As the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And when it comes to guitar pedals, there’s no shortage of imitations. One pedal that has been imitated time and time again is the Klon Centaur.
This legendary pedal has been praised by countless guitar players for its unique and versatile tone. But with the original Centaur pedals fetching astronomical prices, many musicians have turned to clones to achieve that coveted sound.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best Klon Centaur clones on the market today and help you find the one that’s right for you.
First, let’s dive into what makes the Klon Centaur so popular. This overdrive pedal was designed by Bill Finnegan in the mid-1990s and quickly gained a cult following among guitar players. The pedal’s unique circuitry and use of a germanium diode created a warm and dynamic overdrive with a transparent mid-range boost. The pedal’s versatility allowed players to achieve anything from a subtle boost to a full-on overdrive, making it a staple on pedalboards across genres.
But with only around 8,000 original Centaur pedals ever made, the demand for a more affordable alternative was high. Thus, the world of Klon Centaur clones was born.
What is the Klon Centaur and Why is it So Popular?
The Klon Centaur has achieved a cult-like following among guitar enthusiasts due to its unique sound and reputation as a holy grail of overdrive pedals. Created by Bill Finnegan in the mid-1990s, the Klon Centaur is a boutique overdrive pedal that combines clean boost and distortion.
It is known for its transparent and natural sound, which allows the player’s guitar and amp to shine through. The Klon Centaur is popular for its ability to add warmth and clarity to a guitar’s tone without altering its original sound. It is also highly responsive to the player’s touch, allowing for a wide range of dynamics and expressiveness.
The pedal’s unique circuit design and carefully selected components contribute to its signature sound, which has been described as ‘creamy,’ ‘smooth,’ and ‘singing.’ Despite its popularity, the Klon Centaur is a rare and expensive pedal, with original models fetching thousands of dollars on the secondhand market.
As a result, many guitarists have turned to Klon Centaur clones, which attempt to replicate the pedal’s sound and feel at a more affordable price point. While there are many Klon Centaur clones on the market, some stand out for their accuracy and quality.
What to Look for in a Klon Centaur Clone
When looking for a clone of the popular overdrive pedal, the Klon Centaur, it’s important to consider the nuances of tone and construction. Research has found that even subtle differences in component quality can greatly impact the overall sound.
One of the most important factors to consider is the type of diode used in the circuit. The original Klon Centaur used germanium diodes, which have a softer, more organic sound, while many clones use silicon diodes, which have a harder, more aggressive sound.
Another important factor to consider is the type of op-amp used. The original Klon Centaur used a Texas Instruments JRC4558D op-amp, which has a warm, smooth sound. However, due to the scarcity and high cost of these op-amps, many clones use cheaper alternatives. While these alternatives may sound similar, they may not have the same level of clarity and detail as the original.
Finally, it’s important to pay attention to the construction quality of the clone. The original Klon Centaur was hand-wired and used high-quality components, which contributed to its unique sound. Many clones use printed circuit boards and lower-quality components, which can result in a less dynamic and less nuanced sound.
The Top Klon Centaur Clones on the Market Today
If you’re on the hunt for an overdrive pedal that captures the warm, organic sound of a vintage amp, these top contenders will transport you straight to the heart of a smoky, dimly-lit blues club.
When it comes to the best Klon Centaur clones on the market today, there are a few pedals that stand out from the rest. Here are the top contenders:
- J Rockett Audio Designs Archer: This pedal has been hailed as the closest thing to an original Klon Centaur, with its transparent overdrive and dynamic response. The Archer also has a switch to toggle between two different clipping modes, giving you even more tonal options.
- Wampler Tumnus: The Tumnus is another popular Klon clone, known for its warm and creamy overdrive. It also has a switch to toggle between two different clipping modes, as well as a tone control for fine-tuning your sound.
- EarthQuaker Devices Westwood: The Westwood is a newer entry into the Klon clone market, but it’s already made a name for itself with its versatile overdrive and EQ controls. The Westwood also has a boost function, which can push your amp into overdrive even further.
- Mythos Golden Fleece: The Golden Fleece is a boutique Klon clone that’s gained a cult following for its rich, harmonically-rich overdrive. It also has a boost function and a three-band EQ, giving you plenty of options for shaping your sound.
Overall, these Klon Centaur clones offer a range of sounds and features that can satisfy any guitar player’s needs. Whether you’re looking for a transparent overdrive or a creamy, harmonically-rich sound, these pedals have got you covered.
How to Choose the Right Klon Centaur Clone for You
Choosing the perfect Klon Centaur clone for your specific needs may require careful consideration of each pedal’s unique features and tonal characteristics.
Firstly, it’s important to decide whether you want a true clone or a modified version. True clones attempt to replicate the original Klon Centaur circuit as closely as possible, while modified versions may have added features or tweaks to the original design.
Additionally, consider the materials used in the construction of the pedal, as some clones use higher quality components than others.
Another important factor to consider is the tonal characteristics of each pedal. While all Klon Centaur clones aim to replicate the original’s signature mid-range boost, some may have a slightly different EQ curve or gain structure. It’s important to listen to demos and read reviews to determine which pedal will give you the sound you’re after.
Additionally, consider the versatility of each pedal – some clones may have additional controls or switches that allow for a wider range of tones.
Ultimately, the best Klon Centaur clone for you will depend on your personal playing style and tonal preferences.
Finding Your Perfect Tone
Discovering your ideal tone is an individual journey, but researching and listening to demos of various options can lead you to the perfect pedal. When it comes to finding the best Klon Centaur clone, there are some factors to consider. Here are some final tips to help you find your perfect tone:
- Experiment with different clones: There are many Klon Centaur clones available in the market, each with its unique sound. Listening to demos and trying out different pedals can help you narrow down your options and find the one that suits your playing style.
- Consider your budget: The original Klon Centaur pedal can cost thousands of dollars, but there are many clones available at a fraction of that price. While some clones may not be as accurate as the original, they can still provide you with a similar tone and save you money.
- Pay attention to the details: Look for clones that use high-quality components and have features that suit your needs. Some pedals may have additional controls or switchable options that can help you achieve your desired sound.
Finding your perfect Klon Centaur clone can take time, but it’s worth the effort. Keep in mind that everyone’s definition of the perfect tone is different, and what works for someone else may not work for you. Ultimately, the best Klon Centaur clone is the one that inspires you to play and helps you achieve the sound you want.
We hope this guide has been helpful in your search for the perfect tone. The Klon Centaur is a legendary overdrive pedal used by many famous musicians, so finding the right clone can be daunting.
However, with the right knowledge and information, you can choose a Klon Centaur clone that suits your preferences and budget. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player, there’s a Klon Centaur clone out there for you.
Take the time to try out different pedals and don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings. Finding the right Klon Centaur clone is like finding a needle in a haystack, but once you find it, it’s like striking gold.