Last Updated on February 17, 2021.
Delays are crucial when trying to give your music a sense of space, and they are one of the essential building blocks for mixing music.
Just like reverb, delay is highly responsible for creating ambiance and a sense of space in your mixes.
This is why they are extremely important and using one or the other could completely change the character of the whole song.
With so many delay plugins out there, I know it can be hard to choose one, especially if you don’t already know the types of delays that are out there and what they are generally used for.
In this post I will list some of the best delay VST plugins out there which you should definitely try out.
Keep in mind that there are no hard rules when using a delay.
If one sounds good, even if it’s not conventionally used that way, then keep using it.
What is a Delay and how does it Work?
Don’t confuse delay with reverb since a delay is nothing more than the same original audio signal being repeated again and again after a short period of time.
The number of times the signal is repeated is called feedback.
This means that the more feedback, the more the signal will be repeated, which in the end means than this effect will carry on for longer.
If you want to know more about how a delay works and the differences between delay and reverb, then give this article I wrote a read: Delay Vs Reverb.
Now, let’s get straight into the plugins…
These are the best Delay VST Plugins:
- Echoboy by Soundtoys ($202)
- Repeater by Slate Digital ($101)
- PrimalTap by Soundtoys ($151)
- Tube Delay by Softube ($51)
- Timeless 2 by Fabfilter ($123)
- DDLY Dynamic Delay by iZotope ($55)
- Colour Copy by U-He ($78)
- EC-300 Echo Collection HD ($101)
- UltraTap by Eventide ($112)
- Galaxy Tape Echo by Universal Audio ($99)
- Ohmboyz by OhmForce ($78)
- Replika by Native Instruments ($49)
- H-Delay by Waves ($29.99)
Echoboy by Soundtoys (Windows, Mac)
Echoboy is definitely one of the best premium Delay plugins available on the market, if not THEE best.
It combines 30 echo styles which are modelled on iconic vintage gear and adds some extra features on top of them.
You can create almost any delay sound you want with it thanks to all the editing options available.
Basically, it does it all and it does it well.
If you really need a good Delay with loads of customization options, you might want to take this one into consideration.
Get Echoboy here.
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Repeater by Slate Digital (Windows, Mac)
Repeater is another excellent premium delay plugin that, even though it doesn’t quite have the same editing and customization capabilities that Echoboy does, is an outstandingly good-sounding plugin.
It has 23 delay models to sample from, which can be tweaked.
Then it has all the typical delay controls like timing, tap tempo, etc.
Get Repeater here.
PrimalTap by Soundtoys (Windows, Mac)
Primaltap is one of the best recreations of Lexicon’s Prime Time delay, a classic digital delay with some powerful performance and sound design capabilities, which was used extensively back in the 1980’s by artists such as Peter Gabriel, and others.
Just like the original Prime Time Delay, this plugin is a hybrid of digital and analog sound.
It features only a handful of controls and the interface is straightforward and easy to use… Excellent for beginners.
Get PrimalTap here.
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Tube Delay by Softube (Windows, Mac)
I love Softube.
They are the creators of the Saturation Knob which I always enjoyed quite a lot and you can find that one in my list of the best free saturation plugins.
Even though I think Tube Delay is absolutely fantastic because of its unique saturated tone, I don’t think it’s for everyone.
Since it has such a unique character to it, it probably won’t work for every single mix.
Which is why I would recommend it only if you know that you want a saturated and warm sounding delay.
Get Tube Delay here.
Timeless 2 by Fabfilter (Windows, Mac)
Timeless 2 is a fairly simple to use plugin, and by this I mean that you can get it to sound great with just a tiny bit of work.
However, it is a very versatile plugin that has the capability of being tweaked and configured in a multitude of ways.
If you dive deeply into the settings, you’ll find that the possibilities are endless.
Get Timeless 2 here.
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DDLY Dynamic Delay by iZotope (Windows, Mac)
If you’re someone who is completely new to delays, or even music production in general, then this one might make your life a bit easier.
The reason for this is simply because it’s one of the few plugins that is capable of responding to your track’s dynamics and adjust to them creating versatile delays.
Basically, it has the capability of delaying the sound in a different way, depending on the character of the sound, without mudding up the entire mix.
Get DDLY Dynamic Delay here.
Colour Copy by U-He (Windows, Mac)
Colour Copy is a virtual analog effect that was inspired by classic bucket-brigade delays, such as the MXR Carbon Copy, which had that distinct dark sound to them, but with a wider range of colors.
It’s not the most intuitive delay vst out there, but if you give it some time you should quickly get used to all the controls.
The great thing about this delay is that it can be used on basically any element of the mix and it will sound fantastic.
Get Colour Copy here.
EC-300 Echo Collection HD by McDSP (Windows, Mac)
The EC-300 Echo Collection brings the sounds of dozens of echo and chorus effects into a single plug-in.
The three delay types – Magnetic, Digital, and Analog – come with a generous collection of user controls and plenty of character modes.
Each EC-300 delay type comes with additional character modes to create new and unique sounds.
Other delay features include adjustable saturation, wow and flutter, delay output ducking, in-loop filtering and EQ, and level control at the input and output stages.
The EC-300 can operate in single, dual, and ping-pong modes, and delay time can be synced to session playback or to a tapped tempo.
The way each of the three different delays look is also pretty cool!
Get the EC-300 Echo Collection here.
UltraTap by Eventide (Windows, Mac)
UltraTap is a unique multi-tap effect capable of rhythmic delays, glitchy reverbs, huge pad-like volume swells and extraordinary modulation.
It’s the perfect tool for creating drum fills, vocal choruses, swelling guitar chords and other evolving effects.
Designed for real-time manipulation, UltraTap features an innovative control which allows you to program two settings for any combination of the controls and seamlessly transition between them.
Not only that, but it features over 150 presets which are at least a good place to start and then go from there.
Get UltraTap Here.
Galaxy Tape Echo by Universal Audio (Windows, Mac)
If you’re into Pink Floyd, David Bowie, and other great musicians of the 70’s, then you probably love the tape delay they used on vocals, guitar, and to be honest, everything else.
In 1973, Roland created the RE-201 Space Echo which was a tape delay/spring reverb system capable of creating extremely warm sounding echo effects that was used on all of those old records.
The Galaxy Tape Echo plugin is a fantastic emulation of that unit that sounds astoundingly close to what the original effect sounded.
Get Galaxy Tape Echo here.
Ohmboyz by OhmForce (Windows, Mac)
While Ohmboyz is an advanced stereo multitap delay, it also has complex resonant filters, distortion, high shelf, and 39 LFOs.
It features 4 independent taps of predelay ranging from ping pong and chorus to reverse beat, each with its own level, stereo balance and time controls.
It’s an incredibly powerful delay plugin which I wouldn’t really recommend to complete newbies.
Get Ohmboyz here.
Replika by Native Instruments (Windows, Mac)
If there’s one thing about this plugin that I like, apart from how it sounds of course, it’s the interface.
It’s sleek, simple, and it just looks great.
The plugin itself is easy to use and it comes with a built-in resonant filter and a classic phaser.
It comes with three delay modes; Modern, Vintage Digital, and Diffusion.
- Modern is a digital delay that delivers the crystal-clear repeats of high-end units.
- Vintage Digital delivers the charismatic grit of early studio delays.
- Diffusion delivers a fresh sound that rides the line between delay and reverb.
Having the added resonance filter and phaser allow you to give your music a lot more personality.
If you need an easy to use delay which is also super affordable, then this one is for you.
Get Replika here.
H-Delay by Waves (Windows, Mac)
H-Delay is a simple, yet very tweakable, delay plugin that’s extremely easy to use.
Plus, it sounds great!
If you need one that’s simple to use, sounds great, and is affordable, then by all means check it out.
Get H-Delay here.
Are there any more affordable alternatives?
Well, now that you ask… yes!
Usually, premium plugins are better than their free counterparts… but not always.
Which is why I wrote an entire post about the best free Delay VST Plugins out there which actually DO sound great.
Definitely check those out if you’re not ready to spend your hard-earned cash on these premium ones first.
My first pick of this list has to be Echoboy for the simple fact that it provides the highest number of different delay- and echo types in one plugin.
Not only that, but it’s pretty easy to use and it sounds great!
My second pick would be Tube Delay simply because of its overall character.
And last but not least, EC-300 Echo Collection. It provides you with three different delays and they all sound awesome.
Plus, the interface looks phenomenal!
Different delay types
Even though you could use any delay plugin you want, slap it on whatever track you like and as long as it sounds good, you’re set…
We generally tend to use certain delay types on specific tracks because of the way they sound.
Note: Don’t follow the rules too much here; If it sounds good, then let it be.
Let’s start with…
Tape delay is generally used when you want a warm but detailed and defined delay with a slight modulation effect to it (because of how the speed of the tape used to fluctuate back in the day).
Tape delay can be used on almost anything; Vocals, Guitars, etc.
Tape delay is an analog delay, but since the machines were so big and bulky, other forms were invented.
Here’s where the BBD (Bucket Brigade Device) chips appeared.
This technology was used to create electric guitar pedals which became an absolute hit.
Analog Delay can also be used on almost anything.
These were created way after the previous two came into existence.
The issue back then was that the processing power required to deliver a good sounding delay effect was extremely high.
This is why digital delays were extremely limited.
Again, you can use Digital delay on almost anything… if it sounds good, then it’s ok!
If you are having a hard time deciding for one of the plugins on this list, make sure to check my top three recommendations.
This should help you out a bit.
Otherwise simply try out some of the free delay vst on this list.
I hope this information was useful.
Have a great day!