Hello there and welcome back to yet another excellent product article and review for you! This time, we will check out a super cool wah pedal that is packed with sounds and features, the Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics Wah MC404 wah pedal! As some of you already know, I had only featured a wah pedal once when I was asked by Donner company.
Table of Contents
Check out my Donner Vowel Wah/Volume review here
To be honest, even though I like the Donner Vowel pedal and was very surprised by the fact that it featured a cool wah and volume pedal in a very compact pedal at that price tag, I did not enjoy the form factor eventually. It was very small and lightweight which caused me to be extra careful while using it. For that reason, I wanted to have a solid, heavy and proper wah pedal that I could use for my guitar cover videos and started researching the market.
After having read a lot of reviews and found out that Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics Wah MC404 was designed in cooperation with the legendary Custom Audio Electronics (as the name suggests!), I immediately made up my mind and ordered one from Thomann.
While writing this article, I sat down and thought whether I had any wah pedals before! I think I got a Dunlop Cry Baby 10-12 years ago, but could not remember if I bought it or borrowed it from a friend. 🙂 I remember that I enjoyed it but being a student back in the day, it was tough to keep gear while wanting to buy more! So either I borrowed it or bought it then had to sell it quickly.
Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics Wah
Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics MC404 was developed by Bob Bradshaw of Custom Audio Electronics and the Cry Baby design team at Dunlop company possibly a long time ago! According to Thomann, it has been available since 2009 and is still in sale! Advertisement - Please click these ads and support the website
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This legendary synergy created by both CAE and Dunlop aimed to create an extremely versatile wah pedal with top-quality components. CAE Wah features two Fasel® Inductors that you can independently choose as well as a built-in boost/line driver circuit, internal Q trim pots and gain control as well as status LEDs that give you a clear status of what is active on the circuit.
2 Fasel® Inductors
CAE Wah features two independent Fasel® Inductors; Red and Yellow. Yellow Fasel® inductor is aimed at generating the traditional Cry Baby sound and can be activated with the right side switch (IN position). On the other hand, the Red Fasel® inductor is going to give you deeper wah sounds. Red mode is also activated with the right side switch (OUT position). You also have the corresponding LED lights, red and yellow to indicate which mode you have activated.
Inside the pedal, you have two trim pots to adjust the Q of each Fasel® inductor and make this pedal a custom-sounding wah pedal for your needs! Very unique!
Turning these pots clockwise to narrow the bandpass or counterclockwise to widen the bandpass.
Built-In MXR MC401 Boost
CAE Wah also features a built-in boost! This is the MXR MC401 boost circuit that you can buy separately but integrated into the wah pedal. This boost function can be also activated with the left side switch and has a corresponding blue LED light, indicating the boost is on. It can boost your volume up to +20dB and only be used when the wah is active. So do not take this as a separate clean boost pedal that you can activate without the wah activated.
The amount of the boost can be adjusted by the knob on the right side of the pedal.
You can also adjust the resistance of the rocker by adjusting the torque clutch under the rocker at the heel of the pedal. Turning this clockwise will increase the resistance of the pedal while turning this counterclockwise will decrease it. An allen key is also included!
Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics MC404 features true bypass switching, meaning that when deactivated, your guitar signal will not be impacted by the circuit and be passed through the pedal.
CAE MC404 wah also comes with CTS pots which are known for their durability and long life span. These pots are widely used on top-notch instruments and audio devices!
As with traditional wah pedals, CAE Wah can be powered up with a 9-volt battery or a power supply (6.3mA) which makes this pedal a very flexible pedal as you do not need to carry a power supply, but you have the option to power it up in your pedal board setup with your existing power supply.
As you can see, you have two very unique wah voicing, a top-notch, adjustable built-in boost, true-bypass switching and CTS pots! Sounds like a dream!
Check out Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics Wah manual here
Note that, all these unique features are coming from CAE’s Bob Bradshaw as he explains these in the video below. Bradshaw is a legendary guitar rig designer and well-respected in the industry. Just imagine, you can get a boutique-level wah pedal that the man himself designed! Unbelievable!
Before I provide you with my review and the demo video I have prepared, let’s have a quick but in-depth look at the tech specs below.
Dunlop CAE Wah MC404 Tech Specs
|Input 1 MΩ|
|Output <10 kΩ|
|Center Freq. (Yellow Inductor)|
|Heel Down||400 Hz|
|Toe Down||1.9 kHz to 2.2 kHz|
|Center Freq. (Red Inductor)|
|Heel Down||255 Hz to 355 Hz|
|Toe Down||1.3 kHz to 1.5 kHz|
|Input -6 dBV|
|Output +8 dBV|
|Heel Down +16 dB|
|Toe Down +16 dB|
|Heel Down -85.5 dBV|
|Toe Down -82.0 dBV|
|Current Draw||<6.3 mA|
Custom Audio Electronics Wah Review
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I was looking for a solid, trustworthy and versatile wah pedal to use in my guitar cover videos. The search almost felt like I should get a wah and forget about it! I think I have made the right buying decision and will let you know why.
First of all, why did I not go for a standard Cry Baby wah? I remember the endless discussions about true-bypass switches, mods, pot value and everything from the forum days and I really have these triggers embedded in me as well. As some of you remember, back in the day guitar players would jump on modding any pedal that they buy and constantly invest their time and money for the purest signal chain.
So the main reason for me not to go for a Cry Baby was that I did not want to do any mods or feel like I would be missing a feature, a voicing or any other parameter to get me to sell and buy stuff on and on.
Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics MC404 is an already upgraded and modded wah pedal and provided with a lot of extra features that helped me with my decision. And the cool thing about this pedal is that all these improvements and options were added by a legendary engineer Bob Bradshaw!
First of all, the built quality is top-notch, it’s built like a tank! It really is and it feels like it will serve me forever. As with any Cry Baby wah pedal format, MC404 also has a 9V battery compartment and a DC in, meaning that you are not limited to either way of powering this up. You may think that this is a very generic feature, why one should be pointing out this?
Well, it helps me a lot while recording videos because if a pedal can only be powered up with a DC power supply, it means you have to arrange everything for a video shooting and plug it into a nearby socket then start shooting your videos! 🙂
It comes in a standard Dunlop carton box with a Cry Baby sticker, quick guide, warranty card and an allen key to adjust the rocker. Note that it doesn’t come with a battery so you need to get one to start playing your wah pedal. Like with drive pedals, a 9-volt battery will last very long as the current required is pretty small compared to digital effect pedals.
I think the biggest selling point of this pedal is that it has the highest quality components implemented. You have two types of Fasel inductors to choose from, a built-in booster with a gain knob, true bypass switching and a CTS pot!
Regarding Red and Yellow Fasel inductors, they definitely sound and feel different. In order to show you how these sound like along with the built-in booster engaged, I prepared a demo video for you! You may want to first check this out!
I used my Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Ibanez AR300, Marshall JVM410H and Red Seven Amp Central directly plugged into my RME Babyface PRO and recorded in Reaper. I also added Eventide Spring Reverb in the post.
Custom Audio Electronics Wah Sound Test & Demo (no talking)
Yellow Fasel is all about the traditional Cry Baby, I think I like it better than the Red one. However, Red Fasel is also useful for deeper and more resonant wah sounds. I think Red Fasel doesn’t fit a Strat-type guitar sound. In some positions of the rocker, it generates too much of a growl so be careful with your settings.
A built-in boost is definitely a great feature! In most cases, when you need your wah pedal, you will probably be about to play a screaming guitar solo. So for these kinds of scenarios, engaging the boost already with the gain at 12 o’clock will thicken the sound and help your guitar solo stand out way better. Note that, the boost is pretty strong and the gain level should be adjusted along with your amp settings.
As I’m not a seasoned wah pedal user, I find using the wah as a new sensation so please don’t judge my playing in the video. However, I must confess I enjoyed it so much with my Marshall JVM410H and played it all day long while making this video.
Please note that I haven’t yet attempted to adjust internal pots to modify the Q values of each Fasel. I think this would be worth another test video. Initially, I just wanted to trust how the designers of this pedal implemented factory settings.
CAE Wah Worth It?
In my opinion, Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics Wah is totally worth the money! It’s built like a tank, sounds awesome and is packed with features such as two legendary Fasel inductors, a built-in boost and CTS pots. I think one should have enough wah sounds at their disposal just by getting a CAE Wah. Knowing that the man himself, Bob Bradshaw is the mastermind behind this also makes sure you are spending your money on a great product that will serve you years!
I can confidently recommend CAE Wah to anyone who is after a reliable Wah pedal that is designed by legends in the industry. Just get this and never look back!
I hope you find this Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics Wah review article honest and insightful! Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!
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