The 15 Best Free Delay VST Plugins in 2024

Music Gear
a collage of screenshots of free delay plugins

If you think free delay plugins aren’t quite as capable as paid ones, think again!

Paying for a delay plugin can get you some excellent quality and power, but we’re happy to report that some of the best delays out there just happen to be free.

We spent some time testing and experimenting with our favorites, and our team was surprised by the value that most of them delivered.

So, before we waste any more time, let’s dig into the goods.

The best free delay plugins available today

1. Sixth Sample Deelay

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Overview of Deelay

Type:Multi-purpose delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AAX, AU

We don’t see this free delay plugin being recommended as often as it should be, so we wanted it at the top of our list. We really enjoyed playing around with it during our tests.

Deelay has an extensive feature set, including: 

  • Five delay modes 
  • Mono or ping-pong (stereo) settings 
  • Tape saturation or distortion for some character
  • Tempo synchronization
  • Delay time modulation

Its interface is also very well designed, making it highly usable and easy to understand. If you’re looking for a free and intuitive workhorse delay that sounds great, this one is a winner.

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2. Airwindows TapeDelay2

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Overview of TapeDelay2

Type:Tape delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows, Linux
Format:VST, AU

As expected for a tape echo emulation, TapeDelay2 gives you controls for delay time, regeneration (feedback), tape flutter, and dry/wet. In the spirit of real tape echo, there’s no tempo sync.

You also get cutoff and resonance controls for a filter that’s built into the delay line. The filter is unique in its behavior, functioning as a bandpass series for altering the character of your feedback.

Like all of the Airwindows plugins, TapeDelay2 is free, easy to use, and sounds excellent. 

He doesn’t design GUIs for his plugins, so its look will depend on the default of your DAW. Don’t worry, this no-nonsense approach is just a sign of how much he prioritizes the sound.

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3. Full Bucket Music Brigade Delay

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Overview of Brigade Delay

Type:BBD delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AU, CLAP

Bucket brigade devices (BBD) are analogue delay lines that use specialized integrated circuits. They have a dirty, noisy character to their sound that a lot of guitarists and producers love.

If you want a free delay plugin that emulates this style, look no further than Full Bucket Music’s Brigade Delay. 

It accurately captures that BBD sound and the interface even mimics the look of late ‘70s and early ‘80s BBD rack units.

You might see some people remark that it lacks tempo sync, but this feature was actually added in an update not long ago. We loved testing this one out and highly recommend it.

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4. D10Labo RhythmDelayFree

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Overview of RhythmDelayFree

Type:Multi-tap/rhythmic delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AU

Some producers might be on the hunt for a free delay plugin that will help them develop complex and interesting rhythms.

RhythmDelayFree is fantastic for this, even if its interface is a bit rough around the edges.

It’s a multi-tap delay with eight taps, tempo sync, a filter, and a dry/wet control labeled “balance.”

During testing, we enjoyed creating catchy rhythmic cycles from single sound sources, and the plugin made it very easy to do so.

We’d recommend this one for hypnotic rhythmical synth or guitar lines, and of course, percussion for dance music.

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5. Adam Monroe’s Delay

🧠 Hot tip

If you're a guitarist and want a fantastic toolbox for effects, we love using IK Multimedia Mixbox SE, a virtual counterpart to 500 Series channel strips. It's surprisingly effective for guitar tracking and tone shaping.
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Overview of Adam Monroe's Delay

Type:Stompbox-style delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AU, AAX

Developer Adam Monroe set out to design a free delay plugin that could emulate what you might get out of classic guitar pedals.

The resulting plugin definitely accomplishes this mission. It has both a subtle sonic character that guitar pedal fans will appreciate and also an extensive set of controls.

We especially appreciated the synced panning controls and the grittier sound that we could get using the exponential filter settings.

If you want classic slapback sounds or even chorus-like thickening and doubling effects — especially for guitar — this one is great.

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6. Daniel Gergely Spirals

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Overview of Spirals

Type:Pitch-shifting delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AU

Daniel Gergely is the excellent developer behind one of our favorite granular plugins, Emergence.

His latest effort is Spirals, a free delay plugin with creative control over pitch shifting, filtering, and spatial character. It also has an XY pad for controlling the filter cutoff and resonance.

Its diffusion control can even take you well into reverb territory, not to mention modulation and shimmer controls that can make for some pretty wild and beautiful sounds.

As of May 2024, it’s in public beta, so you can pitch in with feedback (no pun intended) to help shape the final product.

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7. Voxengo Tempo Delay

🧠 Hot tip

If you're looking for high-quality loops and samples to send through your free delay plugin of choice, have a dive through the free sounds available in the LANDR Samples library.
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Overview of Tempo Delay

Type:Stereo/ping-pong delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AU

Voxengo has a well-established reputation spanning over 20 years, and many of the developer’s most well-known tools are free.

Tempo Delay is one of them, which is a free delay plugin for stereo, tempo-synced effects. It has a clean sound, so don’t expect a characterful delay in this case.

Interestingly, nearly all of its controls are available independently for the left and right channels, including feedback and its built-in tremolo and filter sections. 

The “repetition period” controls are useful if you want to explore interesting rhythmic cycles. If you want a free, well-made plugin specializing in ping-pong delay, this one is a great option. 

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8. igorsky Regrader

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Overview of Regrader

Type:Character/noise delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AU

igorsky’s Regrader plugin is built for those who appreciate a gritty “degenerative” sound. 

It models a wide range of digital artifacts, distortion, and filtering that degrade the delay line in various ways.

Many of its sections also offer modulation, which are useful for dialing in both subtle movement and chaotic insanity.

We liked that Regrader could be used for both eerie ambient tones and more intense experimentation, as well as the old-school computer terminal look of its interface.

It’s our go-to free delay plugin for digital, industrial-oriented sounds.

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9. UrsaDSP Lagrange

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Overview of Lagrange

Type:Granular delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AU

We have a soft spot for granular stuff, and Lagrange is pretty fantastic for a free delay plugin. 

The interface doesn’t have a super clean or modern look, but its still well-designed and easy to use, especially considering how intricate and complex your sonic results can be.

Since it operates in stereo, you can get some pretty immersive results, and we loved its algorithm selection feature.

From glitchy spatial effects to strange phasers and flangers, Lagrange definitely rewards curiosity and experimentation. A no-brainer if you’re into that kind of thing.

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10. Glitchmachines Hysteresis

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Overview of Hysteresis

Type:Glitch delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AU

Hysteresis is fairly well known as the go-to free delay plugin for giving your sounds a glitchy, stuttering treatment.

Its filtering and modulation controls allow you to dial in highly dynamic effects, and its overall quality is top-notch.

The interface is also easy to use, pleasant to look at, and scalable.

While testing this one out, we enjoyed it on harmonic sound sources like vocals and guitars just as much as on drums and percussion.

If glitchy delays and stutter effects are your bag, this is the one to try out on your productions.

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11. ChowDSP Chow Matrix

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Overview of Chow Matrix

Type:Experimental delay/reverb
Operating System:macOS, Windows, Linux
Format:VST, AU

This is another free delay plugin aimed at producers who are all about experimentation.

Some context — most software reverbs are essentially interwoven systems of delay lines that feed into one another in complex ways.

Chow Matrix gives you hands-on access to this kind of system from the ground up. 

It allows you to build everything from simple delays to intricate delays-within-delays, not to mention full-on reverberation.

It may not be as immediate as other options, but that’s by design. It’s all about exploration, and we enjoyed diving into its possibilities.

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12. Valhalla Supermassive

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Overview of Supermassive

Type:Experimental delay/reverb
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AAX, AU

Not only does Valhalla produce great-sounding, easy-to-use audio tools for stunningly fair prices, they also give away two of them for free. Supermassive is one of them.

Like Chow Matrix, it’s capable of a spectrum of effects between delay and reverb — and it rewards experimentation.

Supermassive also features the signature Valhalla design philosophy and is simple to use, while also providing complex-sounding results.

This free delay plugin will take you to deep, spaced-out territory, and it’s easily one of our favorites.

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13. Valhalla Freq Echo

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Overview of Freq Echo

Type:Experimental delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AAX, AU

Valhalla’s other free offering brings us a little closer to a traditional delay, but make no mistake — we’re still in freaky territory.

Stuck into the delay line of this effect is a Bode-style frequency shifter, just like the one you’ll find in Ableton Live.

This makes it a great free delay plugin to have onhand if you want trippy, psychedelic results.

The frequency shift control (as well as the overall noisy character and filter options) gave us a lot of interesting sounds in our tests, especially when going a little crazy with the feedback.

In our book, this one is a must-have.

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14. SoundHack Delay Bundle

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Overview of Delay Bundle

Type:Various
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AAX, AU

The SoundHack Delay Bundle offers you no less than four delay plugins for free. They’re capable of a wide range of effects and all sound great.

+delay is focused on traditional delay sounds with a subtle touch of analog character, +pitchdelay has a pitch shifter in its delay line, +bubbler is an eight-channel granular delay, and +flipper is a simple sound-reversing delay.

While we found the interfaces to be a bit more squint-inducing than other options on this list, we still loved using them. 

The biggest winner for us was +bubbler, which is actually one of the best granular effects any of us have used. You should definitely check all of them out and see which ones click for you.

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15. Musical Entropy Spaceship Delay

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Overview of Spaceship Delay

Type:Multi-purpose delay
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AAX, AU

Like Deelay, Spaceship Delay is something of a Swiss Army knife. Its features include:

  • Mono, dual mono, and ping-pong modes
  • Various saturation models including tube amp emulation
  • A freeze function that can turn the delay into a looper
  • Control over the volume threshold that activates the delay
  • Spring reverb emulation
  • Tremolo, phaser, and several filtering options

On top of its versatility, it has a straightforward interface and sounds great. Like many of the plugins on this list, we’re amazed it’s free.

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Even more free delay plugins

While the above list covers our top selections, we also thought we’d gather an extended, categorized list of options you can explore yourself. We haven’t examined their current compatibility in detail, but they’re all worth a shot.

Free digital delay plugins

Free tape delay plugins

Free BBD/analog delay plugins

Free pitch delay plugins

Free multi-tap & ping-pong delay plugins

Free granular delay plugins

Happy delaying!

Devon Hansen

Devon Hansen is a producer, DJ, and writer with 20 years of experience in electronic music production. Having worked under various names and in a wide range of styles, Devon has performed several editions of MUTEK Montreal and has released music with labels in North America, the UK, and Japan. When not working on creative projects or playing tunes on Montreal’s n10.as radio, Devon can be found watching movies, cooking, and reading too much about gear.

@Devon Hansen

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