Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

TS9 vs. TS808: what's the difference?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by vedt, May 3, 2011.

  1. Suicideking

    Suicideking Friend of Leo's

    Nov 28, 2010
    Palm Bay FL
    I have the Jekyll & Hyde and the Green Screamer both on my main board. I love them both. The Jekyll side is a little clearer and just a hair then the Green Screamer, and the Jekyll side has more volume then the Green Screamer. Other then that they are pretty close. I personally use my Jekyll side as my usual 808 style crunch. I use the Green Screamer as a boost with the volume up and the gain all the way down. When I use the Jekyll and Green Screamer together like this it makes an AMAZING crunch but with more balls and growl I highly recommend...

  2. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

    Jun 7, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    "The worst of the 9's have the trifecta - non-4558 chip, output resistors for a solid state amp, and clipping diodes for a solid state amp. But the chip itself has nothing to do with the other "standard" differences."

    Question. Do these really sound better in a solid state? Is there anyway to find a TS with the solid state friendly components? I play a roland cube 60 and I've heard that TS9s work well with solid states but didn't know why (as opposed to say a blues driver)

  3. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Friend of Leo's

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    ^^ Well from what understand about the real life differences between a ts-808 and a TS-9 is not so much difference between the two but how you use a Tube Screamer:

    A TS into a tube amp does its thing best (right?) if the amp (remember, tube) is at a decent volume, almost breaking up- the TS is used at low Drive/High Level and boost the amp into OD

    A TS into a more linear (right term?) output SS amp, which is only gonna produce a clean tone, regardless of volume, and needs 'help' from a preamp/pedal to get it to produce OD>breakup. And the TS-9 I think was designed to sound better at higher pedal Drive settings into a SS amp. So the distortion comes mostly from the pedal...just my understanding.

    Now for a contradiction- When I do use a TS pedal (into tube Fenders) I actually use it at a higher Drive setting than many other players as I do smaller gigs and my amps are at low volume, not really pushing the output- I use the dirt from the TS.

    That said, that is also why I prefer the Blues Driver (at low/moderate Gain, for its EQ transparency, and its breakup) as it is very controllable and sound more like a cranked Fender amp, where you adust everything from the guitar- Only the BD-2 allows me to do this at any amp volume I need. It's an outboard preamp for me;)

    OTOH, my Blues Driver sounds fizzy/bright, don't care for it when I used SS (Peavey) amps. The TS here was a much better fit with these amps- but once again using the TS Drive at a distorted level, not as a boost

  4. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

    Jun 7, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I have a roland cube 60. It was use the JC clean channel for rhythm and the pedal for leads/solos. But more often I use the "lead" channel on the blackface with a touch of gain and I'd like to use a pedal (TS or BD-2) as a boost for solos. I was leaning towards the TS because I need a lower overall gain sound (I play country) but lately I'm more considering the BD2. (Found a stock used one for 45$) due to its response to the volume control on your guitar. Right now I control everything with my volume knob and pickup switch, that's what I'm used to. Who knows. Ill probably have both eventually. Leave one on for crunchy rhythm and use other as a boost for solos.

  5. GaryOsborne

    GaryOsborne RIP

    Jun 7, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I would use*** the JC clean......

  6. maestro70

    maestro70 NEW MEMBER!

    Dec 26, 2015
    Well I do not understand all the tech and chip stuff but I happen to own both. The TS9 and the TS808 so here is my take. I've always used the TS9 (the less expensive one as the s808 is about 100 buck more). Now they are very similar I must say in a lot of areas.

    It's funny people mentioned warmth on the ts808 because thats the first thing I think of. The ts-9 is a good pedal for the cash. The ts808 and the ts9 have equal drive.

    I prefer the ts808 because I generally play on my neck pick up and I can just dial in anything I want. You can get heavy drive from either however. Post more detail later or add to this if possible. I just joined to comment.

    I can't say how anyone would say the ts9 is better unless you really need a brighter tone but you can dial in that tone difference at least on my fender twin so I dunno I prefer the s808 and I think its worth the extra 100 but if your on a budget, they aren't heavily different.

  7. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2014
    Behind my beard.
    This is an excellent thread - lots of 'Mojo and Myth' to be debunked.

    That said...

    I modded a friend's TS9DX (Turbo Tubescreamer) the other week to '808' specs.

    I installed a socket for the new (4558) IC, and replaced the two resistors at the output stage - and was an instant hero in my friend's eyes.

    The pedal (he says) is now warmer (into a 60-watt Carlsboro valve combo) - and is very much a keeper.

    With regards to the TL072 / 4558 debate, there *is* a difference. The TL is FET-based, and has a higher input impedance (IIRC) - so has more top-end and clarity than the 4558.

    Hi-Fi clarity is not always required - particularly with guitar tone.

  8. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Memphis TN
    some good info here

    and here is an article about the history of the TS

    I had a TS10 for many years, a friend did some of the TS808 mods, just a couple parts, resistors and caps as I recall, it made a very subtle difference, certainly not worth spending a lot of money to have done.

    There are so many OD pedals out there now based off of the TS that can sound the same and a lot better / different.
    I just got a Chellie Odie and it's great, and for around $100 new, less used.

  9. RockerDuck

    RockerDuck Friend of Leo's

    Jan 29, 2010
    first post May 3, 2011 skipped 2 yrs. to June 13, 2013, then skipped 2 yrs. to Dec. 26, 2015. This might be a record thread resurrection.

  10. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Memphis TN
    OLD TS threads never die .....

  11. johnhe

    johnhe Tele-Meister

    Mar 30, 2006
    Belfast, UK
    I've owned a few different tubescreamers including an original 808. I think that there is quite a bit of variation even between different examples of the same model. I think you could try two 808s beside each other and one would be grittier than the other.

    I also owned a TS5 which I loved, but the bypass was truly awful. But I'm probably looking for grit and clarity rather than smooth fatness as my favoured characteristic.

    The FD2 was one of my favourites. I only sold it because I wanted something smaller. However, if you do stack two tubescreamers, then I find the boost on the FD2 perfect. The boast isn't for everyone, but to my ears it sounded exactly like switching from a TS at low gain to another TS at higher gain or cascading them.

    I'm a bit of a TS snob (and my original 808 sounded better than any other TS pedal I've ever played but I bought it very cheap and got a really good price when I sold it, so money talked). But even though I'm a snob, have you tried any of the cheap variants? The Bad Monkey or the Mooer Green Mile, or the Joyo? Or the MXR Super Badass Modified OD, or the Green Rhino?

    Also, have you tried a Boss SD1? It's very similar, and really warm sounding to my ears. I really like the Keeley version, since the extra switch sort of emulates the MOSFET switch on the FD2. That's what I replaced my FD2 with.

  12. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    I've used an older Maxon OD808 (rebranded Tubescreamer) Vs an Ibanez TS9. IIRC the Maxon sounded gainier, more like a light distortion. The TS9 seemed to have more open mids, more volume, but less breakup/distortion from the unit and the mids seem a little stronger on the TS9.

  13. Hollandcaster

    Hollandcaster Tele-Holic

    Jan 31, 2005
    Wagenberg, Holland
    A problem between comparing older TS pedals is, that components values have a lot differences and tolerances

  14. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Different TS variants sound different, but depending on your ears and your application there is no single "best" pedal. I owned a TS-9 and did the 808 mods myself (just the resistors and op-amp, not the diodes). It sounded better to my ears, a little clearer, like a blanket had been removed. Now I have learned from 11 Gauge that I probably didn't need to change the op-amp and perhaps I should have changed the diodes, but I was perfectly happy with the pedal after I had done the mods. However, later on I gave it away as a birthday gift to a friend who was excited about having a modded TS-9.

    I once had an SD-1 that I spent money to have modded by a professional modding outfit. It came back with a different colored LED indicator light, a cool sticker on the outside, but truth be told I thought it sounded harsher than stock. Sometimes "clarity, lifting off a blanket" can translate to "harsh, trebly"-- it depends on your own personal taste. I sold it off and now have a stock SD1 that I like a lot. I'm not even interested in doing the universally loved (and extremely simple) C6 cut just because I like it the way it is.

    I think all the do-it-yourself pedal information out there is great, and it's totally worth it to dive in and mod a couple of pedals. I did it in the early days when it was harder to find the information but you could buy a manual on how to do it from Wampler, before he really went big with his eponymous pedal line. Seriously, work on your soldering skills, work on reading schematics, and it's a lot of good, cheap fun. If you ever liked building models as a kid this is kind of the same thing but you get to crank it when you're done. And what did I learn? 1) classic, highly affordable, mass-produced pedals are an amazing value. Build a whole pedal from scratch and you'll realize what a deal you're getting. A lot of the choices they made were smart-- intentionally optimizing the tone for a wide array of signal chains and uses vs. optimizing for a single application, for example; 2) a lot of mods are bogus, cork-sniffing fairy dust, but others are real. The better websites and folks like 11 Gauge can help the initiate grok the difference.; 3) Build quality matters. Some brands build pedals that are absolutely going to break- especially the footswitch. Just a question of when, not if. Others build pedals that will outlast all of us.; 4) true bypass vs. buffered pedals. Buffers are a very good thing as long as they are done reasonably well, you don't have too many of them, and you don't put any in front of your old school fuzz box.; 5) If you have a pedal you like and it breaks, don't just throw it out. Chances are it is a very simple repair. Almost free if you do it yourself, still usually much cheaper than buying a whole new pedal if you send it to the right person.

  15. otstratman

    otstratman TDPRI Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    Hi Vedt,
    I own the Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pro Tube Screamer and the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. I have been playing guitar since 1979. To give you an idea of the type of player I am my signature live rig is always a Marshall Head and a 4X12" Cabinet or a 2X12" Cabinet (Marshalls). I use Gibson Les Paul's exclusively. I do own a beautiful Guild Starfire IV and a Fender Deluxe Reverb too. The TS808 is my favorite because it's smoother and has really perfect Gain IMHO. The TS9 is also a really great pedal however it has a more Gainy tone to it and more grit. I find both to be "transparent" style Gain pedals. Which one do I suggest getting? Both. Why not? The TS808 retails for $179.99 but can be had for less if you really shop around. The TS9 is generally $99.00 retail everywhere. Since the TS808 and the TS9 are both "Classic" Gain pedals I truly believe any serious guitarist should own one of each. Believe me neither one will collect dust. You will use them both separate or on the same board. Good luck and best wishes. P8020919.JPG P7080855.JPG
    David P. Makowski
    Mincer likes this.

  16. otstratman

    otstratman TDPRI Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    The second picture is from my "true stereo" rig. The Seymour Duncan "Hi-Def" Pickup Booster into the TS808 into the Boss OD-3 Overdrive is my "secret" weapon and Gain side of my board. On the other side of the board I have a really nice Chorus pedal and a really nice Delay pedal both of which are "True stereo" pedals. So I have (3) pedals for my signature Gain tone and Chorus + Delay for my thickening effect which can make it sound like (2) guitars are playing at the same time it's really that FAT. I also use a Wah Wah pedal sometimes. I have my original 1985 Jim Dunlop GCB-95 Cry Baby Wah Wah Pedal (which I retired) a 2012 Jim Dunlop GCB-95 Cry Baby Wah Wah Pedal and my Vox V848 "The Clyde McCoy" Wah Wah Pedal. BTW, the 2012 Wah is the replacement Wah and to my surprise (it has a battery door) I hadn't removed the bottom plate for months only to find it has a RED "Fasel" inductor. My Cry Baby and Clyde sound wonderful. No need for so called "upgraded" or "signature" Wah's. To me this is all I need. P7100859.JPG P8281696.JPG

  17. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Meister

    Dec 19, 2017
    Tampa Bay Area
    I can get the sound I need out of a TS808, -9, -7- or -5. But I much rather have something with active 3 band EQ like a Duncan 805 Overdrive.

  18. edvard

    edvard Tele-Holic

    May 15, 2016
    Bremerton, WA
    ... and now it's 2018. :rolleyes:

    I built an 808 clone for a friend of mine, and got the opportunity to set down with a pile of about seven 4558s to test the 'mojo'...
    I found there were slight differences, not so much between manufacturers like JRCs or NJMs, but between individual chips. Some sounded nice, some sounded 'flat', and some were 'hairy'. Admittedly, only 2 or 3 of these were new, most came pulled from old broken equipment (2 of them I had to throw away; one didn't even work, and the other sounded thin and 'spitty'), so there may have been varying amounts of unknown electrical damage to them, who knows? I picked the one that I found had a subtle low-end 'grind' to it and boxed it up.

  19. otstratman

    otstratman TDPRI Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    I own both the Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pro Tube Screamer and the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. I use the TS808 on my main pedalboard which has (6) pedals. A PU Booster, a Wah, TS9, OD03, Chorus, and Delay. I run a Fender DRRI and a Marshall JCM 2000 DSL 401 in "true stereo". The TS808 has a smother and a bit darker tone. It is a fantastic Gain pedal no doubt. To me it works best with Humbuckers. Now the TS9 sounds very transparent with a Humbucker guitar such as a Les Paul. Good tone however using my Fender Stratocaster into the TS9 into my Marshall 1/4 Stack on the clean channel sounds very gritty and gainy. So in simplest terms both are really great Gain pedals. It's all in how you use them. I would give the TS808 5 Stars and the TS9 5 Stars as well keeping in mind they sound different to my ears but both have their place. I also find that they are both very well made. I hop that helps.

  20. j5jarod777

    j5jarod777 Tele-Meister

    Mar 7, 2012
    To 99.9% of the world......nothing

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