Updated on 08.05.2021
Perhaps the most legendary (and expensive) guitar pedal of all times, the Klon Centaur was one of the first boutique stompboxes and proved that an overdrive could be much more than just distortion. Created by Bostonian Bill Finnegan in 1994, the pedal and its innovative circuit (which uses an IC MAX1044 voltage converter and two germanium diodes) changed how overdrives interact with a player’s rig, and how they are perceived overall.
No wonder many manufacturers have been trying to recreate that sound at a lower cost! If you are in the market for a Klon or a faithful recreation, this is your definitive guide.
The Klon Centaur Overdrive’s History
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With an initial price tag of $225 (hefty for 1994), the Klon Centaur provided transparent, glassy mojo, while adding pleasing harmonic content to whatever signal chain was lucky enough to go through it.
Its 18v circuit, combined with a circuit optimized to minimize compression, made it extremely dynamic. It could be used as a supplement, or as the focal point of a rig, and many famous players loved it as a clean boost and many others as an “amp-in-a-box.” The point being, it excelled at everything.
Within a few years, the pedal gained legendary status, also because of Klon’s dedication to customer service, and to hand-wiring every unit that left their shop. Finnegan stopped building the original model in 2009 – at that point, he had hand-wired 5,400 of them. (You can find a more comprehensive history of the Klon here.)
The Newer Centaur: Klon KTR
The original Centaur took up a beastly amount of pedalboard space, and the KTR (manufactured by Klon’s inventor Bill Finnegan himself, but contracted out to make it compatible with mass production) features a smaller footprint. A toggle was added to switch between true or buffered bypass. Some say it doesn’t compare to the original, but considering it was built by Finnegan himself, the KTR is the closest to the Centaur a pedal can get, according to its creator, who – by the way – thinks it sounds exactly the same.
Considering the variety of devices inspired to the Klon Centaur, we decided to organize our content in the following categories – click to jump to the one you are interested in:
Best High-End Klon Clones (Above $150)
While an original Centaur can fetch a king’s ransom on the used market, there are a variety of much more affordable options that try to stay true to the original design. In this list, you will find several popular high-end Klon replicas that faithfully recreate the original’s tone, response and 3-knob layout.
- Wampler Tumnus | Buy it new: Sweetwater | Thomann – Used: Reverb or eBay |
$150 – The first mini-klone ever released is also one of the best-selling ones. It’s a sonically faithful redesign of the original, in miniature shape, by a US builder with boutique credentials and an unmatched reputation for nailing overdrive circuits.
- J Rockett Archer (Silver) | Buy it new Sweetwater | Thomann – Used: eBay or Reverb |
$199 – J. Rockett went to painstaking lengths to design their take on the Centaur, appropriately named the Archer. Initially designed with the same NOS germanium diodes that Finnegan used in the original, the new stock features Silicon ones. Its clarity and responsiveness make it one of the favorite Klon-inspired pedals out there.
- J Rockett Archer Ikon | Buy it new: Sweetwater | Thomann – Used: eBay or Reverb |
$199 – Almost identical to the original silver version, this pedal is said to emulate the Gold Klon (probably a myth, since the circuit was identical to the Silver version). offering a slightly warmer and more compressed sound than the silver Archer at lower gain settings. It uses Germanium diodes instead of Silicon. You can hear a comparison video here.
- Ceriatone Centura | Support our site, buy it on eBay or Reverb.com |
$215/250 – An authentic, exact, part-for-part Klon replica that is also sold as an unassembled kit (for $25 less). Its reputation among tone connoisseurs is noteworthy, although its size, similar to the original unit, may be a drawback for some.
- RYRA The Klone | Support our site, buy it on Amazon, eBay or Reverb |
$190 – “An exact, part for part, meticulously crafted replica of the infamous “transparent” overdrive pedal.” The enclosure is much smaller though, and the modern graphics arguably cooler. Refining perfection.
- Mythos Mjolnir Overdrive MK IV | Support our site, buy it on Reverb or eBay |
$199 – A Klone very close to the original, with tweaks only intended to improve consistency and deliver a smoother overdrive sound. Also available is a Germanium Mod that features hand-matched Germanium Clipping diodes, featuring softer clipping that is more compressed with less overall gain.
- Decibelics Golden Horse | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$325 – A high-end, hand-made-to-order Klon replica with almost the exact same components as the original but in mini format and available in several colors. It’s an exact reproduction of a 2001 Klon Centaur
- Rimrock Effects Mythical Overdrive | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com or eBay |
$150+ – One of the designs that most closely resembles the original Centaur, this unit uses only the highest-quality components.
- ARC Effects Klone | Support our site, buy it on eBay or Reverb.com |
$155+ Used – This is the pedal that coined the term “Klone” (as in “clone of the Klon,” get it?). The Arc Effects’ stompbox is a recreation that replicates all components from the original design, at around… 10% of the cost or so!
- Pedal Monsters Klone | Support our site, buy it on eBay or Reverb |
$150 – This offering is a solid affordable choice, hand-built by a Washington DC, passionate company that presents itself as the “Robin Hood of the pedal world.”
- JHS Klone | Find it used on Reverb.com or eBay|
$350+ used – A discontinued point-for-point rendition, it’s extremely hard to find and very sought after. They fetch upwards of $600 on the used market. The good news is that JHS offers an EHX Soul Food mod that is widely praised, a lot cheaper, and a little easier to find – it was also recently discontinued.
- Stigtronics Tone Vitamin | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$189 – Quite affordable and small, the Tone Vitamin is hand-built and can be personalized in color. Stigtronics doesn’t get much press but their klone gets flattering reviews on musicians’ forums.
- Monsterpiece Fuzz Stud | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
It looks like a generic pedal, but some experts say it’s one of the closest Klon “Klones”
- Bowman Audio Endeavors The Bowman | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$200 – A faithful, hand-built take on the Klon circuit using quality components hailing from New Jersey.
Mid-Priced Klon Centaur Clones ($99 – $130)
For those who can’t afford hype nor high-end price brackets, but dislike overly affordable products, there’s a middle-of-the-road solution to their Klon cravings. Some of these pedals are affordable because they are built-in assembly chains, while others are sold direct, which allows for a lower price point, but they all offer a tone with a distinct Klon Centaur flavor.
MXR Sugar Drive | Buy it new Sweetwater | Thomann | Amazon – Deals: eBay or Reverb |
$120 – One of the few mini-klones available on the market (at least for now), the MXR Sugar Drive simplicity is deceptive. The drive knob in this circuit blends the clean guitar signal with the overdriven one as you turn it up, while the circuit’s headroom in increased through what is referred to as a “Charge Pump.” A switch lets you choose between bypass or MXR’s buffered bypass.
Way Huge Conspiracy Theory | Buy new: Sweetwater | Thomann | Amazon – Find deals: eBay – Reverb |
$129 – One of the newest, affordable, three-knob klones from a reliable builder. It keeps things simple, compact, and – what’s important – delivers authentic tones.
Chellee Ponyboy Overdrive V3 | Buy new from the builder – Find deals on eBay or Reverb |
$119 – Klon Centaur-based overdrive offering both a buffered clean boost with plenty of chime and a rich transparent overdrive for pushing your edge of breakup tones into singing lead. The voicing switch shifts the frequency range of the Treble control. In V3 a new selection of diodes adds a new tonal dimension to the higher gain settings and a bass control allows for a little extra tone shaping.
Tone Bakery Creme Brulee | Support our site, buy it on eBay or Reverb.com |
$99 – One of the more affordable options on this list, the Crème Brulee isn’t a point-for-point recreation, but it comes damn close and gets great reviews at our Stompbox Exhibits!
IdiotBox Han-Taun Overdrive | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$129 – An affordable emulation featuring – in the words of the maker – ” a bit more beef and tighter high end.”
Affordable Klon Clones (Under $99)
If you want to give the Klon Centaur experience a go without getting into a three-digit investment, you have a few very interesting options in this list. This being said, the models in this list offer a tone tone not as faithful to the original and, in some cases, poorer build.
Electro-Harmonix Soul Food | Buy new: Sweetwater | Thomann – Used: eBay | Reverb |
$78.20 – The Soul Food is the epitome of the “Klone revolution.” Great-sounding, way under $100, and readily available, it is pound-for-pound one of the most popular Centaur-style pedals. A switchable buffer/true-bypass feature solidifies it as a contender against the others. The overall sound is said to be a little thinner, but it works well stacked with other overdrives.
NUX Horseman | Buy new: Amazon | Thomann – Usedon eBay | Reverb |
$69 – This mini-pedal offers the handy option to emulate not one but TWO versions of the Centaur Overdrive: Gold mode is the mimic of the classic, transparent Gold Centaur overdrive pedal, and the Silver mode is a powered version with an extended gain range (Silver Centaur).
TC Electronic ZEUS | Buy new: Sweetwater | Thomann | Amazon |
~$60 – Presented as a dynamic and transparent boost-to-mid-gain overdrive it sports Germanium clipping diodes and stepped up internal voltage for improved headroom. Just like the original Klon, it blends some of the clean signal back into the overdriven one. A “Fat” switch gives your tone more “oomphs” (if needed).
Mosky Golden Horse | Buy new on Amazon – Used: eBay or Reverb |
$35 – This is the cheapest Klon clone you can find. Reviews on Amazon highlight a good tone but questionable build. At around $30 this mini pedal represent a no-brainer way to get acquainted with the Klon Clones family.
Joyo Tauren | Buy new from Amazon | Thomann | Used: eBay or Reverb |
$54 – Very popular on Amazon, this incredibly affordable three-knob Chinese pedal delivers an acceptable Klon tone and gets remarkable reviews for it from buyers (4.6 stars out of 5).
Caline Pegasus | Buy new from Amazon or eBay|
$49 – A super-affordable, straightforward “Klone” that gets mixed reviews on Amazon but sells quite well. It gets thumbs up in the intheblues video review.
Tone City Bad Horse | Buy new from Amazon | Find deals on eBay or Reverb |
$48 – An under $50 mini overdrive pedal that recreates the tone of a Klon with slightly more spiky, less smooth and warm results.
Best Klon Centaur Evolutions
Of course, perfection doesn’t exist in the realm of audio engineering, and even a successful circuit like the one of the Klon has been the object of reinterpretation and attempted improvements.
Wampler Tumnus Deluxe | Buy new: Sweetwater | Thomann | Amazon – – Used: Reverb.com | eBay |
$199.97 – An evolution of the original Tumnus (see “Authentic “Klones” list) in a bigger enclosure, with optional true bypass switch and tonal flexibility through a three-way EQ section. A toggle switch in the middle of the pedal gives you a higher gain option of the same goodness.
Bondi Effects Sick As | Buy new from Amazon – Find deals on eBay or Reverb.com |
$250+ Used – Inspired by the Klon, this pedal features a toggle switch that controls the amount of headroom and character of the drive and an extra Bass knob for added versatility. Both EQ knobs allow 15dB of boost or cut.
ProAnalog Devices Manticore V2 | Support our site, buy it on ebay or Reverb.com |
$239 – A re-engineered but authentic-sounding version of the now rare original, the Manticore V2 gives the Klon tone a fresh look, introducing an extra gain stage at the input level and a Savage knob that fattens up your guitar signal through a unique low pass filter.
J Rockett Rockaway Archer | BUY IT WITH US on Reverb.com! – Also available on Amazon |
$249 – A version of the popular Archer with six graphic EQ sliders instead of a tone knob, developed by guitarist Steve Stevens. Each slider controls 18dB of cut or boost at 6 different frequencies.
Decibelics Golden Royale | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$522 – A dual version of the company’s popular Golden Horse circuit, with two separate channels that can be used either individually or stacked. It solves the eternal dilemma of using a single Klon/Golden Horse either as a Clean Boost or as an Overdrive.
MojoHandFX Sacred Cow | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$179 – A Klone with two twists: an ironic one (the legendary Centaur image is replaced by the culinary icon of a cow), and a tonal one, thanks to the added flexibility of the appropriately named “Fatty/Lean” Toggle, with the former adding a touch of extra girth, very useful for quieter pickups. Like the original, it convert the signal internally to 18v.
Matthews Effects The Architect V3 | Buy new: Sweetwater or Amazon – Find deal: eBay or Reverb |
$190 – An evolution of the Klon that adds flexibility with a three-way clipping toggle and a full 3-band active EQ.
Foxpedal Kingdom V3 | Support our site, buy it on eBay or Reverb.com |
$229 – A Klone that attempts to enhance the original with higher voltage spread for more headroom, and two switches affecting the signal’s clipping. V3 adds an independent boost circuit and two diode flavor options: Silicon or Mosfet.
Nordvang Wingman | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$319 – Nordvang offers three dual-channel overdrives in which at least one side is a Klon-style circuit. The Wingman has two of them, so it’s technically a dual Klone. The three classic knobs (Gain, Tone, Volume) are integrated by a Ratio toggle switch that adjusts the OD’s maximum gain range. Internally a set of dip switches for each side allows you to extend the bass response.
Anasound Savage MkII | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$250 – Inspired by the Klon Centaur, this pedal features a mahogany enclosure and several trim pots inside the case to control tone, OD bass, EQ and clipping.
Norvdang No.1 Signature | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
An “as close as we can get” simulation of the Klone, it adds a lo-gain Pre Drive toggle with a mid-frequency bump and asymmetrical soft-clipping that widens the tonal options. A 3-way toggle labeled “Clipping” lets you also select between Germanium diodes, Schottky diodes or no diodes in the overdrive stage for extra dynamic and tonal flavors.
Greenchild K818 | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$225 – Dual overdrive preamp with a Klon and Tube Screamer circuit in parallel.
Wilson Effects Lusus Naturae | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$195 – This non-true-bypass Klone features a 6 position rotary clipping switch that opens up a variety of options in the overdrive’s clipping stages, allowing the player to more precisely fine-tune the pedal to his or her amp. Like the real thing, it works great as a boost or overdrive in adding pleasing harmonics to an already dirty amp.
LPE Pedals Embers | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
A Klon-inspired overdrive with a broader gain range and an extra Bass knob that’s particularly effective in fattening up or thining down the overdriven tone.
Rawkworks Light OD | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$179 – An evolution of the Klon circuit featuring a clean bass control and clipping toggle switch.
Noise Space Audio Klone | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$219 – A Ukrain hand-built reinterpretation of the Klon, featuring the original NOS USSR ?9? diodes, but replacing the Electrolytic capacitors in the audio path with high-quality film capacitors and audio-grade electrolytic capacitors. It also adds two toggles for extra tonal options: a 3-way low-frequency one and a 2-way gain one.
Frederic Effects King of Klone | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
~$275 – A UK-built, dual klone that combines two identical, cascaded circuits (charge pump, buffer intact) so that you can use one channel for boost and one for overdrive – or use it however else you prefer.
Greenchild Kursk | Support our site, buy it on Reverb.com |
$199 – A variation on the Klone with an improved tone stack (Baxandall Bass and Treble knobs) and active volume boost for extra versatility.
A couple of manufacturers, ironically and mischievously, used the Klon’s popularity to promote completely different circuits!
Keeley Ox Blood | Buy new: Sweetwater | Thomann | Amazon – – Used: Reverb.com | eBay |
$199 – Here’s a description coming directly from Robert Keeley in this page’s comment section: “The Oxblood is not a Klone or a mod of one. We designed it on Instagram over a three-day period where you can see our schematic and circuit development. The design goal was to use a voltage doubler, a clean blend path, a different style clipping, offer much more gain, and more EQ possibilities. I did however want it to be confused as a Klone, so I’ve always marketed it as Not A Klon.”
Pelican Noiseworks Pelitaur | Buy it on Reverb.com or eBay |
$190 – Perfectly camouflaged as a Klone, this is actually a double fuzz. Don’t miss the manufacturer’s criptic introduction to the pedal, aimed at confusing and then surprising the Klone seeker.
Best Klone Clone Kits
Follow the link for a full article about the Best Klon Clone Kits. For those guitarists interested in getting more “intimate” with this notorious circuit, there are several Klon Clone kits that are fairly easy to build and are likely to teach you a thing or two about how pedals work. The noteworthy savings will be mitigated by the need of some gear and time investment. More about this in our Beginners’ Guide to Modding and Building Guitar Pedals.
The world of “Kloners” is ripe with more or less successful attempts and experiments by emerging manufacturers. Here’s a list of some of the less popular or discontinued models.
Piedmont Effects Aluminum Falcon
$179 – A faithful, quite affordable reproduction of the classic Klon Centaur circuit with a very similar look as well. It gets good reviews and can still be found in the used market.
Dan Zink Minotaur
A Klon emulation but in a smaller enclosure. 9v DC, buffered output just like the original.
Ham Fist Fancy Lad
Hard to find, but reputable Klone.
Matthews Effects Klone
True to the original except for being true bypass, now discontinued and replaced by the Architect.
Yellowcake Pedals Blackbox
The Blackbox’s unique features are the knobs on the top side of the enclosure.
LoneWolf FX Minotaur
$199 – A pedal inspired by the Klon but with some mods (more about it here).
Soulsonic FX – Illuminated Overdrive (No Video)
$170 Used – Not liking to be considered just a “Klone,” the Illuminated Overdrive includes a nice added features: a 3 way toggle switch lets you select the type of clipping.
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Shootout Videos and Other Links
If the pedal demos we linked to in the galleries above weren’t enough to sway you one way or another, there are a series of videos where the various Klon inspired pedals get compared directly through shootouts: we’ve embedded here some of them to better inform your choice.
Klon Centaur Vs. Tube Screamer
And if you are wondering how different the Klon sounds compared to another legendarily influential pedal, the Ibanez Tube Screamer, you may want to check this video out:
There are dozens of musicians’ forums about Klones, rather than pasting them all here we’ll just defer to Google… they are pretty good at it! And if you like the sound of the Klon you may want to look also at this list of Dumble Style Overdrives, the second most hyped clone pedals these days.
P.S. Did we forget something or posted incorrect information? Please post a comment and we’ll look into it!