MXR M305 Tremolo review

An ultra-versatile tremolo pedal in a compact, 9V-friendly package

MXR M305 Tremolo
(Image: © Jim Dunlop)

Guitar World Verdict

A pretty comprehensive set of tremolo sounds in a compact footprint with plenty of performance options.

Pros

  • +

    Compact MXR format.

  • +

    Good price.

  • +

    Comprehensive and dynamic.

  • +

    Handy boost function.

Cons

  • -

    Four-screw battery access.

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The M305 Tremolo pedal replaces the discontinued M159 Tremolo model, which launched in 2008 and ran at 18 volts, necessitating the use of two batteries or another arrangement. This new iteration runs more conveniently from a single nine volts power source.

This tremolo can run in mono or stereo and features six different trem types, scrolled through by pushing the Gain knob. 

There are standard Speed and Depth controls and that Gain knob can not only compensate for the perceived volume drop that the effect can engender but can also give you a boost to drive an amp a little harder. 

One tremolo type, called MXR, recreates the pulsing of the previous M159’s sine wave trem, plus, still in the vintage amp-style, you get the softer flavoured Bias and Opto types. 

A very cool envelope mode allows tremolo speed to be determined by the intensity of your playing, put to great effect with a trem that slows right down as a chord fades out

Revo is an optical tremolo with a reversed waveform for a slightly harder edged attack, something that finds its full expression in the square wave trem’s choppy on/off effects.

Finally, there’s the increasingly popular Harmonic tremolo that recreates the phasey sound of a rarer type of vintage amp trem. A very cool envelope mode allows tremolo speed to be determined by the intensity of your playing, put to great effect with a trem that slows right down as a chord fades out.

Other performance options include connection of a tap tempo footswitch or expression pedal, which is able to blend between two settings to incorporate all three of the front-panel knobs.

Specs

  • PRICE: $159 / £169
  • ORIGIN: Taiwan
  • TYPE: Tremolo pedal
  • FEATURES: Selectable True or buffered bypass, 6 tremolo styles (MXR, Bias, Opto,
  • Revo, Square, Harmonic), mono or stereo output, external tap tempo, envelope mode, expression pedal control
  • CONTROLS: Speed, Depth, Gain (push to cycle through tremolo types), CTR switch, internal stereo/mono switch, Bypass footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input (TRS), standard output (TRS), CTR
  • POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 190mA
  • DIMENSIONS: 64 (w) x 110 (d) x 47mm (h)
  • CONTACT: Dunlop (opens in new tab)

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Trevor Curwen

Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.