• CostaLab Sun Drive review

    gilmourish.com - CostaLab Sun Drive

    Big Muffs can be a challenge on amps with a mids scooped character and even smaller bedroom amps. They need a bit of mid range to really cut through and get that silky smooth sustain. The early 90s Sovtek Big Muffs offered more mids and CostaLab’s Sun Drive is definitely in that family. It’s been available for some time but I finally got my hands on one. Here’s my review.

    CostaLab has several Big Muff inspired models in their catalog. I’ve done a review of their Custom Muff, which I think is one of the better bedroom Big Muffs out there. They also make one of my favourite chorus pedals, the Chorus Lab, which is a take on the classic Boss CE2, with a highly useful mix control.

    The Sun Drive feature the familiar three controls (volume, tone and sustain) and like many of the CostaLab pedals, it feature a class-A buffer allowing an uncoloured signal to pass through. It can be powered by a 9V battery but due to the buffer, it’s recommended that you power it with an isolated source.

    Tonewise, the Sun Drive is sort of a mix between the early 70s triangle/ram’s head Muffs and the Sovtek models. It has lots of gain on tap, rich harmonics and an overall darker character compared to the ram’s head. Like the Sovteks, it has a nice mids boost and a balanced low end.

    It’s really a very versatile pedal. Perhaps more so than any similar Sovtek-ish model that I’ve tried. While these tend to be quite wild and sometimes hard to tame, the Sun Drive ranges from amp-like overdrive to classic fuzz. It also works really well on smaller amps, where the mids boost and saturated gain allows the pedal to maintain its character even on the lows amp volume levels.

    What I do like the most about this pedal is that the tone control is extremely dynamic and useful. Usually, when you pass noon on a Big Muff, the tone gets harsh and nasty but the Sun Drive has a very smooth sweep that interacts with the gain setting.

    A slight draw back, well for me anyway, is that I do prefer Big Muffs with a slightly more aggressive tone and the Sun Drive can come off as being just a bit too well behaved. But, I suspect that that’s also part of the whole design and the pedal is probably more fitting for other musical styles than just Gilmour. It could also do with a bit more sparkle in the top but again, that’s just my taste and it also depends on the amp you’re using.

    Like all CostaLab pedals, the Sun Drive is very well made with high quality components and a great ear for tone. This is a versatile Big Muff and highly recommended for your bedroom setup. See costalab.com for more details.

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15 Responsesso far.

  1. Roberto says:

    Hi!
    I want buy a Soviek clone… Civil War Clone if possible, because I love the PULSE sound of Gilmuour’s Strat.
    already have a CostaLab Custom Muff but for my ears his sound is much more bright and acid, instead I want a sound most liquid-dark-smooth. (more or less the same sound of PULSE-Civil War).

    So Bjorn, Which I have to take?
    CostaLab Sun Drive or Buffalo FX Patriot?

    Are both clones of Sovtek Muff……

    My friend told me that Patriot has a big problem with Volume Knob…. He said that Patritot has unmanageable volume level… and for playing well and without problem he set the volume at 8:00 because over that the volume is much hight for pedalboard and amp (fender blues junior). I have a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III.

  2. Nicholas Love says:

    I know you’re not a big fan of the Cornish P2, but I love them and desperately miss it. Of all the demos I’ve watched, yours of the Sun Drive sounds closest to my old P2 I had. A lot of people say the TopTone DG-1 is a P2 clone but I owned both at the same time and the DG-1 is grittier and less smooth. In your experience, does the Sun Drive compare favorably with the P2?

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Nicholas, the DG1 is somewhere in between the P1 and P2, I think. Perhaps closest to the P1. I haven’t found a clone that sound exactly like the P2 but the Sun Drive is close. Check out the MojoHand Iron Bell, Vick Audio V2 and EarthQuaker Pig Hoof as well.

  3. Soumyajit Surai says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Can you please review CostaLab Moon drive as well.

  4. Mikhail says:

    Bjorn,

    I read that the Sun Drive is G2 clone. I choose a new pedal between the Sun Drive and Soothsayer. How it in comparison? And what do you recommended?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Bjorn says:

      I don’t think it’s a G2 clone. It sounds much more like a Sovtek Big Muff, although with less gain. In that sense, it’s also very different from the Soothsayer, which is based on the RAT. The Soothsayer is more versatile, offering classic tube distortion. Still, if you want something closer to a Muff, then the SunDrive is excellent.

    • Daniil says:

      Helllo!

      The Sun Drive is P2 clone. And like P2 it provides classic Muff sound. If you want sound of G2 you need Moon Drive or other pedal.

  5. Brad Roller says:

    Nice, I honestly thought they had made some sort of silicone version of the g2 when this come out. Sounds great though. I wish they would send you a moon drive to try. If I understand right, it is a clone of the G2. It sounds pretty good in a few reviews but not as good as you would be able to make it sound. Btw, Vickaudio is a very helpful and friendly company. They made a custom orange overdriver for me, with yellow font. Not to mention it sounds HUGE on my reeves custom 50! I’ll try to record some clips. With a phaser, It was spot on, live at wembly 1974.

  6. Rafael Vantolra says:

    Hi great pedal!!!!
    i have the musket pedal and its been great pedal for me.
    spacially on on an island tones
    but this one sounds awsome!!
    can i use both at the same time?

    BTW you are the best!!!

    • Bjorn says:

      Thank you, Rafael! I wouldn’t use them at the same time but no reason you can’t have both on your pedal board :)

  7. Emanuele says:

    This pedal is fantastic!!!! Thanks Costalab, you are the best!

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