What is An Analog Delay?

Meta description: Analog delay pedal is one of the two basic kinds of guitar delay pedals available. Do you know much about it?Read to find the answer!

If you are a guitar player, you must have known something about delay pedal and analog/tape delay. And to newbies, this article will explain these terms in the most intelligible way.

What is Delay Pedal?

Before going detail about analog delay, let’s answer this question first, “What is delay pedal?”


A delay pedal creates an echo effect in your sound. Basically, it is a type of distortion. This effect, in the beginning, was created with tape in the 1950s – 1960s.

However, tape delay has some disadvantages. For example, it is a very bulky device, which prevents musicians from carrying it easily.

That’s why delay pedals were created: to imitate the sound of tape delay! The first of these pedals is analog delay.

In case you want to know more about delay pedal, you can visit Kevin Deal’s Musical Study for further information.

delay pedal

What is Analog Delay?

An analog pedal is a device which adjusts an analog current and depends on the variability in your playing style.

You may wonder how it “delays” your sound. Here’s the detail:

How Do Analog Delays Work?

Analog Delay uses a bucket-brigade device (BBD) that sends a signal along a chain of capacitor chips, one step per clock cycle. The chips extend the time your guitar’s signal passes down the chain.

Because the signal is passed along the lines of capacitors, there will be a natural decay in the echo. The delay effect sounds similar to a shout in a cave. The echo gets quieter and quieter, and continues a little longer.

Basically, each vibration of the sound is somewhat weaker than the last. Many people regard it as a “natural” sound and prefer it.

Another term is delay time, which is measured in milliseconds. 1000 milliseconds are tantamount to one second.

A delay time control regulates how far down the chain the signal travels before being re-routed the output jack. The higher you turn the delay time control, the longer the signal from your guitar will stay.

Here are some advantages of analog delay:

  • The sound usually is more transparent and natural.
  • The repeats of analog delays get a little warmer, richer and more diffuse with each step, which discloses a very particular and peculiar sonic signature.
  • Analog delays can sound extremely musical and pleasing; therefore some people don’t like their signal to be converted to digital.
  • In general, analog pedal effects are considered sounding more organic. It can be said that analog delay’s responsiveness is a plus point with distortion and fuzz pedals.

However, there are some disadvantages that you need to consider:

  • Bucket-brigade device (BBD) limitations: Due to the limitation of BBD chips, analog delay pedals usually offer shorter maximum delay times than digital delays, for example, accurate delay time control and preset memories.

Nevertheless, you don’t have to worry about it unless you want a longer delay time.

  • You have to accept that you will have less control over the delay with analog pedals than with digital delay pedals.

Some highly recommended analog delays on the market

If you are interested in analog delay pedals, I will suggest some remarkable pedals. And don’t worry that you can’t buy them because they are affordable.

  • Ibanez ADMINI Analog Delay Pedal. Ibanez is a famous Japanese guitar brand that began doing business in 1957. Their products are electric guitars, basses, hollow bodies, acoustic and electric accessories.

delay pedal 2So, one of the noteworthy points of this pedal is that it’s a reissue of a classic design. The original was discontinued because there is a shortage of a certain type of chip, which inflated the price of the original models.

The controls are: repeat, blend and delay time. The delay time is 20ms – 600ms.

  • MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal. Another brand is MXR, one of the leading manufacturers of electronic effects, capos, strings and other musical instrument accessories.

The pedal model combines the organic and chunky tone of famous analog delays without the associated fragility. The delay times, though not competitive with digital delays, can dish out everything from country slapbacks to Gilmour-esque sonic landscapes.

Besides, it allows you to enhance the unit’s repeats with a modulation effect.

To sum up

delay pedal 3

If you are a crazy fan of blues, jazz, country, and classic rock, or simply in love with vintage sound, an analog delay will likely provide a true sound reproduction as you wish.

We hope that this article will help you get to know more about analog delay and choose the right one for yourself!

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