What is the Klon? What is it all about? Why is it so valuable? Nathaniel Murphy has questions, and this time our Vintage Buyer, Daniel Albert, has the answers. Learn more about the legendary Klon Centaur, and find out why it deserves a spot on the Mt. Rushmore of pedals in this month’s installment of Nathaniel Murphy Has Questions.
The Klon Centaur is a guitar overdrive pedal developed by Bill Finnegan between 1990 and 1994. The pedals were made manually by Finnegan. The Centaur is characterized as a "transparent" overdrive, meaning it adds gain to the signal without significantly altering the tone of the guitar.
About 8,000 units were built between 1994 and 2009. Guitarists praised the clear, uncolored tone of the boosted signal. The circuit had unique characteristics, most noticeably the use of an IC MAX1044 voltage converter. The voltage converter drives 18 volts to the operational amplifier which is the core of the circuit; at this voltage the response of the amplifier is different from at 9 volt, since its slew rate depends on the voltage supply. The higher the voltage supply, the higher the order of harmonics the operational amplifier will generate, and the more "metallic" the sound.