Just a few things before we get to our list. All of these are currently available on the market to purchase, so no vintage, rare or discontinued pedals here. More on that later. I will also include a brief description and reasoning as to why I choose each pedal. Enjoy!
#10 Dunlop Echoplex
Before delay was in a convenient pedal form it was a reel to reel tape machine. One of the most popular tape machines was the EP-2 EchoPlex. Dunlop managed to capture the warm vintage sound of EchoPlex in a convenient pedal form.
#9 MXR Carbon Copy
The bulky Tape Delay machines sound fantastic. Because of their size, they really only had a home in recording studios. Once engineers figured out how to create that same effect in a pedal form, guitar players of all genres strapped one on their pedal boards and never looked back. The MXR Carbon Copy wasn't the first analog delay pedal, but it may be the most popular.
#8 Strymon Dig
Strymon has definitely made a name for themselves with their boutique delays and reverbs. The Strymon Dig delay is their Dual Digital Delay inspired by the rack delay units from the 80s. You can have either one or two delays engaged simultaneously allowing the user all sorts of combinations.
#7 Empress Tape Delay
The Empress Tape Delay has 3 Tape styles and a handful of parameters to tweak to get that classic tape sound you are looking for.
#6 Boss DM2w
The original DM2 (1981) was one of the first compact delay units to hit the market. The DM2w was reissued in 2014 over 30 years and hundreds of delays later.
#5 Boss DD200
Our First Multi-Delay unit to hit the list is the Boss DD200. With 4 presets and 12 modes you can go from emulating classic delay sounds to creating new and exciting tones not imagined yet. This is also our first delay with a tap-tempo allowing the repeats to be in-tempo with the timing of the music.
#4 Strymon Timeline
This Multi-Delay is possibly part supercomputer, part delay. With every feature imaginable under the hood, this delay's biggest downfall is it can just be overwhelming. With 200 presets, Tap-Tempo, Stereo Functionality, Midi Capability, a Looper, and 12 different delay types (algorithms) there isn't much it can't do.
#3 Strymon El Capistan
This is Strymon's first digital recreation of all things Tape Delay. You get three different tape machine types and three unique modes for each machine. Strymon thought of everything with this. Not only do you get to control the degration of the tape along with the "wow and flutter" but the knobs also have secondary functions such as spring reverb and Tape Bias and Tape Crinkle.
#2 Boss DD3T
The original DD3 is probably the most popular digital delay and maybe even the most popular delay on the market today because of its size and price point. It's even found it's way on many pro boards like Brad Paisley's. The DD3T simply adds a Tap-Tempo.
#1 Deluxe Memory Man
We made it to Number 1!!! The deluxe memory man sits on top for Three big reasons... 1.It is simply a good delay pedal hundreds of guitar players young and old would agree! 2. Its been around since 1980 and still kicking!! 3. It's as famous as the players who play it. Legends including The Edge from U2, David Gilmore, Jack White and Andy Timmons. The original may no longer be available, but there are many updated versions on the market to suit the modern player's needs.
Hopefully this list introduces you to my favorite 10 delays but also helps you next time you think about trying a new delay in your rig.