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Glou-Glou Returns with the STEAK Multi-Band, Modulating, Oscillating, Multi-Mode Dual Voice Distortion Station

DistortionDriveDual-DriveEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGlou GlouMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationMulti-DriveOctaverOscillating FuzzPitchSilicon FuzzTremolo+-
2020GPXGlouGlouFXSteak700.jpg

The spiritual heir to Lovetone launches yet another monster big-box masterpiece. I’ve covered several of Glou Glou’s pedals on this blog - including the Rendez-Vous Dual Filter/Phaser in my piece on French Pedal Builders, and more recently the Pralines Fuzzy Quad Parallelized Resonant Filter and Moutarde Four Voice PLL Synth.

 

Glou-Glou really seems to specialise in applying multi-band filters and envelope followers onto any of the key effects types. These big boxes are really ingenious studio tone-machines - which need day-long tweaking sessions to explore all the myriad possibilities contained onboard. The 2 weaknesses with this approach - apart from the enormous footprint, are the learning and time-curves, and the unfortunate lack of presets. You could spend and age getting your perfect tone and then it’s nigh impossible to capture that for easy re-application at a later stage.

 

Of course the genius here is in just how much tone-shaping is possible, and this is surely a new standard for a dual-drive gain box - as nothing I’ve seen offers up this wide variety of options. Admittedly the BYOC Crown Jewel gives you a thousand different possibilities in a more conventional way - while the parallel dual channel path here plus fuzz, modulation and oscillation is really just incomparably formidable.

 

There does seem to be a pattern with Glou-Glou devices too - so that if you’ve owned or used one previously, they tend to pass those ideas forward throughout their range. If you review the control topology objectively it’s separated into 5 distinct sections as indicated below - which are not exactly matched with the 6 separate control clusters of the pedal. This seems to stem from an evolutions of earlier pedals, while I might have re-organized the topology a touch for clarity of deployment - I would also have transposed the arrangement of the Disto 1 and Disto 2 Multi-band filters. In any case it’s all rather self-explanatory - even though you do have 29 controls to deal with - which is actually 1 more than the Origin Effects RevivalDrive Custom I just recently featured. Slightly significantly adjacent to this pedal also is the Chase Bliss Audio Auotmatone PreAmp MKII. This STEAK is not exactly a PreAmp as such - but it largely gives you the extended feature-set of one. The number of different gain voicings you can combine and blend here makes for a pretty rarefied experience :

 

Disto 1

  • Disto 1 Modes - Soft/Hard/Square/-1 Oct/-2 Oct/+1 Oct
  • Sustain - Degree of Gain / Saturation
  • Level - Output for Distortion 1
  • Disto 1 Pre Filter > - pre distortion band-pass filter with frequency (FREQ), modulation depth (MOD) and resonance setting (PEAK)
  • Disto 1 Post Filter < - post-distortion low-pass filter with frequency (FREQ), modulation depth (MOD) and resonance setting (PEAK)

Disto 2

  • Disto 2 Modes - Soft/Hard/Square/-1 Oct/-2 Oct/Ring
  • Sustain - Degree of Gain / Saturation
  • Level - Output for Distortion 2
  • Disto 2 Pre Filter > - pre distortion band-pass filter with frequency (FREQ), modulation depth (MOD) and resonance setting (PEAK)
  • Disto 2 Post Filter < - post-distortion low-pass filter with frequency (FREQ), modulation depth (MOD) and resonance setting (PEAK)

Fuzz, Output and Envelope Sensitivity Controls

  • Fuzz Knob - Level of Fuzz if engaged courtesy of switch to left of multi-band controls
  • Fuzz Switch - Feed Silicon Transistor Fuzz into Disto gain stages rather than Clean Signal
  • Mix - Dry>Wet Distortion Mix : i.e. distortions can be blended with the dry signal
  • Disto - Master Output Volume
  • Sens - Sensitivity of Envelope Follower for Modulation

Modulation Section

  • Modulation Modes - Down/Up/LFO/Expression Control
  • Attack - Speed of Attack / Onset
  • Decay - Speed of Modulation Fade

LFO Control Section

  • LFO Modes - Off/Down/Up/Expression Control
  • Fast/Slo Switch - Rate Range
  • Rate - Speed of LFO Oscillation

I really admire these Glou-Glou pedals and love that there is a place in the pedal world for them. I think the only natural place for them to live is in larger studios. The size of these is so not pedalboard friendly - and you would struggle to fit 1 let alone several within your rig. I also can’t see these really being part of a touring rig except in rather extraordinary circumstances. For the Steak I would quite like to see all elements bar the Modulation and LFO in a more compact unit.

 

I also think this will be inspirational for other pedal-builders to help distil their ideas in similar areas. I’ve talked about 2020 being a year of parallel effects - and this is the first get gain / distortion unit in that vogue. Having two such heavily customisable distortions plus a Silicon Transistor Fuzz in one machine makes for the perfect experimental dirtbox.

 

Had I unlimited funds and lived in a mansion - I could have a whole separate room of just Glou-Glou pedals. However with my densely congested ’Music-Corner’ in my main living-room lounge, it’s simply beyond practical considerations to accommodate even a single one of those. The largest form factor I’m prepared to step up to is the CBA Automatone format - and I will likely only be doing that for the PreAmp - having a whole pedalboard of those units is almost as impractical as the Glou-Glou’s.

 

I very much look forward to seeing what artists do with these - and how this impacts the next phase of innovation and development - both in terms of sound-design and playing styles and techniques. Do any of you my readers own one or more Glou-Glou box - and are any of you considering getting this one? Oh yeah - price on this unit is €400 - available from the Glou-Glou online shop!

 

Here follows the impressive launch demo :

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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