Love chilling out in a backward wash of atmospheric repeats? Co-blooming-sign! Reverse delay is one of those sounds that is as easy to fall in love with as it is difficult to control. It is a sound worth having, but one your pocket doesn’t want you to make.
The mooned applications of reverse delay effect pedals are seldom in the foreground of a pedalboard. But when they buttress a solo, everyone dives down off-piste slopes with you. Ah, but for that, you need a reverse delay pedal that can keep up with your ethereal mind.
Delay pedals are a dime a dozen, but some gloss over the reverse mode while others oblige with unworkable sounds. Even among the palatable pedals, reverse delay sounds vary from choppy to fluid. And, tape stop effects, loop functions, and other frills are an added bonus.
So, whether you want psychedelic freak-outs or are keen on inverted audio adventures, we’ve compiled a list of the best reverse delay pedals to get you your money’s worth.
Heck, some of them can even bake cookies for you. Sorry pocket, GAS away.
What Are The Best Delay Pedals with Reverse Delay?
Boss DD-8 is the best multi-use delay pedal with reverse mode among the ‘granddad’ stomps. It lacks custom-built graphics but is on the money in every other way.
The Nux Time Core Deluxe is a safe bet if you want a (relatively) cheap reverse delay pedal. The reverse mode is excellent for the price even though it can’t hold a candle to the boutique big dogs.
EQD’s Avalanche Run V2 is the best delay pedal to create evolving soundscapes and magical stereo effects. It’s an ace in the hole if you use a reverse delay to create droning, ambient sounds.
Here’s the complete list of the delay pedals with reverse delay for varying needs and budgets.
Boss DD-8 Digital Delay Pedal (Our Pick)
NUX Time Core Deluxe (Best Value)
EQD Avalanche Run V2 Delay / Reverb Pedal (Premium Choice)
The DD-8 (its previous avatars included) has been around for a while. It has delivered echoes and repeats for many hyper-processed heroes in the past.
When all else fails, fall back on the Boss DD-8 – a delay effects pedal with a familiar face and reputable sounds. If ‘eccentricity’ isn’t high on your checklist, the could be the tried-and-tested stomp to bring home without regret.
True Stereo Delay Effect Pedal w/ 10 seconds of delay
11 delay modes including reverse delay
3 output modes – independent, panning, and wide stereo
The pedal’s versatile connections are perfect for a wet/dry setup, allowing you to completely drown out the dry signal. The 40-second loop mode is ideal for sound-on-sound fun and on-the-fly backing tracks. A carryover switch allows trails to play out after the stomp is bypassed.
In use, the DD-8 is an expressive, versatile, and intuitive multi-delay pedal. Its reverse mode isn’t teeming with the delectable weirdness but expressive enough to paint organic, ambient, and warbling textures. You can hook up an expression pedal to manipulate effects when needed.
The Boss DD-8 Delay is a multi-functional workhorse in tune with the modern needs of musicians. It will sit proudly on a pedalboard – steadfast and used often. More importantly, it is significantly cheaper than more out-there delay pedals with reverse delay options.
The NUX Time Core Deluxe is your best bet if you don’t want to pay three figures for reverse delay effects.
This all-in-one guitar pedal is compact, user-friendly, and within the means of most. It offers an evenhanded variety of delay modes and effects to invite it to your pedalboard.
Compact sized delay pedal with stereo inputs and outputs
7 delay modes including reverse delay
True Bypass, Buffered Tail Bypass, and Tone Lock
40 second loop function + onboard tap tempo
USB firmware updates
This manageably-sized delay effects pedal is a cost-effective route to reverse delay. It offers the effect as a part of its seven delay modes, the other six being tape echo, digital, analog delay mode (bucket brigade), ping pong, pan, and hold (40-second loop).
The control panel features four knobs for Delay Time, Mix, Repeat, and Mode. The footswitch, when held down for two seconds, doubles up as a tap tempo to sync up. The reverse mode, though not Shoegaze-spectacular, is sufficient to dip your feet in the water.
A 3-way toggle allows you to select Tail, Normal, and T-Lock. This alludes to the two Bypass modes – True Bypass (normal) and Buffered Tail Bypass (tail). The third option – Tone Lock (T-Lock) – is a killswitch to protect parameter tweaks during a performance.
The NUX Time Core Deluxe Delay pedal isn’t masquerading as the best reverse delay pedal. It’s not on par with the disorienting genius of boutique or high-end analog delay.
But, it’s a compact and reasonably good option pedal with reverse delay. If you want simple operation and cost-effective execution, this one is worth checking out.
A dreamy stereosonic exploratory multi-tool that includes up to 2 seconds of delay time, reverse delay, tap tempo with subdivision control, switchable true bypass or buffered bypass with 5 different tail lengths.
Be it Grey Channel, Hoof Reaper, or Ghost Echo, EQD knows combo pedals backward. Hot on the coattails of the EQD Dispatch Master (another excellent delay pedal), EQD impresses with a more lush, versatile, and feature-packed pedal, one that sets the bar very high.
Tape echo-style delay and deep ‘verb in a custom-built enclosure
The control panel features eight knobs to tweak – Time, Repeats, Tone, Mix, Expression, Decay, Mix, and Ratio. A 3-way toggle switch gives you quick access to swelling reverbs, ethereal reverse delay, and a surreal mishmash of both worlds.
There is a lot to unpack if we get into the nitty-gritty of this high-concept pedal. The delay sounds include tape emulation, bucket brigade, and lo-fi styles among others. There is little to fault with tap tempo, assignable expression control, and switchable true and buffered bypass modes.
Overall, the Avalance Run V2 is bubbling over with superlative sounds and reverse delay.
From lo-fi loop mode to five different tales, your imagination is the limit. In the right hands, it can be an exhilarating toy, an expansive composition tool, and everything in between.
In 1999, Danelectro had yet another magic moment (as with their awesome baritone electric guitar). They conjured the Back Talk – a guitar pedal hailed for the feverish effects, rich sounds, and chewy character it spat out.
It went on to achieve cult status, a used market feeding frenzy when phased out, and a recent re-launch. Get it while it’s hot.
Perchance, Danelectro caught wind of the huge demand for these pedals in the used market. In 2020, they launched a recreation of the original pedal that’s now available for under $200. For better or worse, they didn’t feel the need to include a tap tempo feature. Smh.
The good part is, the re-launched version features the original circuit in a more-robust-less-fun metal enclosure.
You can recreate the whole gamut of super authentic tones through different mix and repeat settings. If you want a dedicated stomp, this is the best reverse delay pedal to add to your ‘board.
The Back Talk Reverse Delay pedal is two things a) a throwback to the melting reverse-tape textures of the late 90s and b) Danelectro’s opportunity to capitalize on the frenetic demand.
For Joe Guitar, who isn’t acquainted with this digital artifact, it might not make sense. But if you are enamored by the uniqueness and nostalgia of these sounds, don’t think twice.
If you don’t need intergalactic mind melt in a delay box, the TC Flashback 2 is a more palatable and versatile iteration of delay pedals with reverse delay.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t ridiculously feature-packed. It only implies that it’s less boutique/quirky-sounding when it confounds you with its endless possibilities. Either way, it’s a great overall delay pedal for your ‘board.
11 delay modes including reverse delay
Old school reverse delay effect with kill-Dry on/off
True and Buffered Bypass switch
MASH expression footswitch with presets
TonePrint technology with downloadable presets
The Flashback 2 is a True Bypass delay pedal that packs everything TC Electronic has to offer in a compact enclosure. It includes the Crystal delay algorithm, TonePrint technology, MASH expression footswitch control, and the kitchen sink. Well, maybe not the kitchen sink.
The control panel has four knobs to tweak Duration (20ms to 7 sec), Feedback, Level, and FX. The FX knob gives you access to the modes – 2290, analog delay, tape delay, dynamic, modulation (ping pong), slapback, and reverse delay.
There is a lot to digest between the loop function, tap-tempo switch, expression pedal functionality, and never-ending bank of presets. But while you make sense of it, it gussies up with grandeur and lays out a thick patina of otherworldly textures.
The DL4 garnered a bad rep for fly-by-night QA and dying out on occasion. However, Line 6 seems to have pinpointed the issues and rectified the problem. Recent customer reviews seem to back up the claim. So, we’ll side with Line 6 on this one.
The DL4 is not a cheap reverse delay pedal by any means. It sports the moniker of the ‘Big Green’ for a reason. If you are committed to atmospheric sounds, reverse delays, and glitched-out loops, jump in with both feet.
There is a learning curve before operating the delay pedal becomes second nature. But from that point onward, Reggie Watts is the limit.
The Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai packs a ton of modern capabilities into the Memory Man chassis, including multi-tap delay, reverse echo, and a loop function with up to 30 seconds of loop time.
EHX Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai has high-toned bucket brigade tech, killer reverse delay algorithms, and the ability to reverse in loop mode.
The guitar pedal is a programmable looper with tap tempo, echo, reverse echo, multi-tap tape delay, and reverse delay pedal. ‘Nuff said.
Multi-tap delay with reverse echo
Vintage sounds with tape echo filtering
8 programmable presets
Looper with up to 30 seconds of loop time
1 sec + Reverse and Loop modes
The delay pedal is a DC-powered delay pedal with a Bypass footswitch, tap/record footswitch, and 5-knob control panel – Blend, Decay, Filter, Repeats, and Delay. The white Hazarai knob is a push-release button to load modes and presets within the currently selected mode.
This guitar effects pedal has two reverse delay modes (Déjà vu). One is the Loop mode and the other is Reverse Echo which plays a normal delay signal and reverses the dry signal momentarily when you press the footswitch. It also has a 1 Second + Reverse multi-tap mode.
Again, this is a stomp with overwhelming possibilities. It can do everything from tripped-out textures to tweezed tones wrapped in the warmth of analog delay.
In the reverse delay realm, it can be as subtle or staggering as needed. Keep the user manual handy, though. The EHX instructions offer helpful ideas on how to use the reverse delay function.
Hazarai is Yiddish for ‘lots of extra stuff.’ True to the name, it’s a contender for the best reverse delay pedal due to the impressive cluster of features and sounds. If delay is your jam, it will excite you seven ways to Sunday.
Sadly, the price tag and learning curve don’t espouse it as a weekend toy. Then again, if you have deep pockets, maybe it does.
How Does Reverse Delay Work?
Reverse delay is a sound effect created by a guitar effects pedal that takes a part of the signal and plays it backward. Generally, guitar pedals use a circuit or algorithm that passes the incoming signal through a memory buffer.
The signal is delayed briefly and sent out in reverse. Depending on the effects pedal, you can tweak the dry/wet signal, mix, and repeat to varying degrees.
How Do You Use Reverse Delay Pedals?
Reverse delay pedals are an excellent resource to create ambient sounds, atmospheric layers, and quirky guitar solos.
Ambient or atmospheric layers should be seamless, mixed low, and locked to the tempo. Start with a 100% wet signal, single-repeats, and a long delay time.
Tweak to satisfaction. Throw in some gritty reverb, octave-up harmony, and a volume pedal to create dreamy cello or organ-like textures with swells.
Additionally, you can use reverse delay in a guitar solo over spaced-out rather than busy passages. Space helps because it allows the trails to play out.
That being said, it takes practice to anticipate the space and create refined solos. You have to completely ignore what is coming out of the guitar amp, which takes some getting used to.
Do All Delay Pedals Do Reverse Delay?
All delay pedals do not offer a reverse delay function or dedicated mode. High-end stomps (read: do-it-all delay pedals) like Boss DD-8, Line 6 DL4, or TC Flashback 2 have several delay modes, including reverse delay.
Others, like the Boss DD-3T or MXRCarbon Copy, do not have a reverse delay mode or feature.