Readers of this blog will be familiar with my quest to find and collect the very best of HM-2 style twin-peak distortion pedals. The Grindstein is fairly unique in having two complementary channels which you can blend to your own preferences. It’s a unique collaboration between Carsten Pinkle of Klirrton Manufaktur and Metal Producer Kristian Kohle of Kohlkeller Studio fame.
The pedal is best approached via 3 distinct sections / rows :
Controls - Midcut, Grind, and High.
This is the core of what this pedal is about - the Chainsaw / HM-2 style Twin Peaks Upper Mids and Highs Frequency Signature - where you can tweak those Mids and Highs, and adjust the Aggression / Gain to taste.
Controls - Boost, Mix, Master, Phase/Inversion.
Here you have an input Boost which significantly ups the saturation of the two subsequent gain stages - the Mix knob allows you to select the perfect Blend of the Chainsaw to Bottomshaker circuit, the Master is the Output Level, and the toggle switch is for Phase / Inversion - just check whether it sounds better for you Up or Down.
Controls - Gain, Bass, Treble.
This really adds the Bass and Low Frequency component to balance the somewhat strident Mids and Top End of the Chainsaw circuit. Here you can adjust Gain, Bass and Treble for the Bottomshaker channel. Note that the fairly recent Klirrton Oh My Goat Devil’s Distortion - is an extracted stand-alone version of the Bottomshaker with a few extra controls.
The absolute joy of this pedal is getting exactly the right texture and aggression in accordance with your own tastes. Those 10 controls give you everything you need to get the absolute richest breakup texture - matched to your own rig and gear.
There’s all kinds of additional smarts to this pedal - including a Send/Return Loop. While I’m really only touching on the core essentials here and how they apply for my needs.
Internally you have 3 trim-pots - Send Level, Return Level, and Chainsaw Circuit Output Level. Then near the base of the circuit you have a 2-way dip-switch which allows you to independently turn the input Boost on or off.
There are various ways you can approach this pedal - setting your individual preferences first for just the Chainsaw Channe (Mix fully CW)l, and then moving the Mix dial fully CCW to independently set the Bottomshaker preferences.- before Mixing them together.
For my own purposes I like to tweak both channels simultaneously really with Mix set in the centre - and then carefully adjusting the mix Balance until it sounds just right which for me is usually slightly slanted towards the BottomShaker.
My own preferred Settings are : Midcut at 3 o’c, Grind at 12 o’c, High at; 1:30 o’c; Boost at 11 o’c, Mix at 10 o’c, Master at 2:30 o’c, Phase Switch Up; Gain at 12 o’c, Bass at Max, and Treble at 12 o’c - all internal controls untouched.
Note that when cranked this pedal can get very noisy indeed and you definitely need a proper industrial strength noise gate to reduce the unwanted white noise. No doubt the Klirrton Schnauze Noisegate is a perfect candidate for that - while I need to adjust my own Modded Boss NS-2 when deploying the Grindstein. Boy does it sound glorious though at full throttle.
All those different controls and the Dual complementary channels’ frequency profiles really do make this the ultimate sounding Death Metal Pedal - it noticeably delivers superior results for high gain distortion textures. I guess the only downside is quite how large the unit is. The only suitable placement for me is on the #15 Chase Bliss Audio Automatone Preamp MKII slot - so that needs to be sacrificed when I want to go super high gain.
Do keep your eye out for Boss Month / when the HM-2W lands - as I will be populating the pedal-chain with every HM-2 style pedal variant I own - including of course this magnificent Grindstein. If you’re really into Death Metal / Chainsaw tones - then you need one of these!
Carsten still makes these in relatively small batches - so they tend to sell out quite quickly when they hit the Klirrton Webstore - while there is always another batch just around the corner. The price tag on these is €319 with free shipping.
I am very happy to own Klirrton's Grindstein Two Killer Metal Gain Machines - the Oh My Goat, and this magnificent Grindstein. Note that I was unsuccessful in persuading Carsten to do a limited Black and Orange run - it of course looks glorious in its original Red in any case, but it does not fit my colour scene quite as well - close enough though as far as I'm concerned - and I may try fading the Red into Orange via judicious use of UVA rays! I'll let you know if I proceed down that path - for now I'm just happy to have both of these!
Have you considered the Grindstein - and will you be getting an HM-2W?