Since their first production back in 1960s, wah-wah pedals have occupied substantial part of the musical equipment. They became rather famous and maintain their prominence till this day. Though many of us long for vintage models and do everything in our power to obtain them, there are newer variations that can easily substitute those legendary sounds. That is why we should keep an open mind towards contemporary units. And who would be the best company to create wah pedals, if not Dunlop and their MXR line. Let me introduce MC404 CAE Wah to you – a wonderful stompbox which was the result of collaboration between Custom Audio Electronics and Cry Baby team. You can imagine what kind of minds were behind this item! And their efforts were not in vain – the final product is phenomenal in so many ways. This distinguished member of wah family has ample properties that will take your game up to a whole new level. Let’s dive into the details, discuss everything in depth and find out together, if this pedal is as good as it promises to be. Shall we begin?
If MXR MC404 CAE Wah was a one-trick pony, it would still be among the top pedals out there. But Dunlop decided to steep it with features and provide us with a jack of all trades. This way you have a multifaceted unit that blends together different flavors of wah in order to create a magical potion. The shell of this bad boy is similar to its siblings, but has some distinctive characteristics as well. It has CAE logo on the side and treadle, which makes its design vibrant and prominent. Though it is a bit bulky, once you manage to place it on your pedalboard, you will never want to substitute it with anything else. The quality of the construction is fantastic, with top-grade components and low noise potentiometer. When it comes to the tonal features, we have dual Fasel inductors, each of them carrying different voices. Switching between them is a piece of cake and takes no time, giving you access to the versatility of the pedal. MXR MC404 CAE Wah also has a Boost/LineDriver which allows you to intensify your signal and create a more powerful sound. It is equipped with internal pots that shape your tone even further and expose even the detailed parameters. It can be supplied either with a battery or an adapter. Changing the drained battery is as easy as it can get – you can simply lift the base, insert a new one and that’s it. It goes without saying that MXR MC404 CAE Wah is a reliable and capable pedal that will make your wah game even more spectacular.
Generally, when talking about wah pedals, the control section is dull and short. The majority of the models out there does not offer an abundance of knobs and encoders. But that is not the case with MXR MC404 CAE Wah. It has both external and internal controls and provides you with substantial amount of precision. I will try to break everything down and explain all the knobs and pots, so that you will not have to play a guessing game.
On the Exterior
The only knob you will find here is situated on the side of the pedal. It is a Gain Volume, which allows you to set the desired amount of gain added to your sound with the help of the Boost Switch. The latter triggers the settings you chose with the previous knob and enables you to enjoy your boosted signal. On the other side of the unit, you will find the Inductor button, which switches between yellow and red inductors. They have complementary LEDs, so that you know what is going on in your pedal.
In the Interior
Moving on to the internal controls, there are two different pots. The Upper Trimpot modifies the Q (a.k.a. “quack” factor) of the yellow inductor, while the Lower Trimpot does the same thing for the red inductor.
MXR MC404 Sound
It stands to reason that we shall start the sound section with the highly-praised inductors. I have mentioned them above and I am sure it is high time I explained what the hell they do to your sound. The yellow inductor transforms your MXR MC404 CAE Wah into the unit that can emit deep and rich wah tones. It accentuates the bottom-end and mid-range and steeps everything with lower warmth. The red inductor, on the other hand, does the opposite – it emphasizes the trebles and brightens up your performance nicely. Added Boost feature makes it possible to enhance the sonic capabilities of your sound even further and produce powerful notes. Internal pots accurately tweak the properties of your signal and allow you to customize the unit to your playing and genre. And there is more – MXR MC404 CAE Wah is completely noise-less. Its smooth treadle, low-noise potentiometer and footswitch let you move between different sounds without any pops and buzzes. All you have is nice mixture of sweeps and breathtaking wahs. This pedal can easily win your heart and hold it till the end of days. Its sonic properties will blow you away and force you to find every single sound this unit can give off.
Those, who like it simple, might not admire MXR MC404 CAE Wah as much as I do. I do not mean that this particular model is complicated. I mean that it has sophisticated features that might not be useful for everyone. But those who love diversity and versatility, experiment a lot and come up with newer ideas, will absolutely fall in love with MC404 CAE Wah. If the words I uttered were not enough to satisfy your curiosity, you can always listen to demos and comparisons and let the sounds speak for themselves. As for me, I did everything I could to give you comprehensive information about this wonderful pedal. The rest is up to you. Good luck!
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