It’s easy to imagine that the world of boutique pedal making is a cutthroat one. When news of a collaboration between JHS Pedals and Keeley Electronics hit the stands, one had to wonder about the potential for a feud. In the end, we are all better off because the collaboration has given us the Steak & Eggs, a pedal that combines Keeley’s Three-Knob Compressor with JHS’s Morning Glory overdrive. The result: a sizzling sonic meal of creamy overdrive served up with a side of hot, tasty compression. Folks, get your bibs. It’s time to eat.
Keeley’s compression is just the sort of classic, warm effect that country and funk guitarists prize. Adding in more or less compression is easy enough, with a quick turn of the Sustain knob. Meanwhile, the Blend knob adds the uncompressed signal to the outputted signal. In its default settings, the Keeley compressor tends toward the darker and dirtier side of things. Especially at the higher compression levels, the pedal tended to soften, sometimes even bury, the higher notes of this writer’s chords. Yet the overall impression was of good, quality sound. To compensate for any murkiness, Keeley added a brightness toggle switch. In testing, this writer tended to prefer the darker, default setting, although for soloing, a brighter tone might be preferable.
On the left side of the pedal, JHS’s Morning Glory promises to deliver tube-like overdrive. Not only does this effect feature its own on/off footswitch, its location in the effects chain can also change with a flip of a center-mounted toggle switch. This changeability offers the user a greater and subtler tonal palette, which the Morning Glory contributes quite a bit to. The effect is no-nonsense and delivers a reliable, warm, and chimey overdrive. In the lower settings, the signal breaks up with subtlety; it’s an effect that is meant to color the signal in this setting. High up, the Morning Glory is loud and clear. Its overdrive sizzles but never goes so far that it obliterates the signal. It’s a tastefully restrained overdrive in this respect, because it doesn’t fall victim to the tendency toward overdrive excess.
Curiously, the Steak and Eggs comes packaged in a JHS box, and appears more at home, at least visually, with JHS’s other pedals rather than Keeley’s. One wonders if this design was by choice or by force (perhaps a JHS engineer won an arm wrestling contest against a Keeley engineer). Regardless, the pedal features the same solid construction and quality components for which both JHS and Keeley are known.
In combination, the Steak & Eggs pumps out classic tone that will turn ears as it recreates the sounds of a now-gone era of rock n’ roll. It’s almost as if the pedal comes with its own vinyl crackling effect, so true is it to the tones of the great stadium rock guitarists of the ‘70s. From subtle sustain to a full-on, grimy, waverly squashing, the Steak & Eggs is going to please the ears.
What We Like: Useful combination of classic compression and classic overdrive makes for wonderful listening.