Whether you need to restore vitality to a massive pedalboard, or want the immaculate boosting power of a Klon, this little gem is a compelling buy.

Buffer/preamp pedals are typically deployed to reinvigorate a signal sapped of its treble vitality by lots of circuit capacitance (e.g., tons of pedals or long cables). But they’re useful for far more than that—especially if you prefer tube amps dialed to the verge of breakup.

In this age of Klon worship, high-end buffers like the Crazy Tube Circuits Magnifier can often be a smaller, simpler, more affordable means to many of the same ends—particularly if the Centaur’s main allure is its ability to massively boost your signal without changing its essential character. When I stuck the Magnifier at the end of a board with only eight pedals (including a tuner and one of the best Klon clones on the market), its 20 dB of clean boost—courtesy of a front-end by Butler Audio (of BK Butler Tube Driver fame)—rejuvenated my signal in ways that were, frankly, revelatory. Sparkling treble crispness returned with the gain knob around 9 o’clock, and from there on up I could drive my amps to so many degrees of gritty or sizzling glory that I began wondering what box might make better use of the clone’s real estate.

Test Gear Various guitars, Mooer LoFi Machine, Mojo Hand Fx El Guapo, Dunlop Cry Baby 535Q wah, Ibanez ES2 Echo Shifter, Catalinbread Topanga, Tsakalis Audioworks Tremmatic, Jaguar HC50, Goodsell Valpreaux 21


Pristine, powerful boost. Sturdy, attractive craftsmanship. Internally selectable buffered or true-bypass modes.

Price could be more competitive.


Crazy Tube Circuits Magnifier


Ease of Use:



A faithful recreation of the Germanium Mosrite Fuzzrite with a modern twist.

Read MoreShow less

Kenny Greenberg with his main axe, a vintage Gretsch 6118 Double Anniversary that he found at Gruhn Guitars in Nashville for a mere $600. “It had the original pickups, but the finish had been taken off and the headstock had been repaired. So, it’s a great example of a ‘player’s vintage instrument,’” he says.

On his solo debut, the Nashville session wizard discovers his own musical personality in a soundtrack for a movie that wasn’t, with stops in Africa and Mississippi hill country.

Kenny Greenberg has been Nashville’s secret weapon for decades. He’s the guitarist many insiders credit with giving the Nashville sound the rock ’n’ roll edge that’s become de rigueur for big country records since the ’90s. It’s the sound that, in many ways, delivered country music from its roots to sporting events.

Read MoreShow less
Andy Wood on Eric Johnson's "Cliffs of Dover" | Hooked

The hot picker recalls receiving a mix CD of must-know guitarists and the Grammy-winning track was the one that "hit him like a ton of bricks."

Read MoreShow less