Get ready to make some sweet delays.
In this article, we have gathered the eight best delay plugins of 2021.
From analog-style delays to insane delay effects to beautiful crystallizers — get ready to make your sound bounce.
>> Click here to learn everything about music production.
Let's start with the first best delay VST plugin on the list, the FabFilter Timesless 3.
1. FabFilter Timeless 3 (by FabFilter)
FabFilter makes many of the world’s most popular mixing, mastering, and effects plugins. Their delay plugin Timeless 3 is up there as one of the best delay plugins you can find today.
This vintage-sounding tape delay is virtually unlimited in how you can use and customize the delay to your mix.
For starters, your delay signal travels through five different effects, which you can set up to your liking – or turn off altogether. Effects included are drive, lo-fi, diffuse, dynamics, and pitch.
But that's not all – with the drag-and-drop modulation, you can use more creative effects like wow and flutter, dynamic diffusion to express your style further.
This plugin is highly visual with the spectrum analyzer, so you can clearly see how every customization affects your sound.
If you want one of the best delay plugins out there – get the FabFilter Timeless 3.
Check out Timeless 3 on Fabfilter’s website.
2. Echoboy (by Soundtoys)
Are you looking for the ultimate echo plugin? That’s exactly how the mastermind behind Soundtoys describes their incredible delay plugin Echoboy.
With 30 different delay styles, you can create virtually any delay style – ranging from perfectly clean to colored delays modeled after vintage hardware.
For example, the default delay style ‘Studio Tape’ got inspiration from the analog sound of the Ampex ATR-102.
With a total of four different delay modes, you can choose:
- Single Echo
- Dual Echo
- Rhythm Echo
Single echo lets you control one echo. Dual creates two separate delays. Ping-pong and rhythm echo takes delay creation to the next level, giving you advanced options for rhythm and styles. Perfect for creative delay lovers.
EchoBoy is an incredibly popular delay VST plugin and is used by world-renowned artists globally. If you want one of the best delay plugins out there, definitely check this one out.
Check out Echoboy on Soundtoys's website.
3. H-Delay (by Waves)
Waves have created VST plugins classic and even made the first commercially available audio plugin, the Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer. The H-Delay is no exception – as it's deemed one of the world’s best delays by top music producers.
The H-Delay does many things incredibly well – and when you want an analog character to your delay, this plugin shines the most.
Design-wise, it's simple, clear, and displays all the controls you need to perfect your delay sound. The large delay knob decorates the left side with your feedback knob to the right.
Underneath, you find the different modulation and filter settings for taking a more creative and moving delay approach.
Add the perfect amount of color spice with the analog knob, or go all-in by hitting the LoFi button.
The H-Delay is intuitive, simple, and satisfies many music producer's main delay needs.
Check out H-Delay on Waves website.
4. Replika XT (by Native Instruments)
Native Instruments creates supreme hardware and software known by many as one of the best in the world. In the delay department, they don't disappoint with Replika XT.
The interface is clear and visual, allowing you to see all your changes on the middle screen to perfectly dial in your delayed sounds.
With five delay modes inspired by some of the most revered delays in history, you can create masterful delays with Replika XT in just about any situation.
Choose between these delay modes:
- Vintage Digital
And when it’s time to mix, you can dial in Replica XT to suit and flow your mix. Change the delay panning for each delay, stereo image, choose ducking times and perfect your rhythm.
Replika XT is a great delay for any music producer – highly recommended.
Check out Replika XT on the Native Instruments website.
5. Lemon (by Acustica)
Wow, this is interesting. Acustica creates plugins that are as beautiful as they are great sounding. Lemon is not an exception.
Looking at their website gives a great description of who this delay plugin is for.
“If you are looking for a flashy delay effect with strong modulation, extreme pitch-shifting, and heavy feedback, then Lemon is not for you; but for all the other vast majority of cases, when the music calls for a delay texture that blends seamlessly with the source, then Lemon might become your first and last choice.”
That’s so true.
For many mixing situations, all you need is a solid, ‘old-school’ hardware reverb. Sadly, those can be a bit annoying to route to your DAW. And now, you have no reason to – with Lemon.
Vintage or modern delay? Choose any of the 40 different delay and tape emulations and discover a brilliantly warm and unique analog character that takes your mixes to the next level.
With a super slick and intuitive interface, load it up on your favorite sound and give her a whirl.
You will not be disappointed.
Check out Lemon on the Acustica website.
6. stompDelay (by PSP)
PSP is known for its analog-style plugins that impressively make sound warmer and fuller. Good news. They also have an incredible delay that does the exact same thing.
Whether you are looking for smooth analog tape or crazy pitch-shifting delays, stompDelay caters to all types of styles.
You also get an infinity mode, which gives you accurate looping of your delay for a “whoops-the-tape-machine-stopped” texture.
The interface is beautiful and clear, with knobs for all your most important settings. Dial-in your delay sound with the filter knobs, apply saturation or pan your delays to perfection.
The PSP stompDelay is simple, powerful, beautifully analog – and will take your mixes to the next level as well.
Check out stompDelay on PSPs website.
7. Valhalla Delay (by Valhalla DSP)
Everything Valhalla DSP creates seems to become groundbreaking, from reverbs to experimental pitch shifters and beyond. The Valhalla Delay is masterful delays in a box.
Do you want to create vintage or modern delay sounds? No worries. Load up the Valhalla Delay and choose between the intuitive modes.
Choose your perfect starting point from one of the 14 delay modes, including HiFi, Bucket Brigade, Ghost, Reverse Pitch, and LoFi. For each model, you get unique settings that precisely change that mode's characteristics – for full focus.
Moving on, you get five different delay styles:
- Ping Pong
Most are self-explanatory. From single and dual reverbs to ping pongs and beyond. Quad is especially interesting as it models the multi-head tape echoes of the 60s and 70s – with beautiful results in four delay taps.
Combined with options to choose the era of your delay, from past, present to future, you have virtually unlimited control over your delay creation.
The Valhalla Delay is fantastic. Highly recommended.
Check out Valhalla Delay on Valhalla DSPs website.
8. Crystallizer (by Soundtoys)
A bit of a different one – again, from the masters at Soundtoys. This time, it’s the Crystallizer – a granular, pitch shifting, and reverse echo for creating textures and mind-warping dimensions.
If you ever listen to the radio in the late 80s, you probably heard the crystally, echo-type of effect on many sounds. As artists discovered the Crystal Echoes effect from the Eventide H3000, they started using it everywhere.
The basic deal is, throw it on virtually any sound and create glistening and shimmering textures that take your mix to a new dimension.
Some of the founders from Soundtoys designed the algorithms for the original H3000, and you can hear it in the Crystallizer.
The result is beautiful, mind-bending, and out-of-this-world.
Hear it to believe it.
An incredible plugin that we also highly recommend.
Check out Crystallizer on Soundtoys's website.
It's almost impossible to make music without using a delay somewhere. The audio effect gives your mixes space, rhythm and can widens your stereo spectrum by impressive measures.
Now, you know which the top ten best delay plugins of 2021 are. And we're sure you'll quickly find your favorite by choosing any of them.
Want to see the ten best free delay plugins instead? Check out this link:
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Thanks for reading, and see you in the next article.
About the author
Pelle Sundin is a Swedish music producer and writer, active with his chillout project PLMTRZ. He also produces psytrance. When he's not producing, he surfs, skates, and chugs coffee.