DIY Stompboxes > Building your own stompbox

Klon Centaur alternatives

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Ben N:
If he uses the Klon mainly as a boost/light OD, he might like the Barber LTD.

already considered a Hotcake?
read this for a Hotcake vs Klon review by Ken Fisher

Thanks for all your suggestions...

--- Quote ---So, how did your friend use the pedal when he had one?
--- End quote ---

He used it straight into an AC30 - with the way he described it to me, "the effect gave me a great crunch/overdrive"...  my guess is he want a fairly transparent OD...

I think what I might do is bring him a few OD's and have him audition them to see which he prefers...  it just seems to me that any of the Klon projects are needlessly complex for an OD and that he might be happy with some simpler designs.  He said he might have the old Klon around but that it wasn't functioning when he tried it last (many years ago).  I told him I might be able to repair it so DEFINITELY look for it...  those things are getting ridiculously priced.

Mark Hammer:
Anyone who has dealt with Bill Finnegan will vouch that he is a straight-up guy, the sort who would graciously forfeit a sale if it meant you would be avoiding an unnecessary and frustrating detour on the search for your sound.  If you attempt to buy a Centaur directly from him, he will discuss the pros and cons and optimal uses at length, and figure out if it's "right for you".  He probably puts more time into that discussion than most doctors will for any of the products and pills advertised on TV where they say "Ask your doctor if XXX is right for you".  One of the results of that is that he doesn't produce as many pedals as he might, or as the market demands.

People get annoyed with things like the e-bay sale you link to because ultimately, it WILL be too much to pay.  Mistakenly people focus their ire on Bill, even though he doesn't make a penny from those sorts of sales.  If anything, he loses money because of them.  Why?  Because someone will hear that the Klon is the second coming, spring the bucks for a 2nd hand one on the basis of legend, and in the absence of having that talk with Bill, and be really disappointed.  Then they tell their friends and post scathing comments because they feel they've been cheated.  Meanwhile, Bill didn't set that price tag.

The ideal Klon user is someone who knows their amp well, and understands how to treat the Klon's controls as if they were a part of the amp's input stage.  If you want an overdrive that has a sound that would be identifiable whether you plugged it into a Marshall, an Ampeg B-15, a solid-state late 60's Gibson Titan Medalist, a sound card, or Frontman15, then you do NOT want a Klon.

Okay, back on track.  People have very good things to say about the current Danelectro Transparent Overdrive (and I imagine for the TO2, recently released).  Given its very modest price, it is likely worth a try.  Alternatively, if clean boost is what the doctor ordered, then consider the Visual Sound Truetone.  I was in a big Toronto music store last week, and the folks behind the effects counter (where it was on display) knew absolutely nothing about it, and considered it as basically a higher-priced LPB-1 or Micro-Amp.  The supply-voltage upverter puts it more in the same league as the Klon, which also uses an upverter to increase headroom.  For that reason, at least worth taking out for a stroll in the showroom.

Ben N:
AC30, eh? The magic combination is supposedly Hotcake>>AC30, so that is what I would go with first. But, really, the best thing to do is just try stuff. Something as simple as Gus's 1-transistor overdrive might be the ticket, or Mark's Crank--something that has the push and the tone-shaping to get the best out of the amp (which is what the Klon supposedly excels at).


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