Hey all, first time poster here. My main focus in starting this thread is ensuring that people in the future who have the Crowther Hot Cake don't take as long to figure it out as I did. If you don't want to hear my story with this pedal, skip to the last paragraph. Here's my backstory with the Hot Cake: I just bought my first amp, an AC15, and was playing with a friend of mine who runs the Radiohead gear encyclopedia (Check it out, it's called The King of Gear). I asked him what kind of drive pedal I should get for a "transparent sound," because even before my TGP days, I knew I didn't want the distortion to sound crazy unlike my amp. He recommended me a Timmy (lol) or a Crowther Hot Cake. This is actually what led me to places like TGP and TDPRI. While browsing these sites, I found the Timmy was universally praised and the Hot Cake was... misunderstood? Only Vox players ever lauded it, and even then they never delved into what about it's feature set made it so great... only that it was "made for the amp." Regardless, in The Battle of Paul C.s, the HC won and Crowther got my money, and also I upgraded to an AC30/started playing gigs. Here's where it confounded me. I would always use it with the Presence knob rolled all the way back for gigs, because this knob would make it muddy in small amounts and icepicky and resonant in high amounts. Why?! People on forums said it was a "passive treble filter" but it didn't "feel" like it, and if it was, then the distortion character is just HARSH. I thought maybe it was a negative feedback loop letting in more low-mid from the clean sound at the front end of the knob and more high-mid at the back end. However, I couldn't be sure because there is barely any information on the web about this pedal at ALL. I shrugged my shoulders and went two years without thinking about it and leaving the Presence knob off. Fast forward to this week, I'm recording keys with my band and wanted to use my drive pedals for a minute bit of EQ/ saturation prior to it hitting the DAW. In a musical mix, it's important for any instrument/sound to make sure there's enough mid and treble harmonic content relative to the fundamental note to make it "cut through." So I was using my WF Rat because it has a gentle bass cut, and I wanted to use the Hot Cake so I had another treble filter so I hooked that up too (Chain was Fuzz Factory > Hot Cake > Rat.) We open up a frequency analyzer to make sure the sound we're recording looks okay, and I start to play with the knobs a little bit. I turn on the Fuzz Factory and it's just noise, then I go to the Hot Cake for a second and begin to raise the Presence knob. I then notice the frequency plot react in a way i didn't expect, and that's how I arrived at the crux of this post: The Hot Cake's Presence knob is NOT a "passive treble filter." It is an additive EQ band centered at around 800Hz. When the Presence is at 0, the gain of the EQ is at 0 so it is "flat mids." This makes SOOOOOOO much sense to me now, because there are literally only two notable things about the Hot Cake according to the internet: It was made in NZ in 1977, and the older version had a mid-lift instead of a Presence knob. Clearly, all Paul Crowther did in 2003 was make that switch into a potentiometer and give us a variable amount of gain @800Hz. Think about the pedal's gain character: As you increase gain, the Bass and Treble come up. How would you remedy this? By boosting mids! I hope that all current and future Hot Cake owners will be able to see this through the magic of the Internet, because now that i'm understanding what i'm hearing and how it affects the rest of my rig, the Hot Cake is very easy to dial in for virtually ANY distortion sound from Boost, to Lo-gain transparent OD, to Lo-gain boosty mid hump OD (Klon, Presence @ 9:00), to Med-gain flat mids OD (Blues Driver, Presence Full CCW), a Med-gain mid-hump OD (Tube Screamer, Presence @ ~1:00), a hi-gain mid-hump like a RAT (Full CW), or a scooped mid fuzz machine like a Big Muff (Full CCW). Okay, so knowing this, there are my 2 ways to dial it in, one being my favorite. First one is to start with an idea of the EQ you want, so you'd start at Unity Gain with Drive off, and sweep the Presence to your liking (ie. do I want flat mids, mid-hump or mid-scoop?) Once I get my desired mid content, I'll then re-sweep the level to re-match the volumes (SUPER IMPORTANT, the resonant peak of the Presence boost will affect your overall volume/the volume hitting the front end of your amp). Once I get the volumes even, I'll start bringing in the Drive, keeping in mind that the more I bring this up, the less prominent my mid-hump will be due to the inflation of Bass/Treble with gain. Because of the interactivity of the Presence and Drive knobs in this respect, I find this way works best when the Hot Cake is playing the role of a low/med-gain OD, because once the Drive passes a certain point the resulting Bass/Treble boost dwarfs any mid-boost you could make. The other way to set it up (and my preference) is to start with setting the Drive to the amount I want and then using the Presence knob to normalise the excessive mid-scoop inherent in turning the gain anywhere past 9:00. This seems to be the easiest way to wrangle the pedal, just seriously be wary of how much the Presence boost affects volume/gain staging too. Lots of gain + mid hump = you probably don't need as much level. And etc. I hope this has been informative, and I hope none of you spend nearly as much time as I did thinking a such wonderful piece of engineering is so utterly worthless.