First Impressions: NUX Sixty-Five (6ixty-5ive) Overdrive Pedal

Back in August, I bought a NUX Sixty-Five Overdrive pedal.

The NUX Sixty Five Overdrive, next to the NUX Horseman Klon klone

Better late than never, here are my first impressions of this affordable drive pedal.

Table of Contents

What Did You Buy?

I bought a NUX Sixty-Five Overdrive pedal. (This is sometimes stylised as the 6ixty-5ive Overdrive.)

I bought mine brand-new from my local guitar shop

They had to order it in for me. No-one in the UK seems to stock this pedal atm. I don’t know why this is the case, especially as this might just be the best overdrive pedal in NUX’s current line-up.

Why Did You Buy It?

Although it isn’t marketed as such, this is basically NUX’s attempt at cloning the Vemuram Jan Ray overdrive pedal. I wanted to hear what the fuss is about, without spending hundreds on the Jan Ray.

Plus, I’m intrigued by the idea of a drive pedal that’s aiming to bring the sound of Fender’s Deluxe Reverb amp to my pedal board. I’ve played a few pedals that do this; none of them found a place on my board. Will this be the one to change my mind?

What Does The Trim Pot Do?

There’s a little trim pot on the top edge of the pedal. According to the manual, it changes how much saturation the pedal has.

When I was playing with it, the trim pot seems to do a little more than that.

The trim pot also seems to affect the amount of top-end that the pedal produces. What worked best for me was to turn the trim pot up to max (which made the top-end really harsh and brittle) and then gradually dial it back until I liked what I heard.

My Rig Today

Today, I’m playing:

  • my Les Paul (aka GP) or my Squier Esquire w/ Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickup (aka The Squirrel)
  • into my Axe-FX 3 (mostly for the tuner)
  • out to my pedalboard
  • back into the Axe-FX 3 (for amp, cab, delay and reverb)
  • out to my audio interface
  • and into my DAW.

On the pedalboard, I’ve got the NUX Horseman (for Klon-style boosting) and the NUX Sixty-Five Overdrive. They’re in separate loops on my Gigrig G2, so that the Horseman isn’t affecting the tone at all when I’m not using it.

How Does The Sixty-Five Overdrive Sound?

With The Les Paul

Here’s how the NUX Sixty-Five Overdrive sounds with my Les Paul:

Les Paul > NUX Sixty-Five Overdrive > Axe-FX 3

I am very happy with how that sounds. I think it’s one of the best overdrive sounds that I’ve managed to capture in any of these demos so far.

To my ears, there’s grit and crunch aplenty, without a sharp or harsh top-end at all. It sounds nice and balanced to me. I’m not hearing any holes in the sound, or any real weak areas. As a general-purpose rhythm overdrive goes, I think it’s got everything without sounding boring or uninspiring.

And it feels great to play through too.

Boosted With A Klon Klone

NUX also makes an affordable Klon klone pedal, called the Horseman. Together, they make for a great combination. Here’s how they sound together with my Les Paul:

Les Paul > NUX Horseman > NUX Sixty-Five Overdrive > Axe-FX 3

I think the Horseman has just lifted the overall tone a bit thanks to its mid-push. It’s tightened up the low-end without making the Sixty-Five sound lacking.

With A Telecaster

Does it sound just as good with a more affordable guitar? To answer that, I’ve grabbed my Squier Esquire Telecaster for the next demo. I have upgraded the pickup in this guitar, but even with that mod, this guitar still costs less than a stock Fender Player Telecaster.

Here’s how it sounds:

Squier Esquire > NUX Sixty-Five Overdrive > Axe-FX 3

I’m still using the exact same settings on the Sixty-Five Overdrive, which is why you’re hearing less overdrive. Humbuckers definitely drive this pedal quite a bit more.

But still … I like what I hear. I think it’s bringing out the character of the guitar, and I think the guitar sounds really good through it. I’m still not hearing any spikiness or harshness in the top-end.

Telecaster Boosted With A Klon Klone

To finish the audio demos, let’s add the Horseman back into the signal chain. Once again, I haven’t changed any settings from when I did the demo above with my Les Paul.

Here’s how it sounds:

Squier Esquire > NUX Horseman > NUX Sixty-Five Overdrive > Axe-FX 3

If I ignore the different in low-end between the two guitars, I don’t think that’s a million miles away from how my Les Paul sounded. I think you could definitely use these pedals together in a situation where you needed to swap from Les Paul to Telecaster or vice versa during a session or gig.

Is It Just A Timmy With A Trim Pot?

I wasn’t aware of this controversy until I started the research for this blog post.

Basically, the community believes that the Vemuram Jan Ray is a clone of the Timmy pedal, with the trim pot being the old boost control from the original Tim pedal. Just with the bass and treble pots working backwards.

I guess that makes the Sixty-Five Overdrive a clone of a clone?

My question is: does the Sixty-Five Overdrive sound any different to my Timmy? Does it give me an option that I don’t already have? Or should we all be grabbing the Timmy instead?

Original Timmy pedals are both expensive and rare these days, so for this comparison, I’m going to use my MXR Timmy instead.

To my ears, they are incredibly close in character. Once I’d dialled in my MXR Timmy to match the Sixty-Five Overdrive (more on that in a moment!), I couldn’t really tell them apart. The only time I could? When I switched guitars a few times. And even then, the differences in tone were really small to my ears.

The big difference I found was in how easy each pedal was to use. I personally found it far far easier to dial in a great overdrive tone on the Sixty-Five Overdrive.

It’s not just because the controls have a more sensible layout (bass and treble next to each other, as opposed to being on opposite corners of the Timmy). Nor because the controls on the Sixty-Five Overdrive work in the conventional way (turn the control up to boost; on the Timmy, you turn the controls up to cut bass and treble).

I just found the range of the controls on the MXR Timmy to be pretty fiddly to work with. Small adjustments seemed to make a much bigger difference, and I felt that the sweet spots on the Timmy were smaller as a result.

Final Thoughts

The NUX Sixty-Five Overdrive gives me a great, generic (safe perhaps?) overdrive sound. It’s one of the best-sounding drive pedals I’ve tried at any price. It’s a keeper.

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