4 Superb Delay Plugins (That Are Also Free)

+ Ryan Lott (of Son Lux) teaches how to build custom virtual instruments for sound design and scoring in Designing Sample-Based Instruments.

Delay is one of those fundamental effects you just need to have in your toolkit. But that doesn’t mean you need (or want) to shell out for a subscription or a pricey one-off plugin purchase, especially when things are being updated and reinvented every year nowadays.

But never fear; free delays are here.

Today, we’re focusing on four cool little plugins that will give you pretty much everything you need in a delay — and for free!

TAL-DUB-III by TAL Software

10 Best FREE Delay Plugins (2023)

TAL’s popular DUB-III offers a vintage warm analog style sound. It features a 4× oversampled engine with a low-pass filter, LFO modulation, and stereo width control. It’s not really a tape delay (according to TAL) but has “it’s own sound”. What’s weird and cool is the alias free saturation stage, so you can make these nasty little delays without an extra distortion plugin.

It’s also super easy to use, with only a few knobs to tweak. Overall, like most TAL plugs, it’s simple, great sounding, and solid. Just an all-around go-to free tool.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “When and How to Use Delay in Your Mix.”

Echomania by Interruptor

Echomania by The Interruptor - Delay / Echo Plugin VST

Interruptor’s Echomania is a delay plugin that does try to emulate a classic tape echo sound. It features a tape delay effect with a range of different controls for adjusting the sound, including feedback, a tone, and high cut — as well as tape saturation because, hell yeah. It also comes with built-in modulation that can be used to add some movement to the sound.

Echomania is great for a vintage character without the high (or any) price tag!

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Valhalla Freq Echo by Valhalla DSP

Valhalla DSP - Valhalla Freq Echo | FREE VST PLUGINS

You can’t really talk about free delay plugins without mentioning Valhalla’s Freq Echo. Freq Echo is pretty unique — in fact you may not find yourself going straight to it for your normal, everyday delay needs. This is more of a depth and character tool — or just a “let’s really F with this sound” tool. It’s got a frequency shifter for crazy pitch-shifting effects along with the delay that has a pretty wide range of different controls.

Freq Echo also includes a reverb effect that can be used to add more extra depth to your creation, and a punch of presets that kind of defy description. Think of Freq Echo as a get-out-of-jail card; it gets you out of the prison of not being psychedelic. Is that a thing? Does this even make sense?? See, it’s working already.

+ Read more on Flypaper: “The 10 Most Fun Synth VSTs on the Internet in 2023.”

NastyDLA by Variety of Sound

NastyDLA by Variety Of Sound - Delay / Echo Plugin VST

Another vintage tape delay emulator is Variety of Sound’s NastyDLA. This one leans a bit more toward chorus effect than your standard ping pong or other timed delay stuff. It’s got the expected controls; feedback, modulation, chorus, and color. High and low pass is done with faders that look like the old Radio Shack DJ mixers, so if that’s cool to you, you’re an OG for sure (welcome to the club, my friend).

In keeping with that theme, this is a little bit of an older plugin and that means one annoying thing: you can’t figure out how to download it! So, they’ve smartly got some helpful instructions here. It’ll be on the list as “NastyDLA mkII.”

So, there you have it!

Four nifty, useful, easy to navigate delay plugins you can grab right now. So, what are you waiting for? Don’t (heh heh) — delay — any longer (pun very much intended and no apologies included). Go get ‘em!

Don’t stop here!

Continue learning with hundreds of lessons on songwriting, mixing, recording and production, composing, beat making, and more on Soundfly, with artist-led courses by KimbraCom TruiseJlinKiefer, and the new Ryan Lott: Designing Sample-Based Instruments.

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