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 playing them in duplicate form to simulate the echo effect. 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 how 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.
The 12 Best Delay Plugins For Music Production 2023
1. Minimal Audio Cluster Delay NEW*
Minimal Audio Cluster Delay is a multi-tap plugin that offers up to 8 delay taps, letting delay sequences be shaped and processed with various effects and modulations.
Cluster Delay is a plugin that emulates that vintage hardware (Roland’s Space Echo), but it’s not just about that. It has a very independent yet modern sound. The plugin is an advanced tap delay with many options.
The moment you get into this plugin, you will notice that it is more of a multi-effect than a tap delay, which, thanks to the customization options, you can alter its character a lot. It holds up to 8 delay taps, which can be interconnected in the internal engine in stereo or side configurations.
- Delay Time Options
The plugin offers several options in terms of time options, which makes the plugin offer a large number of resources through which you can manage your sound. It allows you to adjust the delay time in seconds or through tempo-synced time divisions.
The Feedback control lets the delay line be routed back into it, and if you adjust this setting to maximum, it will result in an effect with infinite sustain.
It also has an ”Analog” button that causes the delay line to engage an analog feedback effect, generating tape-like delays when paired with a high feedback setting and low freq filtering. Also, you can create a subtle stereo-width ping-pong effect by using Spread And Crossfeed controls that offset the delay time for each channel and adjust the cross-channel feedback.
A multi-effects section that lets you insert taps in totally new directions like you have a wobble effect that adjusts the time modulation of flutter and wow characteristics.
A chorus for unison effects, a flanger, a diffusion that takes delay lines and turns them into an ambient reverb, and a frequency shifter. These effects allow very quick adding a much richer color to the loud delays.
They have fairly easy-to-alter controls (2 parameters per effect, to be exact), they are very well arranged, and you will enjoy them because you will not lose control of any effect. They are very easy to route either in output, feedback, or input.
- Ducking Feature
Cluster Delay allows you to duck the delay signal into the signal input. This is a good feature as it helps you get much more flexibility in what a clean mix is, but you can also opt for a pumping effect if you wish.
This plugin comes with a pretty rich preset section (100 presets). These are very useful and musical, but if you need quick inspiration, it has a preset randomizer button, which helps you find the right sound, and once you have found your favorite sound, you can start tweaking the engine to your liking.
- User Interface
Cluster Delay gives you a very responsive interface to your settings, and the graphs are extremely useful as you can view the taps that give you direct feedback.
It also has two VU meters for output and input, which gives you instant feedback on what is happening with your signals (It would be cool if all plugins came with such an option.) Also, the interface can be scaled very easily; it has a button in the left corner where you can drag it to make it bigger or smaller.
Minimal Audio Cluster Delay is available in VST, AAX, and AU formats (32-bit and 64-bit) for Windows 10,8,7 and macOS 10.12 – 10.15.
It is a plugin that offers playful tap delay possibilities that can go up to the most complex delay sounds. It has a lot of effects on top of what it sets out to do, which gives it a much more complex feel, and the way you can visualize what’s going on inside of it is cool.
2. SSL Native X-Echo (Vintage Tape Echo Delay)
The first plugin on our list is Native X-Echo by Solid State Logic. This plugin packs a lot of features with it, and it is an homage to the vintage style delays from the 1960s. The user interface of SSL Native X-Echo will allow you to get around it easily and make changes to your sound within a few seconds.
One of the first things that makes this plugin great is that you can adjust the timing of the delay simply by choosing the note values in the center of the user interface. With the magnet icon turned on, the delay will snap to the grid of your DAW according to the song’s tempo.
With it turned off, you can adjust the timing by milliseconds with the dial o the right side of the interface. Playing around with this can make your recording sound wider, and going to the extremes would change the character of the tone in an interesting way.
This plugin will allow you to have up to four divisions which you activate or deactivate on the four buttons to the right side of the soundwaves. With these echoes, you can create beautiful sounding delay lines.
With this plugin, you will also have a saturation knob which you can crank up pretty high and control the harshness of some sibilants with the de-esser, which is great for good-sounding vocals.
One of the great features of this plugin is the “Freeze” and “Kill” options. When turned on, the “Freeze” option will loop the sound with the same volume until we press the “Kill” option, which serves as a stop.
Native X-Echo, when used on synth recordings, can come in great to change the character of the tone. It can make the synth sound wide and big and even add some modulation to the sound. Apart from having many options to manipulate the sound, this plugin features a factory presets library with great presets for quick adjustments or even a starting point for you.
Currently, Native X-Echo is Available for Windows and macOS in AAX, VST2, VST3, and AU plugin formats, and the price of this plugin is $199, while in the SSL Complete Bundle, you can get it for 14.99$ a month along with other plugins.
3. United Plugins Pluralis NEW*
Pluralis comes with four modes to split the signal and two modulation sections.
It has a layered delay design with multiple signal-splitting modes, so applying distinctive delays to various audio channels allows for previously impossible results. Pluralis has two conventional delays with typical parameters for Time, Feedback, Color, and more, so you may get great mix-ready delays in addition to its particular signal-splitting actions and delay architecture.
The distinctive strength of Pluralis lies in its ability to split signals and process them singly or in various combinations.
Using Pluralis’ two separate Modulation sections, you can fine-tune the amount of modulation set and applied to each parameter by adjusting the values for the Level, Rate, Feedback, and Dispersion of your modulation. It’s adaptable and potent, letting you achieve extremely dynamic delay effects.
- User Interface
Pluralis’s user interface is straightforward, so you can quickly grasp what’s happening. Each delay chain displays output and input levels and frequency information, and each of the four modes is arranged in a sensible order. Having full transparency and command over your delays is now possible.
- Quiet/Loud Mode
Pluralis is able to split the sound at a specified volume level, allowing delay processors to operate on both soft and loud passages. As with the previous modes, they do this separately, allowing for variable delay times between the loud and quiet sections.
- Mid/Side Mode
Mid/Side processing, typically seen in equalizers and compressors, is merely an alternate method of processing a stereo audio file. To process the signal, divide it down the middle instead of just processing the left and right channels. This allows you to isolate specific mixes or audio file regions and apply different effects.
- Low/High Mode
You can use the Crossover knob to process multiple frequency bands centered on a single frequency. So you may completely customize your delay processing by applying different delays to the low and high frequencies.
- Left/Right Mode
Left/Right does a conventional left/right signal split, allowing you to delay the left and right channels independently. In this setting, you can achieve dramatic effects at the mix’s edges or mellow delays in the mix’s side channels.
United Plugins Pluralis is available in VST, AAX, and AU formats (64-bit only) for Windows 10,8 and macOS 10.10 and later.
Four distinct modes for making distinctive effects are carefully planned and easy to use so that you can introduce fresh ideas into your music quickly. Vocals, synths, basses, and any virtual instrument can all benefit from its use; Pluralis can add a nice movement and a creative touch.
In addition, the plugin’s clever sleep-on silent feature, which conserves CPU power by determining when it is not in use, performs admirably. You can try the plugin for free, as they offer a 15-day trial, and you can find it either on Pluginboutique or the United Plugins website.
4. Softube Tape Echoes (Vintage Tape Echo Delay 2)
Tape Echoes by Softube offers a variety of parameters for you to achieve the perfect tape delay sound you want. You cannot go wrong with it’s great and flexible features and vintage-looking interface. While many delay plugins capture the feel and sound of the analog delay, they still tend to sound too clean. This one manages to capture the feel of old analog delays rather well.
Let’s go straight into the features of this plugin. The first thing you can notice on the interface is the slider with which you can choose the delay time. By switching the switch next to the slider, you can choose between adjusting the delay time with the tempo and milliseconds.
Moving the slider to the far left will leave you only with the dirt effect, which has great usage for drums.
This plugin has up to three echo taps with a tap tempo option if you cannot manage to get exactly what you want with the tempo slider. With replicating the tape effect, this plugin goes as far as having an option to add the tape glitch to the effect. We also have a drive dial that is used to adjust the tape distortion.
Next to the drive, we have analog-looking switches that choose between high-pass and low-pass filters, VU, and stereo imaging options. When the VU is toggled, we will see the VU meter, and when the imaging option is selected, you will be able to adjust between dual mono and standard stereo delay.
The knob in the center is used to adjust to which side the delay should lean on. We can also choose when reverb should occur, pre-echoes or parallel to them.
The dirt option is there to dial how much of a tape effect you want on your delay. You can adjust the presence of this effect by dialing the dry/wet knob on the right. Next to that, you will have an output knob to adjust the volume post effect. Tape echoes have a great reverb effect which, when mixed with the dirt of the tape, sounds great almost on all instruments.
It is available on Windows and macOS in 64-bit VST, VST3, AU, or AAX. The price of this plugin is $99 but keep in mind that Softube often has bundles sale where you can get this plugin for much less.
5. Fabfilter Timeless 3 (Flexible/Creative Delay)
With plenty of new features and an overhauled GUI, Timeless 3 continues on the legacy of the previous version as one of the most flexible delay plugins available today.
It’s a challenge to try and compile everything this plugin can do in a short piece. The concept is that you can create a traditional delay effect using feedback or a multi-tap delay effect, both with an extensive level of modulation on just about any parameter available.
The resizable user interface of this plugin is incredible — it even shows visual feedback of your delay effect on the left half of the upper section. The rest of the section shows a frequency spectrum and an EQ to filter the wet signal.
Another parameter called Diffusion can create lush reverb-like effects easily. Furthermore, it includes various analog-sounding effects like saturation, lo-fi effect, dynamics, and tape-style pitch modulation.
Similarly, you could modulate the multi-tap delay features in a very short length of time to create custom time-based effects like chorus, flanger, and ensemble. Or you could create the reverb shimmer effect by using the pitch-shifting feature along with Diffuse.
- 6 Filters
There are six filters available in total, and each can be a high-pass, low-pass, band-pass, notch, peaking, and shelf filter in any combination. The first three are designed to emulate analog filters with a smooth sound and internal saturation. In addition, you can change the filter routing to parallel, serial, or per-channel mode.
Timeless 3 excels as a standard delay plugin, but it shines just as well in the multi-tap delay mode, which you can access by clicking on the Tap Editor at the top left of the interface. With this editor, you can create your delay pattern by intuitively dragging the delay taps on the screen with your mouse. Furthermore, you can save a custom pattern as a preset.
- Stereo Control
You can control the delay feedback, cross-feedback, and mix level of each stereo channel independently. Not only that, you can adjust the stereo width and the panning in each filter as well. Combine that with modulation, and the sonic possibilities become endless.
- Virtually Limitless Modulation
There are fifty slots available for modulation, and you can modulate almost any parameter by drag and drop. There are five kinds of modulators available:
It can generate almost any waveform, including custom ones, and can be synchronized to the host tempo. You can create new waveforms by using the node-based curve editor.
- Envelope Generator
It is a regular ADSR envelope, which is triggered by either an audio threshold or midi input. Make sure you turn on the midi input for Timeless 3 for the latter.
- Envelope Follower
It generates modulation based on the signal level of either the audio you are processing or external side-chain input. The former is useful when you want the delay only when the vocalist sings louder, for example.
- MIDI Source
It transforms any incoming MIDI data, including CC data, into a modulation signal. It becomes insanely powerful when coupled with other modulating effect plugins.
- XY Controller/Slider
Control two parameters at once with the XY controller or multiple parameters using a single slider. This one is less a modulator and more a convenient tool for creating macros.
Timeless 3 is available for Windows Vista or higher 32-bit or 64-bit and macOS 10.10 64-bit. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, AAX, and RTAS formats.
Almost every effect plugin developed by FabFilter is faultless, and this one is no different. The only issue it might have is the amount of flexibility it offers. However, the new GUI has made Timeless 3 user-friendly and straightforward. So, if you were daunted by the sea of possibilities before, now is the time to reconsider.
6. Baby Audio Spaced Out (Delay & Reverb)
Reverb and echo go very well together, and Baby Audio not only proved that but reimagined an excellent packaging for both effects.
You might find yourself a bit lost when opening the plugin for the first time, but it’s relatively easy to use: on the left side, you have your delay section; on the right, the reverb; and, in the middle, a virtual joystick enables you to dwell between the wet and dry signals of both effects – which, by the way, are running in parallel.
This plugin was designed to prioritize what you hear over what you see on the screen, making each control uniquely and intuitive.
Each delay mode and reverb quadrant can bring the particularity required to make a vocal stand out on the mix or make that drum track sound fresh and new.
- Put in the grid
A 4×4 grid at the left shows us how the delay will react: each square can be filled with circles, noting when exactly the delay will appear. The controls underneath can dictate how the delay will sound at a certain point. For example, with “Intensity,” you can play around with the dynamics, allowing for different textures according to each circled square being played – the first time a delay appears can be more robust in dynamic than the third. Other than that, it’s a friendly visual tool that showcases how exactly the echo is interacting in your track.
- Spaced-out sounds
Both effects can be pretty massive and spatial, and gladly you can adjust how big the stereo imaging can be. The further you go out to the edges of the circle, the larger the length of this effect. On the delay section, the “Dimension” control takes care of that with the “Ultra Wide” and “Motion” modes, creating a stereo field and panning effect, respectively. Looking at the reverb, we can find similar configurations at the “Width” control, adjusting the stereo spreading.
- Generate mode
Baby Audio awarded us with an excellent randomizer option, the Generate mode. When you click the die, it generates a random configuration, showcasing how beautifully the effects can be. You can find two versions of this configuration, one that affects the entire plugin and another dedicated to the 4×4 delay grid mentioned earlier. It’s a great way to explore how far it can go, aside from inspiring you to set your new custom values.
- Reverb quadrants
The reverb section has a circle divided into four distinct quadrants. As mentioned earlier, you can adjust the distance between the middle and the outer corners of the circle, influencing the length time directly at each different style. You’ll find a “Lush” setting in the upper right, which sounds like a traditional reverb; on the lower right, you have the “Trippy” mode, which sounds like a phasing-styled reverb. On the lower left, the “Alien” goes for a flanger characteristic; And, finally, at the upper left, there’s a “Cosmic” reverb, bringing a unique massive-style effect.
- Echo textures
Right below the 4×4 grid, you’ll find four round buttons: “Clean,” “Wonky Tape,” “Hazy,” and “Lo-fi.” The names are very self-explanatory, and they can make a difference in how the delay will interact with the track. Each texture can create a different overall feel to the echo delay, aimed at your production’s different style or vibe.
- Fresh looks
Distributed in a relatively modern fashion, one of the more vital points regarding this plugin is how easy it is to dial in exemplary configurations at every control. It’s very intuitive to get a perfect value combination, either a simple selection, like in the echo textures, or adjusting an amplitude, such as in reverb’s “Pre-Delay.” There’s a quick way for night-mode lovers to alter between “day” and “night” modes right at the upper left section of the plugin interface. Very easy to work with, and a clean look overall can stimulate your workflow more than you imagine.
- Put in the grid
This plugin runs in macOS 10.7 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher, on 32 and 64-bit. It comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin formats.
This package is more than simply a reverb and echo combination. These are two well-matched effects that will surely enhance the size of your sounds, and Baby Audio developed a fresh-looking alternative that might force you to use your ears more than your eyes.
Thanks to its unique controls and interactions, this plugin can reach sound layers not so usually approached. Hardly you’ll be left without standard settings, but the fun thing is to explore the unknown.
7. Eventide UltraTap (Delay/Reverb/Sound Design Tool)
A novel new plug-in from Eventide is called UltraTap. The H9 plug-in series introduces it as the first plug-in in a new range of effects.
With a big helping of Eventide strangeness, UltraTap is more than just another multi-tap delay; it can produce delay, effects, tone manipulation, and more. You may switch between several groups of settings tab by using the wide ribbon located at the bottom of the plug-in window.
The fading length for each control, which is shown in blue, is determined by the endpoints on the rings around the controls. The ribbon responds to MIDI wheel mode control signals in DAWs that allow MIDI control of effects plug-ins.
The Hotswitch button allows you to quickly switch between two settings, with the goal of making the plug-in as functional for control as the hardware.
A further parameter is Duration, which limits the multi-tap burst’s Duration to a maximum of four seconds. The Taps option may be used to adjust the number of taps. Spread also refers to delay taps, however this time, the space between taps is altered. While clockwise values in the center gather the taps near the conclusion of the burst to produce a speeding up effect resembling the sound of a spinning coin coming in stand by, values left of center make the taps more tightly spaced at the start of the burst, slowing it down.
- Taper And Width
When used in stereo, Width controls the width of the taps’ stereo picture, delivering more alternative taps to opposite speakers as the value rises. The taper modifies the fade-in or fade-out level of the taps. The treble of the tap signal is either reduced or enhanced by tone.
Chop is a level modulator that can produce different tremolo effects, volume boosts, certain gate effects, and a choice of triangle, sawtooth, ramp, square, or sample waveforms. The LFO may be set with a touch button or synchronised to the host tempo.
- Signal Flow
The signal flow, which occurs in the sequence of Pre-delay and Tap Delay, is the best method to understand what the UltraTap can achieve. And you must understand what Slurm implies in order to follow this! The creators claim that Slurm makes tapping sound less concentrated through modulation, reverb diffusion, and various unpredictable, multi-voice explosions.
The plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
For both music applications and more general sound design tasks, UltraTap is a fun, creative tool. It may create high-quality double-track imitations or traditional echoes for music, quick delay bursts that more closely resemble closed reverbs, and certain rhythmic and freely manipulated sounds.
However, although some producers and engineers have discovered a method to employ a burst of delays that speed up or slow down in a musical context, I’m never really sure where to apply it based on artists’ presets. Additionally, ribbon automation allows for easy configuration switching. The more you experiment with the surprisingly few parameters, the more sounds you’ll learn to extract out the UltraTap.
8. Arturia Delay MEMORY-BRIGADE (Bucket Brigade Delay)
As a final plugin for this list, we will look at Memory Brigade by Arturia. This plugin represents the digital version of the pedalboard pedal, which has been beloved by many musicians, especially guitarists. It packs the same package as the pedal version, only now available in your DAW. With its many features, this plugin has earned to be a part of our list.
The interface of this plugin is almost a replica of the pedal version but it features some great additions. As you can see it is divided into two sections. The top section is almost the same as the pedal version while the bottom section of the plugin is the addition to it. On the top, you can fiddle around with the delay timings and type of the delay.
The “Input Level” knob is there to adjust the volume of the signal pre plugin. Next to it, we have left and right delays. This part of the plugin can be changed by switching to the “Delay Mode” switch. Each time you flip this switch, you will have more ways to adjust your delay timing and location, and presence in the mix.
This is unique when it comes to the delay plugins. Obviously, you will not be able to do this on a pedal version of the Memory-Brigade.
The stereo offset knob is there to work, sort of like a pan for the delay. You can choose on which side you would like to hear more of the delay effect. This will have a much better result if you add some of the stereo width.
Another great thing about this plugin is that it introduces the chorus and vibrato, which you can choose between by simple turn of the switch.
You can control how much you want this effect to be present by dialing the Amount knob. Echo Level is there as a volume control for the delay. You have the blend dial underneath it, which serves as a Mix control.
Memory-Brigade features three devices in the extension: LFO, Envelope follower, and input equalization. With input equalization, you can have a high pass or low pass filter, depending on how you adjust the knobs. The envelope follower is where this plugin gets creative.
You can connect it with any of the parameters of this plugin which can leave you with some great-sounding results. The LFO works in the same way. You can connect it to any parameter on the interface, adjust the effect with shape and rate, and sync it with the tempo of the song.
While the Memory-Brigade was primarily made for guitarists, you can see its usage on other instruments such as synths or vocals. It is available on Windows and macOS as a standalone version and in VST, VST3, AAX, AU, and NKS formats. The price of this plugin today is $99.
9. Applied Acoustics Systems Objeq Delay (Physical Modelling delay)
Its dual delay line with feedback and ability to run the signal through an object makes this plugin an amazing example of what a delay plugin should be able to do.
The interface of the plugin sort of resembles the look you might see on a pedalboard or vintage modules. The signal chain starts with the filter module. Within this module, you will have an option to adjust the delay’s high pass and low pass filters, along with the ability to choose between three steepnesses. The next step in the signal chain is the object module.
The object module is the part where this plugin is different from others. You can run the signal through one of four objects this plugin offers. Each one of them will give your sound a different vibe.
But it does not end there; it goes into detail where you can adjust how long the sound will resonate. This adjustment is made by adjusting the “Decay” dial. You can set the frequency of the object as well as the material. There is an option to choose where the object is “hit” with the signal within this module. You can adjust this by turning the “Formant” dial.
In the delay module, you have multiple options to adjust the delay of your sound. This module features a dual delay line that can be linked and in sync, a feedback dial, and high and low pass filters. The LFO module is there to give you more creative flexibility with the modulation of any parameter within the plugin.
You can adjust the rate, type, phase, and width and the amount and polarity of the modulation. By adjusting the destination, you can create amazing sound effects with minor tweaking.
Like many great plugins, Objeq Delay comes with great factory presets, which can be used almost without adjustments. It is available on Windows and macOS in a VST2, VST3, AU, AAX Native, NKS formats, and standalone edition. The price which the Objeq Delay retails is $139.
10. Audio Damage Other Desert Cities (Sound Design Delay)
We have Other Desert Cities by Audio Damage as our next delay plugin. Other than it being used as a standard plugin for the delay effect, Other Desert Cities really shines when it comes to the creative side of these plugins. With its unique algorithms, changing the character of your tone has never been easier.
Other Desert Cities, apart from its creative side, can really make your recording sound big and wide. This plugin features a modern-looking user interface with many features on it. One of the first things you will notice about this plugin is its six different algorithms, which are great in a creative context.
You can use these algorithms to achieve some really interesting effects. By choosing the algorithm, each of them will load a different interface, allowing you to adjust these algorithms to the last detail.
Using these plugins with the modulators at the bottom of the GUI can result in great effects. These modulators can be connected to almost any parameter. This is done by simply clicking on the parameter knob and adjusting the modulator to your desire.
On the left side of the interface, you can see the dials for the delay time. These can be set according to the song’s tempo or in milliseconds. Using a simple stereo delay this plugin has to offer, you can turn a simple arpeggio into something beautiful. Next to the dials for the timing, you can see the three sections this plugin has to offer.
The first section is different for every algorithm, but you can essentially adjust the timing of the delay along with high-pass and low-pass filters and saturation. The great thing about this plugin is that you can visually see the delay timing shown with the bars.
The diffusion section is there to diffuse the wet signal. Depending on where the dial for the size is set, you can get results from washed-out sound to quick multitaps. The utility section allows you to adjust all of the stereo width, panning positions, and more by tweaking the knobs.
The Other Desert Cities and its algorithms can be used on almost any instrument and even the entire mix. Apart from having six different algorithms, this plugin features great factory presets if you do not like to tweak the delay yourself.
Other Desert Cities is available on macOS, Windows, and IOS in VST, VST3, AAX, AU, AUv3, IAA, and standalone format. The price for which this plugin retails is $79, and considering what it has to offer, this is a steal!
11. Valhalla Delay (All-Round Digital Delay)
Thanks to its straightforward design and incredible sound, the Valhalla Delay has become one of the most popular delay plugins 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 UberMod and FreqEcho.
The Valhalla Delay provides you 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, a ghost mode 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.
- 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
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.
Valhalla Delay does not have enough internal modulation controls that allow you to input the sound design. However, this is part of its selling point as a straightforward delay plugin useful for normal mixing and not some highly experimental and daring sound designs.
12. Soundtoys EchoBoy (Analog Vintage Delay)
The former Wave Mechanics team developed a product to create a plugin to replicate the sound of a classic echo unit, EchoBoy by SoundToys, which 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, you get an Analog sounding preset in ‘studio tape,’ which attempts to replicate the sound signature of the Ampex ATR-102 machine.
- 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
- You 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”
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.
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.
Universal Audio – Galaxy Tape Echo (Now on Windows)
Galaxy Tape Echo has high standards to meet based on the Roland RE-201 Space Echo, which creates warm, warped, and analog tape delay/spring reverb effects.
The RE-201 can be heard on records from Pink Floyd to David Bowie, making it a classic ambient effect plugin is known for its subtle yet unique texture, musical wow and flutter, sweet harmonic enhancement, sci-fi pitch shifting, and immense control. Its plugin version now makes the sci-fi textures, cold shimmer of the spring reverb, and its creative movements accessible to more producers, artists, and engineers.
- Head Selection
The plugin has a unique interface with three different heads, each of which has different ranges of delay time settings. Head Select knob allows you to select one or more heads for the tape delay (called “echo”) and spring reverb.
- Separate Delay and Reverb Settings Windows
You can tweak the settings for echo and spring reverb independently in different tabs, which gives you good control over the ambiance and sonics of the sound. That also means that you can use only the reverb or delay in the plugin, and not necessarily use both of them together.
- Bass knob for analog texture
The bass knob allows you to control the low-frequency response of the tape echo portion of the signal without affecting the dry and reverb audios. This enhances the typical warm and deep texture of tape delay to the delayed signal.
- Tape Loop Effects
The Splice switch resets the location of the tape splice, which keeps changing after regular intervals set by the delay rate. Its switch can be turned on or off. Alongside the switch, there’s a tape age switch which determines the tape’s age, depending on how vintage you want the plugin to sound. You can set the age to new, old, or used depending on your taste and project.
The plugin demands a Mac with Intel or Apple silicon processor, and other general UAD SPark requirements. Now, also available on Windows 10 or more.
Galaxy Tape Echo is expansive and gives you great control over the delay and reverb settings, with an overall deep analog sound texture. The interface looks great, has a single window, and offers a streamlined workflow.
Pulsar Audio Echorec (Magnetic Disk Delay)
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.
- 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
- Models three different units, Used, Good, and Mint, each offering you 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
Echorec runs on both Windows and macOS and comes in VST/VST3/AAX/AU support.
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.
Waves H-Delay (Hybrid Delay)
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, making it efficient in adding a simple echo effect or adding a flanger or phaser effects.
- 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 you change delay times which used to be the case when using old delay hardware due to the tape playback changing when you change the time.
The H-Delay by Waves works on Windows 10 64 bits or OSX 10.12.6 or higher. Comes in VST/VST3, AU, and AAX Formats.
Waves H-Delay is a popular plugin overall and works excellent 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.
Surreal Machines Modnetic (Tape Delay, Reverb & Modulation FX)
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 you with 4 effects: 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.
- The echo section gives you 3 different tape heads, which you can combine.
- 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
This plugin runs on Windows 7 or higher and OSX 10.7 or higher. 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. Comes with VST/VS3 and AU formats.
Modnetic by Surreal Machines is an amazing delay plugin for users who aim to have an atmospheric sounding delay effect and get analog vibes from the effect.
Baby Audio Comeback Kid (Analog Delay)
Comeback Kid by Baby Audio is a great example of how analog delay should sound. Apart from being a standard plugin for the delay effect, you can get great results on your delay with the other effects Comeback Kid offers.
This plugin will turn your sound upside down straight out of the box. With over fifty factory presets, you can get around with almost no tweaking necessary. This does not mean that the user interface is difficult to understand. The developers had gone the route of making the interface good-looking and functional at the same time.
Comeback Kid features five different sections for shaping your delay to your needs. The first one in the top left corner is there to adjust the high-pass and low-pass filters and the attack and sustain the delay.
Right underneath it, we have a stereo section which you can use to pan your delay and adjust the character of the delay. You can choose between mono and stereo style delay by switching the mono switch.
You can see the timing and feedback section in the center of everything. Apart from standard dials for time and feedback, you can choose between ping-pong delay and four different timings: Straight, dotted, triplet, and free. Each of these will give you different results in terms of timing.
The Flavor section is located in the top right corner. In this section, you have three different effects and one switch. The switch is there as a bypass button for effect similar to lo-fi. Cranking up the tape dial will give your tone artifacts and distortion similar to saturation.
The swirl, along with other effects within this section, will give an analog feel to the signal, and the sauce is there to act as a reverb. Giving too much sauce will give the phasing feel to your delay.
Having this many effects on the delay allows you to have a big variation for producing the sound you like. You can see this by going through all of the sixty presets this plugin offers. My advice would be to go through all of them to get an insight into what the Comeback Kid is capable of and to get some inspiration.
Comeback Kid is available on Windows and macOS in VST, VST 3, AU, and AAX plugin formats and, at the moment, goes for a price of $49.
Also, Consider checking our free Delay VST/AU Plugin:
To choose the right plugin, you would have to analyze your needs and abilities. Are you looking for a sound design? Then we would recommend you checking FabFilter Timeless 3 or Other Desert Cities by Audio Damage.
Do you need a plugin where you can control the sound signature of the effect? If the answer to those questions is yes, then SoundToys EchoBoy is probably the go-to Some users like the vintage sound of older hardware units, so the Softube Tape Echoes or the Waves H-Delay are perfect for them.
If you are a beginner or need a straightforward plugin with the essential features that a great delay plugin should have, then the Valhalla Delay or the Baby Audio Comeback Kid will 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.
You can obtain more information about the plugins from their official websites, whose links are placed for each review.
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