NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

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mici88
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NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by mici88 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:32 am

Image

Got this for 89$. It came with 220->110v transformer, no original box, no rubber knob covers (which I took from my eVh). Few scratches here and there, footswitch is a little loose and I'm afraid it can die in near future, the AC cord is in a terrible shape. But overall it is in decent condition - no noise, no volume drop, everything works as should. Next week I am planning to give it to my tech to do a general check up. Also, I'm leaning towards removing that AC cord and installing traditional power input like in reissue. There is a diode inside which drops 110v to 15v, so I can feed it with 18v output in my ISO5.

Having played reissue and eVh version, I was truly interested how the original M117 sounds. First observations:

-it is much more subtle than reissue
-it has more chorus flavour than traditional flanger
-the sweep is not as dramatic as in M117R
-my favourite settings on M117R are not corresponding with settings on M117 (example: chorus settings on reissue: 9:00/9:00/2:00/off, on original: max/max/2:00/off)
-it seems to blend better with distortion, does not sit on too much on top.

What are yours experiences with M117? Share your thoughts!
Last edited by mici88 on Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Les Paul Lover
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by Les Paul Lover » Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:53 pm

I've never had one...... but I can't see your pic!!!!

Can't the footswitch simply be tightened?
I have no idea if the price you paid reflects the road worn state, but be aware that any mod will devalue it compared to untouched fully working units.

For myself, I'm all for functionality, so your intent to fix it is the path I'd follow.
Ant

Orange Gear: RV50 MKI, R30, AD15, AD5, PPC212
Past Orange: Orange AD30TC Combo, Tiny Terror

Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded, Vigier Expert Retro 54, Gibson SG 70s Tribute, Aria Pro II RS X80, G&L ASAT Special Tribute

mici88
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by mici88 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:56 am

Les Paul Lover wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:53 pm
I've never had one...... but I can't see your pic!!!!

Can't the footswitch simply be tightened?
I have no idea if the price you paid reflects the road worn state, but be aware that any mod will devalue it compared to untouched fully working units.

For myself, I'm all for functionality, so your intent to fix it is the path I'd follow.
Ah, damn, google gave me wrong sharing link. Now it should be visible.

bclaire
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by bclaire » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:57 am

I'm surprised that it has the rubber twist buttons over all four buttons. Usually, there were only two I thought so you can adjust with your foot.

Les Paul Lover
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by Les Paul Lover » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:04 pm

For its age, it looks pretty good. Not sure I've aged as well myself!!! :lol:

Practically, what do you think you prefer? That vintage unit, or the more modern versions?
Ant

Orange Gear: RV50 MKI, R30, AD15, AD5, PPC212
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mici88
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by mici88 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:06 am

Les Paul Lover wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:04 pm
Practically, what do you think you prefer? That vintage unit, or the more modern versions?
That's a good question.

The old one is definatelly more mellow and subtle. Its chorus tone is just outstanding, even better that any CE-2 I had. Somehow I can't get 100% Eddie Van Halen flanging from "Unchained" or "Hear about it later" - not sure if this is some tech issue (leaking caps or something else) or it is just nature of the pedal. My friend will take a look inside since he is an electronic nerd and will replace any suspicious parts.

As for the new one, it gets into extreme flanging very quick - regen knob at 10:00 already makes a crazy sounds. Its overall tone is way different that vintage one, more metallic and not as lush. And it is waaay more noisy than original - what a big suprise, because usually old units tend to have more "own" noise than reissues.

Since I'm mostly rock-to-metal guitarist, I judge any modulation pedal by how it blends with overdrive distortion, so I'd choose the old one since it does not sit on top as the new one. It colours the signal in quite tolerable manner, and with chorus settings you can leave it on all the time just to beef up the rhythm parts.

Les Paul Lover
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by Les Paul Lover » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:07 am

mici88 wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 7:06 am
Les Paul Lover wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:04 pm
Practically, what do you think you prefer? That vintage unit, or the more modern versions?
That's a good question.

The old one is definatelly more mellow and subtle. Its chorus tone is just outstanding, even better that any CE-2 I had. Somehow I can't get 100% Eddie Van Halen flanging from "Unchained" or "Hear about it later" - not sure if this is some tech issue (leaking caps or something else) or it is just nature of the pedal. My friend will take a look inside since he is an electronic nerd and will replace any suspicious parts.

As for the new one, it gets into extreme flanging very quick - regen knob at 10:00 already makes a crazy sounds. Its overall tone is way different that vintage one, more metallic and not as lush. And it is waaay more noisy than original - what a big suprise, because usually old units tend to have more "own" noise than reissues.

Since I'm mostly rock-to-metal guitarist, I judge any modulation pedal by how it blends with overdrive distortion, so I'd choose the old one since it does not sit on top as the new one. It colours the signal in quite tolerable manner, and with chorus settings you can leave it on all the time just to beef up the rhythm parts.
At 40yo, all electrolytic do need to be replaced for sure.
It'll be interesting to hear your thought on pre vs post maintenance!
Ant

Orange Gear: RV50 MKI, R30, AD15, AD5, PPC212
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Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded, Vigier Expert Retro 54, Gibson SG 70s Tribute, Aria Pro II RS X80, G&L ASAT Special Tribute

mici88
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by mici88 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:57 am

Promised update!

Internal transformer and AC cord have been removed. My tech also installed a voltage protection diode, because the original M117 did not have that. Now pedal accepts everything between 15-18v just like reissue. All other components were checked and measured and they are in wery good shape, so no replacements were needed.

Image

I duck-taped knobs, because that is where eVh "Unchained" kicks in :D

Les Paul Lover
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by Les Paul Lover » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:39 pm

mici88 wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:57 am
Promised update!

Internal transformer and AC cord have been removed. My tech also installed a voltage protection diode, because the original M117 did not have that. Now pedal accepts everything between 15-18v just like reissue. All other components were checked and measured and they are in wery good shape, so no replacements were needed.

Image

I duck-taped knobs, because that is where eVh "Unchained" kicks in :D
Well.... I've seen electrolytic caps fail around under 15yo. At 40yo, they should all be replaced, regardless of their measured values - they are way pas their rated sercice life.

In a pedal like yours it isn t all that critical, you're not risking a pricey power or output transformer, but they still need to be replaced.

I wouldn't use that tech again.
Ant

Orange Gear: RV50 MKI, R30, AD15, AD5, PPC212
Past Orange: Orange AD30TC Combo, Tiny Terror

Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded, Vigier Expert Retro 54, Gibson SG 70s Tribute, Aria Pro II RS X80, G&L ASAT Special Tribute

Jondog
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by Jondog » Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:52 pm

I have to admit I’m on the fence with replacing old low voltage electrolytic caps in pedals. If theres no physical leakage, bad oscillations in the audio, the unit works and you like the way it sounds, I say leave them in. If you want to be sure it’s reliable, replace them. It’s low voltage/current, and inexpensive parts. Just have a good, safe power supply. I’m reminded of my 80’s Boss BF-2 flanger. I put new electrolytics in it and discovered I didn’t like it as much. The new caps changed the wave form and it wasn’t as warm. I ended up putting some originals back in. Those old BF-2’s are great flangers by the way and I get a nice thick chorus sound out of it too! Sometimes I forget the saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.
Image

Les Paul Lover
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Re: NPD: Late 70s MXR M117 Flanger

Post by Les Paul Lover » Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:12 pm

Jondog wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:52 pm
I have to admit I’m on the fence with replacing old low voltage electrolytic caps in pedals. If theres no physical leakage, bad oscillations in the audio, the unit works and you like the way it sounds, I say leave them in. If you want to be sure it’s reliable, replace them. It’s low voltage/current, and inexpensive parts. Just have a good, safe power supply. I’m reminded of my 80’s Boss BF-2 flanger. I put new electrolytics in it and discovered I didn’t like it as much. The new caps changed the wave form and it wasn’t as warm. I ended up putting some originals back in. Those old BF-2’s are great flangers by the way and I get a nice thick chorus sound out of it too! Sometimes I forget the saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.

Indeed, there's little those little electrolytics can damage.

They can't be considered reliable though.

You make a good point re: possible value drift, and many people have reported changes in tone in pedals and amps that have had old electrolytic capacitors replaced, for better or for worse.

A lot of people argue that some old amps charms are due to off the charts components value..... but in an amp, old capacitors failure can be really costly.
Ant

Orange Gear: RV50 MKI, R30, AD15, AD5, PPC212
Past Orange: Orange AD30TC Combo, Tiny Terror

Guitars: Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded, Vigier Expert Retro 54, Gibson SG 70s Tribute, Aria Pro II RS X80, G&L ASAT Special Tribute

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