Delay pedals are typically used to give your guitar sound some extra space and dimension. There are a variety of different types of delay pedals, from vintage-inspired sounds based on tape delay machines, to modern DSP-based processing for unique rhythmic sounds.
One thing that many delay pedals feature is a “tap tempo” switch or button that allows you to sync your delay time to other sources, whether it’s your bandmate or your computer as you record.
Our top pick is the EQD Avalanche Run. While it doesn’t emulate tape, what it does do is open up a ton of sonic possibilities with flexible tone-shaping. For those on a tighter budget, we recommend the Boss DD-200. For those looking for the creme de la creme, our pick goes to the Eventide TimeFactor.
While tap tempo isn’t a requirement for a delay pedal to operate, it does allow you to play with much more precision. In this article, we’ll look at 7 great sounding tap tempo delay pedals:
The Avalanche Run is a digitally controlled delay pedal that is designed to emulate both a tape echo and a bucket brigade-style analog delay. It’s a stereo pedal as well, which makes it useful for both guitars or keyboards or even using it as an external effect with your DAW. The avalanche run also features a built-in reverb effect, which allows you to create lush swells and ambient pads.
The Avalanche Run also expands its versatility by being able to use both the delay and reverb sounds independent of each other, which essentially turns the pedal into both a versatile tap delay and a lush reverb. There’s also a switch that allows you to use a reverse or swell setting for both effects, allowing you to create otherworldly sounding effects, or emulate classic “reversed” guitar solo sounds.
The Avalanche Run also features tap tempo and expression pedal control of any parameter. You can set it up to tame wild feedback, or let it control the reverb mix to make each delay sound more otherworldly than the last.
All in all the Avalanche Run is a unique and modern tool that still evokes the great sounds of tape and bucket brigade delay sounds. If you’re looking for something that helps inspire your creativity while still giving you a host of useful delay functions, the Avalanche Run is a great choice.
2. Boss DD-200 (Best Value)
The Boss DD-200 is one of the best digital delay pedals, with as much versatility and variety as their flagship DD-500 pedal into a more compact and pedalboard-friendly package.
The DD-200 features 12 different delay modes that cover everything from the classic Boss DM-2, tape delay, all the way to modern shimmer and other ambient effects.
One of the best features of the DD-200 is the ability to save up to 4 different presets, which gives you a ton of flexibility. You can even save these presets to your computer, or use the provided library of up to 127 different presets to have a wide range of different delay effects in a convenient package.
Tap tempo is one thing, but another awesome feature of this pedal is the ability to assign the footswitches to different functions. While the standard option assigns them to the bypass, tap, and loop functions, you can set up foot-switchable control of the delay tails, a hold function, and a whole host of other options to create your own unique setup.
All in all the DD-200 packs a ton of features into a compact pedal package, and while it is a fully digital pedal, it’s still one of the best delay pedals out on the market today.
3. Eventide TimeFactor Delay (Best Premium )
Eventide is a world-renowned effects maker who largely make studio rack recording effects and VST effects. The TimeFactor repackages their renowned studio delay units into a pedalboard-friendly size.
The TimeFactor is another hugely versatile delay unit, but with a markedly different flavor from other multi-effects units. All of the delay functions in the TimeFactor use Eventide’s own custom algorithms, so you know you’re getting the same quality sound as a studio Eventide delay unit.
The TimeFactor also features USB connectivity to update and load new sounds into the pedal and create custom patches.
One of the most unique features of the TimeFactor is the multi delay function. While many pedals feature rudimentary multi-tap delays, the TimeFactor is much more sophisticated on this front. You can use complex multi-rhythm delays to create incredible studio-quality soundscapes.
One thing to note about the TimeFactor is that it’s unashamedly digital, so if you’re looking for warm analog or tape delay flavors, this might not be the best box for that (though there is a tape echo setting you can try out).
The TimeFactor succeeds at taking the studio hi-fi quality of Eventide’s rackmount units and places it on your pedalboard. With a full host of functionality and connectivity for both stereo inputs and MIDI, the TimeFactor is definitely a versatile, studio-quality delay pedal.
4. Electro-Harmonix Canyon
The Canyon is a fantastic small format delay pedal that I think is awesome for a couple of reasons. At first glance, you’re probably saying “wait, there’s no tap tempo function on that pedal, what’s the deal?” But there is a tap tempo feature, it’s actually just built into the single footswitch.
This means you can set the tempo by simply tapping the footswitch in time after you’ve engaged the effect, and it will “adapt” to the tempo after you’ve given it at least 2-3 clicks.
It’s a great space-saving feature that is surprisingly accurate, it syncs well to backing tracks and other musicians you are playing with. The pedal also features an external footswitch connector so that you can add an external tap tempo switch if desired.
The other great thing about the Canyon is the sheer amount of different sounds you can get out of it. It features 9 different delay types, as well as a reverb setting and a built-in looper. While the surface of the pedal looks simple (level, delay time, feedback, delay type, and a tap divide button), there are also secondary controls for each knob that vary by the delay type chosen.
These are accessible by holding the tap divide button and adjusting the delay and feedback knobs to control the secondary functions.
If that wasn’t enough, the onboard looper features up to 62 seconds of recording time and unlimited overdubbing. While it’s not as complex as a dedicated loop pedal, the fact that it’s even included in a delay pedal that already has 10 different delay types adds so much to the value.
While all of the delay types in the Canyon sound great, the inclusion of the shimmer, octave, and sample and hold delay settings really give this pedal some unique sounds that are usually only found on very expensive pedals or even hardware units.
The sample and hold feature is a really cool effect that takes a sample of whatever note or chord you play and repeats it indefinitely until you play something else, which is awesome for creating some really cool stutter effects that are impossible to achieve otherwise.
The canyon is an incredibly versatile and value-packed delay pedal with tap tempo that doesn’t eat up a lot of real estate, and its wide breadth of sounds means there’s something in it for everyone.
5. MXRCarbon Copy Deluxe
The standard MXRcarbon copy has become a classic pedal in its own right, with thousands of users worldwide loving its true analog bucket-brigade delay sounds.
The biggest feature that the Deluxe adds is a tap tempo switch, earning it a place in this article. It also features a delay divide function that you can see on the LED screen in the middle of the pedal, allowing for both simple subdivisions of the delay tempo as well as dotted and triplet divisions.
The original Carbon Copy featured a mod button that had internal controls available for fine-tuning adjustment. The deluxe moves those controls to the top of the pedal (thanks to its expanded size), which adds to the ease of use of the pedal and the ability to adjust modulation settings in real-time if desired.
The Carbon Copy Deluxe also features a “bright” switch that is designed to emulate another Carbon Copy model, the Carbon Copy Bright. This switch is useful for those that like the design of the Carbon Copy but find the sound to be too dark.
The tap tempo pedal also features an expression pedal input which can be set to control any of the controls onboard, and you can also save presets. For better or for worse, the presets only recall delay time, but the mix and feedback settings are not affected.
If you dig the sound of analog delay pedals and want a fully-featured one, the Carbon Copy Deluxe is a great sounding option.
6. WamplerFaux Tape Echo
Wampler is a boutique company known for making great-sounding effects that aim to bring the “classic” sounds of boutique equipment to the modern guitar player.
The Faux Tape Echo aims to be a high quality and great sounding emulation of a tape echo unit like the Echoplex or Space Echo, without needing to worry about tape biasing or cleaning the heads.
The Faux Tape Echo is a hybrid design, featuring a digital delay engine but an all-analog signal path for an authentic tone-shaping design. While it doesn’t claim to sound like any specific tape unit, it’s easy to get convincing tones out of the Faux Tape Echo.
What I like about the Wampler pedal is that it uses modern terminology for its controls, while many tape echo-style pedals use the original tape terminology, which can be outdated and confusing. Younger players who have probably never used an actual tape echo will certainly appreciate the simplicity here.
Another great feature is the footswitch-able subdivision button. While lots of expanded delay pedals feature tempo subdivisions, the Faux Tape Echo takes it one step further with an extra mini-footswitch, allowing you to change tempo divisions on the fly.
All in all, the Faux Tape Echo is a faithful machine with modern functionality and includes tap tempo and a host of versatile features that will be sure to please any guitarist who’s looking for “vintage tone” with modern features.
Strymon Effects have been widely adopted by musicians of all levels for their spot-on emulations of classic units with modern controls and designs.
I like to think of Strymon as the “Universal Audio” of guitar pedals, because they use DSP technology, but are purely focused on recreating authentic analog sounds with modern technology.
They have a large line of great delay pedals and reverb effects. I refuse to pick just one because they are all fantastic!
The El Capistan, Dig, and Brigadier are full-featured compact pedals that emulate a tape echo, a digital delay, and a bucket brigade delay respectively. The cool thing about these pedals is that they add a secondary control function to every knob on the pedal, which was something I was initially unaware of.
This allows you to have a simple interface to control major parameters, and a clean method of digging deeper to modify your sound without having to menu dive.
While each of these effects only covers one “type” of delay, they do the job incredibly well.
Rather than “water down” their larger delay pedals like the Timeline with their more compact pedals, they decided to keep the full DSP processing and instead focus on each delay style.
This makes it perfect for a player who might only want the tone of an analog delay pedal, but more refined control of the parameters. I couldn’t really decide on any one of these delays because they all have fantastic and usable sounds in them, so you can’t really go wrong choosing any of them.
Personally, I have an El Capistan and it’s an incredibly useful delay. It’s based on classic Tape Echos, but since it has a “tape head” switch you can essentially change the way the pedal reacts so that it can sound like a Space Echo, Echoplex, or even the very elusive Echorec pedal (famously used by David Gilmour). And while you still get the classic “slowly degrading” character of a tape echo, every repeat still feels clear and doesn’t get too muddy.
Hopefully, this list gave you some great ideas for tap-tempo delay pedals, and you were able to work out which one best suits your needs. I fully stand behind the sounds you can get out of any of these pedals, and know that these options should definitely be on your radar if you’re after a cool new pedal.
Looking to change up your pedalboard? We’ve got you covered!