MXR / CAE MC402 Boost Overdrive

MXR / CAE MC402 Boost Overdrive

Postby bcresci » Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:18 am

Pulled the trigger last night on an MXR / CAE MC402 boost overdrive. Have been looking for a better solution for both boost and overdrive, and this looked like it might be interesting. The boost generally gets good reviews, the OD gets mixed depending on what people are really expecting from an OD.

Anyone have experience with this pedal?
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Re: MXR / CAE MC402 Boost Overdrive

Postby bcresci » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:39 pm

OK - to avoid getting bageled, I'll reply to myself.

The pedal arrived today and I like it quite a bit. Boost is nice and clean - volume with no tone coloration that I can tell. The overdrive is nice too - can go from mild crunch to some pretty fuzzy - gritty drive. For my needs, the mild crunch fits into just about everything we play. With some tweaking it looks like it could offer quite a nice range of overdrive.

So... I'm liking it very well so far.
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Re: MXR / CAE MC402 Boost Overdrive

Postby JonnyBoy » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:34 pm

I tried one out after I read your thread, I never used one before. I saw it in the case at the music store today and I tried it out, though on a Gdec not a twin, I am sure the pedal would sound different at a better volume. It seems like a nice pedal. I prefer my LPB1 for boost/slight hair and at the moment, Boss OD followed by a boss GE7 Eq for the hairy beard. That seems to be my favorite thing until I decide its not anymore, or I get a $100 to play with on ebay. I am wondering about the boss big double distortion pedal (forget model#) that has every OD and distortion Boss had at that time, plus all the extra tweaking. That sound like something I could get off on for a while.

Glad you like it, I thought it was a cool pedal that would work for some Jerry rigs.
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Re: MXR / CAE MC402 Boost Overdrive

Postby DeadlyHeptet » Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:01 pm

I am always reluctant to recommend that anything is good for everybody, but here is what I am using.

I have a Barber Tone Pump for my overdrive sounds. Hard wire bypass, two channels, built to military electronic standards, sounds great. For myself, I always thought clean boost had very limited use. I turn up the amp, lower the guitar volume and work the clean to slightly overdriven sounds from the guitar volume control. If I am going to use overdrive, I want a little grit in the sound. This box can go anywhere from being pretty clean to just a bit more grit to a good deal of overdrive, but not quite distortion.

I also recently acquired the Whirlwind Gold Box. The founder of Whirlwind was the owner of MXR back in the day. He set out to replicate the sound of the old MXR Distortion+. He could not legally replicate it electronically because Dunlop owns the rights to that. His take was that the new Dunlops, despite aping the original design, did not sound wise deliver an authentic reproduction of an old Distortion+. Again hard wired bypass (I don't use a switcher, so I like hard wire bypass for most of my pedals) and it does deliver. There is that grittiness in the top end and a nice growl on the lower strings. I can kick in some lower gain on the Tone Pump together with the Whirlwind and really go over the top. I can not attest to the absolute authenticity of the sound replicating the old Distortion+, but I recognize the tone from back in the day as close enough.

These would cost more than the MXR/CAE. You could get a Barber LTD (a single channel overdrive with a bit less gain than the Tone Pump) and the Whirlwind and have some great sonic options also. Still more money than the MXR/CAE, but I think this combo would be of interest to those chasing the sound.
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Re: MXR / CAE MC402 Boost Overdrive

Postby JonnyBoy » Sat Jul 31, 2010 8:01 pm

Pretty cool DH, That sounds much like I am doing, but with different brands/circuits. In my search for a good clipped sound it really makes sense to use a combination of pedals which makes it a life long process of finding the right ones that sound best. My first discovery long ago was a EQ pedal to really help shape the tone right, It is hard to get what I want out of a single two/three knob OD pedal. Even though many come with a "Tone" knob they just don't do it right, on many of the ones I've tried. Try a 5 band pedal in your OD chain and see if you like it, It really opens up a bunch of tonal doors with your pedals.
Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed listening to your Jazz clips, you guys have a good sound.
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Re: MXR / CAE MC402 Boost Overdrive

Postby DeadlyHeptet » Sun Aug 01, 2010 7:51 am

JB, though I should shut up an accept the compliment, whatever DH you listened to wasn't me. Maybe I should research that name more before officially putting it out there!

Anyway, I know Jerry used the EQs with the Boss pedals. In my attempts to keep a small board and everything fairly simple, I have not dealt with any EQs or filters. If I went that way, I think I would try a Wilson Parked Wah, a pedal with the tone shaping capabilities of a wah, but there is no pedal. You set the tone as if you found a sweet spot on a wah and use it as a Q control. Q controls (somewhat more advanced ones) are what Alembic and some others use as active tone controls in their products.

I really never loved the idea of driving one OD with another, but for some applications in my setup, the Barber smooths out the grittiness of the Whirlwind and, of course, gives me more gain. Who knows, it's always evolving. A couple good jams sessions will shed more light on it.
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