Harley Benton Evil Twin: What is it?
Our first experience with Harley Benton's entry into the world of dual circuit effects pedals impressed us. While the Sugar & Spice delay, reverb and chorus might not be the most visually exciting-looking pedal of 2022 by a long shot, that's not where value counts. Under the chassis it offered a surprising variation and depth at the price point. Now we cast our eye to one the range's overdrive pedals, knowing its in a much more competitive market.
You don't need us to tell you how many overdrive pedals are being releases week in week out. But while £200+ price points are starting to become a norm rather than an exception, especially for dual circuit pedals, plenty of us can't consider that kind of outlay. We still want to save space on our pedalboard and make the most of our power supply outlets, so this could be an excellent balance of value and practicality.
But the Evil Twin has got to deliver on tones too, obviously. With the prospect of stacking the 'Overdrive' and 'Tube Drive' here –inspired by an OCD and Tube Screamer – with the options to change their order for stacking, as well as two voices for each, there's plenty to explore. So let's get on with it!
Harley Benton Evil Twin: Performance and verdict
We'll be straight up early on; if you're into stacking drives to get heavier tones - and we are definitely in your camp – you should to investigate this pedal. We were actually surprised at how gainsome the combos could get, and the variations within that from the Lo-pass / Hi-pass and Hot / Warm modes on each respective drive.
But like the pedals the Evil Twin takes its inspiration from, it can also get to a lot of other places too.
The controls of each side mirror their influences - but with the TS 808-flavoured Tube Drive incorporating two modes like the TS7 of TS-influenced Mooer Green Mile, indeed it uses the same Hot and Warm names as the latter.
Like the Sugar & Spice, the Evil Twin makes ever one of its modes count towards a versatile experience. And when you add the combinations of changing the order between the sides, that widens again.
After getting our starting levels dialled in with our Fender Deluxe Reverb set clean as a platform, we try each side by starting with light pushed clean levels and alternating between the two voices each offers.
The inspirations are very obvious and will be familiar to anyone who has tried either a Fulltone OCD or Tube Screamer, but in the Tube drive sides Hot and Warm modes, we get a lot more scope for thicker rhythm tone and lead boost in isolation with that mid push and softer clipping we're familiar with. The Warm being the more familiar TS-808 character that will cut through in a mix without sound obnoxious, and Hot offering more low end that's useful for thickening up single-coil tones.
Interestingly, tested A/B against our own Green Mile and even accounting for differing pot values, we found the Evil Twin offered spikier mids and a a brighter character in both modes in comparison. It would pay dividends in a band mix and we ended up preferring the spicier Benton.
The Overdrive side offers much more aggressive gain via hard clipping. It'll comfortably handle '70s Sabbathy tones, and it'll get snarly with the Hi-Pass filter engaged. The stoner metal side of things is enhanced in our preferred Tube Overdrive > Overdrive stacking order. Our bridge humbucker getting plenty of low end girth with the Tube Drive in Hot mode with gain set to 9' o clock. Then it's a matter of how fierce you want to get with the OCD-style side's gain.
With both in the lower gain levels, the Tube Drive can be an excellent always-on pushed clean / light gain with the B side of the pedal as a boost for choruses or solos – tailoring its tone control to taste. It's a very usable combination, and it doesn't sound cheap or compromised.
Neither does our famously OCD-esque bargain-priced Joyo Ultimate Drive. And again, we can't resist an A/B comparison to check where the Evil Twin sits. It's an interesting surprise.
The Joyo has a more wooly low end to tame, whereas it's a brasher highs you need to watch out for with the Evil Twin. They really are quite different, adding further argument that 'influenced by' can take many forms with pedals. The audible change the filter switch offers is less subtle with the Evil Twin too. Again, we can't help feel the Twin would cut through in a band rehearsal with less tweaking but tastes will vary!
Shop around and with the huge affordable overdrive pedal market right now and you can probably find two individual mini pedals based on a TS and OCD that total around the £70 mark. No, they won't be shell pink, but moreover you won't get the power efficiency and order options. You certainly won't find a dual pedal that can rival it on price. That alone is compelling.
There's plenty of scope here and you need to spend a good amount of time tweaking to really find how this pedal will serve you best. But we think it could benefit a lot of players looking for a fair price and pedalboard efficiency.
MusicRadar verdict: While the individual overdrive pedal inspirations here are far from original in the market, the combination and quality for the price here is hard to beat.
Harley Benton Evil Twin: Hands-on demo
Rich. Words. Music.
Harley Benton Evil Twin: Specifications
- TYPE: Dual circuit analogue overdrive pedal
- CONTROLS: Tube Drive side A: Hot / Warm modes mini toggle, Level, Tone, Drive, activation footswitch; middle toggle switch offering A > B, independent A or B and B > B switching order modes. Overdrive side B: Lo-pass and Hi-Pass filters, Volume, Tone, Drive, activation footswitch
- SOCKETS: Input, output, power
- TRUE BYPASS: Yes
- POWER: 9v PSU 100mA
- CONTACT: Thomann