The Line 6 DL4 Delay pedal is easily the most popular item in Line 6’s array of products. There’s a reason the DL4 makes it on best delay pedal lists. Look at the pedalboard of almost any big-name musician and if they’re using any delay in their music, it’s probably through this green beast. The DL4 boasts a wide range of modeled delay effects that are almost indistinguishable from their analog ancestors.
15 Delay Models – Yes, FIFTEEN different delays in ONE pedal. Choose from Tube, Tape, Sweep, and Analog Echos, Multi-Head, Analog or Digital with Mod, Stereo, Lo-Res, Ping Pong, Reverse, Digital, Dynamic, Rhythmic (my personal favorite) and Auto-Volume Echo.
Loop Memory – The DL4 has fourteen seconds of loop memory, so if you want to build a one-man layered soundscape, this pedal lets you do it.
Controls – Aside from the Effects Selector, there are a few other knobs. Delay Time affects the time between repeated signals. Repeats allows you to choose the number of signal repeats until full decay (when cranked, the signal repeats ad infinitum). Mix adjusts the blend of the dry and wet signal on the output. The Tweak/Tweez options do something different on every effect, so check the manual.
Stereo Input and Output – If you want, this pedal has the ability to split your signal into left/right channels. This is extremely useful with the Stereo and Ping Pong effects.
Expression Pedal Support – If you have an expression pedal, you can use it with this pedal to change how much it affects the dry signal.
Tap Tempo – Match your music’s rhythm to your delay manually with your foot. It’s toe-tapping made utilitarian.
3 Programmable Presets – With how many options are available in the DL4, you’re going to want to keep at least a few of them on hand. Line 6 was kind enough to include three foot switches for three different delay settings, so you can switch between any of them at a moment’s notice.
True Bypass – This is a handy feature on a digital pedal. The DL4 will not convert or taint your signal when it’s not engaged in the signal chain.
Power – Uses 4 C batteries or one power adaptor.
Versatility – Did you notice all the features that come in one pedal? Fifteen delays, stereo in/out, three programmable presets, loop memory, tap tempo – this pedal is essentially sixteen different pedals in the studio and three pedals in live settings. Whatever your delay effect need is, the Line 6 DL4 can meet it and exceed it.
Price – That versatility come at a reasonable, if not absurdly low price. Even if a new version is unattainable, most guitarists take good enough care of their DL4 that if you’re patient, a used one on eBay is more than worth the price.
Size – If you need three different kinds of delay pedals, the DL4 will do the job of all three in the space of two. It’s worth the rearranging session you’ll have to do to make room for it.
Complicated – Be warned: if you don’t know much about delay effects, this pedal will be hard to figure out. The Tweak/Tweez knobs alone do something different on every single setting. Luckily, Line 6 keeps a copy of their instruction manual on their website. Get ready to do some reading and learning via trial and error.
Emulation – Though this is arguably the best delay modeler on the market (it’s certainly the most popular), it still is only digital models of the analog effects.
Size – The larger size of the DL4 is a small price to pay for how many options it contains, but if you need pedalboard real estate and only use delay sparingly, then a smaller pedal like TC Electronics’ Flashback might be a better option.
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