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The Best Delay Pedals with a Tone Control (2023)

No matter how advanced and feature-packed a delay pedal is, the most important aspect is always how the repeats sound. Delay can make your guitar sound massive and add an extra level of interest to what you’re playing – yet that can only happen if the repeats are bright enough to cut through the mix or warm enough not to pop out too much.

A delay with a tone knob or any similar knob that shapes the EQ curve of the delay repeats is essential to have the effect blend in with the band/song and ultimately enhance your guitar tone.

I learned my lesson late when it came to the delay tone settings. Before starting work in the studio, I never thought it was not just the guitar or amp tone I needed to roll on or off. By trial and error, I learned that all the effects on my chain are equally important to tame.

Since delay is an inevitable effect on every board, I prepared this list of the best delay pedals for all styles and budgets.

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Why Choose a Delay Pedal with a Tone Control?

The more you dwell in the world of frequencies and mixing, the more the tone knob becomes the most crucial setting. Among the many ways a tone control is handy, here are some of the main ones for the bar gigger and stadium rocker alike.

  • The tone control rolled up allows you to have your guitar heard both live and in the studio. High frequencies will cut better than everything else, and sometimes you want to play a warm solo and make the repeats brighter – or vice versa.
  • If you’re recording, you can blend guitar better in the mix 
  • You can separate different guitar layers in the mix or with the other guitarist of the band if you set the delay tone differently
  • You can make even a not-so-great delay pedal sound decent if the tone is set just right
  • For Tom Morello-style fans, rolling the tone quickly will get you some face-melting fx.

Overall the tone will impact the sound more than anything if you think about it; it’s a major EQ low-pass or high-pass your adding there. 

Delay Pedals with a Tone Control

1. Way Huge whe702s ECHO-PUSS Analog Delay

This is how all delay pedals with a tone knob should be – small, easy to use, great sounding, and not expensive! The ECHO-PUSS is said to have been seen in John Mayer’s pedalboard, even though it’s a pedal most can afford.

JIM DUNLOP WHE702S Echo-Puss™ Analog Delay

I like how everything is laid out on the pedal, with two big knobs and 4 small ones, one of which is the tone knob. Simplicity makes for great results if you only aim to add a sweet delay on top of your tone.

The only reason I wouldn’t recommend it is cause it’s hard to find new, and it is not the best choice if your sound is based on an extreme amount of delay that must be timed to perfection.

2. Boss DD-200 Digital Delay Pedal

A staple on all my lists of overall best delay pedals, the DD-200 is a rock solid full workhorse with a built-in looper and a vast choice of delay types.

Boss DD-200 Digital Delay Pedal

Boss pedals, at times, tend to sound slightly harsh in my experience; the tone knob compensates for that beautifully. Also, it’s a robust build that can withstand everything a tour can through at you, including spilled beers!  

Best of all, it’s affordable for all that it packs. Among the multi-option delay pedals, the DD-200 is where you should start.

3. Universal Audio Del-Verb Ambience Companion Reverb and Delay Pedal

This pedal is excellent for adding all the texture layers you need on stage, giving you 3 delay and reverb modes. Reverb and delay go along like rock and humbuckers, and this small pedal can save you the cost and effort of getting two separate units.

Del-Verb Ambience Companion

It’s a modern building with a retro touch, with the fine addition of a USB connector that allows you to get custom voicings from the UAFX app. Even without the app, the pedal and its knob do more than you might think at first sight, as you can also get a smooth watery chorus and a reel tape warble, all shaped by the tone knob disguised as ‘color.’

It’s not cheap, but worth the price for all it offers. If you’re not a man of many pedals, it could very well replace even three of those you already own.

4. Retro-Sonic Delay

Tone, Echo, Intensity, Repeat – four knobs for a beautiful vintage-sounding analog delay. It’s a focused effect that replicates the standard of analog delays you hear on classic records.

I like how you can switch with your foot between long and short delays. It’s excellent for most lead and rhythm players of all genres – especially the everyday rocker, blues man, or metal shredder. 

5. The Suhr Discovery Analog Delay

Suhr is not only a maker of exceptional jack-of-all-trades guitars but also fine pedals with the same advantage of doing it all. 

I left the Discovery for last, as it does not directly have a tone control but two separate low-cut and high-cut knobs that do the same job but are more detailed. Beyond that, it sounds great and has the handy BPM display I so much enjoy.

This is not a tool for the hobbyist guitar player, as it’s well over 500 $ – not the sum I would advise anyone who only needs a reasonable delay for their blues solos to spend.

How To Pick The Best Delay Pedal For Your Board?

I’m a big believer in picking gear out of necessity and limitations, not desire. Pick a delay pedal based on the purpose you use the effect for, with just some extra features to allow for new tone discoveries.

The most important aspect is that it sounds good and it’s simple to use, not how many features it has. Too many knobs sometimes add to the price, but not the quality. And if you want to comprise on any pedal on your board, never do so on delay, reverb, and overdrive – they’re the three core tone shapers you don’t want to settle for anything cheap.

Also, even the most expensive delay pedal will just repeat your existing tone and slightly color it – make sure the tone is already great before buying a costly pedal!