Evans MX-99 Mini Echo
(Echo - Echo - Echo)
An old effect it may well be but echo is still one of the most usable sounds around. The problem is that really top class echo units cost a lot of money, be they tape echos (like the Roland Space Echo) or digital or analogue units like the best examples from makers such as MXR, Morley and others.
But what if your needs aren't so grand as the sort of echo which can cost you over £200 to achieve? Well, one answer comes in the form of the tiny Evans MX-99.
The Evans MX-99 is a very basic solid state echo system, a far cry from their excellent tape units, but just the sort of thing that a beginner could afford — selling for an RRP of £74.78 inc. VAT.
A neatly housed unit, the little Evans somes in a solid metal box. It's mains powered and is fitted with a fuse for extra safety. Internal construction is fairly good, although I have seen better soldering in my time. Regardless of that, however, it should prove to be reliable enough for even fairly hard use — all it lacks is neatness, not internal strength. All the functions of the Evans are on the front panel. You have four rotary pots; volume, balance, repeat and delay time and, beneath these, a series of jack sockets which allow for a choice of guitar input, mike input, footswitch and output. The final control is a small mains switch.
We tried the Evans with several guitars and found that, for the money being asked for it, it wasn't at all bad. The volume control has a red peak indicating LED beside it (which shows potential overloads more than sufficiently clearly) and the balance control lets you choose the sum total of your sound, a mixture between totally 'dry' (turned extreme left) and totally echoed (turned right). The next control handles the repeat function, a surprisingly variable range for such a small unit, running from a swift following beat to a total runaway condition when the Evans is set much above 2 O'clock.
Finally, the delay time runs from very short (almost, but not quite, an ADT) to a lengthy Shadows-like classical Rock and Roll guitar sound.
Obviously, at such a low retail price, the Evans isn't going to rival the much more expensive types on the market (many of which feature in the same range as this small model) but it would certainly suit the guitarist who wanted a fairly wide ranging echo device without all the hassles of tapes and springs and other mechanical devices. Major sound anomalies are that the very obviously electronic sound that the Evans produces when set to its shortest delay times and a tendency for a slight tonal discolouration when compared with a straight (through the amp) signal. However, at such a low price these are acceptable features (one could hardly call them failings) and, providing one is aware of the difficulty of making an echo unit at all (components which work to perfection cost a lot of money!) then this should be a very satisfactory buy for the player whose prime need is for echo to play around with and use on stage where studio-quality effects just aren't needed.
Careful setting-up will get the best out of the Evans — especially making sure that you set the volume control so that the red overload LED indicator isn't on all the time (optimum results seem to be got when it is just winking on and off). Providing you are prepared to set it carefully enough, not to expect too much from it (Evans do a wide range of more up-market units of course) and don't expect it to function to absolute tonal perfection at the extremes of its range then this little solid state machine is a very tasty unit to have around.
Keep your eyes on Evans, we have heard word that they will be making a massive push in the U.K. market soon. Thanks for our sample to Blue Seude Music Ltd. of (Contact Details), to whom readers queries should be sent.
mu:zines is the result of thousands of hours of effort, and will require many thousands more going forward to reach our goals of getting all this content online.
If you value this resource, you can support this project - it really helps!