One of the highest selling delay pedals of all time is the MXR Carbon Copy. It takes a spot on the pedalboard of countless arena touring bands from metal to country, and it has earned that rightful place.

Let’s dive into the MXR Carbon Copy!


The Carbon Copy utilizes a fully analog circuit, which is a feature that seems to be growing increasingly rare these days. Based on the bucket-brigade style design, it delivers very warm and lush delay trails as opposed to the more clinical and exact nature of a digital delay.

The delay trails do not sound like exact imitations of the original signal, contrary to what the name of the pedal may lead you to believe. That being said, this is the strength of the Carbon Copy and not its weakness. It’s not so tonally dark that it sounds like all the high end of your tone is lost, it still maintains clarity brilliantly, just not so much that you can’t tell which notes are the originals and which are the repeats.

It should be clear by now that this is not the kind of pedal you should pick up if you’re looking for something clean and without any “color.” It will not get you that sharp, layered-guitar delay sound made famous by U2 guitarist The Edge (see: “Where The Streets Have No Name”). It’s not meant to be percussive or precise, but rather to create space and depth, even if that space is just to help your guitar solo stick out from the rest of the mix.

The thick delay trails can be dialed in from a slight slapback to a deep ambient delay you might hear from artists like David Gilmour. The fully analog design stays true to the famous sound of the 70’s.

With the modulation button on we get an even deeper dimension to the sound with a lush chorus warp on the repeats. The modulation is absolutely stunning, and it’s very difficult to find a reason to turn it off once it’s been engaged because of the shimmer and depth it imparts upon the echoes.

The modulation is simply an ambient player’s dream come true. Turn up the regeneration amount to create swirling, evolving soundscapes that would make even the nerdiest of keyboard players jealous.

If you really want to push things to the next level, the fully-analog circuit allows the pedal to “self-oscillate” when pushed to the extremes. For those who don’t know, when a pedal is tweaked in the right manner it starts to become less of a sound processor and more of a sound producer. It creates its own unique sonic palette from quirks and beeps to deep, thick bellowing roars, all of which happens simply by making a noise and fiddling with the knobs.

Build Quality:

We really need to stop covering build quality of MXR pedals. There’s only so many times we can say “incredible.”


With a very simplified control layout, the Carbon Copy gets a surprisingly wide array of sounds. In the vast majority of cases this pedal is easily one of the best fits: from slapback delay to faux reverb, to epic 80’s arena-rock, glam-metal, soaring solos.

However, that’s not to say it is without its own limitations. The most notable of which is the delay time, coming in at only 600ms. For a fully-analog delay that’s not too bad, but it is certainly a consideration for anyone looking for the most versatile delay sound they can get, or if they prefer to treat their delay pedal as more of a looper.

Additionally, if versatility is your priority, you will not be getting a digital delay sound out of this unit. In most cases, a digital delay is not what the sweeping majority of us reach for, but it still has its place… just not in this pedal. You’d likely be better of looking at a digital unit that also emulates analog sounds. If you’re a stickler for authenticity, however, you’d be crazy not to get one of each.

Despite lacking in these two areas, the mix knob combined with the wide selection offered by the regeneration knob allows you to cover most territory with ease. The modulation button helps one-up the competition even further if the tone wasn’t enough to convince you.

Final Thoughts:

The price tag is surprisingly small for a fully-analog delay this good, but having seen it on so many touring musicians’ boards it becomes quite evident that it doesn’t represent the sound it puts out.

The reason it has become the gold standard in delay stompboxes is that not only is the tone absolutely gorgeous (with or without modulation), but it covers so much territory and does so with such useable, musical applications. We couldn’t find a single setting that didn’t sound fantastic.

Yes, the Carbon Copy from MXR does have its small limitations, but as soon as you turn on that pedal the massive smile on your face makes you completely forget they are even there.

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