Are you looking for best delay VST plugins but confused which one is will actually help you become a better producer? This top delay plugins list and buyer's guide feature some of the best ones available on the market
How Do Delay Plugins Work?
Delay is an essential effect which adds expression and “body” to your track (and even live performance). It can frequently shape the whole sound of a track. Delay is a time based audio effect which converts the ordinary guitar riffs or mixing vocals into the mind-boggling arpeggiated patterns which would seem difficult (if not impossible) to play manually.
Delay times can vary from a few milliseconds to several seconds. To get a decaying echo, the delayed signal can even play multiple times. Additionally, the delay is also a building block of modulation effects, for example, chorus, flangers, and phasers.
To make your search easier, I have compiled a list of 10 best delay VST plugins on the market. Here you’ll know about some cool things you can add to your DAW library.
First, we will see the history of plugins. Although nowadays digital plugins are common, it doesn't hurt to know the background and history of plugins that are modeled on an analog or tape delay. This way, you can choose a more creative delay for your mixes.
Delay: A Quick History
Delay was invented before modern computers. This means that there were no VST or AU plugins out there. Instead, people have used analog hardware. Let's take a look – you'll see that the industry's come a long way.
Tape delay was the prominent analog (was it even considered analog?) delay unit in the late 50s and 60s. An intricately coiled tape loop enclosed in a large casing that runs machine uninterrupted. The delay times created and adjusted by moving the heads forward and backward in front of the machine.
Although it's now old fashioned, it can produce interesting and incredibly warm delays. It is perfect for subtle random phasing to flanging and chorus-type effects. The Roland RE-201 Echo in our list replicates a tape delay and much loved by King Tubby, Brian Eno, and Pink Floyd.
In the 70s, an alternative to tape delay was introduced, which was more practical and cost-effective. On top of that, it was a lot easier to transport. Analog delay output is much more like lo-fi with increasing delay time.
It sounded “muddier and colder” than tape delay and was considered “a cheap alternative” in the 80s when the digital delay was introduced. A few classic examples of analog delay units are Boss DM-2, Electro-Harmonix Memory Man, DM-100 models, and Moog Moogerfooger MF104 series.
Advanced digital delay units with more precision came into the music industry during the 80s. Unlike tape and analog, the digital delay had more features. However, every tool has its own characteristics with pros and cons.
Digital accuracy is significant when the hyper-accurate tempo-synced delay is needed in dance styles. Digital delay can produce more creative mixes without quality loss. TC 2290 rack unit from TC Electronic is the standard digital delay.
10 Best Delay VST Plugins
Alright guys, let's jump into the list already!
1. PSP 85
The origin of the PSP85 delay plugin can be found back to the classic lexicon PCM 42 hardware rack unit. This delay plugin is an immutable product with unlimited possibilities, depending on the variable sample rate delay lines. PSP 85 includes various noteworthy features, like full bank compatibility with PSP 84 delay.
Furthermore, it features sixty new presets with amazing attributes with an enormous sound bank, unlike the PSP 84 factory program. The delay gating offers extended control over a number of echoes and their level.
This version is perfect for creating intricate rhythmic patterns. It is an innovative built with automatic ducking that helps to preserve sound clarity by attenuating superfluous echoes.
2. Ohm Force Ohmboyz
Ohm Force is a famous audio software company, and its plugins are fun and well-made from all angles. This delay plugin comes with all parameters and controls to make extreme effects easy to manage. On top of that, it also has the musical tone and subtlety settings, which make it easy to fit into the tracks.
OhmBoyz is an advanced stereo multitap delay plugin with a variety of features such as complex resonant filters, 39 LFOs, and distortion high shelf. As a little cherry on top, it comes with two skins – classic and funky. Funky embodies the true spirit of Ohm Force while classic has an old school analog rack-like interface.
3. Soundtoys EchoBoy
Echoboy is the best delay VST plugin for your buck. It is an iconic delay plugin with 30 echo styles with editing options and expression tools to compose any delay sound. It's also capable of creating chorus effects with different types of analog saturation.
This versatile plugin is perfect for all musical instruments such as drums, guitar or vocals. All in all, this delay plugin has creative implications with more customized options.
4. Fabfilter Timeless 2
Everyone loves the second iteration of Fab-Filter plugin Timeless due to its wealth of customizability. It is known for its sound and simple interface. This creative delay plugin has unique modulation features that make this bad boy a sound mangling machine. Fabfilter is ideal for creating flanger, echo, chorus and phaser effects.
It is one of the best plugins for mangling sounds for all sorts of effects. Altogether, from basic to vintage, everything Timeless delivers to its users is excellent. It's definitely an incredible VST delay plugin for those who want to create something unique. You will love its ability to create crunchy modulated delays and creative effects to “bring your tracks to live.”
5. Waves SuperTap
SuperTap develops this plugin inspired by the legacy of classic analog tape delays. It has some interesting features that give it unprecedented processing power such as panning, filter options, and extensive modulation.
It comes in 2-Tap and 6-Tap components for building complex delay patterns with the fun graphic slider for each tap. Apart from this, it has a vector graphic for placing each delay in space from left to right and front to back.
6. PSP 608 MultiDelay
PSP 608 is the most feature-packed delay plugin in our list and feels like an old hardware effects box with few extra bells and whistles. The delay time of this plugin is up to 8 seconds per channel with continuous control over the delay in milliseconds. It has two operation modes – Multidelay and Multitap – with a wide range of sound effects from vintage tape delays to experimental effects.
The core of this plugin is based on 8 highly controllable delay taps, each with independent filters and drive control for adding saturation. It is a fantastic tool as an experimental delay, must choose this if you are looking for experimental one your echo.
7. Waves H-Delay Hybrid Delay
It is the most widely used delay plugin with versatile features such as flanging, ping-pong, phasing, slap-back and most importantly, tempo sync modulation effects. If you want something quick and simple, this is one of the best delay VSTs plugins out there, especially for vocals. H-Delay plugin enriched with dimensional tone and flexibility.
It's a great tool for everything you want to create, from slapbacks to expensive dub-style echo effects. Unlike other delay plugins, this one does not offer much customization but has an abundance of brilliant features for you to discover. The LoFi button is a little bonus as well.
8. Audio Damage Dubstation 2
This Dubstation 2 dual-model delay plugin can be a lovely addition to your plugin library. It is an innovative delay that imitates vintage delay boxes that use a bucket brigade system to create delays. Besides, it is a useful alternative for both crisp digital delay effects and typical vintage tape.
Loop mode allows Dubstation to play delayed audio without alteration while reverse mode reverses the direction and current contents of it delay memory (yep, confusing, hey?). You can apply saturation and filter effects to the output signal in loop mode as well, which makes things a notch more flexible.
9. Avid / Line6 Echo Farm
With Echo Farm, you will experience a lot more versatility than you may expect. An excellent tool for creating professional mixes with plenty of headroom for a mastering engineer, Line6 Echo Farm would've likely been my favorite delay plugin, if only it wasn't exclusive to Pro Tools users. It is favorite delay plugins due to only available delay in TDM format for pro tool users.
This pro tool has redefined film, music and TV industry by providing everything that essential for composing, recording and mixing audio in your studio.
10. Roland RE-201 Space Echo Tape Delay
Created in 1973, Roland RE-201 Space Echo remake is a wonderful tool to add tape character and chaos to your recordings. This delay plugin's fundamental is made by utilizing multiple playback heads to create advanced echo effects.
You've heard of Radiohead and Portishead, right? Well, you can hear the Space Echo on many of their track – check them out!
Interestingly, this bad boy took a long time to develop – almost a year (and they didn't have many budget constraints, trust me). Likely, the final product ended up being a perfect tool for capturing complex self-oscillation. Let's call it a perfect combination of both old and new schools of technology.
Despite having many features and settings, it's actually not hard to start using the plugin, even if you are a beginner. You know what they say – the best thing to do is to try implementing the delay VST and its features into your workflow – and you are set in a matter of weeks!
Well, I hope you've learned a thing or two about delay VST plugins and history of the delay effect. The most important part here is to keep practicing. The next thing you know – setting up the right delay for the tempo is going to be the second nature for you!