1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Klon vs. Klone: a good comparison

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by RadioFM74, Apr 18, 2020.

Tags:
  1. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,967
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
  2. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    29
    Posts:
    7,755
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2019
    Location:
    Land of Mary
    I wonder if the originals were epoxied because the circuit was so special or if someone would look at it and go “dang! That’s it?, that’s simple”
     
    Asmith and JDawg0427 like this.
  3. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,235
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    E. Tennessee, USA
    I thought it an interesting review. I have the NUX Horseman and like it.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  4. Stratohacker

    Stratohacker Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,515
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Location:
    California
    The article talked about this - he was attempting to prevent copying/disclosure of the circuitry.
    "Original Klons tried to maintain circuit secrecy with a coat of black epoxy. It didn’t work. The schematic is widely available. Copyright law doesn’t protect circuits, so the schematic is free for the cloning. On the other hand, copyright law says you can’t mimic a product’s “trade dress”—the visual appearance that identifies it to consumers. But that hasn’t prevented klones from paying “tribute” to the original’s gold/bronze enclosure, dark red knobs, and centaur sketch."

    I think there are some really good options out there - I enjoyed the article in PG.

    Mick and Dan did some comparisons a few years back.


     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
    Fretting out and El Tele Lobo like this.
  5. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,919
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio (Nerk)
    The hype became (and has remained) Insane.

    In this age of clone pedals, klonez come in more diverse flavors for much less $$$.

    I run a soul food. I'm an EHX fan. If mike Matthews called me right now and told me to get a tattoo of thier logo on my butt cheek, I'd do it.
    But the soul food isn't as good a clean boost as a real Klon. It's got more kinds if dirty in it that a real one. Other Klones are also awesome. The Han-Ton sounded great. Samplers was good. The $20 Chinese ones weren't that bad.

    It's a simple circuit, crucial In the evolution of OD pedals. But theres no more reason to "need" an original Klon than a green Russian muff or vintage silicone fuzz face. Recreations exist for way less, why buy a museum piece if you want to play it?
     
  6. mugen74

    mugen74 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    648
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio
    I remember when I first heard of the pedal. Listened to it online, didn’t understand the big deal. I’ve tried a few clones to see if I would understand in real life. Didn’t like any of them. Thought they were overpriced boost pedals. Maybe that’s what a Klon is and I still don’t get it.

    Ordered a Tumnus last week. Didn’t realize it was supposed to be a clone until it was on its way. Regretted ordering it. It got here and I loved it, but it also sounds nothing like the other clones I’ve tried. In the end I decided to send it back because I realized it was $100 more than my SD1, but not 100 times better.

    jh
     
    8trackmind and stnmtthw like this.
  7. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,459
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I have the EHX Soul Food. I’ve been puzzled by the claims of “transparency” - it behaves nothing like a real tube amp as you adjust input level. By the time the overdrive is significant, it imposes a whole lotta midrange boost, the dual circuit path notwithstanding. And that’s a LOT of color. It hasn’t replaced my stock Tube Screamer as the one OD pedal I can use darn near anywhere.

    I tend to use the Soul Food mainly to “warm up” low volume Telecaster in some settings. I wouldn’t recommend it as a general purpose OD, if that is the goal.
     
    SPUDCASTER and RadioFM74 like this.
  8. stnmtthw

    stnmtthw Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,521
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2012
    Location:
    New Mexico
    I had the Archer version and sold it. It just didn't sound good through my AC15- gave it a harsh, nasally quality that I didn't like. I think due to the midrange boost that @bradpdx mentioned above. I could see how that might sound good through a scooped amp, though.
     
  9. L.A. Mike

    L.A. Mike Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2014
    Location:
    somewhere over a rainbow (Ex-L.A. resident)
    I have an Original Klon I bought from Bill back in the late 90s.
    That was when Bill wanted to talk to the buyers before he'd sell you one. He wanted to make sure it was what you really wanted/needed.
    Some people get put off by that, but I think it was a great idea. Why get a bad reputation because someone bought the wrong pedal for the job and then complained that it wasn't any good.
    I bought a couple of Klon Ktr's when they came out. I use them when I perform live. They sound the same as the original, IF you adjust them by ear. If you set the knobs visually, in the same spot on both pedals, you may hear a difference. Lots of people bashed Bill over that because they don't understand parts tolerances can affect the sound of a pedal.
    I quit using the Klon Centaur when playing live after a bouncer took it while we were having dinner before the gig. We'd set up our stuff and left for 1/2 hour, came back and "what the hell? Where's my pedal?"
    Fortunately a nice bartender lady told me she saw him take it. The bouncer and I had a not so nice discussion and after a few too many threats came from him, some involving amputation of my body parts and relocating them in the wrong places on my body, I suggested we settle it the old fashioned way, with some Police Intervention. That's when he remembered where he had put the pedal (trunk of his car) claiming it was a safer place for it. Sure, whatever you say Bro.
    I try to not buy "clones", especially those items where the seller is claiming that IT IS a clone, they've copied the design and "it's sounds exactly the same" or "beIter than the original". I'm not a fan of a couple of Klon cloners, mainly because of the unprofessional comments they've made about Bill.
    Two that come to mind are Rockett and Ceriatone. Both have posted mean things on the internet and said unfair things about him in magazine articles.
    Bill's comments regarding cloners are perfect:

    What does the future hold for Klon?
    I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. Part of me wants to work on design ideas I have—finish those designs to my satisfaction—and then make the resulting products available. The other side of me wants to either refrain from working on those ideas or work on them, finish them to my satisfaction, and then not put the resulting products out. As you may or may not know, many unscrupulous people have expropriated my hard work on the Centaur and KTR circuits and are selling pedals that incorporate my circuit—and in at least some cases, they’re making a lot of money. And apparently there is nothing I can do about this from a legal standpoint.
    So my feeling is this: If any new product I come out with will be ripped off immediately after its release, and if unscrupulous people will again be making money off of my work, and if on top of that Klon’s reputation and my own personal reputation will be at risk every time someone decides to put out his own version of one of my designs, then where is my incentive to release anything new at all? Over the past few years, I’ve talked with a number of other pedal designers about this stuff—good people who design their own circuits, and whose circuits have also been ripped off—and we all agree there is now an enormous disincentive for any of us to create and release new products.
    From what I understand, a lot of the people posting on various online forums seem to feel that it’s a wonderful thing for the pedal consumer to have more choices—how could that be bad? Here’s how it could be bad: Maybe talented pedal designers—originators—will simply stop designing pedals and take their talents elsewhere to apply them to the design of other classes of products that can’t be ripped off quite so easily.
    https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/20210-builder-profile-klons-bill-finnegan?page=1
     
    El Tele Lobo and RadioFM74 like this.
  10. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,967
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2015
    Location:
    Italy and Switzerland
    Hi @L.A. Mike I certainly see your point and did not want to start an argument about whether and under what conditions cloning and taking inspiration from others’ designs is ethical.

    On to the comments about Klon-type pedals. I have a humble Soul Food, and I realized that it excels at three applications:
    - as a clean boost… but I always wondered, especially considering expensive Klons, if you want a clean boost why not just get one? I have a TC Electronics Spark Plug mini which does the trick equally well with very little expense and complications
    - at very low Gain settings (9-10 o’clock), as a “dirty” boost in front of a cranked amp or another pedal. In this application (≈ a Tubescreamer application) the SF is fantastic and probably the best of the pedals I tried. It shelves just the right amount of bass frequencies, and bumps mids by just the right amount, to my ears. It’s close to the TS, but unless I want heaps of mids I find the sound better, more balanced
    - at low Gain settings it can be a nice “sweetener” into a clean amp, especially if you’re using a strat or tele into a Blackface… I have no idea whether he used a Klon for this, but my reference sound for what I’m saying is John Mayer on Paper Doll or Rosie

    Anything above 11.30 o’clock on the gain dial I don’t like. And for full disclosure, the Soul Food is off the board right now. As far as gain pedals are concerned, I use: mild OD (for breakup tones and to slam into) --> OD2 (a higher gain affair, right now Zen clone) and finally an end-of-chain boost. The SF could be
    - the end-of-chain boost (but I prefer a small dedicated boost for that), or
    - the first OD (but it does not work as well as a Bluesbreaker for me as standalone “crunch”)

    But I still thought that the article would be interesting to share ;D
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  11. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,345
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    I love that it has that foot switchable Silver option, too.
     
    stormsedge likes this.
  12. stormsedge

    stormsedge Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,235
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2012
    Location:
    E. Tennessee, USA
    Yes, a definite two-fer. Makes me feel like I have one of those fancy two OD boxes and $200 in my pocket ;).
     
  13. nobis17

    nobis17 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    316
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2020
    Location:
    New England
    I've never played an actual klon. But I have heard plenty of YouTube videos of it. I use a RYRA Klone, which is advertised as a honest copy, I love it. The sound is perfect.
     
  14. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,345
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    This is precisely why I want to get a real KTR one day. I did a thread on it awhile back and some agreed with me and I think a few (maybe more than a few) thought I was nuts. I tried a few cheap clones to see if I liked the circuit and to get me through some lean times, but when I'm working again I'd rather buy one from Bill. He did the original work and deserves my business for that. He's also had his work ripped off too. And this gets into an ethical mess. Where do we draw the line? Most of my guitars are homemade tele clones. But it's not to stick it to Fender or cash in on their design. I just couldn't find production guitars they made that had the specs I prefer. I also am on a budget and can only get those guitars, with those specs (and especially a), if I build/assemble them myself. And of course, the tele's modular design lends itself to this. I can't build a Klon clone. If I could/did, I would just use it for myself...I wouldn't profiteer off his work.

    Now some will argue clones put this design at more price points so more people can enjoy it. But I think that, at the least, there should be a patent/copyright period, if nothing else, for circuit designers, so that, say, the Klon could make Bill money to recoup his design and being first to market with it for a set period, before allowing others to come in and copy it and lower the price point with their own copies and/or improvements on his design.

    Some would further argue that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...

    Sadly, we live in a time when original ideas (and the work behind them) and, especially, compensation for those ideas, is not treasured. I remember when ripping tapes/CDs (and later downloading) of music was first happening. At the time, dirt poor and wanting to turn on to bands, I thought it was great. Today, I don't think so. I think it was stealing. And it's made it that much more difficult for artists to make money off their music today. And I think cloning is stealing too, effectively. Although I wonder in this situation. How long did Bill have exclusive claim to the design before copies started happening? Was the whole reason because so many were priced out of it? I don't think that justifies doing it, but that is a consideration for some.

    I would have rather seen people say, "I really like your Klon design, but many people can't afford it. I'd like to make a lower-priced version and pay you a license fee for use of your design." Or just have people improve upon that design...but still license what they use of it. It would be more fair. It's so hard. Like the blues and rock n roll, so much is borrowed and copied in the pedal world. On the one hand, some get left behind, while others benefit from repackaging others' work, improving upon it or having better market timing with it.

    I'm not trying to judge anyone here...indeed, as owner of a Nux Horseman (and before that a Mosky Golden Horse), I'm effectively guilty of the stealing I talked about. But it bothers me...and I'm glad...it SHOULD. And when I'm a little more flush, I want to make it right by buying one of Bill's KTRs ("overpriced" or not). YMMV.
     
  15. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,338
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2020
    Location:
    Heart of Illinois
    I don’t get it, for the money the originals are selling for these days, I’d much rather buy a really good amp or guitar. My argument is that if you are in the audience listening to a live band, I don’t believe there is any way you could tell if the guitarist was using a real Klon, or one of the many K-clones that are readily available in today’s market. YMMV.
     
  16. RhythmFender

    RhythmFender Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    380
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2020
    Location:
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    I’ve never played an original, but I have a gold j rockett archer ikon and it is super slick. Really great pedal and supposed to sound pretty close to the same.
     
  17. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    36,846
    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Wisco
    Sometimes I think they sound great and at other times I think they sound basically like a trebly TS

    I totally believe that the Klones get close enough that to differentiate is mostly cork sniffing, and, you add a band into the mix and any audibly perceptible difference goes pretty much right out the window
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
    Blue Bill, bradpdx and RhythmFender like this.
  18. bradpdx

    bradpdx Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,459
    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2006
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    This is a tricky area of intellectual property and marketing. Bill chose a particular path, but many others were possible.

    I got the EHX Soul Food out of curiosity. I'd read over the original Klon schematics, and so knew what it was trying to do - I just wanted to see how well that worked in practice, because I wasn't sold on the concept.

    The Soul Food is nearly identical with respect to circuit design, and I'm not enough of a cork-sniffer when it comes to analog electronics to care about any small differences - my years of experience in circuit design have taught me that. This would be "close enough" for me to vet the concept.

    I'm glad I tried it, because I don't care for it all that much and would have felt worse had I just paid many hundreds of dollars for it.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  19. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,832
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I have several Klones, but no Klon. They all sound indistinguishable from another using the Rockett as my baseline. There is nothing special about the circuit other than the fact that it got notoriety from celebrity use, then became unavailable. That's what guitar players love: something that is no longer available or something that is not released yet.
     
    JuneauMike and tah1962 like this.
  20. Shango66

    Shango66 Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,459
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Location:
    Australia
    I like the ehx SF so when I could get a ktr, I did.
    The ehx is good w the dials at noon. Kinda gets honky if you go past there. The KTR is great across the range.
    I tend to do this with pedals. Dip my toe in with a clone and if I like it , shell out for the real deal.
     
    RadioFM74 likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.