Tuesday, July 26, 2022

There's Something About Centaur Three: Newest Addition

One more pedal earns it's Kali stamp of approval, and once again it's a Klon Centaur clone. Well, to be more accurate this one is a Centura clone. Since I built the first two Centaur clones I've continued looking for options just to see how, if at all, different they may sound. I understand differences could be contributed to components, but knowing that is part of the fun in building guitar pedals. While searching for different Centaur layouts I ran across a clone of the Ceriatone Centura board on Amazon, so I figured why not? As with all of the projects I'm excited to get finished I lagged quite a bit, so this project took a few weeks for me to put together, and even beyond that a few more to get wired up and finalized.

I purchased another 1590XX (aka 1790NS) enclosure and drilled it as closely as I possibly could to the original I had built. I do have the intention of painting this enclosure, but that's not really a priority. When all was said and done there was still precious little room to fit the board inside, but it did fit. Only just! On initial testing with the little practice amp the only difference I could determine between this and the one I built from scratch was that the clipping diodes seemed to kick in with the gain knob just barely turned up, as where the from scratch build starts somewhere between 10 and 11 o'clock. I did socket the 1n270 diodes on this build as I really do want to see if there is any difference once I can find an authentic pair of 1n34a diodes.

Once the new pedal reached the Kali testing phase something interesting happened. I didn't want to dirty the test so I plugged each pedal in on its own and did a basic A/B comparison by plugging and unplugging them as quickly as I could. I set both pedals with the treble at noon and the output just a tiny bit above 9 o'clock, which feels to be unity for both pedals. From there I would fiddle with the gain to see where the clipping kicked in and what the maximum distortion sounded like. The first observation was that the new pedals clipping does kick in a bit earlier, but through a genuine tube amp it's now around 10 to 10:30. Secondly I found out that this pedal has bass! Neither the kit, nor the one I built from scratch seemed to have any bass with the treble set at noon, but this one does have a kick to it. Otherwise everything seems to be just about the exact same, which is good.

I'm enjoying that all three pedals are essentially the same, but each have their own personality. I have an even greater respect for Bill Finnegan for painstakingly keeping the Klon Centaurs he built as close as he possibly could. Personally I enjoy building a pedal and knowing it has its own thing. Clearly I want my creation to sound close to what I was originally aiming for, but through using a mixture of pre-aged and new components they have a personality all their own. As you can see in the photo above my clone family is quite happy, and growing. I know I don't need hundreds of the things, but I'm having fun. Oh, what's the smaller one on the right, you ask? Well, that's for another day my friend, that one isn't done yet. Stay tuned...