Rhythm & Detonation

Cloning the Klon

The Klon Centaur overdrive pedal is one of the most expensive pedals these days. Klon stopped making it last year, and the prices on eBay have now exceeded $1000; they originally sold for $279.

The Klon was a very ambitious pedal with custom-made "toaster" enclosures, custom knobs, custom-made pots, and a unique design that was highly guarded. As such, it's impossible to make an exact copy of the pedal. The Klon Centaur had its PCB covered in a black epoxy that made repairs impossible and circuit tracing difficult. But the skilled folks over at freestompboxes.org were able to get through the goop and trace the circuit. Madbean put his PCB design skills to work and developed the Sunking PCB project to make a clone of the Klon.

The pedal has pretty standard controls for Gain, Treble (tone), and Output (volume). The circuit is unique though: the clipping diodes remain unknown for the original circuit, but I used 1n34a Germanium Diodes. The gain control is a dual-ganged (stereo) pot that mixes clean signal with driven signal. The pedal has a really nice quality buffer instead of true bypass and has a good low impedance output to drive long cables and long pedal chains.

I've always been really curious about this pedal because of the hype surrounding it, and I wanted to build it mainly to answer my own suspicions. Does it live up to the hype? Yes. Is it worth $1000? Well something is worth what people will pay for it, but certainly for me, less than $100 in parts and some free time, it's worth it. It's a great sounding overdrive, and the buffer is so high quality that it seems to improve my tone even when the pedal is off.

I tried to make my pedal look like the Klon, but I changed a few things, like putting the GAIN on the right and the OUTPUT on the left because all my pedals are that way. I didn't want to put an astrological sign on it, so I put my modern version of a Centaur, a bmx rider performing a wheelie...to awesomeness.

I painted the pedal in diamond dust, used a water clear white LED and brown Davies #1400 knobs.