There have been few effects ever made to have as much impact on the pedal set as the Klon Centaur. Since its launch in 95' it has become almost mandatory on the pedal boards of the stars and players the world over can't seem to sing its praises loud enough. So what sets it apart from any other simple OD?
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The team at Klon worked solely on the development of this pedal for four years before they were commercially available. The mission statement was simple - create the best OD ever. Nothing was too much effort. Take something as seemingly benign as the pedal's casing. Most builders design their pedals to fit in a commercially available box. They're simple, work great and they make the building process so much easier, but this is not the way of the Centaur. The casing is sand cast aluminium that looks stunning. Designed to put the footswitch far enough away from the controls so you don't accidentally hit them with your foot and on a slight angle for comfortable switching just the effort alone to get this right is staggering. What's more it sounds every bit as good as it looks.
It was the Klon that ushered in a new category for OD pedals, the transparent OverDrive. If instead of trying to create a tone with your pedal you are only trying to enhance it, you need transparency. For example, if I kick in a Big Muff, it sounds like a Big Muff pretty much no matter where I put it, but the Klon Centaur's party trick is that it will sound like more of what you already have. With the gain set to minimal you can dial in an absolutely clean boost which can push an amp to the verge of clipping. From here dialling in the OD it will give you a low to medium gain drive tone that seems to integrate itself into your amp. The frequency of the tone control is more extended than most pedals and will also shape the midrange so you can voice the pedal to be quite flat or to give it a midrange bite 808 style. For the modern blues players with a leaning towards Texas tone the Centaur has been a revelation becoming the pedal for players who don't like pedals.
How much should I pay?
The honeymoon is over for players in the UK picking up bargains in the US due the current exchange rates. Don't expect change from £400 for one of these. There are older versions of the pedal with a gold finish and the Centaur graphic on them that go for double. It is widely held that the pedals are the same but this is in fact a mistake. The first 300 pedals had a different circuit board and the newer versions have a resistor added to the circuit as well. The difference is subtle but its there.
To really appreciate how great this pedal is you need to know about touch sensitivity and dynamic response, but if this is you I dare you to try one then tell me it's not the best thing you've heard in years.
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