MXR Carbon Copy Review

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MXR Carbon Copy Delay
MXR Carbon Copy Delay
MXR Carbon Copy Delay

I’ve yet to encounter a guitarist that prefers the sound of digital delay to analog. Still, much as we all love vintage pedals, it’s tough to justify spending $300+ for a Deluxe Memory Man or DM-3. So how do you get that great analog delay pedal you’ve been dreaming of without the boutique price tag?

Surprisingly, you turn to MXR, a Dunlop company known less for delay than for classics like the Phase 90, Distortion+, and Dyna Comp. One of the more recent additions to MXR’s roster is the Carbon Copy, their first echo unit since the Time Delay of the early ‘90s.

As one might hope, the Carbon Copy is a vast cosmetic improvement over the funky Time Delay. It comes in the standard MXR aluminum enclosure, with a snazzy sparkle-green finish. Compact and tough as nails, this stompbox is built to last and small enough to fit on the most crowded of pedalboards, making it perfect for gigging. True bypass switching ensures signal transparency, and quality wiring eliminates the unwanted noise that you often get from vintage analog delay units.

The Carbon Copy meets MXR’s standard of simplicity, too, with three knobs for Regen (number of repeats), Mix, and Delay (rate, up to 600ms). There’s also a modulation button that adds some chorus to the effect. The rate and width of the chorus can be adjusted via internal trim pots, so you can get the exact modulation that you want, from wobbly tape delay sounds to watery, detuned chorus.

As for the delay itself, I can comfortably say that the Carbon Copy produces the warmest, richest echo I’ve heard in a mainstream pedal. Its creamy tone rivals that of comparable boutique stompboxes, easily trumping its primary competitor, the Memory Toy. This is the sort of sound that you can only get with old-school bucket brigade circuitry: an organic, responsive delay without the sterility of digital models.

Rating: ★★★★★Build Quality: 5
Rating: ★★★★★Sound Quality: 5
Rating: ★★★★★Features: 5
Rating: ★★★★★Ease of Use: 5

Overall Rating: ★★★★★ 5 Stars!

I hate to call any piece of electronic equipment perfect, but the Carbon Copy is pretty damn close. With its relatively wide delay time, optional modulation, and gorgeous tone, this pedal is ideal for any style of music. Whether you’re looking for some warm slapback or trippy spaced-out goodness, the MXR Carbon Copy is a must-have stompbox for analog purists.



Adam Jazairi

Adam Jazairi is a writer, art historian, director, and literary critic, and I guess he sorta likes guitars, too. He has become a shameless gearhead with an incurable case of GAS (that’s “Gear Acquisition Syndrome,” for those of you who have been fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with this horrible illness). His heart has room for three true loves: his Tele, his JC-120, and his pedalboard.

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