- by Kevin Deal
We believe that there’s nothing like the ‘Best’ pedal; variety is the spice of music, and there are dozens of great pedal options, no matter what type of pedal you are looking for. Though the ways to achieve desired results are a little difficult, the actual function of a delay pedal is pretty simple. Essentially a pedal is used to record the notes that you play and form a loop out of it. Not only that, when set to more subtle settings, delay works wonders in filling out the lead tone for solos. Common in almost all genres, this technique seems to be most popular in country music.
M169 is made of 100% analog bucket-brigade technology. As you play a note, it is carried down the line of capacitors. Every time a tone is stored in the capacitor, it gets “spilled”, which in the real world means that you lose some high frequency making your tone muddy and dark. Alternatively, increasing the delay time leads to more spillage because now the capacitors store the signals for much longer. Therefore, it is possible to have dark sound with no high frequencies; making your tone sound more clarified, exactly the way you want it, depending on how long the delay is set for or how many repeats you set.
1. Up to 600ms of Delay
As compared to digital delay pedals, this number might seem low. In fact, an analog pedal has limitations to how long the pedal can hold on to your signal in its circuitry. Practically speaking, 600ms is equivalent to quarter notes at 100bpm or eighth notes at 50bpm. Therefore, for most songs you have plenty of delay time. However, it entirely depends on your style of playing and what exactly you want out of your delay pedal.
The top right area of the delay pedal has an ‘MOD’ button, which switches on the modulation effect. It can change the way you sound by adding more ‘body’ and depth to your sound. By adjusting trim pots internally, you can adjust the width and speed of this modulation effect, and how much you want your ‘MOD’ effect to mix into your sound. Sometimes this effect sounds similar to the chorus, but it depends on how you choose your settings.
3. True Bypass
The pedal can be switched to a True Bypass mode when the delay is turned off.
4. Ease of Use
The Carbon Copy has three main knobs to control the delay. The REGEN knob sets the number of times your delay will repeat. The MIX knob adjusts the wet/dry balance; which adjusts the volume of the delay signal and mixes it with your original guitar signal. The DELAY knob adjusts the time delay before the repeated signal sounds. The maximum delay possible for M169 is 600ms, which is 0.6 seconds.
It also has a bright blue LED to indicate when the pedal is on, and another LED to indicate when the modulator is on. The main LED being very bright might turn out to be a little distracting in the dark. Having a single input and single output, the pedal is very easy to set up.
The MXR M169 Carbon Copy has been chosen by professional guitarists all over the world; thus, making it popular and reliable, the most exceptional feature being the sound quality. The analog circuitry changes the tone in a way, which suits the delay effect. It helps your signal stand out above the repeated signal by losing some of the high frequencies. With a dark/muddy sound of your delayed pedal, the modulation effect can enhance your tone.
MXR has a reputation of making their pedals really strong and hardy. Unlike its small size, the Carbon Copy pedal is heavy and holds off to gigging easily. The three knobs are sturdy and are difficult to break/wear out unless it is tossed around. With simple controls and metal constructions, this pedal will last for years without problems.
Pros & Cons
If you intend to buy a pedal with simplicity and portability, this is the right kind of pedal that you would need. The delay is an important effect for live music or recordings and the Carbon Copy delivers your delay effect without complicating it. The Carbon Copy changes the tone, which makes the music sound great, especially when the modulation is turned on. You can enhance the normal tone by using delay and modulation, rather than using the pedal to create a standard, repeating delay type sounds. Experiment with the settings to create a thicker sound. This delay pedal not only gives your sound a professional sheen but it also adds a three-dimensional effect.