Upgraded pedals from Musiclily have arrived and it is a mixed bag of sounds, form functions, and quality.
Overview & Cost: $47.42 from Amazon.com!
Remember those small, re-branded Kmise pedals from Musiclily I previously reviewed? Well these new pedals are a lot more exciting than those! Musiclily has released a whole line of bigger box pedals that cover all the basics at a convenient $40-ish price point. The prices seem to fluctuate a bit between $42-$47, but either is still generally affordable. I was sent the FUZZ and AD-01 Analog Delay pedals to review, but they also have some interesting SD-1 and English Invasion-inspired drives as well.
The AD-01 is a short and sweet analog tape delay pedal with your standard delay controls for mix, delay time, and number of repeats. The FUZZ pedal is a bit more interesting, with your standard level, tone, and sustain (gain) controls that you might find on a Big Muff pedal paired with a toggle switch. That toggle switch lets you go between two voices that include a Big Muff-style fuzz labeled “Special” and an Octave Fuzz labeled “Normal”. Why they consider the Big Muff to be more “special” than the octave fuzz is beyond me. Both of these pedals can be powered by your standard 9v power supply and have adaptors if you wish to use a battery instead.
Review & Opinion:
Let’s start off with the FUZZ, which is the better of the two pedals by far. The Big Muff “Special” side is a wonderful surprise. With rich, distortion-like sustain, you can really nail a ton of vintage fuzz sounds akin to early Gilmour sounds as well as the new wave of garage rock and lo-fi rock. Think your Black Keys or Jack White’s projects or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club as well. The controls are not all that sensitive, with the tone quickly muddying up the fuzz when it goes past 10 AM on the dial. Meanwhile the sustain works best if you are adjusting the volume accordingly. When you flip the toggle switch over to the octave side it becomes a new beast.
The octave fuzz isn’t going to replace my Danelectro 3699 fUZZ, but it adds some wonderful versatility and value to this affordable fuzz pedal. I found the octave setting to be a bit weak, it was hard to really adjust the volume of the octave effect. Though it certainly did thicken up single note phrases and riffs nicely. If anything, it adds a second fuzz sound that will help keep things interesting on your pedalboard. It is worth noting that the fuzz changes from a distinct Big Muff sound to a clearer, more Tone Bender-like sound.
The AD-01 Analog Delay gets much lower marks from me sadly. For whatever reason, this delay just can’t really cut through the mix and make much of an impact. It is an incredibly short delay, maxing out at just a slight echo really. Even with the mix, time, and repeats all dimed, it still barely sounds like an oversaturated analog delay I know. There aren’t many repeats available simply put. It’s maybe even more of a reverb than an echo to be honest. It sounds fine for what it is, but it does not do what any analog delay fan would want, or expect for their delay to do. I would argue you avoid this pedal unless you specifically want a short, reverb-like, slap back delay only.
Conclusions & Final Ratings:
Musiclily AD-01 Analog Delay: 4.5 out of 10
Musiclily FUZZ: 6.5 out of 10
I love that Musiclily invested in their own pedal line that is (seemingly) not a rip off or rebrand of anything. The FUZZ pedal is on to something, providing an affordable and versatile gain stage for beginners and pros alike. If you’re cash strapped but looking to expand your board, that is definitely a pedal I’ll be recommending in the coming months. However, the score is still limited by the fact that the first one they sent me ended up being defective, which has happened to me a few times with Musiclily products. Frankly, their quality control needs some work. The AD-01 is also just a poorly designed, or at least poorly labeled circuit. Perhaps if they re-market it as a slap back or reverb/echo it would make more sense. But overall, I’m not scared off from Musiclily pedals, just a bit skeptical and of their origins, quality control, and marketing.