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Saturday, May 3, 2014

REVIEW: IBANEZ TS-808 VS TS-9 VS TS9DX TUBE SCREAMER!



Hello and welcome to this week's article! Today we're going to review a legendary piece of gear, the original Ts-808 Tube Screamer Overdrive, made by Ibanez, and we're going to see the differences between the Ts-808 and its brothers, the Ts-9 and the Ts-9DX.

In the past we have already covered the overdrive topic (click here for a dedicated article), but this time we're going to focus on the most famous of them, an industry standard that is the most modeled in the digital domain, and the most modified and re-invented by the boutique manufacturers.

At the moment the Tube Screamer line by ibanez is composed by 3 pedals: the original Ts-808, the Ts-9, the Ts-9DX.
The difference between the Ts-808 and the Ts-9 are mainly about the hardware used; I'm not an engineer but there are noticeable differences in terms of tone, being the Ts-808 more transparent and the Ts-9 slighly more trebly, high-mids oriented and acid (Stevie Ray Vaughan, among the others, used to love it because of this).
The difference between the Ts-9 and the Ts-9Dx instead resides in an extra Control.
The Ts-9Dx, in facts, doesn't have just the 3 usual controls present in the other Tube Screamers (Drive, Level and Tone), it features also an extra knob (called "Mode") that increases the "Low End Crunch", and it has four settings: Ts-9, +, Hot and Turbo; among the many lovers of this stompbox it's important to remember Kirk Hammett of Metallica.

In my case, playing Heavy Metal, I prefer using a Ts-808 to boost the drive channel of a tube amplifier: it helps me adding some tightness, taming the low end and adding a lot of attack, which is fundamental in modern metal, and I've always preferred it over its Ts-9 brother due to the fact that it colors the sound a bit less.
I tend to use the tone at noon, the drive at zero and the level at max, or slighly less.

Here's an example of a song that I have mixed for a band called "Obedience To Dictator": they have used a Ts-808 in the drive channel of an Engl Fireball.




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