My first experience with a Timmy circuit is equally as impressive as it is eye catching.
Searching for that perfect overdrive pedal is a never ending quest for me. And that’s partly just because I feel like I’m still learning about all the different types and variants. I didn’t even really know the difference between a Blues Driver and Tube Screamer until a few years ago. So with that eagerness to learn about the different types of drives, I had settled on a Timmy-style circuit being next on my list.
Little did I know the Lyla Drive from Music Box Pedals was even a Timmy. I was attracted to the pedal thanks to the fact that it shares a name with one of my favorite Oasis songs. Featuring a 2-band EQ (high and low controls), gain, and volume controls, the Lyla Drive is a transparent drive, meaning it doesn’t alter the signal outside of the volume and gain boost. Additionally, the mini toggle switch lets you choose between 3 clipping options, a very nice touch that helps this pedal fit a variety of situations.
Like the Timmy before it, the Lyla Drive is characterized by the smooth increase in gain and slight volume boost that isn’t as overpowering as some mid-boosted drives. The Lyla Drive does come in some cool custom colors though, and Music Box Pedals seems inclined to continue making pretty diverse finish options.
Review & Opinion
While the Lyla Drive may not be as inventive as some of the gain pedals I’ve reviewed to date, it is still refreshingly fun to plug into. It’s my first experience with a Timmy-style drive, but I can easily see why people are so fond of the circuit. First off, the ability to switch the toggle to control the clipping styles brings a ton of versatility to this pedal. You can get an assymetrical, almost TS-like sound, and then switch over to a pristine, transparent drive sound. Additionally, the 2-band EQ is a great feature as well which gives this pedal so much more power than those with just a standard tone knob.
Specifically adding in more bass at times helps really thicken up the distortion and higher gain sounds. But you can also roll it off to control the mid and bass punch that can sometimes muddy up a low gain or boost setting. So really, it can be tailored to a wide variety of settings you might want or need. I think the Lyla Drive sounds best as an always-on low gain overdrive. It is crispy, clear, and nails that edge of breakup amp tone that I really love for my playing. The softer you pick, the cleaner it will be which makes it a breeze for me to go between indie rock swirls of modulation and raw punk tones.
Versatility and clarity are probably the Lyla Drive’s calling cards, even though the unique color options and form factor are incredibly appealing as well! Music Box, in my opinion, seemed to prioritize crafting a pedal that could work for almost anyone with their take on the Timmy and it really nails that in my opinion. From Blues to Rock to (surprisingly) high gain Metal, this Lyla Drive can do a ton!
Conclusions & Final Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Whether you are looking to dip into the Timmy circuit hype or you’re looking for a truly versatile OD, the Music Box Pedals Lyla Drive is a great option. The $169 price point seems to be really mid-price range for a boutique pedal and I feel that’s an appropriate cost for what you’re getting. I do think there is some further value in the fact that Timmy-style overdrives have not exactly proliferated the market at affordable prices. Klons, Tube Screamers, Blues Breakers are available in every imagine-able flavor, price point, and form factor. Timmy? Not as much. But more importantly Music Box Pedals has just seemed to really put together a solid pedal that sounds great, looks great, and can play a number of roles for the modern guitar player! It’s definitely going to be one of the highlights of this year for sure!