With so many guitar players looking for that elusive warm analog delay sound, the folks over at MXR decided to do the unthinkable. They created a real analog delay for the masses that incorporates retro bucket brigade technology and packs it into a pedal the size of a Phase 90. Best of all, it’s pretty affordable. Does this pedal live up to the lofty standards set by classic analog delays of old? Is it the best analog delay pedal? In our MXR Carbon Copy review, we’ll find out if this is the new standard in analog delay pedals.
Let’s run down what the MXR M169 Carbon Copy offers before we dive right into the review.
600ms Delay Time with Optional Modulation
3 Knob Layout with Delay, Mix, and Regen Controls
2 Internal Trim Pots for Adjusting Modulation Width and Speed
Ultra-Bright Blue LEDs for visibility on dark stages
True Hardwire Bypass Switching
Compact Stompbox Enclosure
Sound & Performance:
The Carbon Copy has already cemented itself as one of the modern classic guitar pedals. Now let’s see how it plays. I started with some clean punchy tones. With the Delay control set all the way left we got some nice slapback delay tones. The sound is warm and fluid, deeply reminiscent of the best slapback tones you’ve ever heard. There is a nice, warm character unique to this pedal which makes it more than just a clone or emulation of some classic design.
I set all the knobs around 12 o’clock with the Mod button engaged and kicked in the lead channel of my amp with a high gain setting and was greatly impressed with the satisfying delays. The sound is smooth as silk, adding a lively vibrancy to the sound. You can get a big lead sound with ease.
Pushing the knobs further right led my sound into cascading waves of delay for some psychedelic sonic explorations. This pedal sounds absolutely massive. Oh, the glories of real bucket brigade analog tone.
Taking the Regen knob to extremes causes the pedal to self-oscillate for creating even more experimental soundscapes. There’s just so much creative potential in the interplay of the few available controls. But wait, there’s more.
Tweaking the Trim Pots inside adds even more character to the repeats. It’s worth opening up to find your signature Modulation preference. You can add some nice warble or just a bit of coloring to your repeats. Set it and forget it.
I like this pedal… a lot. I’m sure you will, too. This pedal has been making its way onto many pedalboards, and it’s easy to see why. Of course products like the Red Witch Violetta Delay create comparable delay tones for less money and an even smaller footprint, and the Seymour Duncan Vapor Trail has raised the bar for an analog delay a this price point. But this is one of those pedals that’ll always be a solid value, especially if you can find a good deal on a second-hand pedal.
Let’s see the final result.
The MXR M169 Carbon Copy sounds incredible. It is a contender for the best analog delay pedal you can find in this small of a footprint and for such a low price. In fact, it’s one of the best analog delays… period. Want tight slap back echos? You’ve got it. Need to thicken up your solos? Check! Want to take your soundscapes to the deep end? The MXR Carbon Copy does it all. It’s a great value and an analog delay pedal you’ll treasure for years to come. Definitely a modern classic.
That wraps up our MXR Carbon Copy review? Thanks for reading.
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