Let’s consider the Timmy vs Protein… as in MXR Timmy vs Browne Amplification Protein. Which is best and why? Or rather, what are the differences?
I’m only going to be referring to the MXR Timmy given it’s the one I have experience with. I wish I had an original Paul Cochrane Timmy, or even a Tim V3, but alas I don’t. Secondly, there’s the obvious price difference and extra features of the boutique Protein. In order to balance this out, we’re only going to compare the blue side of the Browne Protein, in which case we might as well also refer to the Browne Amplification Carbon V2, which is essentially, the blue side of the Protein V2 and V3, with a few tweaks.
Timmy vs Protein, Initial Thoughts – The Price Difference
We have to consider that the price difference is in part based on the mass-produced nature of the MXR Timmy as compared to the Made in USA boutique nature of the Browne Protein. I don’t really have to explain this part too much. You know what that means. The Browne Protein does of course have the green Nobles side, which would definitely increase the price. But if you consider the Carbon V2, by itself it’s more expensive than the MXR Timmy.
So, all those things aside, what we’re looking for is the sound. One thing both of these pedals have in common is the warmth they give your guitar tone, whether you’re just clean boosting or adding more dirt.
Both of these are referred to as transparent overdrives. I have a problem with that term because that can mean a lot of things. Both the MXR Timmy and Browne Protein blue side tend to be a little bass heavy. People say that’s the transparent nature of them and that supposedly that’s why they are transparent… because they let all the same frequencies through. But I don’t necessarily agree with this. I own a Greer Lightspeed. There are few overdrives that are supposedly more transparent than the Lightspeed, yet I find it cuts bass quite a bit. That’s not a bad thing. It’s actually preferred in some scenarios. Just depends on the sound you’re looking for.
How you interpret all that transparency stuff is up to you. But I’ll tell you exactly how I feel about both of these.
In term of versatility, assuming we’re not using the green side of the Protein, I feel the MXR Timmy overdrive has it beat. That’s because it has independent bass and treble controls as well as the clip switch. It’s really hard to beat the MXR Timmy for the price and the fact that it sounds just as great as the Protein, with a bit more control as well.
However, this is important… there is something in the sound of the blue side of the Protein that is just magic. It’s that bit extra that in my opinion puts it above the MXR Timmy. When it comes to clean boosting with slight overdrive, I almost always reach for the Browne Protein. The MXR Timmy is on a board that needs it due to space constraints… but also because of the pedal’s location in the signal chain. I wouldn’t want the green side sitting in that spot super close to the beginning of the chain.
What About the Single Tone Control of the Browne Protein?
Oh, and one more thing. Sometimes, having just one knob for tone control is a good thing. In some scenarios, this is a plus for the Protein’s blue side (and green side).
There you have it. The MXR Timmy vs Protein blue side argument boils down to both being fantastic options. If you want some extra tone shaping controls, go Timmy. If you want that extra level of sweetness go Protein or Carbon V2. If you are tight on space… MXR Timmy. If you would rather have soft-switching… Protein V3. Honestly, you really can’t go wrong. I collect pedals so I expect to keep them both. I would wholeheartedly recommend either of them. But if I were to just keep one…