Nembrini Audio offers the Clon Minotaur Transparent Overdrive plugin, a freeware emulation of the Klon Centaur guitar distortion effect.
Clon Minotaur isn’t just a clever name; it’s, of course, based on the iconic Klon Centaur overdrive pedal.
The appeal of the Klon Centaur is the promise of overdrive without coloring the tone. It’s something that seems simple but is often quite elusive.
Clon Minotaur is not the only plugin that tries to emulate the sound made famous by guitar pedal legend Bill Finnegan. Not too long ago, we covered the Chow Centaur (also free) and touched on the history of the original pedal.
On looks, the Clon Minotaur is a pretty faithful recreation of the original pedal. The simple GUI has three knobs (gain, treble, and output), and underneath, two modeled diodes perform waveform clipping.
The position of the gain knob represents the blend of the modeled diodes (clean stage and clipping stage). Both signals are summed before passing through the treble and output controls. With the gain, you get so much out of a single knob because subtle movements can make a significant difference.
The treble knob boosts or cuts the higher frequencies, giving a duller or crisper sound. It’s often said that you should use the treble knob on a Klon Centaur more for cutting than boosting. The reason for that is to avoid sending too much high-frequency content to the amp, creating more low-order harmonics. In turn, that should give you a more natural sound, enhancing the amps breakup distortion.
The output knob does what you’d expect and offers some balance for your gain setting.
Some guitar pedal enthusiasts will tell you that the Klon Centaur is the only pedal that truly enhances an amp’s natural distortion without coloring the sound. Some might even dispute the relevance of a plugin like Clon Minotaur. But, I think it does a very good job; I’d happily use it on a recording, and that’s what matters.
Nembrini Audio has put together a great-sounding digital tribute to an analog classic. While I can’t dispute that the real thing sounds better because I don’t own one, I’d strongly argue that it doesn’t £5000 or so better.
Clon Minotaur is available for macOS and Windows in AU, VST 2, VST 3, and AAX formats. You’ll need a free iLok account, but no iLok is required.
Nembrini Audio has a bunch of free plugins on their website that are worth checking out.
More info: Clon Minotaur Transparent Overdrive (35.7 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, 64-bit VST/VST3/AU/AAX plugin format for Windows & macOS, requires iLok account)