MODEL: King of Tone Version 4
COST: $235 (New)
DO I OWN IT?: No
PROS: Versatility. The KoT is two pedals in one. Both the Red and Yellow “sides” (indicated by their LED light color) can be set to Boost, OD, or Distortion by an internal switch. This means that you can run a clean boost into an Overdrive, or an OD into a distortion, or two clean boosts together, or never use them together and just have two pedals using the same power source. Anyone with more than a few pedals on a pedalpower 2 will get how nice freeing up a slot can be.
The KoT is also versatile in it’s options. When you order it you can add a ‘high gain’ mod other either or both sides of the pedal as well as external switches to replace the internal Boost/OD/Dist controls. The pedal is true bypass but you can request high quality buffered switches if you prefer.
Sound: Most of the gain pedals you see on the market are based on the classic Tube Screamer circuit. The KoT is not. Based on the old Marshall Bluesbreaker. The KoT isn’t meant to drive an amp into overdrive as much as its mean to make a very clean amp sound like it’s been cranked.
Cost: With a base cost of $235, the KoT is considerably cheaper than similar pedals like the JHS Double Barrel ($315). Additonally, if you factor in what two comprable single pedals would cost you, you are saving $25-$100 easily.
CONS: Availablity: There is no doubt that the biggest downside to the King of Tone is it’s waiting list. I put myself on the list in October 2012 and recieved mine in July of 2013. If you want one right now you’ll have to pay $100 or more over the orginial cost on eBay.
Internal Switches: You can have mods done to put the controls for the internal dip switches and trim pots on the outside, but it’ll cost you. $50 per side to bring the Boost/OD/Dist controls out if you order it from Analogman. JHS will bring all the internal controls out for $99.
HOW WOULD YOU USE IT FOR WORSHIP?: One of the big problems worship players have is stage volume. So a gain pedal that is meant to simulate a cranked amp at a resonable volume is a great tool for our service.
You can set this up depending on your need. Run the overdrive as your standard gain pedal and use the boost for solos or bridges. You can use it to simulate a driven amp on your clean sounding amplifer. You can also use it as a sonic counter point to your Tube Screamer style gain pedals.
FINAL VERDICT: The King of Tone is a great sounding, extremely well built and versatile gain pedal. It’s different than most gain pedals you’ve probably had on your board and will easily get the job done for you. The thing that will probably turn most people off is the cost and the wait list. Let me put that in prespective. The cost ($235) is much less than the $300+ that buying two or three pedals to accomplish the same thing would. Also, you’d only be using one power supply. The wait list doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you put your name on the list and put 5 or 10 dollars away each week you’ll easily have it covered.
The wait list also creates a very good resale market. I made money on this pedal. So if you aren’t sure, put your name on the list anyway, you don’t have to buy when your name comes up, but check how things are on ebay. If you like it, keep it, if you don’t then sell it.
Personally, I think the KoT is a fantasic Overdrive and a decent distortion. I don’t like the Boost on its own (I’ve tried it with both standard and high gain mods). It might work better in a bar band, but for church music, it just wasn’t doing what I needed it to. I probably would have kept it for the Overdrive it wasn’t for the resale value.
It’s a pedal I recommend, but it’s just not a pedal for me. But I have no regrets in buying one when I did.