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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

aNaLoG.MaN King of Tone (review)

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by the guy who invented fire, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ
    Saying the KOT = MBB is like saying most of the ODs out there = TS.

    So all we need in life is a MBB & a TS to have all the OD bases covered huh?

    Don't think so. Yes, alot of products are based on alot of other products, but they are generally "better mousetraps." I don't think anyone will argue Mike built a "better Bluesbreaker" or Fuller built a "better Tubescreamer." Just because they started with another design doesn't invalidate the improvements/additions they made.

    I don't know why everybody loves JTM45s so much... all it is is a Bassman copy... :rolleyes:
     

  2. Durtdog

    Durtdog Poster Extraordinaire

    May 19, 2004
    Tennessee
    Yeah, but it doesn't take 2 years on a waiting list and 2 or 3x the dollars to get one. Some people are ok with that, I'm not.
     

  3. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Sep 19, 2005
    Vermont

    Agreed. I found it informative too. What we really have here is a little "thread sheparding." That's cool. It's good to care, and to be positive.
     

  4. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    No, it certainly doesn't invalidate their contributions to the foundational design. On the contrary. We can't reinvent the wheel, but we can make it roll better.:p

    My "gripe" (for lack of a better term) is that the marketing for many of these pedals is that it's something completely different from anything that's out there, when it's really resting firmly on the shoulders of a previous design. I understand that these guys want their pedals to stand out, but they don't have to dismiss the roots of the original design to do so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with paying homage to good designs. And a well tweaked clone by any name will be loved and sought out by guitarists.

    Pedal builders are in a semi-unique advantageous position where you can't tell the true nature of their wares due to the fact that the answers lie within that little box. Guitar clones, tweed clones, Marshall clones, even replacement pickups usually have visual clues galore.

    I certainly won't argue that Mike built a better MBB, that Fuller built a better TS (actually, his design borrows much more from the Boss SD-1), that Fuller built a better Voodoo Labs Overdrive. But have you heard them state this? Why do you think they haven't?
     

  5. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ
    Whoops... SD-1... right...I knew that. Forgot. :p

    I guess the same reason Marshall never called the JTM45 an "upgraded Bassman"... just marketing. Marketing runs product sales. And Mike & Fuller certainly don't have a patent on "creative marketing".

    Don't get me wrong, I hear what you're saying. I waited 2 years for a KOT, and I think it's great, but I rarely use it... I'm just moving away from pedal overdrives. But of the scores of ODs I've tried, I do think it's one of the best. And I can say the 2 years was "worth the wait", but I can also say I would never wait 2 years for anything again. It just doesn't matter that much. (what I mean is, nothing matters enough to wait 2 years for it). But hey- if someone wants one of the best 2-channel ODs out there, I can wholeheartedly say "it's worth the wait", or "it's worth whatever inflated price you're willing to pay on ebay." Same logic applies to the Klon- talk about over-hyped... original design or not, uber-over-hyped. NOTHING is THAT good. Nothing.


    This whole argument of "I don't like the way they market their product" reminds me of the "I don't like the music that station plays" argument. Don't try to make the station change, change the station.
     

  6. Spidercaster

    Spidercaster Tele-Afflicted

    May 11, 2005
    New York
    I was disucssing this thread with a friend of mine and he pointed out that a lot of Mike's pedals are based on other pedals. He makes it very clear on his website that the Beano Boost is based on a Dallas Rangemaster - he has compressors based on an old Ross Comp, another based on a DA Orange Squeezer. I know Mike, and although I've never asked him about this, I would assume, if the KOT was derieved from a BB, he would have said so right from the beginning.
     

  7. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    In most cases, I would agree with you.

    In this specific case, the marketing tends to throw off prospective buyers, or even try to conceal some facts. Nothing illegal, but definitely requires a moral gut check before committing to such marketing. Obviously, AM, Fuller, et al either have no qualms, or got past them. But this is a change of tact, since other pedals were clearly marketed as clones - the Sun Face, '69, '70, SoulBender, etc. Maybe it only applies to fuzzes:?:

    If someone took an '08 Mustang GT (MSRP 26K), took off the body, put their own on, added a few more features, and charged $162,500 for it, would you just "change the station" without blinking? Would you at least take pause? FWIW, a used BB on eBay usually fetches about $80. A GGG clone is about the same once you add in shipping and the time to assemble one. A KoT on eBay will typically cost you $500 or more...

    Despite all of these pedals being either pretty good or really good, I still think that David Hannum (NOT P.T. Barnum) really got it right, concerning marketing, customers, et al.
     

  8. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    Well, then THERE's the challenge - find us a quote or other proof that Mike has clearly divulged such info, easily accessed by any potential customer, and that will basically put this conundrum to bed!
     

  9. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ

    Yes, yes I would... by not buying it. That's all. I wouldn't climb the nearest sopabox to deride his business priciples, I would simply not give him my business. However, people want what they want, and they'll pay what they're willing to pay, and they'll wait. Music gear is BASED on this principle. If the world was "your way", Matchless & Badcat (along with MANY other boutique builders) would have been out of business a long time ago... for copying the venerable Vox AC30. I don't see where it matters or not if Matchless & Badcat ADMIT to the AC30 being the "inspiration" or not. People like, want, are willing to wait for, and are willing to PAY$$$ for Badcats & Matchless. They couldn't give a hang whether it's simply an "upgraded AC30" or not. Way of the world.
     

  10. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    Please elaborate on what you mean by "my way"?

    Matchless, Bad Cat, Z, Allen, Metro Amps, Victoria, etc. etc. are all quite clear concerning their inspirations. And that's done "their way." I like "their way." I like Analogman's way too, when I don't feel like I'm getting the ol' bait and switch.

    I would appreciate an explanation of how providing some facts is climbing a soapbox or deriding principles. I would suggest that it's healthy debate, and something that should be asked, that at least some folks should be curious about. It isn't written anywhere that being a passive consumer is appropriate or best.

    Your "pay and wait" modus operandi for the average musician is presumptive at best, I'm sorry to say. And even if it did apply at one time, I'm not so sure it does any more. Why else the surprised replies from musicians right here that it isn't the only road to take?

    You're absolutely right - the average Joe doesn't really give a toss if his Cornford is a total lift of some other design. Heck - for what some folks are willing to pony up, I'd expect some of them want a dead-on clone!

    But basic economics 101 - a consumer is always looking for a good deal. Notice I didn't say a low price. But a good deal is a combination of things, and more often than not does not include the passive "pay and wait" shopping strategy.

    It's the 21st century - you can get handcrafted goods from halfway around the world in a week or less, check inventory globally, get in touch with folks who will build you something in a timely fashion, or customize it your way. "Pay and wait" may still prevail to some degree today, but I wouldn't invest in companies that are banking on it.

    The reason that I brought this up in the first place is that I've come across a few KoT owners who are relatively shocked that their pedal isn't a unique design. It's seems that they give a toss - especially after waiting 700+ days. It might just be a handy thing to know up front, wouldn't it?
     

  11. Spidercaster

    Spidercaster Tele-Afflicted

    May 11, 2005
    New York
    One point regarding "pay and wait" - I've ordered a KOT, a Timmy and a Zen Drive, and had to wait for all of them, but none of them required payment until the pedal was ready to be shipped. I was going to order a Klon, and he required payment up front. I didn't order it.

    If I may throw another thought out there - Mike's website tells the story of how the KOT came to be. Again, bringing up the point that he also details the original pedals his others are based on, it seems strange that he wouldn't do the same with the KOT if it were based on the BB. (Which leads me to think it isn't)

    There's a year wait for his mini-bicomp, but I've never seen a thread about people saying "all it is a ________ with some mods". It almost seems like this is "the second gunman in the grassy knoll" of effects pedals. :lol:
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2008

  12. Briggs

    Briggs TDPRI Member

    34
    Jul 24, 2008
    England
    The schematic presented upon my blog is taken from an actual reverse engineered KOT - It has been verified by several KOT owners (Who are pretty well versed in stompbox construction)... As you can see it is based well and truly upon the old Marshall BB. It's a great sounding stompbox, you get two in one box and the build quality is good, nuff said...

    As many have said themselves in this thread - the only problem I have with many of these boxes is the "smoke and mirrors" advertising and the incessent "Gooping" of stompbox circuits which makes self service/modification and repair impossible - one of the main factors I would look for in a stompbox (Living in the UK there would be no way I would buy, say, a lovepedal to have it break down and have to ship it back just for a simple repair I could have done in 15mins myself had it's circuit board not been covered in black epoxy!)
     

  13. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l

    I don't understand it, either. Almost all of them (Fuller, AM, PE, WH) were up front for the longest time, but something has changed.

    Mike is very clear to state that the KoT is an alternative to the 808 tone, that it's nothing like a TS, it was built to complement a TS, etc. He's also very clear about his modded BD-2 and how it sounds nothing like a TS - maybe there was too much overlap there, and he didn't want to "devalue the king" by revealing it's origins? Just a wild guess...

    I think that both Fuller and AM clearly know that in order for your new designs to stand out, they can't be equated with a pedal that has no current buzz going on. If the OCD was marketed as a "Voodoo Labs Overdrive on steroids," it may have died out early on. Instead, we got this:

    "PEDALS (until now) just can't hold a candle to what a good amp can do if you are really picky. You not only lose all the touch sensitivity, but forget about those complex Harmonics. (For me) It's always been somewhat of a compromise using Overdrive pedals... until now. Ladies and Gentleman, I am proud to introduce the Fulltone OCD. I made this pedal for me, but I think you might like it too.."

    So, he made it for himself? Until now? What about Voodoo Labs? By adding a pair of mosfets as clippers and a LPF/HPF tone control, he converted a 10+ year old design into a tube amp in a box?

    Part of the problem seems to be that the new breed are based on designs that haven't achieved mythological status. Folks have played around with a BB, a VLO, numerous TS clones, etc. but if it isn't an 808, a Fuzz Face, a Rangemaster, a Ross compressor, etc. - it isn't legendary. Why be tied to a pedal with a tepid history? Just make no mention of it at all!
     

  14. Spidercaster

    Spidercaster Tele-Afflicted

    May 11, 2005
    New York
    Hi Briggs - Welcome to the TDPRI!!!

    11 Guage - Interesting point about the "mythological status". Do you think these discussions (KOT/BB) are, or will push the original BB's into that category?

    I just checked Ebay and TGP and didn't find any for sale. There are a few "New" ones, but I have read that they don't compare to the originals.
    Would the original BB be considered a rare pedal at this point? I don't know anything about them, or for how long they were made. When did they stop making them?
     

  15. iim7v7im7

    iim7v7im7 Tele-Meister

    216
    Apr 29, 2008
    New Jersey, USA
    Hi,

    It's funny, I don't mind this conversation at all. I own one of the pedals and love it. The fact that its based on a Marshall Blues Breaker Pedal Circuit doesn't de-value it in my mind. I think I had heard this before I purchased one.

    I suppose I felt I was paying for craftsmenship, component tweaking to package product in a convenient format. It would be nice to hear a head-to-head comparison. Is my Valley Arts Guitar original?

    [​IMG]

    Of course not. Its and Tele-Strat-o-Paul. Its beautifully made and sounds great. I guess I have always assumed that most items were evolutionary and not reveolutonary. Marketing is using the later.

    I still use my tubescreamer when I want a more midrangey thing. But the KoT is really is a great OD pedal and boost (my favorite). It is also a fair value at its current price IMO.

    I would love to see a head to head with the original.

    My $.02,

    Bob
     

  16. Briggs

    Briggs TDPRI Member

    34
    Jul 24, 2008
    England
    Helllooo there, I believe it was late eightys - early nineties. I have a shredmaster, I bought it for £20 used around 4-5 years ago. Sounds like a RAT on steriods, sounded even better with a few mods to tighten the bass responce. I also got a few colorsound wahs for £25! I wish the pedal world was the same as 5 years ago!

    EDIT: A well made box is a well made box, that's the end of it. Market demand sets the asking price...
     

  17. Steve McGinnis

    Steve McGinnis Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Worth, Texas
    So now Ebay silliness is Mike's fault too?

     

  18. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    eBay silliness is not anyone's fault, but it does have a very REAL affect regarding supply and demand, that is amplified when a vendor gets backed up.

    If AM is backed up for 24 months with KoT orders, it would be ridiculous to think that ones on eBay would be the same price as ones direct from AM.

    This gets worse when a boutiquer folds, like WHE did. I'm actually glad to hear that they're back in business.

    To consider Mike a huckster is quite a leap - I don't know how you got to that conclusion. Too many cause-and-effect ripples by the time something gets to eBay, CraigsList, what have you.

    Bottom line - if I wanted a BB or KoT in a reasonable amount of time (i.e. via eBay), those are the realio dealio prices - I just checked today!

    Once again - we now live in a world where "pay and wait" is not the only way.

    Allow me to reiterate my bottom line - Not every guitarist is in a situation to pay and wait for a KoT, but many would like to have something similar, if possible. It is possible. Buy a couple of BB clones and have someone put them in one box, and add AM's handful of changes.

    For those of you who can wait or can score the real deal off of eBay or elsewhere - fantastic!

    There's more than one option, here.
     

  19. analogmike

    analogmike Tele-Meister

    229
    May 9, 2003
    Connecticut, USA
    This is pretty funny. I never gooped the circuit and I never said what it was based on (and still won't, though it's a funny story), just that it was not a tubescreamer clone. That gave me some time to get them going before all the Kopycats made similar pedals.

    Ebay Item number: 110270051795 and 260263746473 are the only two recent completed BBs and sold for over $100. I have seen original BBs for a lot more that that. And of course one of those won't sound or work like the KoT anyway... Someone should arrest me for charging $235 for the KoT (which you can sell on ebay for $400 if you don't like it).

    Nobody has said the KoT doesn't sound great, the main pedal jihad guy in this thread who is trying to save all you clueless people from buying this ripoff even claimed it had unique features and sounded great, that the BB is a much better platform than a TS or OS250.

    When the pedal pirates posted the great news, my waiting list continued to grow from 1.5 years to close to two years. So I guess they didn't accomplish what they wanted. But maybe they learned a thing or two about getting good tone, and about a chip and diodes that no other builder had ever used in an OD box. Or someone else must have, as I'm just a cloner.

    Have fun and make music!

    - Huckster

    ps. you really want to hate analogman?
    Yesterday I went to Rumble Street Music with Jim Weider and he brought home a GIBSON guitar!!! And we played a '59 Burst and both fell in love...
     

  20. Spidercaster

    Spidercaster Tele-Afflicted

    May 11, 2005
    New York
    Thanks for chiming in Mike!
     

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