Do they sound identically? Which one is most close to the original?
The prices for an original “Klon Centaur” are rising constantly. Recently I found a golden Klon on Italian ebay for 2100,- €. And to keep it in mind: this one, of course was in used condition and without box.
Against the background that one can afford a boutique Tubeamp with this money, the question came to my mind if there is a cheaper but identically sounding alternative?
But does a Klon Centaur Clone (a pedal with a similar circuit) sound the same?
Therefore I would like to tell you a bit more about the particularity of the wiring of the Klon:
In contrast to many other pedals (running on 9V), the Klon runs on 18V. The signal is, as is the case with other distortion-pedals, limited by a hardclipping. The clean signal is added.
The wiring is no secret (any more) and one can find a lot of schematics on the internet. So why should a Clone sound different? Or in other words: why are so many of the Klon Clones said to sound different from the original?
A short analysis
The circuit contains 29 resistors + 3 Pots and 22 capacitors. Considering that every resistor has got a tolerance of 1%, this sounds pretty low. If however 29 transistors vary in 1%, this surely could have an effect. And it gets more extreme by looking at the capacitors: 11 of them are foil-capacitors and can have a tolerance of 11%. The remaining 11 are Panasonic Elkos with a maximum tolerance of 20%. This is a lot.
It is not only that a Clone sounds different from the original Klon Centaur but also that one original Klon does not sound like another original Klon! This means that there is no unique Klon-sound.
Of course the deviations will not cause one Klon sounding like a Boss Metalzone and another one like a Tubescreamer. But the frequencies may vary.
This principle applies not only to the Klon but to every other overdrive. On the Tubescreamer-page of Analogman one can find a list of different old TS-808. The number 37 is called “killer tone”.
The perfect Klon Centaur Clone
If you want to create the exact clone of one certain Klon Centaur, you would first have to disassamble it to measure ever single part of it. Then one would have to select the matching parts or, in the case of the resistors, replace it by trim-pots.
I am not sure if this will constitute an advantage in the total price. Finally I think that we have to accept that a clone might does not sound like the original. But also that one original does not sound like another original.
Click here for part 2.