ANALOG.MAN King of Tone (KOT V.4)

77 Les Paul

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I thought I'd begin my very first review here on MLP with something that I consider a Desert Island Pedal. Stop right here and go to the "Meat & Potatoes below if you know the back story or just want to skip it! The KOT is made by a great company called ANALOG.MAN (http://www.analogman.com/) and it's official name is the "King of Tone" pedal. I'm sure a lot of you have either heard about this pedal and/or company. Perhaps you've listened to a KOT used live, or maybe you've heard it on Vinyl, CD or MP-3? You could already currently own one or you're one of the hundreds currently on the "wait-list"? (18 months as of this review) So why do I like the KOT? Here's some background.

The King of Tone pedal was the brainchild of Analog Mike (AKA Mike Piera) along with Fender Telecaster Master Jim Weider (yep...that Jim that took over for Robbie Robertson when "The Band" reformed in 1985). The story goes that they were motivated to create an overdrive pedal in a sea of existing overdrives that could "preserve the tone of the guitar and add the right amount of overdrive without compromise". Since the initial V.1 was created, a lot of "improvements" were made over the years to get us to V.4 of the KOT. There's actually a Little Brother to the KOT called the POT (Prince of Tone). It's baiscally half of the KOT (Yellow side). What makes the V.4 KOT so useful in my opinion is that it's essentially 2 pedals in one, or you can use both channels together to get maximum overdrive tones. One pedal, many uses.

Meat & Potatoes............

The Modes:

The KOT has 3 "Modes" (all can be affected by the 4 Internally Mounted Dip-Switches). First there's the "Normal Mode" that was the original KOT tone that Jim preferred. Think of it sounding like a Tube Screamer "light", or when combined with the internal Dip-Switch capability, it can get "four times as loud as a Tube Screamer". Second is the "Clean Mode". This mode is simple; less distortion, so much so that it can be used as a super Clean Boost to make your clean leads pop out of the mix better, or with some added volume (it can get "twice as lound" as a Tube Screamer with the internal Dip-Switch setting). In addition, you can use the KOT to juice the front end of your amp that's set just on the edge of break-up to get some fantastic tube distortion goodness. Finally there's the Third Mode called "Distortion Mode". It's got "a touch of Hard Distortion" with some noted "compression" but the KOT still "retains the pedals character".


Controls:

So the controls are laid out in a very friendly manner that honestly couldn't be much simpler. There's two sets of Volume, Distortion and Tone controls. Then there's two seperate footswtiches that allow you to use either pedal by itself, or you can use in combination. When you order the pedal, you can specify if you want two "Yellow" channels (simply two original sounding KOTS side by side) or a "Yellow & Red" Channel, the Red Side having more gain (Mike refers to this as "High Gain" ) on tap, or two Red Channels (both high gain distortion). It gets tricky here as some players like 2 Yellow Sides, some like Yellow & Red, yet others swear by Red & Red sides. YouTube is a great resource to hear the difference for yourself. Note:
To designate what channel is on while playing on a dark stage, the very bright Yellow or Red LED lights are super bright enough to ease any concerns you may have performing on nealry completely dark stages.

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Dip Switches & Internal Presence Controls :

There's 4 Internal Dip Switches and 2 Internal Presence controls. Depending on how you set them obvioulsy controls the various output levels you can achieve. On the Red & Yellow version KOT, the two Dip switches on the right control the Yellow Channel. The two switches on the left control the Red side. The factory sets the switches with #1 up, and the other 3 down. That's because with the #1 switch up, you have a Clean Boost cpability. The enclosed instructions cover this in great detail so I'll leave it there.

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Chips:

This is where the magic of the pedal comes into play for me personally. You can actually, and very easily, change out the Op Amp Chips. Mike syas the "old TS-808's JRC4558D sounds good through this pedal" (and for single coils played into a Princeton Reverb or Deluxe Reverb that chip is wonderful IMO) Small Bear Electronics (http://smallbear-electronics.mybigcommerce.com/) sells Op Amp Chips so you can experiment. NOTE: They are currently closed due to the current quarantine situation but that's temporary according to their website. IIRC, I paid about $8 for 3 different Op Amp Chips (JRC 3558, JRC 4559, LM1358N). All you need is a pair of needle nose pliers and a soft touch and you can experiment a day away. I personally prefer the OEM chip.

Bottom Line:

Here's what I like about the KOT : It's the Swiss Army Knife of Clean Boost as well as Low/Mid to Higher Gain OD/Distortion pedal that's more versitile than anything in its class on the market IMO. The pedal can cover any 60's, 70's, 80's and early 90's songs w/o any problem. It can use either a 9V battery or a typical Boss PSA 120 type 9V adaptor (Mike reccomends a "good" Alkaline Battery if you go that route BTW). My favorite settings and combination are Both sides Yellow, factory Dip Switch setting. Yellow #1: Volume at Noon, Distortion at 1:00, Tone at Noon, Presence at 11:00. Yellow #2: Volume at 10:00, Distortion at 3:00, Tone at 10:00, Presence at 1:00.




Here's a GREAT YouTube Demo performed by Kris Barocsi of the "Gear Corner" where he uses a T-Style, S-Style and a Les Paul to illustrate the incredible amount of tones you can achieve from the KOT.
 
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Neffco

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Maybe the list will get shorter. With current events and all. I think I have another year and 3 months before I get my email.
 

Marsh1

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Maybe the list will get shorter. With current events and all. I think I have another year and 3 months before I get my email.
I'm right up there with you too on the wait list. Mike's stuff is truly excellent. I just took delivery of a Beano Boost from him this month and it's surprisingly awesome for such a basic effect. Really smokes when stacked with a drive.
 

77 Les Paul

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Thanks for fixing my .jpegs. Still learing the ropes! (And I hope you guys get your KOT's sooner)
 


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