MXR's palette of flangers was always known to be one of the more interesting ones. With that said, it's no surprise that MXR M117R is one of the best flangers on the market right now. Let's do a closer overview of this pedal and see what it has to offer.
MXR's approach to guitar effects pedals is deeply rooted in simplicity. You will rarely find a model that is packed full of various bells and whistles. For the most part, that goes against what current trends are propagating, but a good portion of guitar players appreciate MXR's choices. M117R is a good example of this simplicity. The pedal features a rock solid enclosure with a clean look and intuitive controls. MXR has included a true bypass switch and even ships these pedals with a power supply.
When it comes to features related to the effect itself, the most you get is the manual control of the flanger. This way you can completely bypass that sweeping function of a flanger if you wish to. Where MXR M117R shows versatility is in how good it works with various instruments. Bass guitars, vocals and keyboards are all supported.
As we have mentioned earlier, MXR M117R control panel is extremely simple. You have four knobs at your disposal, which include Manual, Width, Speed and Regen. All of these are pretty self explanatory and can be found on most other flangers. The only unique thing MXR did with controls is separating the manual control of the sweep. The more common solution is to integrate manual control in another knob.
When it comes to actually using the pedal in various environments, you will find that knobs are very tactile and offer plenty of feedback. On the other hand, there is plenty of range in each one. In other words, you can really fine tune a tone to perfection. Making adjustments on stage is easy enough, although spotting that white dash on knobs could prove to be tricky in low light conditions.
For such a simple and easy to use flanger, MXR M117R packs a very good performance. The flanger effect this pedal offers is one of the most refined options you will find on the market. After using it for a few hours, it becomes apparent that MXR chose to concentrate all of their efforts into making the effect better. Are there additional features that could make it better? Maybe, but not at the expense of raw performance.
After all, MXR likes to keep things old school, which is one of the many reasons why they are so well respected these days. When push comes to shove, MXR M117R is the flanger you would want to have by your side. With the lack of a better term, this pedal just feels complete. Unfortunately, that is not something we can say for many other models.
Despite its inherent simplicity, basic design and lack of features, MXR M117R is an extremely well rounded pedal. The performance is there along with just the right amount of controls. It has more than plenty of range and allows the user to be pretty precise with their tone shaping process.