Monday, December 30, 2013

MXR M169 Carbon Copy Analog Delay Guitar Effects Pedal

Hi there!

I have tried out more delay pedals than I can count over the years, and have only found a few that I like. The digital T-Rex Replica is my all-time favorite, but it costs an arm and a leg, and the MXR M169 Carbon Copy analog delay pedal comes in a close second for a fraction of the price.

MXR is part of the Dunlop Company, which also sells all kinds of stuff, including picks, strings, accessories, and the Cry Baby Wah pedals. Using my unofficial count, there are over 50 different MXR pedals that you can stick on your pedalboard, and generally they are very well regarded.

The Carbon Copy is one of the more simple delay pedals that you will run into, and there are only three knobs (Regen, Mix, and Delay) and a modulation ON/OFF switch on its tiny chassis. Regen controls the amount of delay repeats, Mix controls the wet signal level, and Delay sets the delay time. The MOD switch controls the up and down pitch shift of the delayed signal, and this is adjustable for rate and duration internally (screwdriver required). It does not say this in any of the literature, but it appears that the lettering for these controls actually glows in the dark a bit. Between this and the nice bright LEDs, it is ready for the stage!

There are also the expected footswitch, input and output jacks, and a jack for a power supply. By the way, the footswitch provides a true hard-wired bypass, in case you were wondering. If you choose to go the 9-volt battery route, you will have to pop the back off to change it periodically. This is not terribly convenient.

As I said earlier, this is an analog pedal, and with its bucket brigade technology it can provide up to 600ms of delay (0.6 seconds for us non-math types). This is obviously less than what you can get from a digital delay, but it makes up for this with an awesomely warm tone and natural decay without undue muddiness. I was able to get a lot of really useful sounds and tones from this pedal when used with either a bass or guitar, though none of them had the crisp hi-fi character that you can get from a digital pedal. The MOD switch adds a notable depth to the tone, so you can try to emulate your favorite prog rock sounds.

I found that it is good for blues and country, but I found that it shined the most when used with a Stratocaster for straightforward rock or funk with my Precision Bass. It is a blessing to have such simple controls, and changes on the fly are very easy.

The Carbon Copy has a quality feel to it, and the pots and switches do not feel like they are going to break any time soon. I am amazed that they could cram so much goodness into a normal-sized pedal, so it leaves plenty of room for other stuff on the pedalboard. The true bypass switching is exactly what they say it is – the signal comes out just as clean as when it went in. In my usage I found no added noise from this unit and the Replica would be equally at home on the stage or in the studio.

The MXR M169 Carbon Copy delay pedal is a winner, and you are not going to find a better analog pedal for the money. These pedals have a list price of $254.61, and street price of $149.99. Check one out if you get a chance.


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