Model: Cheese Source
MSRP/Paid: Out of Production / Trade
Power Supply: Yes
Size: 8″ X 8″ X 3.25″ (Approx including jacks and knobs)
From the maker:
The Source is an instant flash-back to that dynamic, singing late 60′s / early 70′s brown sound that is associated with countless classic records spanning the whole musical spectrum. It offers unparalleled purity and touch sensitivity and an uncannily warm “valvey” grunt with the absence of the unnatural fizz associated with most overdrive pedals. It imparts a tangible sense of electricity (so prized by samplists in vintage recordings and so elusive with computer-based technology and will make any new guitar or bass sound 40 years older!
Three classic ways to use the Source with a guitar are for snap crackle and “pop” into a clean amp, dripping fat into a cooking amp and controlled feedback with singing harmonics into a driven amp. On bass, its soft rounded distortion and inherent compression makes it reminiscent of the toneful and plummy psych era bass sounds. In the studio it can perform amazing transformations and blended with the straight signal can be used to add a touch of dirt and girth to those unfashionable clean cut sounds!
The Cheese is a loving homage to the buzzy, gorgeous and harmonically rich early fuzz. However, while having many of the classic characteristics that every fuzz fan will relate to it goes beyond to create an absolutely distinct character of its own. Its innovative controls can take it from almost “gated” break-up to overkill of shred proportions. Far from being just a guitar effect the Cheese is eminently useful for seeing to any sound with the temerity to be naff (with particularly amusing consequences in the lower regions). To lovers of “furrrzze bass” it offers thunderous, buttock-clenching mayhem. The Cheese works exceptionally well in the fx loop of the Meatball and can transform virtually any instrument into a super-squelchy synth with no tracking worries (especially with an octaver immediately before it for the classic double octave effect).
I acquired this pedal in a trade and it’s been lurking here in the periphery for a bit. It’s one of the pedals that presents so many options that it causes problems for me to capture the feeling of it with a couple of minutes of video and a couple of dozen words. That isn’t to say I won’t try, but it’s always with a bit of hesitation that I tackle these types of pedals.
This is a large pedal that combines a couple of classic Lovetone pedals in a single unit, so on some levels this pedal could be considered small when compared to having both the Brown Source and the Big Cheese on your board. The construction is solid inside and out, and has easy access to the inside if you want to use a battery without a screwdriver with the flip-top lid (common to other Lovetone pedals). By default the pedal routes the signal into Brown Source –> Big Cheese, but a clever routing system allows you to swap that order with a single patch cable. It’s even possible to use each pedal individually, placing each side in whatever position in your chain you desire. Switches and LED’s for both sides makes it easy to control and tell what’s going on.
The “Source” side is a very nice overdrive which will retain lows very well when when the tone stack is off, or the tone knob is turned significantly to the bass side. This side certainly wasn’t the crux of the review, but it was nice to find out. The “Cheese” provides a host of different fuzz options but provides the most unique sounds when the tone is placed on the ‘cheese’ wedge, where you can use the curds knob to dial up a strange sputtery gate, which is fairly unique. Stacking the two sides together you can dial in a host of different fuzzes from explosive to synth-y.
As I suspected it proved very hard to capture everything this pedal is capable of in a short review, but I think I’ve at least shined a bit of light on this beast.
High cost and low availability will keep most people from owning on of these, but a big cheese or a big cheese clone should be on the list of anyone struggling to find a distinct fuzz sound for themselves.
As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or let me know
Note: A rating of 5 = acceptable and should be considered a ‘good’ basic score