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Warm Audio is well known for its faithful recreations of classic analog gear, with dozens of microphones, preamps, compressors, EQs and effects pedals in its portfolio. The company’s latest stompboxes, the Centavo ($179) and Warmdrive ($149), continue that tradition, bringing updated recreations of two beloved distortion effects to the market.
The Centavo is based on the legendary Klon Centaur overdrive, while the Warmdrive replicates the beloved Hermida Zendrive “amp-in-a-box” pedal. Both products are carefully crafted with premium components and extreme attention to detail to maintain the sound and soul of the originals. Best of all, Warm Audio is able to offer these boutique effects at realistic prices so you won’t have to take out a loan to secure one of these highly sought-after pedals.
The Klon Centaur is one of those almost mythical pedals that has cemented its place in history thanks to well-known players like Jeff Beck, Nels Cline and John Mayer. Many companies have tried to reproduce its circuit and achieve the transparent, amp-like overdrive it’s known for, and Warm Audio is uniquely suited to take on the challenge. The result is a pedal that’s every bit as magical as the original and great for dialing in subtle breakup, pushing the front end of a dirty amp or boosting solos.
Inside the custom-cast gold chassis is an accurate reproduction of the original circuit featuring premium components including TL072 op-amps, 1N34A germanium diodes, carbon and metal film resistors, and a charge-pump voltage regulator. Just like the Klon, the Centavo features buffered bypass operation, so you won’t lose any signal when it’s off. Even the knobs for Gain, Treble and Output are as identical to the Centaur as possible, featuring the same tapered shape and oxblood color as the iconic pedal.
The only major difference from the original unit is a switch on the rear that engages the famous “Jeff Beck Mod,” altering the high-pass filter frequency to extend the circuit's low-end response for a thicker tone, especially when playing the lower strings. Aside from that, the only other noticeable change is the logo: this centaur wields a bow instead of a shortsword (which we think might even be cooler—sorry, Klonheads).
Hermida Audio designed the Zendrive pedal to recreate the legendary Dumble Overdrive Special amplifier, beloved by electric blue players like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton and Robben Ford for its silky clean tones, subtle breakup and smooth overdrive. The Zendrive pushed the envelope even further, providing sustain-rich saturation when placed in front of a tube amp. Now, the Warm Audio Warmdrive makes that “amp-in-a-box” sound available to everyone.
The circuit design remains true to the original and features 2N7000 MOSFETs as well as 1N34a and Schottky BAT41 diodes to achieve the same sonic profile and range of tones that made the Zendrive famous. Like the original, the Warmdrive has four surprisingly versatile controls: Voice changes the frequencies being clipped by the op-amp, Gain increases the amount of clipping, Tone shapes the frequency response post-amplification and Volume adjusts the output level of the pedal.
Together, these four controls unlock an impressive range of amp-like tones, including the signature Dumble sound and beyond. The Warmdrive also stacks well with other overdrive and distortion effects, giving it even more versatility in your signal chain. By experimenting with settings and placement in the signal chain, you can use it to blend clean tones, dial in a nice bluesy crunch, make your guitar sing with overdrive or boost your solos with extra punch and volume.
Buying either of the iconic effects these pedals are based on would almost certainly set you back thousands of dollars, but Warm Audio’s expert engineering and production scale make it possible to achieve nearly identical tone at a realistic price. Like all Warm Audio gear, these pedals are meticulously tested and inspected by dedicated guitar players and trained technicians in Austin, TX USA. Treat your pedalboard to the Centavo or Warmdrive today and see what the hype is all about.
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