Alternatives to the Tubescreamer that have a fuller sound?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by OzShadow, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. OzShadow

    OzShadow Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Jun 16, 2012
    SE Michigan
    I’ve never been a fan of my little TS5. It always sounded thin and a bit fizzy, even through my PRRI.

    What’s a nice alternative that would fill the same roll but with a much fuller richer sound?

    I have a Tumnus before it and love that tone of the Tumnus alone but it only goes so far. I’d like something to take the Tumnus to the next level. The TS5 just changes it too much.
  2. Forum2003

    Forum2003 TDPRI Member

    Dec 23, 2019
    Boss bd2 or bd2w
    Fulltone OCD

    both of those can go full on overdriven tones or be used as a boost and are more full frequency than a TS.
    Deathray and Chiogtr4x like this.
  3. iBloke

    iBloke TDPRI Member

    Jan 12, 2020
    Boss OD-3

    Cheap and cheerful, fuller sounding than my TS’s, and the only dirt pedal I’ve owned that works through ALL my amps.
  4. Stardog75

    Stardog75 Tele-Meister

    Jan 3, 2020
    I'm using a tumnus deluxe and a fulltone ocd.those 2 thru my deluxe sound like all my favorite marshall tones.i tried the tube screamer and it didnt stack well with ocd or sound great alone.ts5 sucked to for me.i went through like 7 pedals chasing it and I am super happy now

    Attached Files:

  5. arlum

    arlum Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

    Jun 7, 2018
    O'Fallon, MO
    It's my understanding that the Ibanez TS5 is a much cheaper Tube Screamer version based loosely on the tone and circuitry of the Ibanez, (originally built for them by Maxon), TS9. If I was dissatisfied with the TS5 in general I would go to a music store and try the Maxon / Ibanez TS9. Maybe they're not really the same inside as Ibanez claims they are or maybe the components have a lower quality threshold to meet for use in this low priced model. Secondly, if you feel the same about the TS9 please try out my favorite version of the Tube Screamer which is also the original version that became a legend, the TS808 Tube Screamer. You mentioned sounding thin and a bit fizzy, (thin comes from low mid frequency levels and fizzy comes when pronounced higher frequencies react to the overdrive). The TS9 was developed when some players looking for a more modern tonality complained that the TS808 was too mid thick and allowed too much bass in the picture. Maxon / Ibanez made a new version of the Tube Screamer with less pronounced mids, tighter bass and added high end. The idea worked for them to the point that the TS9 now has more users than the TS808 ever did. Now .... note that when the TS9 was released the TS808 continued to stay in production. The TS808 had a strong following of guitar players who loved its warmer, thicker, vintage bluesy overdrive. Your terms thin and a bit fizzy might just be showing you your ears and playing style would be more pleased using the original TS808 Tube Screamer.

    I must say I have no Tube Screamers currently on my board because I've found other overdrives I have a preference for. I do still own three Tube Screamers that I use from time to time, (TS808, TS9, TS9DX), and will probably never get rid of them.

    Don't base your judgment of the Tube Screamer on the very low end TS5 version. You'd be doing Maxon, Ibanez and yourself a strong disservice.
    jrblue, nathanteal, basher and 2 others like this.
  6. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 10, 2015
    Italy and Switzerland
    My Tubescreamer clone sounded thin and fuzzy because I used it in a way it’s not intended for. I plugged into a totally clean BF amp, then engaged the TS and it gave some dirt but did not sound good. The TS is intended for amps ont the edge of breakup or already cranked. Then it works as intended, pushing the amp in overdrive (… making the “tubes” scream).

    Classic vid about this

    The same goes for the Klon and its clones to my ears. Not good as “standalone dirt” into a clean amp.

    As a dirt pedal with a similar flavour to the TS, that can be used in a clean amp, I’ve used a clone of the Zendrive: the much maligned Mooer Rumble, which does a good job nonetheless if you take the time to dial it in.
  7. CalebAaron666

    CalebAaron666 Tele-Meister

    Dec 2, 2018
    Portland, Maine
    Boss Blues Driver
    urbandefault and Fiesta Red like this.
  8. Carcinogen

    Carcinogen TDPRI Member

    Nov 13, 2017
    Tacoma, Wa
    Visual Sound Route 808 is pretty cool.
  9. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

    Nov 17, 2009
    Land of the Long White Cloud
    1000% agree with this, While a TS does take away some frequencies, my belief is that it is very rarely called thin and fuzzy.

    One of the tricks with the TS is to use the volume to push rather than the gain, the gain will tidy up the drive but the volume does the heavy lifting...

    Used mainly for warm or slightly crunchy amps...

    Mine frequwntly have vol at 3/4's and gain at 1/3 to half (but rarely above 1/3 to 3/5ths), gotta have the amp starting to saturate the tubes first though....

    Can you get the PRRI in to a warm, slight crunch then experiemnt with the TS from there? May get a bit loud but it seems a shame not to use the pedal in its proper range before you give up on it...
    jrblue, Fearnot and RadioFM74 like this.
  10. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    I use a Boss OD 3 overdrive in my Princeton, don't need one im my Boss Katana as it has differing sounds from acoustic to Crunnch.
    Switchy and iBloke like this.
  11. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

    Nov 15, 2010
    Try a Danelectro DO-1 Daddy-O (the big, heavy, creme-colored, shield-shaped one).

    Also, for clean boost, try an MXR Micro Amp...the “more of me” pedal.
  12. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

    Sep 18, 2010
    One more for OD-3.

    I kinda liked the EHX East River Drive. There was a little bit of dirt with the drive turned all the way down. I sold it cause I wanted it to do clean boost as well. I heard the new owner play a LP through a small Koch combo and it sounded way better than with me and my strat.

    But I'm someone who thinks Stevie Ray's sound got worse when he stepped on a screamer.
    Switchy likes this.
  13. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2014
    My Fulltone Fulldrive 3 has a lot of low end grunt and an extra independent boost option too.

    3 OD modes.
  14. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    Blackstar HT pedals are quite nice. They're a range of valve based pedals that feature a voltage-voodoo circuit to operate the valve at proper, amp voltages. The clean boost is just that. It'll boost and push the daylights out of the front end of any amp. In doing so, it adds in the harmonics too. Bass and treble controls with cut and boost, overall boost. Very nice. Their overdrive adds in the overdriven front end sound, then scares the plates in your amps V1. You can get the sound, then use your amp to do the lifting, or add to the sound of your amp overdriving. The tone controls and variable gain/output make it work.
    The disadvantages of the Blackstar HT range are the power supplies. The stock ones aren't very good. Every second hand one I've had has had an aftermarket power supply. Oh, they won't work from your current pedal board supply. They need their on supply. Worth it though.

    Vone Tone Garage pedals were a similar idea in a smaller package.

    In the starved plate valve market, the Behringer VT999 has a heck of a lot going for it. It does the overdrive thing very well, with one caveat, and it'll clean boost. It is a hybrid pedal, featuring lots of op-amps to deal with the TMB tone stack. It appears to be using the valve as a diode clipper. Some great sounds to be had from it though. Now for the caveat. Some unpleasant sounds too. The stock valve is, to be polite, not a good match. Replace it with a 12AU7 and sweetness and light ensues.

    My experience with TubeScreamer type pedals is that with solid state amps, use the gain, with valve amps, use the level/volume to get the desired sound, and near every one I've tried has needed different settings for home noodling solo and band use.
  15. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 19, 2014
    Madrid, Spain, EU
    Get a TS808 or a TS9

    SAme amp and same TS5, never bonded with it... changed to a Keeley TS9->808 and never changed again
    iBloke and Hatfield92 like this.
  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !

    Stack it.

  17. sugarinthegourd

    sugarinthegourd Tele-Meister

    Sep 5, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    I like the Sarno Earth Drive a lot. I use it to simulate light tube-like breakup into a clean amp and find it does that much better than a TS-9 does. It also has a much more neutral tone.

    I also like the Mad Professor Sweet Honey for this (or try the Joyo clone for $30). More of a small amp breakup, and a little funkier/less hifi than something like the ED, but it’s very effective.
    PaddyPaul likes this.
  18. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Holic

    Oct 10, 2018
    Memphis, TN
    Saucy box
  19. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    I am the ' king of the Blues Driver ' ( always ON) with my mid-rangey ( older) Fender Blues Jr. - the two just work together well.
    But, the BD-2 ( with its more transparent EQ, combined with its actual distortion tone) was NOT a good fit for my very bright/,clean 1968 Deluxe Reverb. Everything sounded fizzy or reedy.

    So to the OP, my better fuller OD, for my SF DR was a Barber Direct Drive ( older big box) That was a great combo! ( had to sell amp ) 20190701_212032.jpg
  20. chillybilly

    chillybilly TDPRI Member

    Nov 17, 2019
    I had a FullDrive 2 for a while - it was one of those 'wow cool man!' pedals that impressed with its gain but eventually I conceded it sounded like an amplified telephone especially at gig volume.

    Pedal recommendations are like deli sandwich orders - everyone has his likes and dislikes and favorites and no two will be the same.

    That said, I got the MI Audio Super Crunchbox V2 about 6 months ago after reading glowing remarks from Eliot Easton. He called the original Crunchbox his desert island pedal as he could use a clean Twin but get his Marshally-y sound from the pedal as needed.

    It was dumb (good) luck that the V2 had a 3-band EQ, a presence knob and all manner of toggles for voicing, intensity, etc.

    Stacking overdrives/boosts is fun and interesting but I have found that a purpose-built distortion is sometimes/often preferable (I used a Wampler Sovereign for a time).

    If you want that TS sound it's in there especially by cranking the mid level but there are so many other sounds to be had and most of them aren't TS-like at all.

    It's a standard pedal footprint as well. Granted, the mini-pots and all the toggles can be a little fiddly to adjust but the most important ones - gain and volume - are big and accessible.
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