Greuter Audio Fokus review: A boost to cut through the mix and the competition
Does the world need another boutique boost pedal? When it’s as good as this Swiss-made stompbox, the answer is yes.
Switzerland’s Greuter pedals – a one-man show based in Zurich – first came to our attention with the one-two punch of the Vibe and the Moonlight, a beautiful Uni-vibe clone and an elegant low-gain fuzz respectively. The latest Greuter unit to hit our review board is the Fokus, a hand-wired clean boost which promises 20dB of transparent power coupled with strong EQ capabilities.
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Boost pedals have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, but with just about any pedal with a volume knob able to offer an extra shot of oomph, what makes a boutique clean boost such an attractive option?
Firstly, not all boost pedal are created equal. Many cheaper, mass-produced units will do a great job of proving that degradation is cumulative by adding a helping of extraneous noise to your boosted signal while simultaneously sucking much of the life out of your sound when switched off. Greuter avoids this sort of thing with the use of the highest quality components and hand-wired construction.
Secondly, it is all too common for cheaper pedals to change the character of your guitar sound when you kick it in. Yes you may be louder but the thrill has gone as your sound is now unrecognisable. To soften the potential for artistic angst, the Fokus offers +/- 15dB cut/boost across the bass and treble, with each bandwidth governed by a dedicated knob. Nice.
Where you put your boost pedal depends very much on individual taste but the most common locations are at either the start or end of your effects chain. The first approach will push your whole chain, adding extra gain to overdrive and distortion pedals, whereas putting a boost at the end of your chain leads to a more dramatic rise in volume – the very thing to get a solo through the mix or drag some extra grunt out of a recalcitrant tube amp. Dutifully we try both.
With the Fokus at the start of a chain which includes a Vemuram Jan Ray, a Phil Robinson Silicon Phuzz and a Wren And Cuff Box Of War, we are swiftly reminded of the joys of careful gain-staging. With the pedals set at a relatively low gain we are able to make them scream with the Fokus – it’s a little like having another channel for your amp. Very handy!
20dB is a meaningful amount of boost to have at the end of your signal chain and with a grin we apply it to our amp with trouser-flapping results. Yes, that should get you through any mix, but more importantly the sound is rich in harmonics and detail. This encourages a considered approach to note choice and hand position, which in turn can help you play more expressively. Fantastic!
If you are in the market for a boost then there are already a lot of options. But if you want one of the best out there then we can highly recommend the Greuter Fokus.
- PRICE £169
- DESCRIPTION Clean boost pedal, made in Switzerland
- CONTROLS Boost up to 20dB, bass and treble +/- 15dB knobs
- DIMENSIONS 65.5mm x 60mm x 120mm
- CONTACT coda-music.com, greuteraudio.ch