Welcome to the fascinating world of delay plugins! Delay effects have been an integral part of music production since the early days of recording. From classic tape echoes to modern digital delays, these plugins have been used to add depth, space, and excitement to countless recordings. In this guide, we'll explore some of the best delay plugins available, both free and premium, to help you enhance your mixes and create mesmerizing soundscapes. Whether you're a bedroom producer or an experienced audio engineer, these versatile plugins will undoubtedly become essential tools in your audio processing arsenal.
TapeDelay by Airwindows is a unique delay plugin with excellent sound quality and simple controls. This bare-bones plugin offers a simple slider interface with six parameters for creating fun, swerving delays. Although not visually polished, TapeDelay is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS and provides an old-school analog delay vibe.
BABY Audio Baby Comeback
Baby Comeback is a user-friendly delay plugin with a retro sound. As the freeware edition of BABY Audio's award-winning delay/echo plugin, Comeback Kid, Baby Comeback features four FX modules (Analog, Saucy, Cheap, and Wide) that can be applied individually or simultaneously. The streamlined control scheme and built-in ducker and ping-pong delay mode make it easy to achieve complex stereo delay sounds.
Chowdhury DSP ChowMatrix
If you're searching for something out of the ordinary, the ChowMatrix by Chowdhury DSP is the answer. This unique echo plugin is designed for crafting otherworldly delays, based on an endlessly expandable tree of delay lines. Each node in the tree delays audio from its parent node, resulting in bizarre and delightful reverberations with limitless potential. Customize each branch with delay length, feedback, panning, filter, pitch shifting, and more. Unleash the 'Insanity' mode for dynamic results, and discover the extraordinary capabilities of this experimental delay plugin.
Cocoa Delay is an impressive open-source delay plugin with a focus on clean design, ease of use, and a warm, pleasant sound. Although it's feature-rich, it is only compatible with Windows. Available as a "Name your Price" download, Cocoa Delay is perfect for achieving warm, vintage delay sounds. With three modes (Static, Ping-pong, Circular pan), delay time drift, built-in LFO control, and tempo-synced delay time control, it offers a wealth of options. Despite being limited to VST plugin format, Cocoa Delay is a top free delay plugin choice.
D10 Labo Rhythm Delay Free
Rhythm Delay is an excellent tool for musicians who make minimal music. With 8 Multi Taps and Tempo Syncs, it's perfect for drums, percussion, or vocal samples, and is easily one of the top free delay VST plugins on the market.
Glitchmachines presents Hysteresis, an intriguing free plugin designed for glitchy stuttering effects rather than classic delay. The input signal passes through a delay line, a stutter processor, a low pass filter, and another modulated delay line before looping back to the first delay line and outputting. This routing enables extensive creative processing options, such as pitch-shifting, granulation, and reverse delays. Hysteresis is perfect for sound design and comes with a plethora of presets for a wide range of effects.
The GSI Watkat pays homage to the legendary engineer Charlie Watkins and his groundbreaking Copicat delay unit from 1958. The Watkat emulates the Watkins "Custom" Copicat, known for its noisy, lo-fi sound that adds character and life to your audio. This lightweight free delay plugin features three switchable playback heads for different delay characteristics, capturing the essence of the Watkins tape echo.
Higher Hz HZ Delay
HZ Delay is a powerful combination of delay, reverb, chorus, filtering, and saturation effects. Featuring three echo stages with different control parameters, it allows for complex delays with multiple delay lines. Its unique features include sending a portion of the signal from the third echo stage back to the first and using the Crossfeed control to swap left and right channels. HZ Delay is perfect for sound designers and music producers seeking unique sounds.
HY Plugins HY-Delay 4 Free
HY-Delay 4 Free is a versatile delay plugin based on the full version of HY-Delay 4. It offers independent left and right delay time adjustment, an on-board ducker, and ping-pong stereo delay. Additional features include a 3-band parametric EQ, two filters, and a feedback control with four different parameters. With a preset randomizer and compatibility with both Windows and macOS, HY-Delay 4 Free is a great option for a free delay plugin.
DLYM is a delay modulator based on DRC's chorus effect, with added features to enhance its usability as a delay effect. With 20 presets, built-in patch manager, adjustable stereo spread, and six modulation waveforms, DLYM offers a sleek and modern interface with two processing modes.
kiloHearts' Delay is a versatile utility plugin that can be used as a standalone or a snap-in module for the kiloHearts Snap Heap. This stripped-back delay plugin offers basic controls for quick results, including standard note value delay times, dry/wet controls, and a damp control to duck the delay during incoming dry signal. You can also choose any sync beat division value and use the randomize button for faster sound design.
Noizefield Particle of God
Created for Native Instruments Reaktor, Particle of God is a free delay VST plugin that accelerates delay times when needed. Paired with its built-in Sync, it enables the creation of remarkable delay effects.
Saltline Lisc Delay
Lisc Delay is a versatile free delay VST plugin with Pre and Post delay settings and left and right signal sections. It allows for subtle to glitchy delay effects, making it an excellent choice for beginners on a budget.
Sixthsample & Integraudio Deelay
Deelay, a collaboration between Sixthsample and Integraudio, offers a feature-rich delay plugin with a simple, minimalistic interface. With diffusion for creating reverbs, distortion for saturation or aggressive waveshaping, and modulation for lively sounds, Deelay is a versatile option. For an even more powerful delay plugin, check out Deelay Platinum Edition.
Stagecraft's Delay plugin offers a high-resolution FFT spectrum design for in-depth sound processing. Along with standard delay features, it also includes echos and High, Low-Pass filtering for added depth and versatility.
TAL Software TAL-DUB-III
TAL Software offers a wide range of free plugins, and the TAL-DUB-III is an excellent addition to your delay toolbox. This easy-to-use plugin features a built-in filter and saturation options, enabling precise control over wet and dry signals. The TAL-DUB-III delivers up to 4 seconds of synced delay times and displays saturation levels on digital LED meters. For a top-notch reverb with a touch of color, the TAL-DUB-III is a must-have free delay plugin.
Lagrange by UrsaDSP is perfect for creating complex and bizarre delay effects. With unique features like grain rate, density, fixed and variable delay functions, and algorithm types, it allows for various delay sounds, from phasing and flanging to spacious and clean delays. Its feedback section and peak equalizer, as well as a side chain limiter, provide additional control and flexibility.
Valhalla DSP ValhallaFreqEcho
Valhalla DSP presents the ValhallaFreqEcho, a delay plugin that goes beyond the ordinary. This innovative plugin combines frequency shifting with an analog-style echo, producing a sound reminiscent of the smoky, psychedelic 60s. Experiment with various settings to achieve chorus, flanger, and doubling effects, or use it as a standard delay. By integrating pitch shifting, the possibilities become even more intriguing. Try automating the shifting for a wild echo effect that's sure to impress.
Valhalla DSP Valhalla SuperMassive
Valhalla DSP returns with the SuperMassive, an exceptional free delay plugin that doubles as a massive reverb. Create immersive delays and reverbs that adapt to your mod rates and depths, crafting expansive sonic landscapes that resonate deeply within your mix. The Valhalla SuperMassive delivers a premium sound without the price tag, making it perfect for creating vast delays with a touch of reverb.
Ihope you've enjoyed discovering some of the best delay plugins currently available on the market. Each plugin offers its unique flavor and features, enabling you to create a wide range of delay effects tailored to your specific needs. As you continue to experiment with these plugins, you'll undoubtedly uncover new creative possibilities and take your productions to new heights. Don't be afraid to think outside the box and push the boundaries of what delay effects can achieve. Happy mixing, and may your music be filled with captivating echoes and mesmerizing soundscapes!