You will have a hard time finding two effects that get on with each other better than boost and overdrive. These two are the soulmates that improve each other in the most beautiful way. They can be housed in separate bodies or in one enclosure – regardless, they always feel like they should be together. Since boost just makes overdrive better, you will see countless pedals that combine these two in single units. And the most distinctive overdrive pedal of all, Klon Centaur did the same thing. Its legendary circuit has been emulated so many times that it is really hard to scroll through all the copies (many of them being quite decent). This legendary stompbox had a buffer and provided wonderful clean boost at lower settings of gain. And that is the tiny detail that made it so special. The manufacturer we are going to discuss today had a close relationship with original Klon Centaur so they know perfectly what the components of that renowned circuit were. J. Rockett Audio Designs has come up with Archer Ikon which is the exact replica not only with sounds, but allegedly with its circuit as well. Let’s take a look at its features, controls and sounds and see if that claim is actually true or not. Shall we begin?
Rockett Audio Designs Archer Ikon comes as close to the original Centaur as it is humanly possible. Though many other brands have built the pedals that sound pretty similar, this brand has really replicate the exact same feel in every detail. As the brand claims, they have found the secret components of the circuit, including the exact same diodes. I cannot tell you if that is true or not, but if we judge by the sonic results, we can assume that they might have actually utilized the same ones. Anyway, Archer Ikon shares the buffer that made Klon Centaur so legendary. It works as a clean boost when gain is at its lower settings and improves the character of whatever you are playing. As for the overdrive, this puppy can emit the same warmth and harmonic content and, thus, really force us to reconsider if it is worth chasing such an expensive original. The build quality of this one is stunning as you will have a hard time finding a crappy detail about it. The design features gold body (unlike the previous silver version) that displays the painting of the archer. The writings, painting and the knobs themselves are blood red, completing the whole look and adding even more character to this pedal. Archer Ikon can be powered by a single 9V battery which should be placed beneath the bottom plate. The latter has tiny screws so be careful not to lose them while being in a hurry. You can avoid all that hassle if you stick to the adapter but it is definitely up to you what you decide to choose. If this bad boy had nothing to do with the Centaur, it would still be one of the best boost/overdrive pedals out there. But that connection makes it so much better.
I am a person who values aesthetic side of electronic units. And that is why I am in love with the control section of J. Rockett Audio Designs Archer Ikon. Blood red encoders have pointy shapes that visualize the settings and let you see what is going on even from far away. They rotate smoothly and enable you to make detailed adjustments. This way you can take really small steps towards the sounds you desire.
Archer Ikon allows you to tweak its sound with the help of three encoders. The first one is labelled as Output and modifies the overall volume of the pedal. It can boost your sound quite a bit and enhance its qualities. The second one is Treble, which messes around with the EQ and lets you craft the tone to your liking. It increases the high-end if you rotate it clockwise. The third knob is Gain, which adds girth to your sound and is responsible for creating that legendary overdrive. It adds crispy compression and pairs wonderfully with the rest of the controls. Finally, we have a footswitch on the lower part of the pedal that lets you activate your boosting or overdriving tool with ease.
Rockett Audio Designs Archer Ikon immediately evokes the same feel as the original. It performs wonderfully when utilized as a buffer, i.e. clean boost. To achieve such results, you have to set gain at lower settings and crank up the output. This way you will be able to overdrive an amplifier or maintain subtler settings and just enhance your tone. Either way, it sounds fantastic. This means that you will still like this pedal if you don’t utilize overdrive as much as it delivers the sound of your guitar but its better version. When it comes to the overdrive, it has some compression to it that is paired with smooth character of the clipping. It sounds wonderful on its own or with other drive pedals, enabling you to achieve multi-layered distortion that still has a hint of those tubes. Archer Ikon succeeds at producing round and rich sounds that have shiny trebles and lively vibes. Whether it is the best clone of the Centaur is debatable, but it definitely is the closest one. J. Rockett Audio Designs has done an amazing job with this one.
When J. Rockett Audio Designs created Archer Ikon, it raised the expectations immediately with the claim that it sounds like the Klon Centaur. Though the expectations were high, the brand managed to bring all of them to reality. This wonderful pedal has many different applications and all of them will improve your sound dramatically. Be it an overdrive or clean boost, this one will deliver the performance that you won’t be able to forget. In a way this baby has reincarnated long gone Klon Centaur. Here is to the new life, my friend!
Click here to view more from 10 Best Boost Pedals.