Cult Germanium Channel


When I started exploring the primitive boosters of the 1960s, it became an obsession—I felt like I’d been indoctrinated into some weird germanium overdrive cult. So when I developed my own take on those designs, I called it Cult—a simple one-knob stompbox that Guitar Player magazine called “The most dynamic overdrive we’ve heard.”

CGSCult makes more colors that its minimal design suggests. But some players insist on greater control, so I made an expanded version: Cult Germanium Channel. The added controls let you shape your sound before and after the overdrive circuit:

  • PRE controls tone at the input. With the knob fully left, you get the fat, full-frequency sound of the regular Cult. Rotating the other way filters the signal—it gets progressively cleaner and brighter. At extreme settings it mimics a 1960s treble booster. Many cool shades in between.
  • DRIVE is like the single knob on the regular Cult. It’s designed for cool sounds throughout its range (As opposed to ’60s boosters, which usually sound best cranked.)
  • LOWS and HIGHS control an active EQ stage downstream from the germanium boost. These circuits never appeared on ’60s boosters, and this one yields new tones. The knobs are scaled to provide usable tones throughout their ranges.
  • TRIM (labeled OUTPUT on some early models) is a passive level attenuator. The smaller Cult has no master volume control because, frankly, it only sounds best when you whack your amp hard. But here, the active EQ/preamp stage can generate extra gain—sometimes too much. TRIM reins it in.

Cult Germanium Channel was designed with analog amps in mind, but the extra controls make it a good input channel for hardware and software amp modelers. (In fact, its original name was A.S.S., short for “Amp Simulator Stimulator.” I changed it because the pedal works so well with conventional amps. Sadly, I never got to pursue such awesome marketing tag lines as “Now you can sound like A.S.S.!”)

Cult Germanium Channel was created in San Francisco and is built in Michigan by skilled craftspeople earning a fair wage.

–Joe Gore, San Francisco

 TO USE: Shape tones with the interactive PRE and DRIVE controls. Refine sounds with the HIGHS and LOWS knobs. Lower output as needed with TRIM.