How To Find The Best Delay Pedal For You: MXR Carbon Copy Review
Dunlop MXR Carbon Copy review. When you first play the guitar, it’s very easy to think that that’s all there is to it. However, if you want to up your game, you will discover lots of different accessories you can add to it.
These accessories either improve just the sound of your guitar or your guitar experience itself.
There are guitar tuners, amps, capos and pedals among others. All of which are not only very convenient but most of the time, essential. This is most especially true for guitarists who perform.
As for the pedals, there are lots of pedals out there which you can try. These pedals serve different effects and features, but they can be used all together on a pedal board or pedal chain.
One of the most commonly used pedals is the delay pedal. They are often used together with several other pedals to create a more sustained sound. Today, we will be doing a Dunlop MXR Carbon Copy review.
We also included basic information about delay pedals to help you find the best one for you.
MXR Carbon Copy Review - Alternatives To Consider
The Delay Pedal: What You Need To Know
A delay pedal recreates a particular portion of your guitar signal and re-inserts it at a specific time for a specific duration. You can adjust the depth of the effect on your guitar audio.
Meaning, you can control how much effect or how audibly this recreated riff can be heard.
You can also choose the duration, a number of repetitions and the particular time when this recreated riff should be inserted. Do note, however, that there are different types of delay pedals which we will further discuss later.
However, you should be very particular about your delay pedal. Being able to get the perfect pedal setting for you means that you have to know what you want from your pedal.
You must also know what to look for in a delay pedal. Especially when buying for the first time.
What To Look For In A Delay Pedal
Choosing the perfect delay pedal for you does not have to be complicated. You just have to know what you want, what you’re getting and where you’re getting it. Here are several things to consider when buying a delay pedal:
#1 Type of Delay Pedal
There are three types of delay pedals: the analog, digital and the tape delay. The analog pedal is usually a very expensive type of delay pedal.
It’s vintage and a classic from the 1970’s. A lot of guitarists say that the analog delay is much more efficient than the tape delay.
Aside from re-creating a riff and playing it back, the analog delay also adds a bit of distortion to it. In effect, this will add more depth and character to your music.
However, its delay time is limited. This is because the delay pedal can only produce delays at 250 to 300 milliseconds.
So if you want to find a delay pedal which can produce longer delays, you might want to look into specific brands that cater to that. Or look into other types of delay pedals.
The first thing you might notice on an analog delay pedal is its knobs. There are usually three knobs and one button on an analog delay pedal. These are usually the time, mix and repeat. The push (or step) button is for the bypass.
However, it is also important to note that though these buttons usually have the same purpose, they might be labeled differently. Depending on the brand which you will be buying.
The first button is the mix or the “echo” knob which either blends or adjusts the delay feedback. The time switch controls the duration of the delay. The repeat controls how many repetitions is there supposed to be every specific period.
And finally, the push/step button activates the bypass. Most analog pedals have an LED indicator which indicates whether or not the bypass is activated.
So, are all these buttons functioning? Are they easy to use or to manage? Are the knobs too tight or too loose? What are the materials used for the pedal and its knobs?
These will not only determine how convenient to use your analog delay is but also how long it’s going to last.
#3 Price and Preferences
Most importantly, choose the one which you feel like you want or need the most as a musician. Do not be pressured by marketing or sales talk.
Take the time to research on what you want from your pedal. This will help you find the best analog delay pedal for you in the most efficient way.
However, even if you’re on a tight budget, look for a brand that is high-quality regarding its durability and musicality. This is how you make sure that you’re getting what you’re paying for.
There are still a lot of other factors which you can consider when buying an analog delay pedal. However, these are some of the most basic and important details to look into so be sure not to skip any of them.
The MXR Carbon Copy Delay is an analog delay pedal that’s both rich and warm in what it does. This is because of its old-school bucket brigade technology. The design features 600ms worth of delay time.
Also, it comes with an optional modulations feature that goes through a mounted switch at the top.
Moreover, a simple three-knob layout gives you great control towards the delay time, mix, and regen. The MXR carbon copy also has a true bypass with blue LED rounds that are stage-ready for your use. It’s also a single volt operation at 9V.
- Gives off a very ambient and pleasing sound for a delay pedal.
The texture of the tone seems organic. It doesn’t sound digital and has more warmth for a delay pedal.
It doesn’t block the signal of your guitar during performance.
- Has an analog echo feature.
This gives your music more body and dimension.
- Great design that’s compact, light, yet very durable.
- Great at noise-reduction.
There’s minimal hissing and buzzing when you play your song.
- Modulations circuit gives it depth and width that comes in handy for the pedal’s tones.
- MOD feature boosts the frequencies at the top end too much.
At the same time, it weakens the lower-end frequencies which cause the sound to be less full.
- MOD can be difficult to use without a seasick tone.
Overall, the effect of the MOD is very minimal and confusing.
Features And Benefits
Circuits and True Bypass
The Dunlop MXR carbon copy is known to have a very lush and warm effect for a delay pedal. Some delay pedals have electronic and digital sounds that give it a clean sound. However, the Dunlop MXR carbon copy stays away from this practice.
Instead, the MXR analog gives off a more natural and imperfect tone for your music. This again is caused by Dunlop’s use of the bucket-brigade device or BBD.
The bucket-brigade device is a discrete-time analog delay line. This feature gives the MXR a fully-solid-state with no moving parts.
Also, it works through a microelectronic silicon circuit that’s integrated which has thousands of bucket-brigade stages.
This is one of the first forms of analog audio that has been effective to use. With that said, the MXR doesn’t fall short on using this technology to its fullest extent.
Meanwhile, the MXR also features a true-bypass operation. Hence, when the pedal is off or in bypass mode, the signal of the guitar directly connects with the amplifier.
Hence, this feature doesn’t give the pedal any buffer effects or interference that usually happens for non-bypass systems.
Rich and Organic Tones
The MXR carbon copy is named as carbon copy because it imitates the riff of your music from the guitar almost like a carbon copy. This keeps the delay pedal safe from any electronic-sounding effects that some musicians would want to stay away with.
In many of the feedback online, the Dunlop MXR carbon copy is deemed to have a lot of warmth to its effect compared to most pedals. Thus, if you’re looking for a natural-sounding delay pedal, then this is for you.
The lush sounds that come from the Dunlop MXR also get an additional crisp bathroom echo effect. This analog echo is ideal for flushing and fattening your guitar’s chords and notes.
Also, this gives your tone an advantage since an echo effect through a digital delay can cause your sound to go out of sync with the tempo.
Since the MXR carbon copy is an organic-sounding analog delay pedal, it avoids this scenario. Instead, the echo surrounds the tone beautifully thus giving it great dimension.
In addition, it avoids disrupting the effect with the tempo. Hence, the effect doesn’t get in the way even if it repeats out of tempo.
The MXR carbon copy also has a large casing that gives you an additional bonus. It’s very light and compact which makes this pedal ready to use either on-stage or your room.
The case of this delay pedal comes with a very pleasing design. It has a dark finish that’s finished off by green sparkles. This gives your delay pedal that dreamy rock n’ roll design that’s always good to boast around when you start jamming with friends!
Although there are problems with the MXR Dunlop’s modulation, it’s no secret that it’s a high-quality pedal when it comes to this field. The main problem of musicians when you talk about an analog delay pedal is that analog types are slow on delay time.
Usually, the delay time of analog types is only around 250-300 milliseconds. That gives it a disadvantage over the digital delay pedal. Hence, this is why digital delay pedals are getting favored over the good old analog type.
However, the MXR carbon copy doubles the speed of the delay time. From the usual 250-300 milliseconds, the delay time is now up to an excellent 600 milliseconds.
Hence, the echo on the MXR carbon copy is much better and longer compared to other delay pedals.
Easy to Navigate Interface
The MXR also has a very simple interface that makes it convenient to use. It only has a layout that uses three knobs. Particularly, these are the Regen, Mix, and Delay controls. This lets you use the delay pedal without having to go through all that guessing because of its complicated interface.
Moreover, it has two internal trim pots. These trim pots let you control the width and range of your delay pedal modulation.
Also, you can even adjust the rate of control of the modulation from more tonal choices. This gives the MXR carbon copy supreme versatility and efficiency.
Alternatives To Consider
Coming in at second on our alternative list is the TC Electronic Flashback Delay. This pedal is quite the opposite with the Behringer since it’s price is more than double of the Behringer’s.
It’s around the $150 and above range, so this might be not for you if you’re on a tight budget.
Performance-wise, however, the TC Electronic is one of the best in the delay pedal field. It has a unique feature where you can pick over 11 kinds of delay effects.
Some of the effects here are named as a loop, slap, and tape. This gives you added versatility in fine-tuning your music and mixing things up.
- The TC Electronic has 11 delay effects with the Tone Print effect giving the pedal extra versatility.
The Tone Print delay effect gives you instant access to custom pedal-tweaks by different musicians. This gives you more than 11 options to choose from when it comes to delay effects.
- Has an easy interface.
Four controls feature Delay time, Feedback, and Repeat with the adjustable knob to choose your delay effect.
- The sound it generates is warm and lush.
Proves itself as a vintage delay pedal without any digital sound.
- May be a bit expensive.
Not ideal for those who are just looking to get a simple delay pedal.
- Has issues with durability when it comes to the input jack and the casing.
- The pedal might be too big.
The Donner Pure Analog Delay pedal boasts of its vintage analog effect and its true bypass. True bypass means that the signal from your pedal is blocked off from the guitar when it is switched off.
This eliminates any possible signal interferences that cause unwanted sounds or feedbacks.
It also features the three basic knobs and a bypass button. Above the bypass button is an LED indicator which lights up whenever the bypass is activated. And most importantly, it is powered by a 9V power adapter.
- It is a true bypass pedal.
- It makes use of an aluminum alloy which makes it durable.
This is perfect for guitarists who usually stomp on their pedals on and off while in performance. (it can withstand your stomps for quite a while!)
- The LED indicator will help you identify if the bypass is switched on or off.
- It works well for bass guitars too.
- Most importantly, it can produce up to 620 milliseconds of delay time.
This is higher than Dunlop’s MXR Carbon Copy which only produces up to 600 milliseconds of delay.
- It is very cheap.
- The knobs may be little too sensitive.
This might become a bit of a bother especially if you’re just a beginner and you’re still trying to find the perfect delay setting for you.
- It doesn’t make use of the BBD chips found in analog delays.
Instead, it makes use of the PT2399 digital delay chip. (usually found in cheap pedals as well)
- It might produce a little background noise when active. Especially when used for a long time.
The Behringer Vintage Delay VD400 takes you back to authentic times by imitating the effect of a tape delay. This is because the Behringer also has a refreshing slap-back echo effect through its analog feature.
The signal of your circuit is also clean thanks to its noise-reduction feature. This gives your pedal a clutter-free sound with no buzzing and any feedback. Similar to the MXR, it has three controls on its interface.
These controls of the VD400 has intensity, rate, and echo that are all used to control and shape the sound that you want.
- Extremely cheap since it ranges below the $50 range.
- Bucket-brigade device.
This feature gives you an old-school sound that resembles that of the tape delay.
- Has an excellent bypass mode.
- Has good noise-reduction features that eliminate buzzing and hissing.
- Runs only at 300 milliseconds compared to the 600 milliseconds of the MXR carbon copy.
This gives you shorter delay time which could lead you unsatisfied with the effects.
- Doesn’t jump out as a unique delay pedal other than it’s a great bargain.
No special features that make it unique.
Great pedal if your priority is a cheap one.
Dunlop’s MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay is perfect for people who are very particular about the sound of the delay effect itself.
You can also use it to provide you with warm tones/sound from your analog delay instead of the usual distorted electronic music. It is also very cheap without all the accessories and other cables.
It offers useful features and durability. But at the end of the day, there are limitations to what the Carbon Copy can give you. This is why it helps that you know what you want and what you’re looking for from an analog delay.
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