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The Press Desk 8th November 2016 01:44 PM

Ten of the best Delay Plug-Ins
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Ten of the best Delay Plug-ins

We can all agree that delays are one of the most important tools in modern music production. If in the past engineers had to resort to all sorts of methods and quirky boxes to achieve satisfactory effects then nowadays with plug-ins, we have lots of choices readily available at our fingertips - many capable of delivering excellent results with ease. In order to help you swim across this vast ocean of options we have asked our members about their favourite delay plug-ins - here’s what they said!


Soundtoys Echoboy

There are few plug-ins that can be called “classics,” but Soundtoys' Echoboy is most certainly one of them, racking up recommendations over the past decade and showing up as a recurrent choice amongst our community when delay plug-ins is the topic du jour. Echoboy can do so much, from pristine digital delays to characterful "echoes from the past," and it does it all with an immense degree of tweakability. Echoboy can generate mono delays, dual echo, ping-pong or rhythmic feedbacks, all with a plethora of options for recreating the character of other delay units, saturation, HP/LP filtering, stereo placement and it can even add some swing/shuffle to the delayed signal. Recently updated with a new (but familiar) interface, Echoboy now shows more parameters at a glance, ditching the floating windows that would get in the way of other controls. Most importantly, it’s now integrated to the Soundtoys 'Rack' plug-in, which puts all of their awesome devices under the same roof for even more creative possibilities - and paves the way for many more years of great service.


Waves Audio H-Delay

Waves are one of the top recommendations with their H-Delay plug-in, a unit that combines all the grit and vibe from vintage analog delays with all the ease of use that you’d expect from modern software. H-Delay is as straightforward to use as possible - just pick a mode (mono or ping-pong), dial the desired time (in ms or beats), set the feedback, apply modulation and filtering to taste, and that’s it. Achieving the desired setting should be quite a breeze, so it’s really a matter of finding the right character through the “analog” knob and “lofi” button - it will probably sound awesome. H-Delay can also stay clean but hey, we have our DAW's stock delays for that, and H-Delay is best used for bringing some of the soulful sounds of old delay units to a mix rather than just doing 'plain vanilla' delays. With such a lovely sound character and immense ease-of-use it’s quite easy to understand why our community likes it so much.

 Replika XT

Native Instruments Replika XT

Native Instruments made quite an impact when they offered (for a limited time only) the lovely Replika delay plug-in for free - the paid “XT” version takes it to the next level by bringing a considerable chunk of interesting new features to the software. Replika XT features five delay modes, from vintage tape to modern clean delay and a brand new “diffusion” algorithm. There are also seven additional effects that can be applied to the feedback path, such as filters, time-based modulators, frequency and pitch shifters, which enable a lot of possibilities that aren’t usually available on hardware delay units. Everything is neatly tied up in a slick interface and for greater ease-of-use it also comes with a handful of presets, including some from the electronic music master Richard Devine. It will be quite hard, if possible at all to 'replicate' (pun intended) the sounds you can get out of it with other tools, so make sure you demo Replika XT next time you’re shopping for delays!

 EP-34 Tape Echo

Universal Audio EP-34 Tape Echo

Universal Audio recreates the legendary Echoplex units with the EP-34 plug-in, bringing to our computers the sound of these iconic tape effects processors. The EP-3 and EP-4 are tape-based analog delay units with plenty of character which were used on many classic records, and the UAD2-powered version merges both into a single plug-in that meticulously emulates everything that went on inside those boxes, including wow & flutter, that wonderful distortion obtained by clipping the input and also the self-oscillation from the original boxes. Besides all the analog glory, the EP-34 also incorporates some digital goodies such as tempo sync, selectable input (for more grit or a cleaner sound), a wet signal solo switch and panorama mode. With such a recognisable and 'vibey' character the EP-34 is definitely an enticing ticket into the UAD2 universe that will make those extra bucks spend on dedicated DSP very much worthwhile for the delay fanatic.


Exponential Audio Excalibur

Exponential Audio was created by former Lexicon designer Michael Carnes and has built quite a reputation with their reverb plug-ins, but it’s not only about the reverbs as proven by the impressive Excalibur plug-in. This is quite a different delay with very sophisticated functionality. It works by splitting the signal into four “voices," each of them with a fully-featured effects unit with a delay at its core but also capable of making other effects such as chorus, different kinds of distortion, ring modulation and many others. Voices can be mixed freely with their respective controls and each voice can also serve as an input to the next voice, which opens up a lot of sonic options. Excalibur also features an extremely flexible modulation system where all the parameters are 'modulation-capable' with a clever macro functionality through the morphing knob and switch. Excalibur is almost mind-boggling in terms of how it can do what it does, but it's easily one of the most innovative plug-ins in the effects department in recent years. Definitely worthy of its many recommendations.

 Timeless 2

FabFilter Timeless 2

FabFilter is a name synonymous with innovative products and it’s no different with Timeless 2, a delay plug-in that primes us for a wide range of possible modulations via its slick interface (a FabFilter trademark). It all starts with two delay lines that can be tempo-synced or set freely (from 5ms to 5sec), each with its own 'panorama,' a dedicated multi-mode filter with variable resonance and sound character that can go from clean sounding to distorted in a few different ways. On top of that FF adds envelope generators, LFOs, X/Y controllers, comprehensive MIDI support and a great workflow with easy assignments through 'drag and drop'. Since basically any parameters can be controlled & modulated in a multitude of ways this plug-in could easily be called Endless, because it's that deep!


UVI Relayer

The virtual instrument specialists at UVI also have some great coding talent in the effects department. Relayer is forward-thinking delay that presents quite a unique feature set that adds many other effects to the feedback path. At its' core is a highly configurable multi-tap delay that feeds gain and pan modulators along with two slots for filters, wave shapers, bit reduction and distortion effects. Everything can be applied only to certain taps and setting it up is quite easy with the good references provided by Relayer’s very slick interface. Relayer also provides an LFO, HP/LP master filters and a cool “color” function that applies an IR-based effect, which can be a reverb unit, a telephone, a guitar cab or many other things ranging from subtle to extreme. “Color” has its own mix parameter so you can dial in with ease and there are additionally two big dry and wet knobs for controlling the output signal. Overall this is a very distinct delay plug-in that breaks some new ground and presents a very interesting alternative for anyone looking for some fresh ideas.

 Freq Echo

ValhallaDSP Freq Echo

Valhalla DSP’s FreqEcho is a simple to use plug-in that does the basic delay duty but adds a frequency shifter to the feedback path, enabling some cool effects possibilities outside of the vanilla delay realm. FreqEcho is capable of mono or stereo operation, its delay can be set in musical notes or freely in milliseconds (up to 1000ms) and it comes equipped with fully-sweepable low/high cut filters. It also features Valhalla’s uncluttered size-scalable interface, which makes it very easy to use. Considering that FreqEcho costs no more than the time required to make a few clicks required to obtain it you should definitely give it a try, and if you’re after a cool delay but can’t spare anything other than your bandwidth look no further - head over to Valhalla DSP’s website and grab it right now!

 PSP Echo

PSP Audioware PSP Echo

The veteran coders at PSP have rightfully earned our users’ respect over the years and Echo is yet another standout in their distinguished portfolio. Echo is a highly configurable plug-in that offers two delay lines with a good amount of controls over the feedback path, presenting flexible filters, distortion, dry/wet balance and stereo placement controls. It also features a separate “ping-pong” type path and a ducking option on top of the main delay lines, which adds a lot of flexibility. Echo also comes with tape-inspired effects such as wow and input distortion for a very thick sounding character. Given PSP’s proven track record of delivering great plug-ins you can’t really go wrong.

 Imperial Delay

Boz Digital Labs Imperial Delay

Boz Digital has been quickly building a solid reputation in our community with great plug-ins and part of that can be attributed to the Imperial Delay plug-in. This flexible and feature-rich delay can do almost everything from short mono slaps to evolving stereo ping-pongs, but it also adds some interesting features to the table such as independent L-R pitch shifting, chorus & modulation along with the unique “smear” and “color” controls that furthers its sonic options. A very capable delay that will excel both on traditional and on creative tasks, Imperial Delay has all the tools needed to earn its place in our increasingly crowded plug-in folders.

So many great options to choose from! What are you using lately? Planning on acquiring anything from our list? Please share your thoughts, without delay! Wait a minute... uhhh... hidz

For more discussion of plug-ins, DAWs and computers, please visit:

chrisdee 8th November 2016 01:44 PM

Valhalla Ubermod and IKMultimedia Tape Echo should be on this list. Maby 2 of the best sounding ones imo.

seancostello 8th November 2016 08:07 PM


Originally Posted by chrisdee (Post 12243070)
Valhalla Ubermod and IKMultimedia Tape Echo should be on this list. Maby 2 of the best sounding ones imo.

Valhalla got major props on the Top 10 Reverb list (1st place and 3rd place, for VintageVerb and ValhallaRoom), so I'm not worried about this. I'm happy to see that FreqEcho made the delay plugin list!

Lots of amazing delay plugins in this list. Echoboy is around 10 years old, but continues to impress. I really like the organization scheme of Replika XT as well. I need to try out the UAD EP-34 one of these days (I just got an EP-3 a few weeks ago, so comparing the two will be fun).

Diogo C 8th November 2016 08:45 PM

[with Darth Sidious voice] I foresee UbberMod making it when we run a poll for "best modulation" plug-ins. grimm

aramism 5th December 2016 12:09 AM

echo boy all the way. it's the only delay plug in with it's own unique sound IMO. call me crazy, and I have a ton of hardware delays from digital to analog to tape. the same way the pcm42 just sounds "right" with it's own swing and groove the echo boy is the same.

Mario-C. 1st April 2017 08:10 PM

Echoes by Nomad Factory sounds awesome. Love it on vocals, sounds great in the context of a mix, uses very little dsp, very underrated plugin.

galaydees 1st April 2017 11:07 PM

Sandman Pro. Nothing else like it.

lou latch 5th April 2017 09:02 PM

Sorry, but the time-honored Ohmboys (from Ohmforce) really are missing. The funky skin alone is worth a mention here, but seriously, the functionality is deep, too.

crackmandu 6th April 2017 04:54 PM

Anyone else digging the repeater plug in the slate everything bundle? It's become a go-to for me.

Diogo C 18th April 2017 02:37 AM


Originally Posted by lou latch (Post 12550028)
Sorry, but the time-honored Ohmboys (from Ohmforce) really are missing. The funky skin alone is worth a mention here, but seriously, the functionality is deep, too.

Really like that one too, one of my favs since forever. Ohmforce took a long time to update to AAX and they're not exactly pumping out new releases, so they kind of faded from the public memory and when it comes to software that can be quite critical as so much stuff is released every week. It seems like they're spending more time on OhmStudio than on plug-ins...

Deleted User 18th April 2017 03:16 AM


Originally Posted by crackmandu (Post 12551768)
Anyone else digging the repeater plug in the slate everything bundle? It's become a go-to for me.

I've had just about everything under the sun. Repeater is fantastic and seems to handle everything I throw at it. Highly recommended. Tons of good stuff out there, though. Whatever works.

Jake Break 19th April 2017 07:32 AM

Obviously there are "better" products out there . . . but Valhalla is easily the best $50 Ive ever spent in audio! Hands Down!!

Presocratic 23rd April 2017 08:45 PM

EchoBoy is great, and soooooo deep.

PSP Lexicon PCM42 and PSP 85 have a great sound, but the interface is a bit too fiddly, too close to the hardware in this case!

For Waves, I still love SuperTap, despite the small and dated-looking interface. The "feedback time" control allows for certain kinds of rhythmic syncopation patters that I haven't been able to achieve in other plugins. Do any other plugin delays have such a separate feedback time control? Most seem to just have a feedback amount control, not feedback time.

(Built-in DAW delays are also worth checking out; I mainly use Logic's delays when I want a simpler delay. Tape Delay is my favorite of those)

Presocratic 23rd April 2017 08:47 PM

With so many options, and many of them sounding excellent and providing similar functionality (at least for more basic delays), I find that the decision of which to use often comes down to which interface feels more appealing and intuitive. Since I love Valhalla's clean, immediate, beautiful, functional GUIs, my vote is for a Valhalla dedicated delay! (I already own all the Valhalla existing plugs)

I like an interface that shows all the relevant settings at a glance, and Valhalla's are the among the best for that as well. Ever since my eyesight went downhill suddenly easily readable interfaces are a priority!

tvsky 25th April 2017 08:44 AM

johnnygri 27th April 2017 12:02 PM

Waves Kramer tape plugin has a badass delay on it. Best in-the-box slap I've heard.

SPOCKSONE 27th April 2017 01:50 PM

Slapper of the cargo Cult Amazing to ??? me I love it

I like To : Replika,EchoBoy,Timeless2,

But a special Mention to : THE C.C.Slapper,UVIRelayer, D16 SLATE Repeater,EXPONENTIAL AUDIO Excalibur,UAD A/DA & Galaxy tape echo & Cooper time cube,Plugin alliance sandman Really Amazing !!!! Some are Modern Delay wide,Deep etc. Really good to shaping your sounds seriously

others Interesting : Soundtoy Crystallizer,Eventide H3000,NI Patch Reaktor 6 & Spektral Delay,Rob Papen RP-Delay,AvidMoogerfooger AD & BBD Delay & ModDelay 3,D16 Sigmund,Grm Delays,PSP 42-64-608-N20,U-he MFM & Uhbik-D,Nomad BT Oilcan Echo,BT Tempo Delay,iZotope DDLY,Ohm Force OhmBoyz,OhmBoyz,Softube Tube Delay And many others sure HAhahaaaa hooppie

Diogo C 7th May 2017 10:42 PM


Originally Posted by tvsky (Post 12586887)

Indeed a cool plug-in.

Curious to see what will happen to FXPansion now with the ROLI takeover...

galaydees 8th May 2017 03:58 AM

Appreciate Ddly much more now than I did when they gave it away. The pitch shifter has made it into several trailers. Really like as ambient dialog effect. Super spacey and weird.

buzzlegs 8th May 2017 09:25 AM

Can't believe the best sounding delay plug isn't even on this list, the Metric Halo Dirty Delay!... i have or have at least tried out most of the delay plugs on this list and none of them sound as good as the Metric Halo imo.

RDP 8th May 2017 04:15 PM

My problem with Ohmboyz is that the GUI is soooooo small on modern monitors, I have to squint to figure out what I am looking at. U-he and Valhalla are good in my books for having size scalable GUI's. NI stuff as well is driving my eyes nuts as well these days.

Other issue with Ohmboyz is that I just cant seem to figure out where the MIX (wet/dry) knob is, which for me should be basically front and centre, esp. when I use it in an insert chain (rather than a send/return).


andrew732 9th August 2017 05:28 AM

Delay is definitely an area where there's no single plugin that seems to do it all. In fact, it's kind of strange how even basic features are frequently left out of otherwise very fancy delay plugins.

When I don't need to color the sound, my go-to is the relatively ancient Waves SuperTap, which I don't think has been mentioned by anyone. It makes it very easy to construct custom rhythmic echo patterns with full control over the panning of individual taps, which to my mind is a very important, fundamental feature that for example, EchoBoy does not have. (And don't even get me started on EchoBoy's atrocious GUI.)

In fact, unless I'm mistaken the only one of the "Top 10" plugins above that gives you a comparable amount of control over individual taps is UVI Relayer. Relayer is very powerful and goes beyond SuperTap in many ways, but something about its interface for editing the timing of echoes is very awkward to me.

For example, the units of time in the pattern editor of Relayer are always expressed in terms of fractional intervals between taps, where 1/1 corresponds to whatever duration is set with the master delay time knob. This is incredibly frustrating because you constantly have to mentally calculate the true value of the delay for each tap while adjusting them. I don't know what the heck UVI was thinking with that. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

TNM 12th August 2017 01:47 AM

logic tape delay.. have tried everything on the above list, and own most of them (and then some!) and nothing can do it's distorted feedback. Not even close.
This is the main thing I miss when using ProTools

Presocratic 12th August 2017 02:46 AM


Originally Posted by TNM (Post 12789494)
logic tape delay.. have tried everything on the above list, and own most of them (and then some!) and nothing can do it's distorted feedback. Not even close.
This is the main thing I miss when using ProTools

Yes, indeed...I always return to Logic's Tape Delay as my default...I have so many other Delays (EchoBoy, H-Delay, PSP 42 and 85, etc. etc.) but I use this one the most. It's simple enough to get quick results, complex enough for most tasks (except when one needs stereo or multi-tap delays), and just sounds fantastic.

TNM 12th August 2017 06:32 AM


Originally Posted by Presocratic (Post 12789566)
Yes, indeed...I always return to Logic's Tape Delay as my default...I have so many other Delays (EchoBoy, H-Delay, PSP 42 and 85, etc. etc.) but I use this one the most. It's simple enough to get quick results, complex enough for most tasks (except when one needs stereo or multi-tap delays), and just sounds fantastic.

I don't know why no other dev has made a feedback that sounds that good. I use it for song builds and it's amazing.. I can't do it with any other delay. Automating the tape delay feedback is something very special.

Also under appreciated is the multi tap delay(delay designer) which is amazing as an all in one overall delay and does pitch change per tap (up to 10 from memory could be less).
Logic has the best included delay plugins of any daw ever - period.

Interruptor makes a free synth edit plugin for windows called analogic delay that mimics the logic distortion fairly well.. it's absolutely the only plugin in existence that gets close, alas it is windows only.

If i was to choose 2 plugins from the 10 presented here that i think are the best overall as plugins for various delay purposes, I choose timeless and uvi relayer.

Also the excellent Le Masque from Xils has to be mentioned as you can program feedback on a certain beat only. Very cool.

I do not like echoboy nor it's new JR sibling at all. Never have, including the clunky interface. I WAY prefer MCDSP'S EC300...

Anyway, MY top ten delay plugins (and not actual plugins in 2 cases lol) of all time if anyone is interested, in no particular order bar the number 1.

1) Logic Tape Delay and Delay Designer - Apple please adapt latter for Retina or someone make a Retina skin

2) Fab Filter Timeless (a MUST for it's resonant filters, very rare so you can use it as an insert and do crazy resonance without extra plugins).

3) Xils Audio Le Masque

4) Uvi Relayer

5) Soundtoys Primal Tap.. give me this any day over Echoboy cause of the SOUND!

6) UAD Space Echo OR audiothing's Outer Space (TIED! finally a native 64 bit roland!)

7) McDSP EC300

8) Audiodamage Dubstation (for me purely because it gets closest to logic feedback on mac, so very biased, and sadly no AAX) EDIT: YAY, $10 upgrade to V2 with aax.. ok, i'm a lot happier now suddenly! This one is nice to drive hard.. Resonance on filters would make it amazing, but alas, no go there.

9) Unfiltered Audio/Plugin Alliance SandMan Pro

10) Line 6 Echo Farm 3, now native AAX 64 available with vst "interest" page - sign up!

Very notable 11th mentions; Eareckon Earebound, highly underrated, and Waves Marroquin delay :)

so that's me anyway!

TNM 12th August 2017 09:06 AM

For anyone that was interested in the Logic Tape delay alternative, after years of searching I finally found it. This plugin is new, and only 13 Euro.

I can't believe how close I can get.. this is the only AAX plugin i know of that can drive as hard as logic's delay

All I have been doing is demoing delays i haven't tried, since my last post LOL.. of course the last I tried was the one that did it!

galaydees 12th August 2017 04:22 PM


Originally Posted by TNM (Post 12789787)
Soundtoys Primal Tap.. give me this any day over Echoboy cause of the SOUND!

Could not agree more. Want to like EB. Just never stays in mix. Ever.

Diogo C 13th August 2017 01:58 PM

I've been slowly but surely moving away from EB too. It's kind of a "jack of many trades, master of none" and even though the latest update did some good on the workflow it didn't improve its sonics. It's a great plug-in nevertheless, but I'm learning towards application-specific type of delays more and more, but still reach for EB sometimes, mostly inside the rack along with FilterFreak, Devil Loc or PanMan.

That said, Primal Tap = rockout

Magpel 13th August 2017 02:16 PM

Speaking of deep and impenetrably complex, but always enticingly interesting, did anyone else buy the Rob Papen Delay when he was selling it for, like $10? I spent a few days trying to understand its architecture. I seldom use it in a project and when I do, it is usually in an impetuous "let's see what the the RP Delay has to say about this track," way, and sometimes it sticks.

Jeezo 15th August 2017 08:36 AM


Originally Posted by galaydees (Post 12790411)
Could not agree more. Want to like EB. Just never stays in mix. Ever.

Try echoboy jr ;) ...