From Premier Guitar's Builder Profile on Klon's Bill Finnegan:
In 2008, he (Bill Finnegan) began working on a ground-up redesign that had to meet the following criteria: It had to be straightforward to build, so that any good contract manufacturing firm would be able to do the job easily and well. It had to be rugged and reliable. It had to be a design with no hookup wires whatsoever, and with a modular footswitch assembly so that faulty footswitches could be replaced in a few minutes. It had to be considerably smaller than the Centaur. Except for the all-important clipping diodes, it had to have surface-mount components, which take up less space on a board than traditional through-hole components. Finnegan also wanted to prove—to himself and to those who said it couldn’t be done—that, with careful component selection and smart board layout, he could design a successor that would sound exactly the same as the Centaur.
“This turned out to be quite a challenge,” Finnegan says. “My assistant, John Perotti, and I spent almost two years listening to different surface-mount capacitors in various places in the circuit before I felt this had been achieved.” Lastly, he wanted the new unit to be visually unique—a tall order, given that the unit would be housed in a standard enclosure.
The one new feature Finnegan wanted to incorporate was a switch that enabled the player to choose the buffered output of the original Centaur or a true-bypass output. “Without the buffer there is a very noticeable degradation of the signal due to the capacitance inherent in guitar cables,” says Finnegan, “but some people prefer it, so I wanted to provide that option in the new unit.” He quickly adds, “My good friend Paul Cochrane—of Tim and Timmy [pedals] fame—was the guy who designed the switching circuitry, so a tip of the hat to Paul.”
It took a long, long time to finish the KTR. And though Finnegan says it was much more difficult than he expected, he feels it has achieved all of his design objectives. “It sounds the same as the Centaur, takes up considerably less space on a pedalboard, is less expensive, and it’s distinctive aesthetically—it’s got the Klon thing going on.” He laughs, “Whatever the Klon thing is.”
Authentic Klon tone from the original designer of the legendary Klon now available without having to take out a small loan!