Submitted July 23, 2009 by Sam
"A versatile, great-sounding analog delay at a wonderful price."
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If you are in the market for a solid, versatile delay, then the MXR Carbon Copy is definitely worth a very close look. I'm completely satisfied with the pedal, and it covers everything that I would expect an analog delay to do. Some additional features, such as more control over the delay modulation would have been nice. However, as is, the pedal is a phenomenal value, and the features that the pedal lacks do not hinder the usability of the pedal in any way. A wonderful option for those looking for an affordable, great-sounding delay.
The MXR Carbon Copy is an analog delay. As opposed to a digital delay, an analog delay typically tends to roll off the high frequency response of the repeats. The Carbon Copy has a very "warm" sound to it. The repeats decay nicely, and as they decay further, the sound tends to distort and compress more and more (especially at higher feedback settings). Personally, this is a good thing, as it allows the trails of repeats to smoothly cascade into one another. The delay is slightly brighter than some of the Malekko analog delays or the old Boss DM series, but seems to be slightly darker than, say, an EHX Deluxe Memory Man. The shorter delay times will yield a brighter delay signal, while longer delay times will have a darker delay signal. The delay will also go into self-oscillation sooner at lower delay times. The self-oscillation on this pedal is quite good, but doesn't seem to be as crazy as other pedals (most notably, the Boss DM-2 comes to mind). The modulation on the Carbon Copy is very nice. It is rather subtle, but can lend a nice, fluid quality to the delay signal. The delay cannot provide a 100 percent wet signal. When the "Mix" knob is fully clockwise, the dry signal is still audible (yet, this is a feature common to most analog delays). The pedal is true-bypass, and there isn't a hugely audible "click" sound when the pedal is engaged (like most true-bypass pedals). It is still audible, but is not audible enough to cause a problem. Overall, the Carbon Copy provides a basic, solid, analog delay signal.
The Carbon Copy is a rather basic delay, in terms of features. The delay features simple controls for Mix, Regen (feedback/repeats), and Delay (delay time), as well as a Mod button for engaging the delay modulation. On the inside of the unit, there are two internal trim pots that allow one to access the rate and depth of the delay signal's modulation. The delay features around 600 ms of delay time, which is rather long for an analog delay (although not the longest analog delay time available). The enclosure is pretty small, which is a plus, as it does not take up too much space on the pedal board. MXR style enclosures are slightly smaller than a typical Boss single-pedal enclosure. In typical MXR fashion, the pedal is very sturdy and well made. I gave the Carbon Copy's features a seven, as it would have been nice to have the internal trim pots accessible on the outside of the unit. More controls for the modulation, or perhaps the option for vibrato instead of chorus would have also been great. However, these features may potentially increase the price of this pedal. Yet, for an analog delay, the features are typical.
Ease of Use
The pedal is quite straightforward. One input, one output, and a standard 9V power connection. It's almost impossible to get a bad sound out of this unit. The internal trimpots are pretty easy to access, if you wish to modify them.
The Carbon Copy that I received was perfect, both functionally and cosmetically. MXR pedals are very well built, and last quite a long time. Under normal usage, I would expect this pedal to last a very, very long time. The jacks are sturdy, and the knobs feel good.
This pedal is a great value. It's almost impossible to find a quality analog delay for $150.00 or under. When the Carbon Copy first came out, there was almost no other analog delay that was comparable with the same features. However, EHX is coming out with some new analog delays based upon the Deluxe Memory Man that are aimed to take up a more affordable share of the market (roughly in the same price range as the Carbon Copy). Overall though, this pedal is definitely worth the asking price (and then some).
N/A. I've never had to deal with MXR support myself. However, I have heard favorable things from others who have dealt with them. I've gotten the impression that they are fairly easy to deal with.
The Wow Factor
The Carbon Copy is great in this area. Visually, it has a nice finish and a wonderfully simple layout. It is easy to manipulate any of the knobs, and the placement of the jacks and power connector are very pedal-board friendly.
Alternative, Electro, Shoegaze
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