Despite it still being a fairly new pedal in the scheme of things, you'd be forgiven if you were to already consider the Carbon Copy a 'classic' of sorts. It forms part of a strong lineage & has managed to successfully establish itself as the measuring stick for analogue delays right off the bat.
Back when Dunlop decided to reintroduce a delay pedal to the MXR line it was Jeorge Tripps of Way Huge fame that they decided to put at the helm. This was an inspired move as, with the Way Huge Aqua Puss & the Line 6 DL4 both to his name, Jeorge already had an impressive CV when it came to delay pedals. With this in mind, the Carbon Copy certainly had a lot to live up to when it was first released & I can happily say that it was 'mission accomplished' for Dunlop as they knocked it out of the park with this one!
MXR CARBON COPY - FEATURES
There are essentially two kinds of delay pedal: the analogue & the digital variants. The Carbon Copy falls into the former category &, while analogue delays tend to be shorter on the feature front than their digital counterparts, the warm, organic sounds that they produce arguably give them the edge in the sound department.
The MXR Carbon Copy features a 100% analogue bucket-brigade design & it would perhaps be fair to describe it as the natural evolution of the original Aqua Puss (to the point that Jeorge himself didn't want to reissue the Aqua Puss when relaunching the Way Huge line as he felt that the Carbon Copy was a superior product). It is capable of delay times up to 600ms, as opposed to the usual 300ms that you'd find on the majority of analogue delay units (the Aqua Puss included) & boasts the addition of a modulation circuit that can be switched in & out to taste. It also features True Bypass switching & bright blue status LEDs that would be clear as day on even the darkest of stages. Plus, it comes in a rather dashing sparkly green housing that's the same size as the standard Phase 90 enclosure we've come to know & expect from the MXR line.
In terms of controls, there are three external knobs, the 'mod' switch & a couple of internal trim pots. The external knobs consist of 'Regen', 'Mix' & 'Delay'. The Regen knob controls the amount of delay repeats (many other delay pedals refer to this as 'Feedback'), the Mix knob controls the volume of the delays & the Delay knob sets the delay time. The Mod switch allows you to add modulation to your repeats should you desire & the character of said modulation can be tweaked to taste using the internal trim pots (a feature I really like as you can set & forget without the worry of accidentally knocking additional knobs or having to make room for an oversized housing).
MXR CARBON COPY - SOUNDS
The first thing you notice when engaging the Carbon Copy is the lush, organic warmth of its repeats (this is what old-skool bucket-brigade delay is all about)! It really excels at adding depth & body to clean sounds & the warm gritty repeats allow your dry guitar signal to remain defined regardless of how you set the Mix knob.
One can dial in everything from short slap-back echoes to long atmospheric Gilmour-style delays (courtesy of the 20ms to 600ms range) & with the Regen knob above 12 o'clock, dub, reggae & ambient style delays are handled with ease. In addition, for those interested in the noisy soundscapes that delays can sometimes achieve, crank the Regen knob & crazy self-oscillation will certainly ensue!
The modulation feature is also a really nice addition that gives the pedal an extra edge. With the factory settings it provides a subtle pitch modulation that's great for Andy Summers style delays; however, by tweaking the internal trim pots one can also achieve a wider warble that's reminiscent of older tape echo units. (I really like how the modulation can be engaged/disengaged with the push of a switch & the additional LED that let's you know its status is also very handy).
MXR CARBON COPY - CONCLUSION
If pristine, programmable, ‘everything-and-the-kitchen-sink’ type delays are your bag, then you really need to go digital (the TC Electronic Flashback X4 & the Eventide Timefactor both being shining examples of this sort of thing). However, if simplicity & true analogue tone are of primary concern then the Carbon Copy really is hard to beat! It can hold its own alongside boutique pedals that go for twice the price & boasts a much smaller footprint than you'd expect given the features. It offers a wider delay range than most other analogue delays & the modulation circuit is also an added bonus.
With Dunlop producing an analogue delay of this calibre at such an affordable price, it really is hard to find any fair competition for the Carbon Copy. Granted there's some really cool boutique delays out there but personally, I'd find it difficult to justify the additional cost of these units when the Carbon Copy is such a strong performer.
I for one am happy to see that analogue delays have made a comeback of sorts in recent years & I can't help but think that the Carbon Copy is partially responsible for this. A great little pedal for sure!
For more information on the MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay Pedal, click the link below or give us a call on 01202 597180.