Echo vs Delay: Know The Differences Between These Two Effects

If you are a guitar enthusiast, then you probably have some great guitar pedals on your hands too to make the most of your instrument. Guitar pedals are an ideal instrument to liven up your playing experience. However, you will need to truly know the difference between guitar pedals to buy the right kind. 

For instance, there are three common and popular guitar pedals that every guitar enthusiast should now about. These include echo, delay, and reverb effect pedals. In this comparison between echo vs. delay pedals, we will discuss the difference between echo and delay along with an overview of what reverb is, and help you find the right kind for you as they can have a huge impact on the sound. 

So let’s dive right in!

Echo vs Delay

The reason why everyone gets so confused about these guitar pedals is because each of these can have the same results as the other. That’s when you don’t know the difference. But if you truly know them and understand how they work, you will realize how much these pedals differ and how their capabilities stand miles apart. 

Before we get into learning the difference between them, let’s first see what each of these effects mean.

The Echo Effect

Lastly, the echo effects are a comparison between the delay and the reverb effects. The echo effect basically gives you the ability to repeat notes like in a delay effect. It also lets you extend the sound like in a reverb. But don’t confuse it wither either of the two. It’s completely different. 

The echo effect gives back a dark, short, and voluminous sound. That’s because it is designed to sound like it was recorded in a recording studio.

The Delay Effect

Another popular effect among the guitarists is the delay effect. It basically means playing a note on your guitar and heating it being repeated back at you with a delay. Delay effects sound very amusing to the ears. They are used in a large selection of some of the top songs in the history of music. The main reason why artists use the delay effect is because it adds volume and thickness to the sound. Listen to Run Like Hell by Pink Floyd and closely notice the guitar line. You will learn what a delay effect sounds like.

Most of the delay pedals come with some compulsory settings such as time and feedback settings. The time setting allows you to set how long the sound will come back to you after it has been played. Whereas the feedback lets you set how many times you want it to come back.

There are also other types of delay effects for modern guitars such as modulation and reverse delays. But the ones mentioned above are most commonly used.

Difference between Echo and Delay

Echo effects sound like delays but have lower rates or repetition and a slight difference in tone. On the other hand, the reverb affects do sound like echo effects, but does not give you full control over it.

The Similarities

All of these sound effects mimic each other and sound quite familiar. Reverb and echo effects, when used in combination, mimic the same sound as room reverb.

The Reverb

Reverb is the most classic effect for guitars. It stands for reverberation. This effect basically copies the signal of the guitar that is heard in the physical aura. It copies that effect to add more depth and texture to the sound. 

For instance, if you are playing your guitar in a dark and empty cave, you will notice that the sound will bounce back. It will reverberate around your physical space and make you feel like it was played for longer. The sound that you hear after you have played a note is called tail. If you understand what tail means, you will easily understand the difference between the types of reverbs.

Types of Reverbs

The following types of reverbs are the most common ones and you will definitely hear about them very often if you are a guitarist. 

Spring Reverb: This reverb uses a metal spring to play the signal in the background before reaching the speaker. As a result, the spring vibrates to extend the sound’s tail, giving it a character.

Plate Reverb: This type of reverb also works like spring reverb. The only difference is that the signal hits the metal plate instead. As a result, the plate will vibrate and result in a longer tail sound. The length of this sound depends on how big the plate is.

Room Reverb: The room reverb basically makes the sound depending on the size of your room, as the name suggests. It will copy your guitar’s sound to reflect it back to you.


Each of the aforementioned sound effects have their own importance in the guitar world. Each is popular and has a rich history. Without these tools at your disposal, you cannot become a pro guitarist. You need to understand the difference between all three to create special and unique sound effects. Get a dedicated pedal for each of them to learn first-hand about the three effects.