Readers of this blog will know by now that I have been effusively complementary towards the Decibelics Golden Horse Klone Overdrive over the years - my absolute favourite Klone of all time, and a much celebrated marvel of pedal engineering.
I have recommended said pedal to countless players by now - and once you have encountered its wonderfully elegant creamy, articulate, and dynamic delivery you will look towards the originals with disdain - as somewhat over-bloated and unwieldy wallet pirates.
And what’s better than a single Golden Horse - why surely double that number in a single box with added mods which were first introduced on the Decibelics Big Vintage Klone.
Mr Decibelics - one Guillem Vilademunt is a race engineer by day - and has unique skills in tuning-up high performance engine electronics. He applies the same race-honed craft to his own pedal creations which are exhaustively calibrated against Guillem’s exacting frequency and output profiles.
Pictured here below is my #001 edition of the Golden Royale undergoing final testing - and very suitably in hammered vintage green finish - which makes the pedal look like the veritable Fabergé Jewel Box that it is.
I feel enormously honoured and privileged to be in possession of the first of these pedals. Guillem will be making an official announcement this week on final configuration, pricing and availability. Update! - Pricing has been announced : Golden Royale Standard Black: €319EUR + shipping (VAT for EU not included), and Golden Royale special colours: €339EUR + shipping (VAT for EU not included). Special Colours are Crystal White, Hammered Green, Hammered Blue, and Hammered Copper. I obviously recommend the Green!
What you have essentially is two full Klones - built onto a brand new circuit board which really cannot fit any further components, and thus creates a natural limit for what sorts of configurations are possible/available - while Guillem will likely provide some degree of flexibility in Mod configuration on a custom basis.
By default - with switches to the left, both sides are identical core Klones. Both sides also have the same Bass Boost - which adds significant low-end content while still keeping everything relatively tight and articulate. The Bass Boos will likely be keenly appreciated by single coil players in particular.
By default both sides have the rare and original NOS 1N34A Germanium Diodes in Symmetrical configuration. While each has its own Asymmetrical Clipping Mode - the right-hand Channel A has a combination of BAT41 and BAT46 Schottky Silicon Diodes, while the left / B-Channel has a combination of BAT41 and Low Forward Voltage Red LED.
How this renders is that each side gets progressively crunchier when clipping is applied - with slightly more bite and aggression - while still being delivered in the most elegant manner. While if you crank the Gain and combine both sides together you can get into some very pleasing crunch and mid-gain distortion tones. For me this is not altogether dissimilar to how the REVV pedals work - where you have different levels of aggression available via voicing switch, while here it's one voicing switch per channel which deliver the two different levels / voicings.
I tend to have the A-Channel with both Bass Boost and Clipping Mod applied, and the B-Channel set to original/neutral and slightly lower gain - for the ultimate in creamy and articular overdrive. The Golden Horse already sounded magnificent and here you have further tasteful options to extend the range and versatility of this pedal.
Needless to say it's already claimed a space in my pedal-chain - in slot #9 - officially the first new pedal for me for the new year - even though I received it a couple of days before the end of the year.
The current Decibelics Klone Range will still consist of 3 models - with the Golden Royale replacing the mid-size Little Big Klone option. For me it provides yet another reason for making the Big Vintage Klone obsolete - even though that does contain some larger format capacitors - so there is still some point of difference.
With the Golden Royale you're getting twice he fire-power in a box half the size of the original. I just don't see why anyone would still want the bigger box - but hey I guess there is a type of player for which that has some weird placebo effect.
I did play some small part in this project in that I consulted with Guillem over the period of development on such aspects as what should be the default configuration, and what we should call this pedal. Several months went into sizing up the merits of a variety of monikers - where we did not wish to downplay the Golden Horse really or over-egg the Klone angle. Numerous alternatives were considered before we settled on the Tarantinoesque Royale qualifier.
We wanted this pedal to be regal and a fully independent entity, and while where are several Royal Overdrives, Dual Klones, Twin Klones and even a smattering of Overdrive Royale's out there; there is only one Golden Royale.
I've always loved Guillem's hammered finishes - the Vintage Copper and Vintage Green in particular. Both Guillem and I felt that this was the most suitable colourway to launch this pedal with - while of course the other finishes will be available too for those who like things more Black and White.
For it's regal magnificence - the Fabergé Green would seem to be the perfect match for the Gold accents and knobs - to underline this pedal's prowess in that it genuinely sounds just as majestic as it looks. The flat lustreless gold originals are surely somewhat bland in comparison.
If you've yet to encounter the delights of the Golden Horse in its various guises, now is obviously a great time to get involved. Start off by exploring the Mini - and if you're really feeling it - then I suggest you upgrade to the new standard of Golden Royale.
I've not encountered a single person who doesn't love their Golden Horse - as is exemplified by the fact that everyone holds onto theirs and none are to be found second-hand really.
This is generally and specifically the best engineered of any Klon Replicas - for sure you can always buy cheaper - but never better. Everytime I deploy mine I am still constantly surprised and delighted by just how good these sound. Everyone should have a Klone really and these are genuinely magnificent inspiration machines. Don't just take my word for it though - ask around and do your own research. I did copious amounts of my own research originally when I found my way to Guillem and Decibelics - it's still one of my very best pedal discoveries. I hope many more of you can share that wonderful experience of first encounter!
You will need to wait for Guillem's official post for the final details and demos - I will leave you here with my still favourite Alberto Barrero demo for the Golden Horse - the one that set me off on this journey those several years ago.