The 9 Best Delay Plugins For Music Production In 2021 (VST, AU, AAX)

The 9 Best Delay Plugins For Music Production In 2021 (VST, AU, AAX)

This time we’ve put together a list of the 9 best delay plugins for music production in 2021.

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 plugin! But first, let’s answer..

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?

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?

The main difference between delay and reverb 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.

So let’s dive deeper with our top picks!

The 9 Best Delay Plugins For Music Production in 2021  (VST, AU, AAX)

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
  • The “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

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.

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
Modnetic by Surreal Machines | Review of Parameters Tutorial

Compatibility:

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.

3. 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 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)
Mixing Trap Vocals with FabFilter plugins | Timeless 2 + Pro-R

Compatibility

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.  

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.

4. 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 it’s 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)
Comeback Kid by Baby Audio | Analog Flavour Delay VST Plugin | Tutorial & Review of Main Features

Compatibility

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.

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.

5. 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 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
THIS THING LOOKS REAL! - Pulsar Echorec

Compatibility

Echorec runs on both Windows and Mac OS and comes in VST/VST3/AAX/AU support.

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.

6. 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 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
MUTANT Delay - Vocal Delay Plugin With a Built-in Ducker (VST / AU / AAX)

Compatibility

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.

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.

7. 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 a 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.

Kiss Your Vocal Tracks With A Touch Of Slap Delay Using Waves Amazing H-Delay Plug-in

Compatibility

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.

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.

8. 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
Objeq Delay acoustic filter and delay plug-in VST AU AAX

Compatibility

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.

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.

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”
6 Tips for Using Soundtoys EchoBoy

Compatibility

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.

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Pluginboutique.com Best DealsLast 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.

More information about the plugins can be obtained from their official websites whose links are placed for each review.

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