Tag Archives: TS-808

Finding Your Distortion Tone (Hint: Mids)

1976MarshallheadftIf only things were so easy that we could buy the guitar we felt comfortable with, plug into an amp, maybe add a pedal or two, and then be done. Tone Nirvana. It usually doesn’t happen this way however. The problem is that there are numerous choices for gear and, and even more options for putting together the whole rig, to create an effective system that is optimized. And just how we use the equipment (whether for live use or studio recording) also makes a difference in finding what works for guitarists.

We recently wrote about the challenges with the Internet and its opinions. You can find as many people who will love or hate any particular piece of gear. This can become frustrating when trying to dial in a tone you’re interested in capturing.
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Analogman Mods Our Favorite Reissue Tube Screamer: The 35th Anniversary TS-808

In 2014, Ibanez introduced its 35th anniversary TS-808 Tube Screamer overdrive pedal, based on the original it created in 1979. What’s now known as the “narrow box 35th1model” by collectors, has returned in its original smaller footprint, with the rare “flying fingers” graphics along with side-mounted 1/8-inch 9v DC adapter jack just like the original. The lightweight aluminum 35th anniversary TS-808 was also changed under the hood to be closer to the original, and is outfitted with a pair of op amp chips. This is a variation that is the main difference between it and the single op amp version of the 1980 TS-808 Tube Screamer and others including the TS-9 that followed. These later TS-808 and TS-9 models deployed input and output transistor buffers rather than the additional chip used in the original and now reissued narrow box model.
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Maxon OD808X Extreme…Just Another Modded Tube Screamer?

The Tube Screamer is arguably the most copied and modified overdrive circuit ever. With good reason, this classic effect delivers a soft compression that truly is amp-like OD808Xin response, feel, and tone. Maxon, the original manufacturer of the Tube Screamer, has now released its own response with a modified design and dubbed it the Maxon OD808X Extreme. But will the OD808X Extreme just provide more gain and the “same old” sound, or will it provide something truly unique?
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Ibanez TS808HW Limited Hand Wired Edition: The Ultimate Tube Screamer?

We will begin this article with an honest question: Does the world need yet another Tube Screamer or Tube Screamer clone? The original pedal itself sees no end to its use and popularity, and from the 90’s onward there has been no stop in production from countless manufacturers, large and small, each creating their own stamp and version of the pedal based on the Tube Screamer circuit. From low-cost imports made in China that anyone can afford, to custom painted unique one-offs costing hundreds of dollars, there’s a Tube Screamer for every class and budget of musician. So don’t we have enough already?
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Can the Ibanez TS808 Reissue be Modded for Exact Vintage TS808 Tone?

In our recent TS808HW feature, we compared the limited handwired unit along with the standard reissue TS808, the Maxon OD808, and an original TS808 from 1980. The results from the test overall were clear: while the TS808HW is a fantastic pedal, the vintage TS808 had the most dynamics, the longest sustain, and was judged the most transparent from ts808ribottom end to top end. This surprised us (because some of us felt that vintage Tube Screamers were mostly unwarranted hype), but it also set in motion a question that drove our curiosity further. Could one of us get the reissue TS808 to sound and feel like the original TS808 – a pedal that as of this writing in late 2008 regularly sells for between $400-$600 USD?
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Maxon OD808 Overdrive

Maxon OD808 OverdriveTo those who were “in the know”, Maxon’s OD808 was identical to the famous Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer in nearly all but name when it was initially put on the market in the late ‘70s and early ’80s. In fact, Maxon was the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) for Ibanez and actually made both the Ibanez pedals as well as its own under the Maxon name.

When Ibanez reissued its TS-9 Tube Screamer in 1996 (circuit still manufactured by Maxon), some wondered why they didn’t choose to reissue its TS-808 model instead. Thankfully though, modifications were easy enough to perform to turn the TS-9 reissue into a genuine TS-808 and many offer that service today.

For lovers of the 808 sound that don’t want to deal with modification hassles, Maxon under its own name has reissued its own OD808 pedal based on the same circuit of its more-famous Ibanez TS-808 cousin. The “808” sound overall is famous for its bluesy transparency, touch-sensitivity, and smooth overdrive tone. As tone-lovers, we were anxious to take the OD808 for test spin.
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