Monday, June 14, 2010

Cave Passive Pedals Grunt Mk II Review

I am sure some of my friends are getting tired of me spouting off about Cave Passive Pedals. Well, tough luck. Here is another review!

Cave Passive Pedals is an Australian company that hand builds small batches of boutique guitar and bass effect pedals. They are very involved and customer-focused, so when you call them or send them an e-mail, you are dealing directly with the people that make them. A bonus is that they are very friendly and are great to deal with.

Their basic hook is that their pedals do not require a power supply, so there are no batteries, and no need to plug in an AC adaptor. All the power that is needed is provided by the output signal from the guitar or bass. There is more to the pedals than the hook, they work well too.

I wrote a review of the original Grunt pedal last month, and was very impressed with its function. It has very simple controls: an ON/OFF switch, and a Clean/Dirty selector switch. It provided a great-sounding distortion or a noticeable boost in output. One small drawback to me was that it could not do both at the same time. Well, it turns out that the Cave dwellers already had that in mind, and they have since issued the Grunt Mk II. Bass distortion pedal

The Mk II is a compact pedal that looks sharp. The pedal measures about 2.75 inches wide, by 4.5 inches long and 1.75 inches tall. The chassis is powder coated glossy white, with a clean-looking sticker for the logo and control labels. There are no feet on the case, so it is easy to add Velcro to attach it to your pedalboard.

New controls have taken the original Grunt and made it more versatile. It now has adjustable drive and level controls. An oddity is that the levels increase as the knobs are turned counter-clockwise. Is this because of the Coriolis effect? Anyway, this allows varying amounts of boost and distortion.

Not surprisingly, the Grunt Mk II will respond differently depending on how you have your bass and amplifier controls set. I have found that this pedal seems to work best with my passive basses, and with the volume and tone controls dimed (as usual). I also dial in a lot of gain (12 o’clock +) into the tube pre-amp on my Genz Shuttle 6.0, and do not boost the low frequencies. With this set up the tone is pure 60s/70s overdrive. Nice!

My results varied quite a bit when using active basses (Musicman, Spector, Sadowsky), and I will have to experiment more with them as time goes on.

As with the other Cave pedals, the Grunt Mk II comes in an eco-friendly waxed MDF box along with a microfiber cleaning cloth and some basic instructions.

All Cave pedals come with a lifetime warranty, which shows the confidence they have in their products. There have been no problems with my pedals, but I am sure they would be happy to help if something went bad.

The Grunt Mk II is priced at $129 AUD, or a mere $110 USD (as of today). It can be ordered directly through and they accept PayPal or bank wire transfers. Shoot them an e-mail for details of shipping costs.

Also, be advised that the original Grunt pedal is still available, so you can choose your poison, pardner. BTW, I took it a step further and have hooked the Mk II up in series with my original Grunt Pedal, so I can control the distortion and boost separately. Bwa Ha Ha!

Disclaimer: I am an endorsing artist for Cave Passive Pedals, but I paid for my first one, and was totally blown away. I would never represent a product that I do not 100% believe in.

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