M135 Smart Gate review by MXR

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  • Sound: 6
  • Overall Impression: 6
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.5 (2 votes)
MXR: M135 Smart Gate

Price paid: $ 119.99

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Sound — 6
My MXR has run through a Peavey 505 with a few 7 strings an 8 string and multiple 6 strings. Then my Bugera with the same guitars listed previously. Mostly humbuckers and only one single coil. With all guitars it did its job. Sort of. The pedal claims to eliminate his and reduce feedback while maintaining tone and sustain. Clearly hiss is still present and at large, reduced? Yes. Eliminated? No. It does do a fine job with feedback reduction, very rarely do I have any feedback.

Now some dirty secrets of this thing. The true description of this pedal should say slightly reduces hiss, can destroy feedback at the sacrifice of sustain and tone. This thing KILLS sustain and tone. The only way to try and recover some tone is to up your volume on your amp. However it doesn't bring our dead friend sustain back from the grave. More dirt on this pedal. Only two things are useful: tone dial and the full setting. After hours of tinkering with this pedal the changes you make with any other settings effect so little.

Overall Impression — 6
This pedal does work for me and I'm going to hold on to it for awhile longer(Grudgingly I may add). I dislike what I perceive as false advertisement on the MXR YouTube channel and on the MXR website. This pedal doesn't meet my expectations at all. I've had it for 6 months and have tested this thing and it is what I would call sub-par. However there are only so many "sound gate" pedals out there so I'd imagine your choice are limited. But based off my personal experiences with this pedal I would encourage the reader to try other pedals. Specifically the Boss Noise Supressor. I tried something new and am left dissatisfied and disappointed. Rough and Rugged. Killer of Feedback. Destroyer of Tone. (Not in a good way.)

Reliability & Durability — 10
This pedal is one heavy sucker, obviously not cheap, flimsy metal like some pedals. It's basically a steal ingot with a few buttons on top. It has always worked when I engage that switch. There are several artists that have claimed to use this pedal; most notably Dimebag Darrel and Zacky Wylde. So from their testimonies you can assume they are stage worthy. Personally I'd use it onstage if I had no other alternative, not because of reliability, but sound quality.

Ease of Use — 6
Okay so this MXR pedal has one switch, one button, and one dial. Oh yes and one ON/OFF. So not too complex, however it can be a real pain to get this thing dialed into the perfect setting. When you first get it you may spend a few days tinkering with it. The manual does give some directions: "turn it on". That's close to all the directions give out.

The button controls overall loudness, click it and it drops your amp volume down while it supposedly maintains the tone. The Dial Controls the rate of the "kill". basically the more clockwise the dial is turned the faster your sustain dies down and the less feedback. The more counter clockwise it is turned the the more sustain your sound has and the potential for more feedback. The switch controls three things: hissing or "white noise", the second put mids in their place by bringing their presence down, and finally the only setting I find actually useful is the "Full" setting.

The Full setting is why I personally got this pedal. It comes close to completely and totally eliminating feed back. I have cranked up my amp to full volume and will barely have a squeak come from my amp. However, there is a catch...

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Have you tried running the gate through your effects loop? Also looking at getting one, my friend who uses one and occasionally loans it to me suggests the effects loop option and says it will eliminate feedback and all the hiss caused by a high gain amp. Im yet to try it, just curious as I'm planning on picking one up this week
    Not sure how the reviewer uses his, but I put one in the effects loop on my amp, and it does exactly what he says it does. If anyone is looking at this, I would pass and get an ISP Decimator. I run 2 of them in my set up now and it works perfect. Doesn't kill my tone or sustain.