I had the opportunity to meet up with TBer Brad Barker yesterday, and I took him with me to the local Starving Musician in Berkeley. I took a bit of time to demo two new MXR pedals that I've been itching to try out for a while. ------------------------------ MXR Carbon Copy (Analog Delay) ------------------------------ PRICE: Around $150.00 USD new. SIZE: Same as the MXR Phase 90 - TINY! POWER: 9VDC or 9V battery. Your typical Boss-standard plug will do fine. INPUTS / OUTPUTS: Mono in, mono out. No stereo outputs or inputs on this particular pedal. LED: Two bright, piercing blue LEDs - one for the bypass switch, and one for the modulation button. CONTROLS: Regen (for controlling repeats/feedback), Mix (for controlling the wet/dry mix), and Delay (for controlling delay time). There's also a small "Mod" button to engage delay modulation, and two trimpots inside to control Width and Rate for the modulation. The Mix knob is interesting because it goes from 100% dry to an equal mix of wet and dry. With the EHX digital delay pedals I've used, you could get repeats that were louder than the dry signal, or even dial out the dry signal entirely. The Carbon Copy's Mix knob, however, is just like the Level knob on the DD-6. SOUND: It sounds really good - it's an analog enthusiast's dream. The delays are warm yet defined. Short delay times allow for clearer repeats. However, it's easy for the Carbon Copy to go nuts - it doesn't have a lot of headroom, so as you crank the knobs, some muddiness is inevitible (it comes with the territory). I guess that's the appeal, though - it behaves like its ancestors. The feedback and oscillation possibilities on this pedal are pretty cool and fun to toy with. The stock modulation settings on the Carbon Copy are subtle - you can tell it's affecting your repeats, but it's most appreciable if your tone is on the brighter side of things. I might buy one in the near future and mess with the modulation trimpots to see what it can really achieve. VOLUME: No drops! That's a relief. That has tended to be the issue with the Blend knobs on EHX pedals that I've used. With this pedal, however, your dry signal level never drops. SUMMARY: If you're looking for a simple analog delay that can get crazy with feedback, this is the first one I'll direct you to. It's inexpensive and it's GOOD! If you want tons of features and brighter tones, look elsewhere. ------------------------------ MXR El Grande (Bass Fuzz) ------------------------------ PRICE: Around $100.00 USD new. SIZE: Same as the MXR Phase 90 - TINY! POWER: 9VDC or 9V battery. Your typical Boss-standard plug will do fine. INPUTS / OUTPUTS: Mono in, mono out. Nothing out of the ordinary. LED: Two bright, piercing blue LEDs - one for the bypass switch, and one for the Deep button. CONTROLS: Volume (for volume... duh!), Tone (for tweaking the tone of the fuzz), and Fuzz (for controlling distortion/gain). There's also a small "Deep" button to kick in a major bass boost. SOUND: It's... uh... not quite what I'd hoped it would be, but it IS something I didn't expect it to be. I'm enamored with the tight, controlled fuzz of the MXR Blowtorch... so it took me a few minutes to really appreciate the El Grande. The El Grande can get crazy gain-wise, but it has a large amount of "control" over its fuzzy madness, unlike the Big Muff (which is absolutely insane on bass when cranked). The Deep switch isn't all that useful to me. It gets really bass-heavy, which I guess could be useful, but it seems like overkill. The El Grande retains your low end VERY well; a bit is lost at higher, brighter Tone settings, but it's nothing you'll miss, and the Deep switch can help you if you really want some low-end rumble back. Now, this is where it gets interesting. In terms of tone, it reminds me of a Tonebender. In fact, I suspect that's what it was probably based on... because they seem to have a lot in common sound-wise, and the controls behave similarly. To you TBers who have a Colorsound Tonebender... do us a favor and A/B it with this one. I'm curious to see how alike they truly are... because to my ears, the El Grande sounds like a compact, modern replacement for the Tonebender! SUMMARY: The El Grande is a thick, bassy fuzz with Tonebender characteristics. Not to be confused with a Big Muff or a Blowtorch - these pedals are nothing alike!