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

aNaLoG.MaN King of Tone (review)

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

  1. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    So this is an indirect way of saying that the KoT is not at all based on a BB?

    I have a feeling that if there is any response, it will be just as confuscious-esque as the last response.

    Uh...thanks for clearing things up:rolleyes:

  2. Steve McGinnis

    Steve McGinnis Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Main Pedal Jihad Guy

    love the phrase! I think that kind of sums it up...

  3. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    The chip - JRC4580D (that's ONE D)

    The diodes - 4 MA856 and 2 1S1588 (Matsu****a/Panasonic/Toshiba/etc.)

    Mike's background is in software engineering, hence his slant for using the odd semiconductor choices above. They're not available at your local Rat Shack, but they aren't completely unobtanium either. It helps if you can read websites in japanese...;)

    Put those in a GGG BB clone, cut 3 traces, wire up the dip switches, jumper a cap and resistor, change the value of 4 components, one additional cap and resistor, and a pot for the treble control...

    This will get you 1/2 of a KoT (V4) for under a C note. If you want to take a year to build this first half, that's up to you.:lol: If you need the other half, you've got another 12 months to burn. You can expand your Jim Weider collection with the bones you have left over.

    Aren't options great? Mike may speak in riddles, but he leaves a pretty decent trail of breadcrumbs for us cavemen.;)

  4. iim7v7im7

    iim7v7im7 Tele-Meister

    Apr 29, 2008
    New Jersey, USA
    So let me make sure that I follow you.

    Find two BB Pedals like the ones that Mike referenced for ~$225 for both (plus shipping). Buy the chips, diodes and gear you (you supply the price with shipping). Now invest your time to modify the units. Now purchase a 6" cable to put them in Series and two 9v connection cables. Now its time to find the extra room on your pedalboard that you will need.

    Personally, I'd rather use the time to play and wait for one from Mike OR just buy one on ebay.

    My $.02



    Why don't you do as you suggest and perform a head-to-head
    igor5 likes this.

  5. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ
    Exactly. This is the way the world works. I'm a home improvement contractor. I build a new kitchen for somebody, it's gonna' cost more than if they did it themselves. Will it be a "different" kitchen? Not by much. Will mine have better workmanship? Almost certainly. But I'm not doing anything that the homeowner themselves couldn't do if they wanted to. But the difference is my EXPERIENCE. And that I am doing it. I don't work for free.

    A contractor friend told me one time that a customer wanted a breakdown of labor & materials to the dollar. His answer was "5% Materials, 95% experience." If you want to get off on the cheap, do it yourself. Otherwise, knowledge, experience, labor, and overhead to run a business costs MONEY.

    Do you argue with Wal-Mart for charging $5.99 for a t-shirt they only paid $0.50 for, or that you could make for $2.50 if you did it yourself? Or do you BUY THE T-SHIRT?
    igor5 likes this.

  6. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

    Jan 21, 2007
    Cleveburg, USA
    11 gague is not suggesting you buy a real BB on ebay, he's suggesting you buy this (No affiliation):

    MBB Clone

    Or, actually, two of these... And then do the other mods.

    I for one think this is pretty interesting information.

    Notice that AnalogMike did not refute 11g's main contention (he did resort to some pretty hilarious name-calling, though). If 11 gague is wrong, why wouldn't he just come out and say it?

    There are a ton of valid reasons to buy a KoT, and tons of valid resons to bulid a couple of modded MBBs. Neither is right or wrong, but I for one appreciate knowing the truth (until and unless AnalogMike provides a different and equally convincing version)

  7. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    I guess that more elaboration is in order...

    As Mike himself has indicated, he and others are in a constant struggle to stay one step ahead of pedal hackers.

    It's easier to take an existing design and tweak it than it is to come up with a Klon Centaur, Blackstone Appliances Mosfet Overdrive, or Tech 21 SanSamp. The KoT is in a gray area, since the chip and diodes are new to the pedal, which Mike was clear about.

    So what's a boutique builder to do? Throw the hackers off the trail, release a little misinformation, be vague, use parts that haven't been used before (but aren't so different as to cause an adverse response).

    It became very clear to me yesterday that such are the reasons for Mike's nebulous responses regarding any connection to the Bluesbreaker.

    I'm just trying to offer information on what the KoT is, and how you can get at least a half of one in less than 24 months. I also attempted to explain early in this thread why it doesn't sound like a TS. I don't like long waits for gear, and figured there might be others. The BB (original ver. 1) is a great pedal, even in stock form, IMO. While the TL072 chip is anything but the latest craze, it's still my personal favorite.

    AM's offering is one option, and a very nice one. He's not a huckster, and he isn't ripping anyone off. If his behavior seemed odd, it's because he's got to protect his business.

    Unless you're building a pedal with tons of logic or components that like to misbehave, it really isn't rocket science. That isn't to say that it's not without it's hurdles though - hence the long wait for the KoT.

    There are also some current trends with boutique pedals - high end audio chips is one of them. The KoT uses one, lots of other guys are stuffing Burr Brown chips in TS variants, and there are ultra low noise chips out there, as well. It really depends on what direction you're coming from regarding the chip - some guys can't stand how sanitized some of the HEA chips sound. Another current trend - two pedals in one. Lotsa guys don't like a pedalboard that weighs more than a Twin Reverb. There is also a constant struggle to come up with different combinations of clipping diodes - since their switching current is fixed, you have to resort to different ones to get a threshold that you are happy with. Some builders are trying to eliminate diodes altogether, but this is also difficult for them, in many cases.

    If there wasn't a two year wait (or no one seemed to have a problem with it), or if the circuit was 100% unique (like the Klon Centaur), I probably wouldn't have thrown out another option. It certainly wouldn't hurt AM's business - he's good for at least the next 2 years. And Mike's indicated the contrary - the wait is getting longer.

    If my findings are inconvenient or unpleasant, I do apologize for that.

  8. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ

    Anyone know when the Maxon OD-820 was originally introduced? It's designed alot like a Klon. Actually, the VL Sparkle Drive is also similar with it's clean blend knob. I wonder when it was first introduced?

  9. sabby

    sabby Tele-Meister

    Jun 29, 2005
    Youngstown, Ohio
    Just curious: how many variations of the internal combustion engine are there and who are all the engine producers of today "ripping off"?

    No small part of engineering is design. I have a Mini Bi-Comp which is two cloned circuits in one pedal. But if you open that little marvel you see a sublimely designed pedal.

    Sure, the KoT may be based off of something that came before. Or maybe, as AM seems to suggest, it was based off of another pedal that eventually morphed into something that more closely resembles a Blues Breaker. Only Mike knows. The funny thing is that so many are so quick to dismiss the development -- not to mention its technically sublime design -- once they figured out what it resembles.

    It's like saying that {pick your favorite novel} is just as copy because it uses familiar plot structures and characters. How many time was story of Romeo and Juliet written? Are they all the quality of Shakespeare?

  10. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    No - anyone who's analyzed both circuits knows the facts.

    Even Mike pointed out the superior qualities of the Bluesbreaker, versus all other op amp designs. He also said that he used a new chip and diodes. He did not, and will likely never directly say that his design is based off the Bluesbreaker.

    Here is a schematic of each. There are some errors in the KoT schematic (it was reverse engineered), but it allows for one to decide for themselves if the KoT is or is not derived from a Bluesbreaker.

    Attached Files:

  11. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    Also - Mike mentioned the use of different chip and diodes - here's how they stack up w/BB vs. KoT:

    Bluesbreaker chip (TL072):

    gain bandwidth product - 4 MHz (typ.)
    distortion - .003% (typ.)
    slew rate - 13V/microsecond (typ.)

    KoT chip (JRC4580D):

    gain bandwidth product - 15 MHz (typ.)
    distortion - .0005% (typ.)
    slew rate - 5V/microsecond (typ.)

    What this means in layman's terms - the KoT chip is much lower distortion, i.e. it's not going to contribute to the pedal's overdrive characteristics as much as the BB's chip will. The chip is almost a necessity if the BB circuit is to be modified for clean boost purposes.

    Bluesbreaker diodes:

    2 1N148 clipping pairs in 2nd gain stage negative feedback loop

    1N148 forward current - 300 mA

    KoT diodes:

    2 MA856 clipping pairs in 2nd gain stage negative feedback loop

    MA856 forward current - 100 mA

    What this means in layman's terms - the clipping threshold for the KoT is much lower than the BB, i.e. the diodes switch on much faster. This allows for greater compression and softer clipping characteristics.

    Additional KoT diodes:

    2 1S1588 crossover distortion diodes placed parallel with BB tone circuit

    1S1588 forward current - 120 mA

    What this means in layman's terms - crossover distortion diodes were typically found in stompboxes and solid state amps in the 80's, such as the DOD Thrashmaster, American Metal, etc. They were used to provide an approximation of tube amp distortion. A low forward current is a necessity when used in this configuration. The standard diodes used by DOD, Crate, etc. were 1N34A germaniums, which have a slightly higher forward current.

    So, to summarize:

    It appears that the BB circuit was chosen for it's already very soft and light clipping. However, to make it work as a clean boost, a lower distortion chip was needed/desired. Hence the substitution of the JRC4580D. The higher fidelity chip almost in itself requires different clipping diodes - the switching rate of 1N148's will most likely sound buzzy with the chip swap. 1N34A germaniums would probably be adequate, but MA856's would be better. And to increase the soft clipping, the BB circuit would benefit from optional crossover distortion diode clipping, but very soft clipping is desired, so 1S1588's were chosen over 1N34A germaniums.

  12. Steve McGinnis

    Steve McGinnis Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 17, 2003
    Fort Worth, Texas

    Why? you've made your point many, many times...:rolleyes:

  13. Briggs

    Briggs TDPRI Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    I'm not sure anyone ever tried to actively stop people from buying any analogman product. I think "Pedal Jihad Guy" (Although I'd rather not be associated with any form of religious conflict, I'm an atheist ;-) ) is going a bit far, surely if it was a "Jihad" I would want to destroy you, I do not. I just post info that is open to the public on my blog. No hidden adjenda or "Jihad" or "Crusade", I believe those to be tools of the paranoid. As long as a few people see through all the "Smoke and Mirror" marketing that flys around the booteek industry these days, I'm happy. No one likes being sold a trout when they thought they were getting salmon, it leaves a muddy taste in your mouth.

    I have repeatedly said the KoT, direct from yourself, is a good deal - two ODs in one box with a fine build quality at a decent price. Your one problem is waiting time...

    Another point your post raises: That reverse engineering a pedal and posting the schematics does not impact (in a negative form) upon the sales figures of that pedal. So we can finally rid ourselves of that ridiculous argument for good.

    I've said it several times: A good pedal is a good pedal, it is worth more than a poor pedal and will hold it's value relative to that. The terms "good" and "poor" are subject to opinion and many factors that are outside the control of a singular human.

    Anyway, back to my Chips and Salmon...

    Or is it Trout?


  14. romo

    romo Tele-Meister

    Jan 13, 2008
    Toledo, Ohio
    I'm on the list for a KOT. Been there for maybe 6 a while to go :) I may not even get it when my name comes up however. I used to use a TIM as my overdrive but the last amp I bought (DR Z Carmen Ghia) pretty much eliminated my need for a pedal that adds drive. I still use the TIM as a clean boost, which it is fantastic at but I also have an RC booster on my board. The TIM can get just a little louder than the RC so I use both for different things. With a KOT however, I'm not sure I'll really need 4 clean boosters on my board :)

  15. Briggs

    Briggs TDPRI Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    OT Warning!

    Romo: How do you find the Carmen Ghia's tone control? I'm experimenting with different tone controls in a new build of mine and have been eying up the Carmen's. How do you find it reacts to changes in guitar/pickups?

  16. romo

    romo Tele-Meister

    Jan 13, 2008
    Toledo, Ohio
    I think its a great tone control. It offers a wide variety of tones...not just rolling off the treble. I find it is really easy to switch guitars with this amp. My tele sounds really big and fat but with plenty of twang at about 1:00 o'clock. Grab the Les Paul and roll the tone back to 11:00 o'clock or so and I've got that thick classic rock kind of LP tone. Despite looking so simple, the CG has a pretty diverse set of tones available. Good luck with your build!

  17. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    You're the "P.J.G."? I can't actually repeat it (see some of the TDPRI rules below), but I thought that Mike meant me.

    I suggest you don't mention it again, since it's breaking the rules. Mike did it three times, but he may get carte blanche, IDK. Maybe action was taken about his "colorful" remarks, but I doubt it.

    Either way, in the rules, it says to ignore attacks. Since you're new, I thought I'd reiterate it.


    When someone says something you don't agree with don't turn on them and attack them personally. Don't call people names.

    You cannot use the TDPRI to discuss your products, your pricing, your delivery schedule or anything pertaining to your commercial operation in posts on the TDPRI. Others may talk about your products... but you are prohibited from doing so.

    Some subjects cause nothing but trouble, so no posting about:
    1. Politics
    2. Religion
    3. Sex (including improper photos or videos)
    4. Drugs
    5. Smoking (laws, health or anything)

    Just FYI - it may seem okay since Mike did it, but it isn't.

  18. Briggs

    Briggs TDPRI Member

    Jul 24, 2008
    Oh, sorry guys. It was a simple explanation. No attacking going on.

    There are a few threads over at a certain forum, that will explain the point better here she is :cool: Searching around there will bring light onto the subject.

    Cheers, I'm looking forward to it :D

  19. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    IDK when the OD-820 was intro'd, but Bill Finnegan has stated for the record that it is nothing like a Centaur, and is actually (in his opinion) Maxon's attempt to lure buyers away by marketing it as such.

    I believe that the Sparkle Drive debut was in the later 90's. The SD is mainly a TS clone with the add'l feature of allowing you to blend the TS signal with a bypassed one.

    Pedals such as the Fulldrive, Sparkle Drive, and VS Jeckyl and Hyde were the beginning of a trend to use a standard OD circuit and add in switchable features. The two-in-one trend has gotten much more popular in the last few years.

    The Centaur is truly unique. It isn't based on any other pedal, at all. From analyzing the circuit, it appears that the intention was to split the signal into discrete circuit paths, where they could be optimized tonally, and gain-wise. It looks like Bill was targeting certain bandpassed frequencies to be clipped, and not others. A very crude analysis, but basically just trying to say that the Centaur is a unique one - not based on anything else at all.

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