Built to Be Flexible
The Tiki Drive control layout merits a little more attention than your average overdrive. Controls for Volume, a first and second gain stage called Gain 1 and Gain 2, Tone, and Voice are arranged in two rows on the top of the pedal.
The Tiki Drive was developed to satisfy Elliot Easton's tough requirements: the ability to take a clean amplifier, add overdriven and distorted sounds and be versatile enough to be able to smoothly transition between soft overdrive and aggressive high gain tones. This is accomplished through the use of two gain stages in series, each one voiced slightly different. In addition the Tiki Drive includes a Voice knob which allows the user to fine tune the sound more precisely.
Highly versatile pedal controls
Slight overdrive to heavy distortion
Great dynamic response and open sound
Connectors: Input, Output, DC adapter
Power Supply: 9V battery operation or DC adapter
Dimensions: .75? (W) x 4.375? (D) x 2? (H)
The Gain 1 and Gain 2 are wired in series and voiced independently to give the pedal the potential to move from slightly overdriven to higher-gain, metal-style overdrive. The Voice control helps fine-tune the pedal for a given amp by manipulating midrange harmonic content.
One real surprise and bonus was the effectiveness of the Tone control, which adds a nice amount of sizzle within a frequency range that suggests a high presence knob. Cranking the Tone all the way yielded a sound that wouldn’t be a stretch to call Dumble-like.
The Gain controls are wired in series so they cascade into each other for more distortion potential, and the distinctive voice of each stage enables delightfully complex tones. Pegging Gain 1 gives the Tiki Drive some of the characteristics of a well-rounded fuzztone with a little spit on top of smooth distortion. Combining Gain 1 and 2 opened the gates to a world of exciting sounds ranging from vintage Marshall to extreme metal distortion. I was really impressed with how Gain knobs 1 and 2 worked with the Tone control to create heavily overdriven sounds that retained chime, clarity, and attack. Cranking Gain 1 and setting Gain 2 to noon generated an incredibly thick sound with sustain that lasted until I dropped the note.
Plugging in a Godin ICON Type 2 equipped with Duncan Convertibles, I switched to single-coil mode to investigate the pedal’s range with chimey and more Strat-like sounds. Here again, the Voice control helped me find the sweetest spot for the Godin and the No. 8 amp—this time favoring an almost fully clockwise position. It was great to be able to fine-tune the sound to get the most response out of the guitar, pedal, and amp. The Voice control clearly separates the Tiki from other overdrives. Indeed, you have to work to make this pedal sound harsh or abrasive.
When I played a Les Paul, a Hamer Korina Special, and a Guild Brian May through the Tiki Drive, each guitar remained true to its roots and retained its tonal character, whether I explored subtly overdriven settings or entered half-way-to- Armageddon distortion zones. For such a little box, the Tiki Drive offers a world of sounds.