What's the Klon clone to get?

Mark Skid

Well-known member
This circuit has been analyzed more than just about any circuit. The diodes are of the least importance in this circuit. You could actually remove them and it would still sound like a Klon with may 5% less gain. I will put big money that you not bill can identify a 1n34a from 1 manufacturot in this circuit from another. They’re simply not a critical part of the Klon circuit. How many diodes have you personally A/B’d in this circuit on an a/b switch to go back and forth real time?
I replaced the diodes in my Centura pedal with Sylvania ECG 109 diodes. Huge improvement to my ears. Does it sound like my silver or gold KLONs did? That's tough to say, since those two pedals sounded slightly different. Due to component value variance; no two devices sound identical. Always close, but never the same. The KLON is a non-issue with me, since all of the most iconic songs were recorded without a KLON. The DS-1, treble booster, Tube Screamer, Big Muff and Hot Cake were widely used. I purchased the Centura on the cheap, so that I could replace the diodes. I use it with my Marshall Silver Jubilee 2554 from time to time. The 2554 sounds best straight-in, especially with a Strat.
 

scottosan

Well-known member
I replaced the diodes in my Centura pedal with Sylvania ECG 109 diodes. Huge improvement to my ears. Does it sound like my silver or gold KLONs did? That's tough to say, since those two pedals sounded slightly different. Due to component value variance; no two devices sound identical. Always close, but never the same. The KLON is a non-issue with me, since all of the most iconic songs were recorded without a KLON. The DS-1, treble booster, Tube Screamer, Big Muff and Hot Cake were widely used. I purchased the Centura on the cheap, so that I could replace the diodes. I use it with my Marshall Silver Jubilee 2554 from time to time. The 2554 sounds best straight-in, especially with a Strat.
Replacing something then comparing it to memory always involves a certain level of psychoacoustics. The only way to compare is real-time A/B. This has been proven with consistency in blind tests where even if nothing change, people expect change and therefore perceive it sounds better. I’ve personally done this test in this circuit with different diode pairs on each side of the switch. The players could not tell either in tone or feel the difference between a 1n34a and a D9E let alone different brand 1n34a while playing. I agree different components sound different, but in this circuit clipping is barely dependent on the diodes. Most people run the Klon at lower gain settings. Diode clipping is dependent on signal thresholds. At these settings, the signal is isn’t even affected by the diodes. At high gain setting the diodes will finally clip but at that point most of the clipping is from the opamp still. Bill claims a lot of things.
 
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Mark Skid

Well-known member
Replacing something then comparing it to memory always involves a certain level of psychoacoustics. The only way to compare is real-time A/B. This has been proven with consistency in blind tests where even if nothing change, people expect change and therefore perceive it sounds better. I’ve personally done this test in this circuit with different diode pairs on each side of the switch. The players could not tell either in tone or feel the difference between a 1n34a and a D9E let alone different brand 1n34a while playing. I agree different components sound different, but in this circuit clipping is barely dependent on the diodes. Most people run the Klon at lower gain settings. Diode clipping is dependent on signal thresholds. At these settings, the signal is isn’t even affected by the diodes. At high gain setting the diodes will finally clip but at that point most of the clipping is from the opamp still. Bill claims a lot of things.
I've owned two KLONs and two clones. They're decent enough pedals, I guess? It's like anything else... If it were that great, you never would have sold them. I still have the Centura, but that's only because I'm too lazy to go through the sale and ship process. I use it with the Marshall, but only to give the signal a slight boost. Gain is set to 1:00 at the most. I don't care for the KLON at distortion level settings, or as a stand-alone distortion driver. For that, the DS-1, RAT and Crowther Double Hot Cake are my go-to pedals, of which I own none. I do regret selling my CDHC... I need to replace it.

I don't have much interest in playing these days. I don't get the enjoyment from it that I once did, and few people are interested in discovering new music. These days, concerts are nothing more than props for "selfie" ops. Gene Simmons is wrong! Rock didn't die... The fans did.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
I've owned two KLONs and two clones. They're decent enough pedals, I guess? It's like anything else... If it were that great, you never would have sold them. I still have the Centura, but that's only because I'm too lazy to go through the sale and ship process. I use it with the Marshall, but only to give the signal a slight boost. Gain is set to 1:00 at the most. I don't care for the KLON at distortion level settings, or as a stand-alone distortion driver. For that, the DS-1, RAT and Crowther Double Hot Cake are my go-to pedals, of which I own none. I do regret selling my CDHC... I need to replace it.

I don't have much interest in playing these days. I don't get the enjoyment from it that I once did, and few people are interested in discovering new music. These days, concerts are nothing more than props for "selfie" ops. Gene Simmons is wrong! Rock didn't die... The fans did.
I don’t know anyone that likes using klon’s as a distortion or as the main thing for providing gain. It’s loved more as boost and to me the greatest one I’ve heard by a pretty big margin. The CDCH I had I thought was ok, but for my taste too filtered/pedal-like sounding. I prefer a more organic and complex tone like the Klon, Coppersound Broadway or Thorpy Heavy Water. Still haven’t heard any klones that I’ve liked, but have tried a Decibelics yet

Totally agree 100% about fans dying rather than the actual artists. This is even more the case in classical guitar and very very sad because the players now are now better than ever, some super talented young players out there now, yet the demand/interest for it was infinitely higher decades ago when almost all players were lightyears behind how they are today, at least in technical abilities and virtuosity. The difference in that regard is ridiculous. Like comparing a iic+ to a line 6, no exaggeration, yet they don’t have even 1/20th the success or recognition of the players back then
 

Mark Skid

Well-known member
The CDCH I had I thought was ok, but for my taste too filtered/pedal-like sounding.
This is the first time I've ever heard anyone describe the Hot Cake as "filtered". It's been around since 1976, and known as one of the most transparent drive pedals available. As a NMV amp player, I'm very picky when it comes to drive pedals. The KLON adds a level of compression that works with some amps, not so good with others. The KLON and HC actually have more in common than people realize. They both use the TL072 op-amp and both are buffered. When using a MV amp... I'd choose the KLON. NMV... Hot Cake (or) KLON + Tube Screamer.
 

Bxlxaxkxe

Active member
Decibelics preorders are open right this second on their website and they have like under 10 left - change color options to find whats in stock
 

braintheory

Well-known member
This is the first time I've ever heard anyone describe the Hot Cake as "filtered". It's been around since 1976, and known as one of the most transparent drive pedals available. As a NMV amp player, I'm very picky when it comes to drive pedals. The KLON adds a level of compression that works with some amps, not so good with others. The KLON and HC actually have more in common than people realize. They both use the TL072 op-amp and both are buffered. When using a MV amp... I'd choose the KLON. NMV... Hot Cake (or) KLON + Tube Screamer.
I’ve had my Klon and Hot Cake side by side and they didn’t sound anything alike to me and pretty different eq curves. Nowhere near the quality of tone or level of magical feel the Klon has. Not a chance, light years behind imho, but maybe vintage versions could’ve sounded better, who knows. It sounded like a new pedal. More organic than some perhaps, but not like a klon or good vintage pedal. Just not in the cards for it. The Klon has some compression sure, it’s kinda 50/50 with which of my NMV amps it gets along with it, but my ‘67 Plexi, ‘63 AC30 and Xits all love it as do pretty much all my MV amps. It’s an exceptional piece of gear. I actually sold way more $ in pedals it sent packing than what I paid for it, but have been through over 140 boosts now with just 4 I’ve kept. Klon is what I use at 95% of the time when I wanna use a boost
 
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lol

Active member
I don’t know anyone that likes using klon’s as a distortion or as the main thing for providing gain. It’s loved more as boost and to me the greatest one I’ve heard by a pretty big margin. The CDCH I had I thought was ok, but for my taste too filtered/pedal-like sounding. I prefer a more organic and complex tone like the Klon, Coppersound Broadway or Thorpy Heavy Water. Still haven’t heard any klones that I’ve liked, but have tried a Decibelics yet

Totally agree 100% about fans dying rather than the actual artists. This is even more the case in classical guitar and very very sad because the players now are now better than ever, some super talented young players out there now, yet the demand/interest for it was infinitely higher decades ago when almost all players were lightyears behind how they are today, at least in technical abilities and virtuosity. The difference in that regard is ridiculous. Like comparing a iic+ to a line 6, no exaggeration, yet they don’t have even 1/20th the success or recognition of the players back then

I like using a klon as a distortion. It sounds good to me. :dunno:
 

braintheory

Well-known member
I like using a klon as a distortion. It sounds good to me. :dunno:
Nothing at all wrong with that, just not how I or most guys tend to run them. I don’t like using od pedals on clean channels to get an overdriven sound, just not my thing, but if that’s what you like, the Klon imo is still one of the better pedals for the job. I like more to use fuzz into a clean channel or sometimes my original HM-2 (the Swedish chainsaw lol) for more specific types of sounds
 
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lol

Active member
Nothing at all wrong with that, just not how I or most guys tend to run them. I don’t like using od pedals on clean channels to get an overdriven sound, just not my thing, but if that’s what you like, the Klon imo is still one of the better pedals for the job. I like more to use fuzz into a clean channel or sometimes my original HM-2 (the Swedish chainsaw lol) for more specific types of sounds

It's dependent on the amp I am using. 2 of my amps I run clean and use pedals for od. But if I use my dual rec then yeah I would use it as a boost rather than a distortion.
 

Mark Skid

Well-known member
I’ve had my Klon and Hot Cake side by side and they didn’t sound anything alike to me and pretty different eq curves. Nowhere near the quality of tone or level of magical feel the Klon has. Not a chance, light years behind imho, but maybe vintage versions could’ve sounded better, who knows. It sounded like a new pedal. More organic than some perhaps, but not like a klon or good vintage pedal. Just not in the cards for it. The Klon has some compression sure, it’s kinda 50/50 with which of my NMV amps it gets along with it, but my ‘67 Plexi, ‘63 AC30 and Xits all love it as do pretty much all my MV amps. It’s an exceptional piece of gear. I actually sold way more $ in pedals it sent packing than what I paid for it, but have been through over 140 boosts now with just 4 I’ve kept. Klon is what I use at 95% of the time when I wanna use a boost
I never said that the KLON and Hot Cake sound alike... I said that they both use a TL072 op-amp and buffered. That being said, you can approximate KLON-esque distortion using the HC "bluesberry" circuit; minus the compression. If there's a pedal that sounds "colored" between the two, it's the KLON.

The fact that you play through a '67 plexi, '63 AC30 and Xits and don't care for the Hot Cake is bewildering. The vast majority of Hot Cake players use it with NMV Marshall and VOX amplifiers. As a matter of fact, the Hot Cake was designed for use with the AC30. Most people who aren't fond of the Hot Cake simply don't know how to, or don't have the patience to dial it in.

A good reveal of the Hot Cake...

Hey all, first time poster here. My main focus in starting this thread is ensuring that people in the future who have the Crowther Hot Cake don't take as long to figure it out as I did. If you don't want to hear my story with this pedal, skip to the last paragraph.

Here's my backstory with the Hot Cake:

I just bought my first amp, an AC15, and was playing with a friend of mine who runs the Radiohead gear encyclopedia (Check it out, it's called The King of Gear). I asked him what kind of drive pedal I should get for a "transparent sound," because even before my TGP days, I knew I didn't want the distortion to sound crazy unlike my amp. He recommended me a Timmy (lol) or a Crowther Hot Cake. This is actually what led me to places like TGP and TDPRI. While browsing these sites, I found the Timmy was universally praised and the Hot Cake was... misunderstood? Only Vox players ever lauded it, and even then they never delved into what about it's feature set made it so great... only that it was "made for the amp." Regardless, in The Battle of Paul C.s, the HC won and Crowther got my money, and also I upgraded to an AC30/started playing gigs.

Here's where it confounded me. I would always use it with the Presence knob rolled all the way back for gigs, because this knob would make it muddy in small amounts and ice picky and resonant in high amounts. Why?! People on forums said it was a "passive treble filter" but it didn't "feel" like it, and if it was, then the distortion character is just HARSH. I thought maybe it was a negative feedback loop letting in more low-mid from the clean sound at the front end of the knob and more high-mid at the back end. However, I couldn't be sure because there is barely any information on the web about this pedal at ALL. I shrugged my shoulders and went two years without thinking about it and leaving the Presence knob off.

Fast forward to this week, I'm recording keys with my band and wanted to use my drive pedals for a minute bit of EQ/ saturation prior to it hitting the DAW. In a musical mix, it's important for any instrument/sound to make sure there's enough mid and treble harmonic content relative to the fundamental note to make it "cut through." So I was using my WF Rat because it has a gentle bass cut, and I wanted to use the Hot Cake so I had another treble filter so I hooked that up too (Chain was Fuzz Factory > Hot Cake > Rat.) We open up a frequency analyzer to make sure the sound we're recording looks okay, and I start to play with the knobs a little bit. I turn on the Fuzz Factory and it's just noise, then I go to the Hot Cake for a second and begin to raise the Presence knob. I then notice the frequency plot react in a way i didn't expect, and that's how I arrived at the crux of this post:

The Hot Cake's Presence knob is NOT a "passive treble filter." It is an additive EQ band centered at around 800Hz. When the Presence is at 0, the gain of the EQ is at 0 so it is "flat mids." This makes SOOOOOOO much sense to me now, because there are literally only two notable things about the Hot Cake according to the internet: It was made in NZ in 1977, and the older version had a mid-lift instead of a Presence knob. Clearly, all Paul Crowther did in 2003 was make that switch into a potentiometer and give us a variable amount of gain @800Hz. Think about the pedal's gain character: As you increase gain, the Bass and Treble come up. How would you remedy this? By boosting mids!

I hope that all current and future Hot Cake owners will be able to see this through the magic of the Internet, because now that i'm understanding what i'm hearing and how it affects the rest of my rig, the Hot Cake is very easy to dial in for virtually ANY distortion sound from Boost, to Lo-gain transparent OD, to Lo-gain boosty mid hump OD (Klon, Presence @ 9:00), to Med-gain flat mids OD (Blues Driver, Presence Full CCW), a Med-gain mid-hump OD (Tube Screamer, Presence @ ~1:00), a hi-gain mid-hump like a RAT (Full CW), or a scooped mid fuzz machine like a Big Muff (Full CCW). Okay, so knowing this, there are my 2 ways to dial it in, one being my favorite. First one is to start with an idea of the EQ you want, so you'd start at Unity Gain with Drive off, and sweep the Presence to your liking (ie. do I want flat mids, mid-hump or mid-scoop?) Once I get my desired mid content, I'll then re-sweep the level to re-match the volumes (SUPER IMPORTANT, the resonant peak of the Presence boost will affect your overall volume/the volume hitting the front end of your amp). Once I get the volumes even, I'll start bringing in the Drive, keeping in mind that the more I bring this up, the less prominent my mid-hump will be due to the inflation of Bass/Treble with gain. Because of the interactivity of the Presence and Drive knobs in this respect, I find this way works best when the Hot Cake is playing the role of a low/med-gain OD, because once the Drive passes a certain point the resulting Bass/Treble boost dwarfs any mid-boost you could make.

The other way to set it up (and my preference) is to start with setting the Drive to the amount I want and then using the Presence knob to normalise the excessive mid-scoop inherent in turning the gain anywhere past 9:00. This seems to be the easiest way to wrangle the pedal, just seriously be wary of how much the Presence boost affects volume/gain staging too. Lots of gain + mid hump = you probably don't need as much level. And etc.

I hope this has been informative, and I hope none of you spend nearly as much time as I did thinking a such wonderful piece of engineering is so utterly worthless.

 

braintheory

Well-known member
I never said that the KLON and Hot Cake sound alike... I said that they both use a TL072 op-amp and buffered. That being said, you can approximate KLON-esque distortion using the HC "bluesberry" circuit; minus the compression. If there's a pedal that sounds "colored" between the two, it's the KLON.

The fact that you play through a '67 plexi, '63 AC30 and Xits and don't care for the Hot Cake is bewildering. The vast majority of Hot Cake players use it with NMV Marshall and VOX amplifiers. As a matter of fact, the Hot Cake was designed for use with the AC30. Most people who aren't fond of the Hot Cake simply don't know how to, or don't have the patience to dial it in.

A good reveal of the Hot Cake...

Hey all, first time poster here. My main focus in starting this thread is ensuring that people in the future who have the Crowther Hot Cake don't take as long to figure it out as I did. If you don't want to hear my story with this pedal, skip to the last paragraph.

Here's my backstory with the Hot Cake:

I just bought my first amp, an AC15, and was playing with a friend of mine who runs the Radiohead gear encyclopedia (Check it out, it's called The King of Gear). I asked him what kind of drive pedal I should get for a "transparent sound," because even before my TGP days, I knew I didn't want the distortion to sound crazy unlike my amp. He recommended me a Timmy (lol) or a Crowther Hot Cake. This is actually what led me to places like TGP and TDPRI. While browsing these sites, I found the Timmy was universally praised and the Hot Cake was... misunderstood? Only Vox players ever lauded it, and even then they never delved into what about it's feature set made it so great... only that it was "made for the amp." Regardless, in The Battle of Paul C.s, the HC won and Crowther got my money, and also I upgraded to an AC30/started playing gigs.

Here's where it confounded me. I would always use it with the Presence knob rolled all the way back for gigs, because this knob would make it muddy in small amounts and ice picky and resonant in high amounts. Why?! People on forums said it was a "passive treble filter" but it didn't "feel" like it, and if it was, then the distortion character is just HARSH. I thought maybe it was a negative feedback loop letting in more low-mid from the clean sound at the front end of the knob and more high-mid at the back end. However, I couldn't be sure because there is barely any information on the web about this pedal at ALL. I shrugged my shoulders and went two years without thinking about it and leaving the Presence knob off.

Fast forward to this week, I'm recording keys with my band and wanted to use my drive pedals for a minute bit of EQ/ saturation prior to it hitting the DAW. In a musical mix, it's important for any instrument/sound to make sure there's enough mid and treble harmonic content relative to the fundamental note to make it "cut through." So I was using my WF Rat because it has a gentle bass cut, and I wanted to use the Hot Cake so I had another treble filter so I hooked that up too (Chain was Fuzz Factory > Hot Cake > Rat.) We open up a frequency analyzer to make sure the sound we're recording looks okay, and I start to play with the knobs a little bit. I turn on the Fuzz Factory and it's just noise, then I go to the Hot Cake for a second and begin to raise the Presence knob. I then notice the frequency plot react in a way i didn't expect, and that's how I arrived at the crux of this post:

The Hot Cake's Presence knob is NOT a "passive treble filter." It is an additive EQ band centered at around 800Hz. When the Presence is at 0, the gain of the EQ is at 0 so it is "flat mids." This makes SOOOOOOO much sense to me now, because there are literally only two notable things about the Hot Cake according to the internet: It was made in NZ in 1977, and the older version had a mid-lift instead of a Presence knob. Clearly, all Paul Crowther did in 2003 was make that switch into a potentiometer and give us a variable amount of gain @800Hz. Think about the pedal's gain character: As you increase gain, the Bass and Treble come up. How would you remedy this? By boosting mids!

I hope that all current and future Hot Cake owners will be able to see this through the magic of the Internet, because now that i'm understanding what i'm hearing and how it affects the rest of my rig, the Hot Cake is very easy to dial in for virtually ANY distortion sound from Boost, to Lo-gain transparent OD, to Lo-gain boosty mid hump OD (Klon, Presence @ 9:00), to Med-gain flat mids OD (Blues Driver, Presence Full CCW), a Med-gain mid-hump OD (Tube Screamer, Presence @ ~1:00), a hi-gain mid-hump like a RAT (Full CW), or a scooped mid fuzz machine like a Big Muff (Full CCW). Okay, so knowing this, there are my 2 ways to dial it in, one being my favorite. First one is to start with an idea of the EQ you want, so you'd start at Unity Gain with Drive off, and sweep the Presence to your liking (ie. do I want flat mids, mid-hump or mid-scoop?) Once I get my desired mid content, I'll then re-sweep the level to re-match the volumes (SUPER IMPORTANT, the resonant peak of the Presence boost will affect your overall volume/the volume hitting the front end of your amp). Once I get the volumes even, I'll start bringing in the Drive, keeping in mind that the more I bring this up, the less prominent my mid-hump will be due to the inflation of Bass/Treble with gain. Because of the interactivity of the Presence and Drive knobs in this respect, I find this way works best when the Hot Cake is playing the role of a low/med-gain OD, because once the Drive passes a certain point the resulting Bass/Treble boost dwarfs any mid-boost you could make.

The other way to set it up (and my preference) is to start with setting the Drive to the amount I want and then using the Presence knob to normalise the excessive mid-scoop inherent in turning the gain anywhere past 9:00. This seems to be the easiest way to wrangle the pedal, just seriously be wary of how much the Presence boost affects volume/gain staging too. Lots of gain + mid hump = you probably don't need as much level. And etc.

I hope this has been informative, and I hope none of you spend nearly as much time as I did thinking a such wonderful piece of engineering is so utterly worthless.


Trust me, there's no shortage of patience with my gear testing. I spent lots of time tweaking it to be where I wanted and it was actually a keeper for several months until other stuff came along. I didn't say it was bad pedal or even that I disliked it (I actually did enjoy it while I had it), but simply that it's not in the same league as the klon (although apples & oranges sound wise really) and other pedals as well as vintage rack PQ's I've got. My AB comparisons are always exhaustive and eventually found everything I enjoying about the Double Hot Cake to be outclassed by various other pedals and/or vintage rack PQ's I've had, so I sold it. Overall, a "nice" pedal to me, but not in the exceptional/magical class like a klon or '70's Foxx tone machine (best fuzz pedal ever imo) or the old Intersound rack pq units. And as far as I'm concerned "nice" gear is useless to me. I will agree that of the amps I had it worked better with the Vox's than others, but better imo with the non-top boost one I had. I didn't own the Xits at the time or the '67 Plexi I have now actually, but did have the '63 AC30TB and '62 AC30 Non-TB and the majority of other amps I have now

The Klon is more colored, that's true, but in a great way, and part of it's magic. It's colored and transparent in all the right places imo. The '67 Plexi and '63 AC30 have such an organic, rich tone to them that really I felt most pedals except the klon and some vintage ones, just took away from it with those amps. They're more inherent filtered/pedal-like tone clashed for me too much with the amp's more organic sound. The klon was one of the few that didn't have that flaw and just came off more like an extension of the amp in both sound and feel, more like a good mod or higher gain setting was added to the amp. Just my opinions at the end of the day. We all hear things a little differently, but I can assure you I am very thorough with dialing in and testing gear. I spend hours every day with this stuff with few other hobbies. I will do things like test 2 of the same model pickup in the same guitar or do similar stuff with tubes, speakers, etc, just to be sure if they're the same or not, will test the same pickup in many different guitars with all different tone wood bodies. Point is I do my homework and at the end of the day just listen to what my ears tell me. I'm super nerdy about it

I do recall noticing what that user mentioned with regards to dialing it in, but really that wasn't a problem for me. The pedal just wasn't inherently as tonally complex or organic as my klon or vintage rack pq's or good vintage TS. It had a level of tone that to me was in line with other "nice" boutique pedals, but just not in that top tier class like a klon or the right vintage Tubescreamer. This really isn't though a knock against the Hot Cake in particular. The only non-vintage overdrive pedals I've kept that really to me have an organic, rich quality of tone, almost as good as vintage stuff or the klon has just been my Coppersound Broadway and Thorpy Heavy Water. I've been through over 140 boost type pedals. The majority of 'em got smoked by the klon. I've just kept the klon, Broadway, Thorpy Heavy Water and Protone Dino Cazares that I only use when I want a more tight, modern tone and so I don't use it that often. The Hot Cake would have a higher quality tone than that pedal, but of course completely different flavor
 
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Mark Skid

Well-known member
Trust me, there's no shortage of patience with my gear testing. I spent lots of time tweaking it to be where I wanted and it was actually a keeper for several months until other stuff came along. I didn't say it was bad pedal or even that I disliked it (I actually did enjoy it while I had it), but simply that it's not in the same league as the klon (although apples & oranges sound wise really) and other pedals as well as vintage rack PQ's I've got. My AB comparisons are always exhaustive and eventually found everything I enjoying about the Double Hot Cake to be outclassed by various other pedals and/or vintage rack PQ's I've had, so I sold it. Overall, a "nice" pedal to me, but not in the exceptional/magical class like a klon or '70's Foxx tone machine (best fuzz pedal ever imo) or the old Intersound rack pq units. And as far as I'm concerned "nice" gear is useless to me. I will agree that of the amps I had it worked better with the Vox's than others, but better imo with the non-top boost one I had. I didn't own the Xits at the time or the '67 Plexi I have now actually, but did have the '63 AC30TB and '62 AC30 Non-TB and the majority of other amps I have now

The Klon is more colored, that's true, but in a great way, and part of it's magic. It's colored and transparent in all the right places imo. The '67 Plexi and '63 AC30 have such an organic, rich tone to them that really I felt most pedals except the klon and some vintage ones, just took away from it with those amps. They're more inherent filtered/pedal-like tone clashed for me too much with the amp's more organic sound. The klon was one of the few that didn't have that flaw and just came off more like an extension of the amp in both sound and feel, more like a good mod or higher gain setting was added to the amp. Just my opinions at the end of the day. We all hear things a little differently, but I can assure you I am very thorough with dialing in and testing gear. I spend hours every day with this stuff with few other hobbies. I will do things like test 2 of the same model pickup in the same guitar or do similar stuff with tubes, speakers, etc, just to be sure if they're the same or not, will test the same pickup in many different guitars with all different tone wood bodies. Point is I do my homework and at the end of the day just listen to what my ears tell me. I'm super nerdy about it

I do recall noticing what that user mentioned with regards to dialing it in, but really that wasn't a problem for me. The pedal just wasn't inherently as tonally complex or organic as my klon or vintage rack pq's or good vintage TS. It had a level of tone that to me was in line with other "nice" boutique pedals, but just not in that top tier class like a klon or the right vintage Tubescreamer. This really isn't though a knock against the Hot Cake in particular. The only non-vintage overdrive pedals I've kept that really to me have an organic, rich quality of tone, almost as good as vintage stuff or the klon has just been my Coppersound Broadway and Thorpy Heavy Water. I've been through over 140 boost type pedals. The majority of 'em got smoked by the klon. I've just kept the klon, Broadway, Thorpy Heavy Water and Protone Dino Cazares that I only use when I want a more tight, modern tone and so I don't use it that often. The Hot Cake would have a higher quality tone than that pedal, but of course completely different flavor
I don't find the KLON complex, at all. At best, average.

True story...
The only reason the KLON Centaur is priced the way it is, is because some lunatic in France purchased a KLON that I posted on ebay for $1600.00 USD. Prior to this purchase, no KLON was priced higher than $450.00 USD. I raised the price to $1600.00, because I wasn't sure if I wanted to let it go? I figured no one would be stupid enough to pay $1600.00 for an overdrive pedal... I was wrong, obviously. Within 24 hours, every KLON on ebay repriced at $1600.00 USD and above. From there the elitist nut-swingers moved into action! Ridiculous handles like; magical, infinitely complex, transparent beyond belief, reigns supreme continue... Ugh!

In my world, those that reign supreme are: MXR Micro Amp, Ibanez TS808/TS9, Crowther Hot Cake, Dallas Rangemaster and the Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 module. I'm stuck in the 70's, obviously.

If there is a magic to the Crowther Hot Cake, it's the halo of distortion that surrounds the notes. This is especially useful for those of us who use the guitar volume pot for gain leveling. If I had to approximate Crowther (Double) Hot Cake distortion character and tone to a well-known recording...

 

braintheory

Well-known member
I don't find the KLON complex, at all. At best, average.

True story...
The only reason the KLON Centaur is priced the way it is, is because some lunatic in France purchased a KLON that I posted on ebay for $1600.00 USD. Prior to this purchase, no KLON was priced higher than $450.00 USD. I raised the price to $1600.00, because I wasn't sure if I wanted to let it go? I figured no one would be stupid enough to pay $1600.00 for an overdrive pedal... I was wrong, obviously. Within 24 hours, every KLON on ebay repriced at $1600.00 USD and above. From there the elitist nut-swingers moved into action! Ridiculous handles like; magical, infinitely complex, transparent beyond belief, reigns supreme continue... Ugh!

In my world, those that reign supreme are: MXR Micro Amp, Ibanez TS808/TS9, Crowther Hot Cake, Dallas Rangemaster and the Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 module. I'm stuck in the 70's, obviously.

If there is a magic to the Crowther Hot Cake, it's the halo of distortion that surrounds the notes. This is especially useful for those of us who use the guitar volume pot for gain leveling. If I had to approximate Crowther (Double) Hot Cake distortion character and tone to a well-known recording...

Well I guess we just hear things differently in this case. When I play the Klon, especially when playing more melodic leads with milky vibratos, I just hear more nuance, more going in each note, perhaps overtones to the notes, that no other pedals I’ve tried bring out in the same way. All the very best gear I’ve tried that really made an impact on me has had remarkable tonal complexity in this way: the Klon, Dumble, ‘60’s Alnico Blues, the best Hauser and Romanillos classical guitars. I had the ktr for a while and thought it was pretty good, but once I AB’ed it with an original silver Klon at a local guitar store, I listed my ktr on reverb that day and knew I had to save up for the real deal. It made my ktr sound brittle and flat. Like going from Tropicana to fresh squeezed oj. The guys at the store said they would sound the same and no need to compare, but once my friend and I both heard it we couldn’t ignore it. Definitely not the most transparent pedal though. Like I said before colored to me in all the right places and transparent where it should be. The way a great boost should be. 100% transparent isn’t necessarily ideal

I do like my tubescreamer and rangemaster pedals, so we can maybe agree there. My Broadway is based on the RM, but still it’s own thing in a way. Really great pedal and a good vintage TS is my 2nd favorite overdrive pedal to the Klon and in the same league to my ears. One of my friends who has great ears (also played with some big names) actually has had one vintage TS that he liked even a little more than his Klon and kept just the TS. I do hear the halo thing to the notes you mentioned in the hotcake, but I’ve had other pedals that had a similar thing going on (Klon definitely not one of them though), but all I can say is I did lots of AB comparisons and just felt it got outclassed by other stuff I had overall. Was a “nice” pedal to me, but not top notch

Everyone I’ve showed all my pedals too always tells me just keep the Klon and Foxx tone machine, maybe also the Russian big muff, and sell the rest, but as a nutty gear head I like to keep everything that does something unique to me. I actually really wanted to use other pedals here and there for my friend’s last re-amping on his album, but he was saying it’s pointless, the others didn’t sound anywhere near as good or sit as well in the mix (def agreed there) and another friend of mine literally bought a silver Klon like mine days later after hearing mine against his and my other pedals. I know admittedly very little about recording, but I can tell you in that context for his re-amping it was shining over all my other pedals even more pronounced than it was playing them in person. I really think even bad ears would’ve heard the difference. I paid $1550 for mine fwiw in 2018 and has since then sent way more than $1550 with other pedals I’ve had packing. Btw some of the comparisons where we were liking the Klon best were blind comparisons, but if we’re all just elitist nutswingers for liking it then so be it. At the end of the day I still play more often without boosts anyway, but when I do it’s been the one. I don’t think klons should sell anywhere near what they go for (even when I bought mine), but my ears can’t deny they sound exceptional and like most things in life you gotta pay that much more for what’s best vs almost as as good
 
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Mark Skid

Well-known member
I can dig it. You're an enthusiast. I'm a blue collar player who uses whatever works. I have a singular sound in my head which isn't tough to create. I want the least amount of gear I can possibly use. I did the gear exploration thing for a few months, and ended-up back where I started... Marshall, VOX and Ampeg. One amp that I should have kept was a blond Boogie Mark IIC+ (no EQ) 1x12 combo.
 

braintheory

Well-known member
I can dig it. You're an enthusiast. I'm a blue collar player who uses whatever works. I have a singular sound in my head which isn't tough to create. I want the least amount of gear I can possibly use. I did the gear exploration thing for a few months, and ended-up back where I started... Marshall, VOX and Ampeg. One amp that I should have kept was a blond Boogie Mark IIC+ (no EQ) 1x12 combo.
Yeah I’m kinda a nut case with this stuff haha. I’m always trying to find if there’s something that can outdo anything little thing I currently have. Hasn’t happened yet with the Klon, but maybe the gold version… (haven’t tried it)

I love lots of different sounds of all styles, hence 26 amps, 34 guitars, over 50 speakers, etc. I never get tired of it. Everything that’s a keeper for me has at least one thing it does that it’s unmatched in even if it’s super specific and terrible at anything else. No Swiss Army knife/do it all’s for me and absolutely NO “if ain’t broke don’t fix it” for me. Always try to see if I can improve something

Huge IIC+ fan myself! One of my faves and longest amps I’ve kept of everything I’ve had (had it for almost 8 years now)
 

Mark Skid

Well-known member
Yeah I’m kinda a nut case with this stuff haha. I’m always trying to find if there’s something that can outdo anything little thing I currently have. Hasn’t happened yet with the Klon, but maybe the gold version… (haven’t tried it)

I love lots of different sounds of all styles, hence 26 amps, 34 guitars, over 50 speakers, etc. I never get tired of it. Everything that’s a keeper for me has at least one thing it does that it’s unmatched in even if it’s super specific and terrible at anything else. No Swiss Army knife/do it all’s for me and absolutely NO “if ain’t broke don’t fix it” for me. Always try to see if I can improve something

Huge IIC+ fan myself! One of my faves and longest amps I’ve kept of everything I’ve had (had it for almost 8 years now)
I had the gold and silver klon at the same time. With the tone pots set equally, they sounded a bit different. A simple adjustment of either one, and they sounded identical. I attributed this to a variance in pot values. The gold (w/sword wielding centaur) looked cooler. The gold one was an early model with an extra resistor. What it was for, I don't know?
 
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