I was asked the other day, as I unwrapped a Line 6 DL4 guitar pedal from the slightly dirty towel that protects it from the rough and tumble of my cables box, if this was my favourite echo unit.
“Well, no, not this one,” I replied, “I don't really like it but it’s practical.”
It sits on my mixing desk and I can grab the knobs to change the delay time and repeat level. I originally bought it to replace the plug in version I was using on a tour. The plug in sounded rubbish, it just didn't seem to echo in the right way so I bought the same thing in hardware and it fitted into the mix so much better!
Now, it is not unknown that I am a bit of a collector of delay units, so I probably have a keener interest than most. The Line 6 purports to emulate some classic delays, some of which I own. It does in a way... but best of all it is easy to get a sound from quickly.
For long clean delays I love my TC Electronic D2. It does ping pong delays really well! I have a space echo, a Roland RE-301 with the chorus and reverb, brilliant for short to medium delays that you want to tail away unobtrusively.
I sold my Copycat - too noisy - but it did 'halo' really well. I have a Russian delay that does nothing well apart from a weird freeze sound that gives you these endless delays. Brilliant, if of limited use! I have a dub delay/spring reverb unit that does reggae well and has appropriately coloured knobs. I also own the most disappointing delay of all time: the Roland SDE 330...
What's important for me is having different sounds I can call on to add texture, but they still have to work. So the DL4 will remain in my gigging kit, until I find something a bit more fun, I say as I unwrap my Korg Kaos Pad!