9 Best Delay VST Plugins 2024

9 Best Delay VST Plugins 2022

Sometimes when Musicians HQ mentions gear, we’ll include our affiliate link & may earn a commission at no cost to you. This doesn’t impact the products we mention.

If you’re looking to add depth, dimension, and atmosphere to your tracks, then there is no effect quite like delay, which is also the perfect complement to reverb. Besides conveying a sense of space and size, delay can thicken up tracks, push them into the background, create interest across the stereo image, give the tracks character, add rhythmic interest, and more.

Unless you’re recording tracks that are meant to be completely organic, in-your-face, and without atmosphere, you’re going to be using delay. Even then, you’d be surprised to find how many singer-songwriter, acoustic, and “natural” sounding recordings were ultimately mixed with a bit of delay in them.

Here we’ll be looking at the best delay VST plugins money can buy.

FabFilter Timeless 3 by FabFilter

FabFilter Timeless 3 by FabFilter

FabFilter’s FabFilter Timeless 3 isn’t just a clever name (although it is that). It is one of the highest rated delays out there.

Grammy-nominated producer Damien Lewis declared Timeless 3 one of his favorites, and Computer Music Magazine gave it a perfect 10 out of 10 score.

Timeless 3 claims to be able to help you create any kind of delay effect you want, quickly and easily. It has two, independent, programmable delay lines along with other effects and filters that complement its core functions.

This delay was built with vintage tape delays in mind, and it comes with unique effects, six analog-emulating filters, tap patterns, and endless drag-and-drop modulation options to give you unparalleled control. Of course, feedback (up to 16 delay taps) is adjustable, and there is a built-in ping-pong mode too.

Filters include LP, HP, BP, bell, shelving, and notch. The effects include drive (for vintage style saturation), lo-fi (for signal degradation), diffusion (to blur the delayed and feedbacked signals), dynamics to gate or compress the incoming audio, and pitch shift.

There are plenty of other great features built into FabFilter Timeless 3, but if we were to try to cover everything, we would certainly be here all day, so if you’re curious, we recommend going a little deeper into the specs yourself.

Overall, whether you’re looking to add color, texture, creative reverberation effects, or just a simple delay, this VST plugin can take you from subtle to extreme, conventional to completely outside the box. And that flexibility is noteworthy. Watch the video below to get a better sense of what the plugin is capable of.

The UI design is beautiful and outside the box. It looks more like space age technology than anything familiar, or anything you’ve already seen. Its design is still well-balanced, and it’s also relatively uncomplicated, which is a definite plus in this area.

Get FabFilter Timeless 3 for Windows or Mac at Plugin Boutique.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Comeback Kid by Baby Audio

Comeback Kid by Baby Audio

With a name like “Comeback Kid,” your expectations are already set. This has got to be a vintage style delay, right?!

This highly rated delay, of course, comes with an analog flavor. Baby Audio, though, was looking for a way to give everyone’s favorite effect a bit of an upgrade. So, they decided to create a delay that was warm and inspiring, highly customizable, and easy to use.

And what they ended up with, Comeback Kid, is everything you’d want in a delay, plus a few extras you might not have even thought of.

This delay has three BPM-synced modes, including straight, dotted, and triplet. It also has a built-in ping-pong option. It includes lo-cut and high-cut filters, attack and sustain transient designers, cheap (degrade function), tape saturation, swirl (analog-modeled phaser), sauce (algorithmic reverb), wider (L/R time variations), richer (L/R pitch variations), pan, mono, ducker (for a cleaner, modern sound), and destiny (for a more human, experimental, unpredictable setting).

Whether it’s for lead synths, guitars, or vocals, there is something here for virtually every purpose you can think of. The plugin even comes with 61 presets, created by the likes of Grammy-nominated Mick Schultz and Billboard #1 producer Anthony Saffery.

Comeback Kid can produce plenty of texture and atmosphere with a very organic touch. For those who are pickier with their delays and don’t want an effect that sounds artificial or adds unnecessary character, this is an excellent pick overall. Also refer to the video below to get a sense of how it can sound on various keyboard instruments and drums.

The UI design is like the meeting place of slick and cheesy. “Comeback Kid” easily sounds like it could be an 80s movie in The Karate Kid vein, and the logo makes you think it might even be something a little more whimsical than that. The knobs have a cartoon, cell-shaded vibe reminiscent of Borderlands and maybe even Dragon Quest VIII. That makes this a super fun VST delay plugin to add to your collection!

Get Comeback Kid for Windows or Mac at Plugin Boutique.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

H-Delay Hybrid Delay by Waves

H-Delay Hybrid Delay by Waves

A sporty, and muscley looking delay, Waves’ top-notch H-Delay Hybrid Delay gives you everything from vintage PCM42-style effects (flanging, filtering, phasing) and slap-pack echo to tempo-sync with modulation, and more. The straightforward interface puts everything at your fingertips, so you have maximum control over the sound you want.

This hybrid delay plugin gives you up to 3500 ms of delay time, variable pitch delay time, analog character, lo-fi modes, infinite feedback, LFO-controlled pitch modulation, tap pad, sync-to-host or manual BPM, and full MIDI support.

For those times when you need to fill out some space in your mix (yet another thing delay does well), the H-Delay Hybrid Delay is an excellent choice. Having listened to it, from what I can gather, it is a very transparent sounding delay. But also refer to the video below and form your own opinion of this hot-orange engine.

In their own words, many producers and engineers hold H-Delay as the gold standard in delays. Though you would expect the developers to say that.

The UI design makes this a simple delay to use. And that is one of its best qualities. It’s not an ultrarealistic looking plugin, and that seems intentional. It is going for a slightly realistic vibe, but I get the sense that it’s also supposed to be a little cartoony. The orange “casing” is quite bright, so it stands out, and the grey / black knobs are basically what you’d expect. Overall, a solid design.

You can get H-Delay Hybrid Delay at Waves for Windows or Mac.

Learn more: Waves

Dynamic Delay by Initial Audio

Dynamic Delay by Initial Audio

The conventionally and aptly named Dynamic Delay promises to be a responsive dealy. Customer sentiment on the plugin is mostly positive, and it’s one of the more affordable VSTs on this list.

Dynamic Delay does exactly what it says. It comes with an internal side chain that ducks the loudness of generated delays. This trick is utilized by plenty of professional producers, but it can take a while to set up and you usually need a separate sidechain compression to make it work. Dynamic Delay was created to help make this process faster, easier, and more accessible to anyone who wants to utilize it.

With sidechaining, you can add extra “pop” to certain tracks, or even make them punch right through the rest of the mix. Not surprising, then, that this plugin works splendidly on vocal tracks, filling the silence between articulations while leaving the clean signal of the voice completed intact and legible.

This delay, as with most covered already, comes with multiple controllable effects, including lowcut, highcut, reverb, distortion, and detune. The reverb was based on Initial Audio’s AR1 and here it’s a simplified, one-knob version of the same.

The detune effect utilizes Initial Audio’s own algorithm, while the distortion is based on their Boost-X Saturation. The lowcut and highcut filters are analog modelled and allow you to tame unwanted frequencies.

Overall, I find this to be a smooth delay. If subtle, organic is your thing, you might want to look elsewhere, but if you like rich and spacious, you will enjoy this. Give it a listen for yourself and you be the judge.

Initial Audio created Dynamic Delay as an easy-to-use VST plugin, and the mostly monochromatic UI design exemplifies this. It’s certainly not a “try-hard” design, and it’s obviously not going for a super realistic look. But it doesn’t look bad, and it gets the job done. Dial in your tone using the controls and you’ll be off to the races.

Dynamic Delay is available for Windows and Mac.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

UltraTap by Eventide

UltraTap by Eventide

When Eventide releases anything reverb, delay, pitch, or modulation related, I tend to pay attention. So far as rich, atmospheric, spacious effects are concerned, they kind of have it on lock, and they are a favorite among guitarists and keyboardists (especially since they have their own line of effects pedals too).

Here we have the UltraTap, and this plugin has scored a perfect rating on Plugin Boutique. Which wouldn’t be saying much if there were only a few votes, but we’re looking at well over 400. That’s noteworthy.

UltraTap is a multi-tap delay that can produce a variety of sounds – rhythmic delays, glitchy reverbs, pad-inspired volume swells, and of course, Eventide’s signature modulation. They say it’s the perfect delay for adding layers to vocals, giving life to drums, thickening up guitars for atmosphere, reversed reverbs, and church choirs.

It’s like an Echoplex on steroids, says Eventide. But besides being flexible and responsive, it comes with The Ribbon control which allows you to program two settings and transition between them. There’s also the HotSwitch, which lets you jump between two settings with the click of a mouse.

This effect was ported from the H9 Harmonizer, and even the 150+ presets were converted to work with the plugin. There are even some new factory and artist presets for those who want a little more. With Eventide delay, reverb, chorus, and modulation right at your fingertips, if you can’t make your tracks more atmospheric and ethereal with UltraTap, you must be doing something wrong.

To me, UltraTap has enough flexibility that you can take the effect from subtle and natural all the way over to thick and wet. It is a very capable plugin, and I understand why it’s loved by so many.

What to say about the UI design…? Well, Eventide has used the same interface for multiple plugins. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? We do like that it’s simple, industrial, and just the right amount of slick and realistic. It’s a good enough design to apply to multiple VSTs.

UltraTap is available for Windows and Mac.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Repeater by D16 Group

Repeater by D16 Group

Award-winning, highly rated, and popular. D16 Group’s Repeater may very well be on your wish list already. And if it is, just know that your instincts probably aren’t too far off.

Composer and producer Dennis Waakop Reijers called it “iconic,” Computer Music said it was “enthralling,” and Dubspot said it was authentically modeling an analog delay unit.

In this collaboration between D16 Group and Slate Digital, the developers set out to take the best aspects of the many amazing delays available – oil cans, tape delays, modern digital circuits and more. They didn’t want to leave anything out!

And so, this “all-in-one” delay comes with 23 authentically modeled delay units: cassette tape, coopy cube (garden hose delay), Digital 42, Digital 42 x 2, digital delay, DM-2, mellow delay, Memory Guy, mirky delay, new radio, old radio, pitchy delays, Plexy Echo, space delay, tape delay (ancient, classic, modern, vintage), Telephone 1, Telephone 2, and TelRay.

This “kitchen sink” delay features independent dry / wet mixing and re-panning for each of the two channels. That make this plugin even more versatile if it wasn’t crazy customizable already!

As the video below demonstrates, this delay does amazing things to guitars, vocals, and drums alike. It has a lush, ethereal quality, and although I’m a little undecided, I think it might be my favorite delay on this list!

The UI design may well be one of the best we’ve seen. Its dark grey faceplate, cream knobs, and red accents are perfectly matched and balanced. It isn’t too afraid to show off its sophistication, either, with its multiple dials and switches. And it’s safe to say it would be a challenge to consolidate its functionality with fewer controls.

Get Repeater at Plugin Boutique for your Windows or Mac machine.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Blue Cat’s Late Replies by Blue Cat Audio

Blue Cat’s Late Replies by Blue Cat Audio

Here we’ve dug up another major contender in the delay space. It hasn’t been identified as the easiest to use of all the delays out there (you can see why looking at the interface – though it still scores highly in this regard), in every other way, it has earned itself a perfect rating from users.

Computer Music Magazine called Blue Cat’s Late Replies an “epic-scale effect,” and Future Music Magazine said it was cool, fun, and experimental.

This delay / multi-effect VST plugin comes with an eight taps pattern module, two nested feedback loops, 30 built-in effects, ducker, sidechain input, and hundreds of presets – classic delays, reverbs, shimmer, Sci-Fi, and a great deal more.

The onboard effects include EQ, filters, delays, modulation, compressor, pitch shifter, frequency shifter, gate, bit crusher, wave shaper, and others.

The built-in effects are like extra value here. The delay itself sounds relatively transparent to my ears, but you can take your effects over the top if you so wish. And that means you can bring your sounds to celestial territory if you so desire.

The UI is befitting a plugin with the “Blue Cat” moniker in it. It’s kind of loud, and it isn’t especially afraid to be. That said, I must admit that I don’t think it needs to be as intimidating as it ultimately is. Controls could be streamlined and consolidated. And while it is ultimately meticulously designed, its resolution is a little low. I’m not here to tear it apart, and plugins aren’t all about design, but I figured it would be worth voicing my honest opinion here.

You can get Blue Cat’s Late Replies for your Windows or Mac machine.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Tube Delay by Softube

Tube Delay by Softube

This one is especially hot right now! It may not be the best delay overall, but it is packed with bang-for-buck value.

Softube’s Tube Delay was described as “real” by Paul White of Sound Magazine, and “virtual but realistic” by Gitarre & Bass magazine.

With its three modeled tube stages, Tube Delay can give you everything from clean to in-your-face attitude. Whether you’re looking to create room echoes, rockabilly slap backs, or dub reggae echo, you’ve got yourself a versatile tone module here.

The dark, partially distorted delay can add a sense of space and dimension to your mix without overpowering it. And that’s a nice quality.

And, just looking at it, you can probably see that it’s among one of the easiest to use delay plugins we’ve looked at so far. The developer claims it’s not its features so much as its tone that sets it apart from the others.

Tube Delay offers 1 to 1000 ms of delay, sync tempo to host, vintage style passive EQ, gritty feedback features, and tube preamp simulation.

If you’re looking for a subtle, natural, transparent delay, this probably isn’t it. When you need vocal or instrument tracks to “break up” nicely, or when you need to add some added character to them (along with more spatial depth, of course), you’ll love Softube’s Tube Delay, and you should give it a try.

Tube Delay’s user interface is refreshingly vintage. It’s just the right amount of realistic without trying for uncanny valley, and the lighting on it is a thing of perfection. Its balanced design draws attention to its simplicity, with the three, large knobs in the middle controlling most of the action.

Tube Delay will work on your Windows or Mac machine, and you can get it at Plugin Boutique.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

RP Delay by Rob Papen

RP Delay by Rob Papen

With one of the most intricate user interfaces we’ve looked at so far, you just know that RP Delay isn’t the easiest delay to use. And yet, it has won awards, and is among one of the top-rated delay plugins available.

The built-in sound reverser can reverse the input and one of the delay lines at the same time. It also gives you access to six delay lines, eight active multi-mode filters, tape delay, four modulation sequences, four LFOs, four envelopes, and multiple trigger options.

As you’ll see in the video below, this plugin can produce some very interesting sounds, perfectly matched to electronic music. That said, it has plenty of uses for drums, voices, acoustic instruments, and more. It can even give your tracks a bit of rhythmic juice.

Obviously, we can’t move on without addressing the complex but beautifully designed UI. It sacrifices ease of use, at least to a point, but its black faceplate, chrome knobs, and blue accents makes it well-balanced. There are so many controls it could make your head spin, but once you get used to it, it’s not so bad.

If you enjoy the process of exploration and experimentation and like to spend plenty of time tweaking your sounds until you’re happy with them, you’ll love RP Delay.

RP Delay is compatible with Windows and Mac.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Top Delay VST Plugins, Final Thoughts

If you know what you’re going to be using the delay for, then shop on that basis. No one knows your needs better than you, and just because a specific delay is highly rated or praised by many doesn’t mean it will be the perfect choice for your projects. Look for a VST matched to your needs.

If you’re not sure, or if you’re looking for a more general-purpose delay, you can’t really go wrong with the above. The VSTs featured here pack plenty of power, some innovation, and aren’t likely to break the bandk Happy shopping, and as always, enjoy the recording journey.

Recent Posts