Warm Audio Centavo review

With some of the world’s most revered and scarce effects pedals now fetching well into four-figure sums, from a player’s perspective it’s reassuring to see that pro audio specialists Warm Audio have turned their considerably well-honed ears to recreating some of the most coveted effects in the last few years. All without the wallet-busting price tags of the originals.

With a mantra of “look right, sound right” there’s no denying the inspiration for this pedal, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of decades.

Yes, the Centavo is of course the latest in a long line of Klon Centaur klones, but you have to say that in this instance even the pickiest of collectors would be hard-pushed to spot the difference between the two from even a few feet away. That’s not necessarily a bad thing of course – indeed, it’s a useful trait if you fancy taking that original Klon off your ‘board and rolling with something a little less ‘the price of a used car’ to play the Dog & Duck this weekend.

Looking the part is not what we’re here for though – beauty is skin deep, and while we appreciate the lustre of the gold finish, we appreciate even more the consideration to detail in recreating the original circuit down to the TL072 op-amps, internal charge pump and vintage-style diodes. The absence of Klon creator Bill Finnegan’s infamous circuit goop is also a bonus for future repairs if ever needed!

Opinions may vary on the need to replicate the sheer size of the original however, but the Centavo does also include a handy ‘Mod’ switch on the rear to offer a different low-end response and receives extra bonus points for the modern 2.5mm power jack.

Warm Audio Centavo review

In use

We dust off our original silver Klon and put the two side to side, putting both in true bypass loops in order to test the crucial buffer that forms a huge part of the Klon experience.

More often than not in this industry, most ‘new’ pedal releases aim to either capture or recreate the sound of something while looking a bit different. In that regard you have to respect Warm Audio’s tactic of unashamedly making the aim of this product very clear.

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ve got this far because you want to know one very simple question: does the Centavo sound like a real deal Klon for less than a 20th of the price of a used original? The short answer: yes.

Wait, come back! There’s a long answer too, and that is that the Centavo excels at all of the things that we love using our original Klon for. For many players, the Klon is an always-on warm, beautiful clean boost that can broadly be described as an ‘make everything sound better’ pedal. And the Centavo gets within a hair’s breadth of the beautifully sweet crystalline transparency of the original. Again, we should mention this is less than two hundred quid.

But the Klon circuit is about more than just clean boost – it’s also of course a great drive pedal. When playing at gig volumes, the Klon circuit delivers a hyped midrange and huge amount of weight and clarity to your tone, even when turned off thanks to the most musical buffer circuit we’ve ever heard.

Hitting a slightly overdriven amp as a lead boost, the Klon’s hard clipping voice is pretty much unsurpassable. Broader and more direct than a Tube Screamer or a simple clean boost, the high-headroom Klon has less compression than many may expect, but an accurate playing style is rewarded with a beautifully dynamic and colossal sounding lead tone.

So how does the Centavo handle this? Well it recreates it admirably at most settings – perhaps not as smooth or open as our original as we wind up the gain, but at many moments we’re struggling to tell the two apart sonically as we swap from Strats to Teles and our 335 into a range of Fender, Marshall and Vox amps.

Is this the ultimate mid-priced Klone? Well put it this way, we wouldn’t hesitate to leave the original at home and take this golden wonder out on the road instead.

Warm Audio Centavo

Key Features

  • PRICE £199
  • DESCRIPTION Overdrive pedal
  • CONTROLS Gain, Treble, Output, two-way Mod switch
  • FEATURES premium components, buffered bypass, powered by 9V power supply only (DC 2.1mm centre negative adaptor) 9V power supply only (DC 2.1mm centre negative adaptor), no battery
  • DIMENSIONS 6.75 x 5 x 2.25” / 17.1 x 12.7 x 6.3 cm
  • CONTACT Warm Audio

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