Warm Audio Centavo Professional Overdrive review

If it looks like a Klon and sounds like a Klon, is it really a Klon? Not at this price...

Warm Audio Centavo Professional Overdrive
(Image: © Future)

Guitar World Verdict

The Centavo looks the part and sounds the part, and isn't encumbered by the nigh-on punitive prices that an original Klon commands on the vintage market. More importantly, if it had just fallen out of the sky it would still be a superb overdrive for managing relations between guitar and amp, boosting, adding sparkle, making things sound great.

Pros

  • +

    From a distance it looks very much like a Klon.

  • +

    Like the pedal that inspired it, it's a very versatile drive.

  • +

    Great price.

  • +

    Built like a tank.

Cons

  • -

    It's bulky.

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Klon clones come in all shapes and sizes, but few are as exacting in their tribute to Bill Finnegan’s Holy Grail overdrive pedal than Warm Audio’s Centavo. 

Like the out-of-production original, the Centavo Professional Overdrive is a big ol’ unit, resplendent in its custom-cast ‘Champagne’ enclosure, with a trio of oxblood coloured knobs to get any pedalboard cork sniffer’s mojo rising. There is even a centaur on the enclosure, only this one’s got a bow and arrow, not a sword. With a little bit of wear and tear, no-one is going to be able to tell this is a ‘klone’.

Maybe you won’t either, but we’ll get to that. Perhaps the only person who will know the difference is your bank manager, because this retails at $179 street as opposed to a vintage Klon Centaur that will set you back circa $3,500-7,000... Yes, really, for a drive pedal! Furthermore, this one is described as “transparent”. 

This is a word that has lost all meaning in recent times, but perhaps it describes how the Klon, and ergo the Centavo – for this replicates the circuit right down to the TL072 op amps and internal charge pump – enhances your rig, without colouring your sound. 

With dials for Gain, Treble and Output, and a Mod switch on the back for extending its low-end response, the Centavo is a drive that’ll flatter your setup. It’s superb as a clean boost.

There’s a serious amount of clean power to help you push through, to heat things up. You’ve really got to push the gain past noon to get the grit going. Leave the Mod switch off, turn the Treble past noon, and you’ll easily cut through a mix.

That’s before we start pushing it as a drive pedal, all midrange muscle and oomph and sparkle, with the Mod switch and a wide sweeping Tone control making it a cinch to pair with any electric guitar. It can be quite unforgiving. What you play is what you hear.

But then, maybe transparency is a double-edged sword. Or a four-legged man with hooves and a bow and arrow.

Specs

  • PRICE: $179 / £199
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: Overdrive pedal
  • CONTROLS: Gain, Tone, Output, Mod switch
  • FEATURES: TL072 Op Amps, vintage-style diodes, internal charge pump
  • BYPASS: Buffered
  • POWER: 9V DC power supply or 9V battery 
  • CONTACT: Warm Audio

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.