The MXR Sugar Drive provides a diverse range of clear and transparent overdrive tones, from sauced up boosting to blown-tube distortion. It’s based on a rare overdrive pedal that has acquired a mythical reputation among fanatical tone-seekers thanks to its unique circuit design.
The key elements of that circuit design are the Drive control and something called a charge pump. First, the Drive control on this pedal doesn’t just increase the intensity of the overdrive pedal. It starts with your clean signal and then blends it with the overdrive effect as you turn it up, replicating the smooth transition of an amplifier going from clean to dirty. The charge pump increases overall headroom, which opens everything up nicely.
Of course, we had to put the MXR touch on this circuit. If you’re all about true bypass, then you’re in luck—this pedal uses it by default. The original used buffered bypass, though, and we know there’s a lot of players out there who don’t want to fix something that isn’t broken. They’re in luck, too—just flick the Buffer switch on the side of the pedal to enable buffered bypassing.
With a simple three-knob setup and an MXR mini housing, this is the go-to overdrive to have on your pedalboard. It’s versatile and it saves space, and unlike the original pedals it’s based on, it won’t cost you thousands of dollars.