Delay effects come in all shapes and sizes, from hardware-inspired tape echoes to innovative plugins with unique features and node-based architectures. We listed the best free delay VST plugins in this article.
A delay plugin can be a mixing tool that makes a certain audio track sit better in a mix. For example, you can use a tape delay effect to make a vocal recording sound bigger and more spacious.
Likewise, delay plugins are indispensable sound design tools. You can use a delay plugin like Valhalla Super Massive to create cinematic soundscapes and other types of monumental sounds that will dominate the sound stage.
Our aim was to list all the best free delay plugins, covering as many options as possible.
Free Delay VST Plugins (2022 Update)
- Valhalla Super Massive
- Baby Comeback
- Valhalla Freq Echo
- NastyDLA mkII
- HY-Delay 4 Free
- CHOW Matrix
- GSi VariSpeed
- Cocoa Delay
- Spaceship Delay
- Airwindows TapeDelay
- HZ Delay
Valhalla Super Massive
Super Massive by Valhalla DSP is a freeware delay VST plugin designed to make any piece of audio sound epic. The plugin delivers 14 monumentally large delay algorithms with wildly different tonal characteristics.
The available delay modes are named after galaxies and constellations: Hydra, Gemini, Orion, Centaurus, Cassiopeia, Cirrus Minor, Cirrus Major, Sagittarius, Great Annihilator, Large Magellanic Cloud, Triangulum, Capricorn, Lyra, Andromeda.
The interface lets you control the Delay Time, Warp, Mix, Width, Feedback Density, Modulation Rate, Density, Low-pass filter, and High-pass filter. The GUI design is straightforward, and it helps the user get the job done quickly.
Each delay mode offers a different sound, with varying complexity, size, and atmosphere. Some algorithms are better at delivering unique delay effects, while others excel as lush reverbs and otherwordly spaces.
Super Massive is available for Windows and macOS (including M1 support).
More info: Valhalla Super Massive
Baby Comeback by Baby Audio is a simple delay plugin with a retro sound. It is the freeware edition of BABY Audio’s award-winning delay/echo plugin – Comeback Kid.
The free Baby Comeback plugin features four different FX modules (Analog, Saucy, Cheap, and Wide) that can be applied to the audio input individually and simultaneously.
The modern UI sports a streamlined control scheme optimized for a quick sound design workflow. The interface also features a built-in ducker and a ‘ping pong’ delay mode so that you can get some complex stereo delay sounds in no time.
More info: Baby Comeback
Valhalla Freq Echo
Freq Echo by Valhalla is a plugin designed to create intense, psychedelic-sounding delays and echoes. It is more straightforward to use than the Super Massive delay listed above.
With only five controls on its GUI, Freq Echo is convenient and user-friendly. Flexibility isn’t the key here. Freq Echo aims to achieve a specific “pitched” delay sound, which it nails well.
Aside from the usual Mix, Feedback, and Delay options, Freq Echo offers a frequency shifter and a pair of filters. The pitch shifter lends the plugin its signature “unstable” delay feel, leading to interesting, detuned sounds.
Freq Echo is available for both Windows and macOS.
More info: Valhalla Freq Echo
NastyDLA mkII by Variety of Sound is the updated version of an old classic. The developer recently released 64-bit versions of their legendary freeware plugins, and this lovely delay effect is now compatible with modern DAW software.
It is still completely free, even with a new and improved backend for better sound. Everything from the input stage to the tape compressor has been updated while maintaining the same controls and features.
NastyDLA mkII produces a more convincing analog tape delay effect than the original. The interface offers a wide range of parameters to control the delay, making it more versatile than most other free delay VST plugins.
The software is available on Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) and is compatible with any software that supports the VST2 plugin format.
More info: NastyDLA mkII
HY-Delay 4 Free
HY-Delay 4 Free by HY plugins is a free delay plugin based on the full version of HY-Delay 4. It features independent left and right delay time adjustment, an on-board ducker, and a ping-pong stereo delay.
Also included are a 3-band parametric EQ, two filters, and a feedback control with four different parameters. The preset randomizer allows you to lock the parameters that you don’t want to randomize, making it easy to explore possibilities and create unique sounds without wasting time on too many unusable random combinations.
HY-Delay 4 Free is available for both Windows and macOS. Check out the full version if you’re looking for a more complex delay plugin.
More info: HY-Delay 4 Free
Hysteresis by Glitchmachines is a delay plugin for modern sound design. The plugin features a unique stutter effect and various standard delay settings such as delay time, filter, and modulation.
The settings are divided into three parameters each (excluding modulation):
- Stutter – Size, Speed, and Mix;
- Filter – Floor, Rate, and Resolution;
- Feedback- Time, Feedback, and Separation.
There are several other features to explore, along with over 100 presets. Hysteresis is available for both Windows and macOS.
If you’re looking for glitched, robotic delay sounds, this free delay plugin is worth checking out.
More info: Hysteresis
CHOW Matrix by ChowDSP is a node-based delay plugin. Its internal processing chain is freely scalable, letting you build anything from simple delay effects to complex multi-node echo setups.
Each node adds a layer of complexity to the delay signal chain. The nodes are identical, each offering nine parameters, but you can change the parameters on each node independently of all the others.
There is no limit to the number of nodes you can add to the node tree. You can use CHOW Matrix to create a basic single-node delay or make extraordinary soundscapes using a large node tree.
Despite its complexity, CHOW Matrix is relatively easy to operate. It uses some clever GUI shortcuts to speed up the workflow. For example, the position of each node in the editor sets that node’s pan parameter on the output.
CHOW Matrix is available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Linux. It’s not for everyone, but it’s one of the most flexible delay plugins we’ve seen.
More info: CHOW Matrix
VariSpeed by GSi is a delay plugin designed to mimic the WEM Copicat IC-400 Belt Drive VariSpeed hardware delay as closely as possible. It has the same controls, a hardware-inspired GUI, and sounds almost exactly like the Copicat.
If you need a vintage-style analog tape delay plugin, VariSpeed is one of the best FREE options available. It captures the sound of its hardware counterpart and brings a slice of that tape delay magic to your DAW.
More info: GSi VariSpeed
Cocoa Delay is an open-source delay VST plugin. It’s straightforward, easy to use, and versatile.
The interface is simple but well-designed, with a modern-looking GUI. It features Delay, LFO, Drift, Feedback, Ducking, Filter, and Drive, each with its own sub-controls.
There are three pan modes: Static, Circular, and Ping Pong. You can also control the Wet and Dry parameters.
Cocoa Delay is available only on Windows in VST2 format for 32-bit and 64-bit.
More info: Cocoa Delay
Spaceship Delay by Musical Entropy is a versatile delay plugin with six main control parameters, each with several sub-controls. The plugin gives plenty of fine-tuning options to the user, but the interface does look a bit dated.
The six control categories are:
- General – Input, Output, Mix, Attack, and Spring;
- Delay – Mode, Delay, Feedback, Freeze/looper, and Sync. Type;
- Filters – Filter Type, Low Cut, High Cut, Attenuation, and Location;
- Modeling – Saturation and Delay Type;
- Modulation – Amount, Rate, Filter Amount, Filter Rate, and Filter EF;
- Effects – Effect Type, Amount, Rate, and Location.
Together, there are 26 parameters to help you customize the delay.
Spaceship Delay is available for Windows and macOS (32-bit and 64-bit) in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
More info: Spaceship Delay
TapeDelay by Airwindows is a peculiar delay plugin intended as a Christmas gift from Airwindows to its fans. It became somewhat of a cult classic (as most Airwindows plugins do) due to its excellent sound quality and simple controls.
This is a bare-bones plugin with a simple slider interface that yields interesting results due to its unique code and architecture. It does maintain an old-school analog delay vibe. TapeDelay has simple controls with six parameters that can make fun swerving delays.
TapeDelay isn’t a visually ‘polished’ plugin, but it sounds incredibly well. It’s available on all platforms – Windows, Linux, and macOS.
More info: TapeDelay
DLYM is a delay modulator by Imaginando. Its sound is based on DRC’s chorus effect, but the developers included several additional features to make DLYM more useful as a delay effect.
DLYM has 20 presets for speedy use, a built-in patch manager, adjustable stereo spread, and six modulation waveforms. The modulation waveforms can be synchronized independently from your DAW’s project tempo.
The interface is sleek and modern-looking, offering two processing modes and a streamlined control scheme. DLYM is available in the AAX, AUv3, AU, and VST formats for Windows, macOS, and iOS.
More info: DLYM
HZ Delay combines delay, reverb, chorus, filtering, and saturation effects, offering a powerful sound design combo. It features three echo stages with different control parameters, allowing for complex delays with multiple delay lines.
Another interesting trick is HZ Delay’s ability to send a portion of the signal from the third echo stage back to the first one. You can also swap the left and right channels using the Crossfeed control.
With its advanced feature set and built-in effects, HZ Delay is an interesting creative tool for sound designers and music producers who want to make unique sounds.
More info: HZ Delay
For more freeware plugins and instruments, return to our Free VST Plugins page.