1978 MXR Analog Delay

Model Description:

The large box mains powered MXR Innovations Analog Delay (MX‑118) in fetching darkish green hue is one of those classic pedals that you may have heard a lot of but not have heard a lot about. The pedal was introduced in 1976 and stayed on the roster until MXR closed its doors in 1984. The Analog Delay basically set the template for other large box MXR pedals including the Flanger, Stereo Chorus, Distortion II and Limiter. There were basically 3 versions of the Analog Delay; the first mono model having only 2 jack sockets (in and out), the second having 3 jack sockets (in with mix and delay only out), while the last also featured an LED status light. Unlike other MXR pedals, there wasn’t a compact version of the Analog Delay. If you like the technical details, initially MXR used the Reticon SAD1024 integrated circuit (IC) on the mono version, while the later models used the Reticon R5101 chip. Like most analogue delay pedals that rely on ‘bucket brigade device’ (BBD) ICs, delay intervals are limited by the technology while also sounding very organic and natural; ideal for guitar. The Analog Delay has become widely recognised as a classic but is strangely overlooked by many compared to its many (mainly Japanese) competitors. MXR, which is now owned by Jim Dunlop, used the Analog Delay as the foundation for the much newer and very successful MXR Carbon Copy delay pedal. The Analog Delay has, to‑date, not been reissued by MXR, so the originals are actually quite rare. They are not only quite hard to find in good condition but also tend to be quite expensive on the vintage effect market.

Pedal Description:

If you know about CRAVE Guitars, you’ll already know that I have a particular predilection for analogue solid state echo pedals. I like tape echoes as well but they are just too high‑maintenance for general use. This very cool all‑original 1978 MXR Analog Delay is one of the second in the series with the 3 jack sockets and no LED. The basic three‑control layout make it very straightforward to use and very intuitive to engage with. You soon forget about fiddling with the settings and you get lost wallowing in its sensational sonic skills. It really is simplicity itself to use and it is quick and easy to find the sounds you like. If I had to rank echo pedals, the Electro‑Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man still takes gold medal position with the MXR in the silver medal slot and the Japanese pairing of BOSS and Ibanez delays lagging somewhat behind and tied in bronze medal place. There is something about the American brands that do the delay thing so well and sets them apart, at least to my jaded well‑worn ears. Yes, the large enclosure takes up valuable pedalboard real estate and it requires mains power but so does the Electro‑Harmonix, so it’s all down to personal preference. This example shows a few signs of wear and tear to the paint finish but it is all superficial and nothing of consequence. It may look a little bit scruffy and the mains lead has seen better days but it sounds sublime and that’s where it counts. I’m not keen on short, slapback‑style delays, which are fine; to me, it’s the longer delays, up to about 300ms that really appeal. The ‘Mix’ does its job of enabling echoes to be louder than the dry signal and the ‘Regen’ control can send the delays it into just‑right gritty sustained sonic self‑oscillation. To me, it is fantastic for those spacey, psychedelic atmospheric textures that easily whisk me all the way back to the late 1970s. All in all, the MXR Analog Delay is worth the hyperbole and is most definitely a keeper.


  • Made by MXR in Rochester, New York, U.S.A. in 1978
  • The ‘Delay’ knob controls the length of the delay
  • The ‘Mix’ knob controls the balance between the original and delayed signal
  • The ‘Regen’ knob controls the number of repeats
  • Standard footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • Standard ¼” single input and a pair of mixed or wet/dry output mono jack sockets
  • 2nd generation ‘block’ MXR and model logos
  • No LED status indicator
  • 240V UK mains power supply input only
  • No box or instruction manual

Detail Gallery:

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