Another [email protected]#$%^& Klon Klone??

NJDevil

Country Gent
Jul 9, 2014
1,528
Commack, NY
I hardly ever use overdrive, but my nominees are the Nobels-ORD1 or the MXR Sugar Drive, which is somewhat Centaur like.
I know but wanted bust your chops. I remember your post about the Sugar Drive and really liked it alot but also discovered the Wampler Belle at the same time. I then bought a RAT after learning how to dial in certain Gilmour tones with a compressor, RAT, chorus and a bit echo.
 

General_Lee

Gretschie
Apr 23, 2022
321
Manitoba, Canada
First I must admit I do not really have a handle on what "Klon distortion" is but I have played the Optimist Drive and love it. It has balance, flavor, spice..... OK, that sounds like I now want to eat it but it does have character and very usable transparent tones with the tone controls. Very versatile.
Just a comment NJ. I own the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe and it is an exceptionally fine pedal. About as Klon as you're gonna find without the Klon prices. The "Klon distortion" might be thought of from two perspectives: the first being that of a characterful clean boost at lower settings (with an emphasis on the lower mids - great for 335 type instruments).

The second perspective is that of a pretty aggressive gain stage where the "magic" diodes kick in near the top of the pedals gain setting. I wouldn't really call it "tube" like, in that there's not a lot of subtle roundness left in the sound, but it is still very dynamic and cutting in the mix. Not entirely unlike a good RAT pedal might be. I feel this area best serves Fender solid body type guitars, or maybe a Les Paul that needs some harmonic clarification. I still prefer the softer clipping of blues type pedals (think 808), but I do enjoy what the Tumnus brings to my board - especially as a clean boost as noted earlier.

BTW the Tumnus sports an exceptionally useful active EQ that is far more versatile than that of most one knob tone controls found on most clones (including the original Klon)...
 

Henry

I Bleed Orange
Apr 9, 2014
18,972
Petaluma
First I must admit I do not really have a handle on what "Klon distortion" is but I have played the Optimist Drive and love it. It has balance, flavor, spice..... OK, that sounds like I now want to eat it but it does have character and very usable transparent tones with the tone controls. Very versatile.

I don't own one but I do like it a lot.

@Synchro - Rumor has it that you own over $10k in distortion and gain pedals,,, do you have this one? Reviews of your Scottsdale "Wes Montgomery meets Judas Priest" show is a hit. What's the secret sauce? 😈
I too don't really have any knowledge or experience of Klon. Or, for that matter, bluesbreakers, tubescreamers, etc. I had always used amp Drive.

From that Ignorance, the That Pedal Show Automatone Preamp video I posted above was fascinating as they attempted to mimic those tones on the AuTomatoNe at least for eq purposes. I certainly don't claim they mimic the sounds perfectly since I am not familiar with those drives except by reputation, but it gives you a good sense of how each could be useful to the player - e.g. the Klon sound really like with my bridge pickup, but not so much on the neck.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,399
Tucson
There‘s onky so much that can be done, with overdrive/distortion/fuzz.

Fuzz, can be accomplished with some heavy duty clipping. Basically, cut the top off of the waveforms and send it along, not much different than a square wave.

Distortion tends to be hard clipped, but not as severely as a Fuzz. Overdrive is soft clipped, more like an amp breaking a sweat.

Most pedals start with a buffer, to condition the signal, by presenting a high input impedance, amd passing a copy of the signal along to the next device. In most overdrive/distortion pedals, tne next device is an Op Amp, an integrated circuit which functions as an amplifier.

OpAmps have a feedback circuit, from the output to a secondary input, and that feedback circuit is where soft clippers have their clipping diodes. So a portion of the signal coming out of the OpAmp is sent back after passing through some clipping diodes, while some of the signal is boosted by the OpAmp, and passed along to the next stage without being clipped.

If that wasn’t enough, there are two ways to setup clipping in tne feedback circuit, symmetric, and asymmetric. Symmetric uses two diodes of the same value, so that the positive and negative peaks are clipped equally. Asymmetric clipping will use two diodes in one direction, and one in the other, which outputs an asymmetric waveform. The Boss SD-1 uses asymmetric clipping, while the Tube Screamer is symmetric.

Distortion pedals tend to be hard clippers, which means that the diodes are not in the feedback circuit, but after the output of the OpAmp. Basically, no signal fed into the OpAmp escapes without being clipped. My Boss OS-2 is both an overdrive, and a distortion, with a pot to balance how much signal goes through the soft clipped overdrive side, and how much is hard clipped. In the Distortion mode, the dynamics seem more compressed, than in overdrive mode. BTW, I like the OS-2, as a very versatile pedal, for a fairly low price.

There are FET based Drive pedals, like the Rat, and these work more like an amp with a master volume. The first stage overdrives the second stage, and possibly this goes on for several stages, depending upon the specific pedal. It’s a different family.

The Centaur Klon is a hard clipper, but with some important differences. The Centaur has half of a TL072 IC acting as an OpAmp buffer. The signal coming out of that stage goes to another OpAmp, on the same IC, but can also go past that OpAmp to be piped into the output stage of the amp. So, depending upon the Gain control, more or less clean signal is mixed into the overdriven signal. It’s an innovative approach, and not really all that complex. Both the clean signal and the overdriven signal go to another IC, with two OpAmps, which is where the Treble control is.

There’s a lot of speculation about the character of the clipping diodes, but unless the Centaur is turned fairly high, most of what you hear are some nice JFET preamps, in the ICs. Unless the Gain is cranked all the way, there will almost certainly be some clean signal in the mix.

The MXR Sugar Drive is one, of many, Centaur Klon clones. I like it, although it tends to thin out a bit, at higher drive settings. The Wampler has a good reputation, and the EXH Soul Food is pretty good, although it can sound ratty at higher gain settings.

The Nobels ODR-1 is my favorite drive, at least this week. It’s very transparent, and quote dynamic. Depending upon how hard you push it, it can both soft clip, and hard clip. It sends some clean signal along for the ride, making it very transparent and natural.
I know but wanted bust your chops. I remember your post about the Sugar Drive and really liked it alot but also discovered the Wampler Belle at the same time. I then bought a RAT after learning how to dial in certain Gilmour tones with a compressor, RAT, chorus and a bit echo.
I figured as much. I actually have quite a number of overdrive pedals, but they collect dust, for the most part.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
22,271
Monkey Island
It's funny how everyone's ear is different. I never liked a Klon demo enough I ran out to get one. Even when played by people I adore.

Correction...I did get a Soul Food after all the hype it received and it confirmed my suspicion a Klon type circuit is distinctly meh to my ears. Thin and raspy sprung to mind. I'm sure it's because I don't gig and only play at bedroom volume levels. 😒
 
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Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,399
Tucson
It's funny how everyone's ear is different. I never liked a Klon demo enough I ran out to get one. Even when played by people I adore.

Correction...I did get a Soul Food after all the hype it received and it confirmed my suspicion a Klon type circuit is distinctly meh to my ears. Thin and raspy sprung to mind. I'm sure it's because I don't gig and only play at bedroom volume levels. 😒
The Soul Food gets very raspy at higher gain settings. It uses Schottky diodes, which have a different clipping characteristic than the germanium diodes (IIRC) used in the Klon Centaur. As best I recall, the Schottky diodes are a bit more abrupt in their action, and that pretty much describes a Soul Food that is cranked up. It’s probably a desirable sound for some applications, but it’s not exactly a copy of a Klon Centaur.
 

Ricochet

Senior Gretsch-Talker
Nov 13, 2009
22,271
Monkey Island
The Soul Food gets very raspy at higher gain settings. It uses Schottky diodes, which have a different clipping characteristic than the germanium diodes (IIRC) used in the Klon Centaur. As best I recall, the Schottky diodes are a bit more abrupt in their action, and that pretty much describes a Soul Food that is cranked up. It’s probably a desirable sound for some applications, but it’s not exactly a copy of a Klon Centaur.

Tnx that explains a lot. FWIW I would not use a Klon for "high gain" settings. There are a ton of excellent pedals out there made specifically for that purpose. I think even the creator of the Klon circuit considers it a booster first and foremost.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,399
Tucson
Tnx that explains a lot. FWIW I would not use a Klon for "high gain" settings. There are a ton of excellent pedals out there made specifically for that purpose. I think even the creator of the Klon circuit considers it a booster first and foremost.
I think that is it’s greatest strength. Klon users love to talk about enchanted, mystical diodes, from the planet Blisstonia, but many of them never turn up high enough for the enchanted diodes to play much of a role.

Preamps, when done right, can sound great. The JFET preamp in my Blue Nebula adds character, but doesn’t overdrive. It’s a wonderful sound.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,399
Tucson
Do they offer the pre-amp separately?
No, but you can create a preamp-only patch. If you use delays, and would like a lot of delay emulations, the pedal is a good fit. They also have a great emulation of Abbey Road’s reverb. The preamp is not designed to facilitate overdrive. It will overdrive, but it’s actually got an LED to warn if it’s being driven too hard.
 


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