Everyone knows the legendary Klon Centaur: an overdrive that can be used as a boost, with a generous bump in the midrange and a certain talent for pairing with just about everything! The Tumnus from Wampler is... well it's the same! Or almost! This is an interpretation of the KLON by Brian Wampler, in a very small format.
Externally, it's a mini-pedal, so it doesn't take up space and constraints, the number of controls is limited. Gain, Volume, Treble and voilà! Like the original in fact. Inside, good quality PCB and switch.
Connected to a quality clean channel and... strangely inspired by John Mayer (Yes... Klon... Clean... John Mayer...) with a good family Strato, we attack with the Gain at zero and Volume at 9:00. Yes, no more for the volume because it's really pushing!! The Tumnus has a lot of output level. With this setting, you get an excellent clean boost. Indeed, the pedal is very transparent and you can "inflate" your sound by pushing the Gain very slightly. The attack is preserved, the dynamics are excellent, we confirm. By pushing the gain towards 12-13:00 we immediately find a very marked KLON side. The upper mids are very forward, the highs are very soft, slightly recessed (to be adjusted with the relevant knob depending on what you like) and the lows are rather tight, with a significant "hollow" in the low mids. It's a small difference with the original, the frequencies are not nested in the same way, but it's still close.
Another difference is the amount of gain available. In fact, we go much further and denser with the Tumnus. It's rather nice. Where the original tends to lose its charm (used as an overdrive), the Tumnus turns out to be a much better drive machine! You therefore have a very open, slightly hollowed drive, with this sensation of having your clear sound in parallel (this is the original design) and a very clear, very transparent side.
No surprise, it's stacked on another low gain overdrive, or on a crunch channel that the Tumnus works best. Choose microphones with a level that does not touch the ceiling to preserve all the nuances of this light drive.
Without being completely similar to a KLON, while having enough in common with it to be extremely close, the Wampler Tumnus is an excellent alternative offered at a price that could not be more affordable. It even offers the luxury of having a more extensive register! With the Tumnus, you can access the legend without compromise and at a low price.