options with DAWs that have MIDI support for easier use
  • Hotswitch button for instant switch between two settings to make the plugin workflow resemble a hardware
  • Mix Lock allows the user to maintain mix-dry settings whilst switching between presets

Compatibility, Formats & Price

The UltraTap by Eventide runs on Windows 8+ for PC and macOS 10.9+ for Mac. It supports AX/AU/VST/VST3 versions and runs on both 32/64 bit versions of Windows but on 64 bit for Mac. UltraTap comes at a starting price of $99.

Conclusion

Eventide UltraTap is the perfect delay plugin for producers who like to be different and are not afraid to experiment with different sounds and effects.

10. IK Multimedia T-Racks Space Delay Review

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Emulating the classic Roland RE-201 Space Echo hardware, the T-Racks Space delay is a member of a set of plugins developed by IK Multimedia as a part of the T-Racks Tape Machine collection and it emulates a hardware delay unit.

IK has managed to successfully replicate the original sound of the hardware as well as providing the same controls present in the original unit. Additionally, they’ve added extra features to give the plugin more functionality with DAWs.

The plugin consists of a tape delay and a spring reverb to emulate the sound design of the RE-201. An infusion of physical modelling and dynamic convolution is utilized to power the Space Delay.

Features & Specifications

  • A ducker that ducks the sound of the delay when it starts to clash with other signals
  • Reverb can be switched to stereo in the plugin as opposed to the hardware
  • LoFi effects like Tape Age and Noise controls to add an older/vintage vibe to the track which a lot of listeners love
  • Users are able to control the panning for all the 3 tape heads
  • FX Feed switched that users can automate to turn off the input to the delay section which is useful when you want the delay effect to only apply to certain words or phrases

Compatibility, Formats & Price

This plugin runs on Windows 7 or higher for PC and macOS 10.9 or higher for Mac. It also only supports 64bits format and comes at a price of $100.

Conclusion

Users who love the vintage sound signature will find IK Multimedia T-Racks Space Delay to be a wonderful plugin as it effectively manages to execute its replication of the classic Roland RE-201.

9. Soundtoys EchoBoy Review

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Soundtoys EchoBoy Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

A product developed by the former Wave Mechanics team with the intention of creating a plugin to replicate the sound of a classic echo unit, EchoBoy by SoundToys results in an incredibly feature-packed plugin.

Soundtoys EchoBoy is extremely powerful and features a ton of emulated classic echo-boxes. DM-2, Space Echo, Echoplex are all integrated within this plugin. Additionally, users get an Analog sounding preset in ‘studio tape’ which attempts to replicate the sound signature of the Ampex ATR-102 machine.

Features & Specifications

  • Delay mode with settings for rhythm echo as well as ping-pong, mono, and dual delays
  • High and low cut filters to edit the delay effect tail
  • Timing can be typed for the delay which makes for a more precise effect
  • This plugin can work as a chorus or a reverb plugin due to its CE-1 chorus emulation as well as the rhythm echo feature and is highly efficient as well
  • Users can control saturation, tape flutter, and diffusion to make the track sound more analog
  • Accent, swing, and shuffle can be edited which makes EchoBoy the only plugin with actual “groove”

Compatibility, Formats & Price

This plugin works on Windows 7 or higher and Mac OS X 10.10 or higher. It is only compatible with 64-bit devices. It comes in VST/AAX/AU versions.

Conclusion

This review only covers a portion of what this amazing plugin is capable of. It is highly recommended that you use this plugin personally through its available trial and check out all the cool features it offers.

8. Native Instruments Replika XT Review

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NI Replika XT Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

Released for free initially back in 2014 through a Christmas promotion, the initial Replika plugin by Native Instruments is a straightforward, “no-nonsense” delay plugin.

Its working mechanism is pretty straightforward as well as it makes use of a single feedback delay, 2 filter modulation effects, a phaser as well as 3 sound styles i.e. Diffusion, Modern, and Vintage Digital, each with different sound design and vibe. The Replika XT is an addition to the original Replika plugin in terms of features and improvements to the original features.

Features & Specifications

In addition to the features mentioned above the Replika XT adds:

  • A dual-mode which is adding another delay signal to the original one
  • Analogue and Tape styles which brings the sum to 5 styles
  • A display that shows the delay signal and allows the user to switch between styles and modulation effects
  • 5 more modulation effects which are Pitch Shifter, Micro Ahifter, Flanger, Chorus and Frequency Shifter which brings the sum to 7 modulation effects

Compatibility, Formats & Price

This plugin only supports 64-bit devices. It works on Windows 7 or higher for PC and macOS 10.12 or higher for Mac. It will require at least a Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM for Mac, and 2GB RAM for PC. Buying this plugin will set you back $69 initially and $29 for updates.

Conclusion

Replica XT by Native Instruments is the perfect plugin for users who need a simple and straightforward plugin that does not require a lot of knowledge about sound design.

7. Fabfilter Timeless 2 Review

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Fabfilter Timeless 2 Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

Initially released back in 2009, Fabfilter Timeless 2 clearly lives up to its name as it continues to be one of the more efficient and versatile delay plugins that are out there.

The working mechanism behind this plugin is similar to other delay plugins, where the signal can travel in two paths i.e in stereo L/R or in mono, each controllable on its own, like setting separate filter modes on each side. The delay effect signal itself can be filtered just like in other plugins, but Fabfilter provides a parametric display which makes it easier to edit from there and do much more.

Features & Specifications

  • Freeze Buffer which saves some of the incoming signals and continuously plays it back while the user is editing the speed settings, filter, and so on
  • Timestretching mode which allows a user to adjust the delay time without worrying about the pitch changing
  • MIDI learn which allows users to control the parameters of the delay using a MIDI controller
  • Timeless 2 provides the user with a huge presets bank (over 300 presets)

Compatibility, Formats & Price

This plugin works on Windows 7 or higher for PC and OSX 10.8 or higher for Mac. It supports 32/64 bit formats for Windows but only 64 bits for Mac. It also comes in VST/VST3/AAX/AU versions. Buying this plugin will set you back $129.

Conclusion

The Timeless 2 by Fabfilter is the go-to plugin for users who like to have in-depth control over how the delay effect signal is processed. Though its interface could use some redevelopment, it still remains a very powerful and very useful delay plugin.

6. Waves H-Delay Review

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Waves H-Delay Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

Waves H-Delay is part of the Hybrid plugins line by Waves which is well known to produce the best hybrid plugins and overall solid plugins in general.

The H-Delay is modeled after two delay hardware units i.e. the classic TE Electronic and Bel & Lexicon digital delay hardware units, particularly the PCM 42.

The resulting product is a powerful plugin that can give delay times of up to 3500ms along with modulation effects and filters which makes it efficient in adding simple echo effect or be used to add a flanger or phaser effects.

Features & Specifications

  • Delay time can be set to follow the bpm or by synced to the tempo of the host or be manually adjusted using the knobs
  • Analog modes to warm up the sound and make it sound pleasant and have an analog or vintage vibe
  • LoFi setting that adds some noise and scratches to give the effect a classic or older feel

The H-Delay manages to replicate the pitch change that occurs when the user changes delay times which used to be the case when using old delay hardware due to the tape playback changing when a user changes the time.

Compatibility, Formats & Price

The H-Delay by Waves works on Windows 10 64 bits for PC and OSX 10.12.6 or higher for Mac. It only works on core i5 processors or higher or equivalent and requires at least 8GB of RAM. Waves H-Delay is priced at $59.99.

Conclusion

Waves H-Delay is a popular plugin overall and works great due to its incorporation of the pitch shift effect as well as its time sync settings. In addition to that, the analog section makes it a go-to plugin for many users despite its hefty price tag.

5. u-he Colour Copy Review

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u-he Colour Copy Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

Designed to produce an analog-sounding effect as inspired by the vintage bucket-brigade delays, the Colour Copy is the most recent release by the German company u-he.

The bucket-brigade delays are well known for their unique dark sound. The mechanism behind bucket-brigade delays is that a signal passes through a sequence of capacitors and then the output, imitating a bucket being passed from one fire brigade to the next, thus the name.

Features & Specifications

  • Dark analog sound since the plugin samples the classic BBD sound signature
  • Feedback coloration which mixes saturation layers with the delays
  • Dynamic ducking with the ability to preserve the original delay
  • Infinite loop button which allows the user to playback the delay contents infinitely

Compatibility, Formats & Price

This plugin runs on OS X 10.7 or higher for Mac and Windows 7 SP1 or higher for PC. It supports both 32 and 64 bits depth and comes in VST/VST3/AU/AAX versions for different DAWs. The u-he Colour Copy comes at an initial price of 69 € which is around $79.

Conclusion

The interface of this plugin may take users some time to get used to as it can seem a little bit complex. However, this plugin remains one of the best in the market at executing the dark analog-sounding delay effect.

4. W.A Production Mutant Delay Review

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W.A Production Mutant Delay Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

Designed specifically for use on vocal processing, Mutant Delay by W.A production is an interesting delay with a modern-looking interface.

The plugin has a built-in ducker which ducks the feedback level of the delay effect in presence of the vocals which makes the delay sounds very interesting and not clashing with the main vocals, thus maintaining clarity and definition. This is an incredible feature that requires very hectic and complex work to achieve when using normal delay plugins.

Features & Specifications

  • Compression style controls for the built-in ducker for a more precise effect
  • Several presets offering different choices of delay settings
  • Modern yet straightforward and simple to use interface
  • Two modes for filtering that are: straight dampening and increasing over time
  • Display waveform showing the delay effect on the signal
  • Built-in ducker
  • The delay effect is host-synced

Compatibility, Formats & Price

This plugin requires Windows 7 or higher for PC (32/64 bit) and OSX 10.7 or higher for Mac (32/64 bit). Unfortunately, this plugin only comes in the AAX version which only runs on Pro Tools DAW. Mutant Delay costs $39.00.

Conclusion

Overall, the Mutant Delay by W.A production is a plugin that is designed specifically to work with vocals because of its built in ducker which makes it stand out when compared to other plugins.

3. BABY Audio Comeback Kid Review

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BABY Audio Comeback Kid Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

Designed by Baby Audio in 2020, the Comeback Kid is a fairly modern delay plugin that comes with 2 skins and 2 resizable interfaces that make it easier to use for most users.

Its biggest selling point is its simplicity and the way its geared towards users who do not want to go in-depth into the sound design of the effect. The interface is straightforward and uses modern terms like “flavor”, “sauce”, etc that young producers can understand very easily.

Features & Specifications

  • Flavor section containing settings like cheap which causes the effect to sound older and more LoFi, a tape which gives it an old tape effect by adding saturation, swirl which acts like a phaser and sauce which applies a bit of reverb into the effect
  • The stereo section enables the user to control the stereo imaging of the effect as well as the panning
  • Straight to the point delay section with only two knobs, one for time and one for feedback gain
  • A small display of the time selected for the delay (For example 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, etc)

Compatibility, Formats & Price

This plugin runs on Windows 7 and higher for PC and OSX 10.7 or higher for Mac. It has support for all DAWs since it comes in VST/VST3/AU/AAX formats. This plugin costs $49.

Conclusion

The Comeback Kid delay is the go-to delay plugin if you are a beginner producer or even an experienced producer that would like an efficient, easy, and fun to work with delay plugin that does all of the standard work of a delay plugin but in a more “modern” way. However, there is still room for a lot of features that can make this plugin much better like dual delay, ping pong panning, and so on.

2. Surreal Machines Modnetic Review

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Surreal Machines Modnetic Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

The Modnetic by Surreal Machines is a modular tape delay plugin that has a convolution reverb built-in.

Modnetic attempts to emulate tape delay hardware from the 70s and successfully manages to execute that. The plugin provides users with 4 effects in that are: classic tone, spring reverb presets, bucket brigade phaser/chorus/flanger, and of course, tape delay. Real-time routing settings make this plugin perfect for live performance mode.

Features & Specifications

  • The echo section gives users 3 different tape heads which can be combined.
  • Reverb section to make the effect sound more “atmospheric”
  • 4 vintage machine settings, each offering a different sound characteristic
  • Modulation section that has effects inspired by BBD as discussed earlier, like phaser, chorus and flanger effects
  • Developed to work with live performance modes with no issues

Compatibility, Formats & Price

This plugin runs on Windows 7 or higher for PC and OSX 10.7 or higher for Mac. It requires core i5 processors at least and requires 4GB of RAM at least. This plugin also supports both 32 and 64 bits for all systems.

Conclusion

Modnetic by Surreal Machines is an amazing delay plugin for users who aim to have an atmospheric sounding delay effect as well as get analog vibes from the effect.

1. Valhalla Delay Review

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Valhalla Delay Review - 15 Best Delay Plugins | Integraudio.com

Thanks to its straightforward design and incredible sound, the Valhalla Delay has managed to become one of the most popular delay plugins that you can find.

Valhalla plugins like the  Shimmer, the Vintage Verb, and the Room have all managed to give Valhalla a pretty positive reputation. The Valhalla Delay is no different. This is the first delay plugin to be released by the company despite its dabbles with the likes of UberMod and FreqEcho.

The Valhalla Delay provides the user with 7 delay modes. There’s a tape emulator, HQ digital delay, and a HiFi tape echo included in the modes. In addition to that, there is a ghost mode that adds haunting ambients by mixing some of the HiFi tape echo with diffusion that sounds like reverb and some frequency shifting. Moreover, it has 2 pitch-shifting modes called the Pitch and RevPitch.

Features & Specifications

  • 7 delay modes with different tone characteristics
  • Clean interface that changes color according to the selected mode
  • Era setting to choose the vibe of the effect (for example, future/present/past)
  • 5 delay styles in charge of the interchange between different delay voices

Compatibility, Formats & Price

The Valhalla Delay comes in a 64-bit format only and supports Windows 10 or higher for PC and OS X 10.8 or higher for Mac. It also comes in VST/VST3/AAX/AU versions.

Conclusion

Valhalla Delay does not have enough internal modulation controls which allow the user to have an input on the sound design. However, this is part of its selling point as a simple and straightforward delay plugin that is useful for normal mixing and mastering and not some highly experimental and daring sound designs

Last Words

To choose the right plugin you would have to analyze your needs and abilities. Are you an expert in sound design? Do you need a plugin where you can control the sound signature of the effect? If the answer to those questions is yes, then the D16 Group – Sigmund or the SoundToys EchoBoy are probably the go-to and so on. Some users like the vintage sound of older hardware units, so the IK Multimedia T-Racks Space Delay or the Waves H-Delay are perfect for them.

If you are a beginner or you need a straightforward plugin with the most important features that a great delay plugin should have, then the Valhalla Delay or the Baby Audio Comeback Kid are going to fit you well. All in all, producers need to be aware of what they need in terms of sound and not worry about the “perfect” plugin, because in reality there is no perfect plugin. Asking yourself the right questions will most probably lead you to the right plugin.

This review only covers a very small portion of the delay plugins but we hope that it can give you a good idea of what delay is and what to look for in a delay effect plugin. More information about the plugins can be obtained from their official websites whose links are placed for each review.