Ibanez TS808 (1980)
Are original run of Tubescreamers still the best?
There are a few things in life which can divide friends and families. Politics, religion and yes ... Tube screamer chips.
So if you're reading this you most likely know what the tube screamer is but to be safe, it's a low gain overdrive pedal which rolls off some low end and has a very specific mid frequency bump. Using our demo turn the gain down low, set the tone at noon and switch the pedal on and off to hear this fairly change fairly clearly.
Throughout the years the Tubescreamer has gone through many many changes, six main models 808, TS-9, TS-10, TS-7 and the TS-5 and most of these had model variations such as the TS-9DX Turbo TubeScreamer for example. From these the TS-808, TS-9 and more recently the TS-10 have become the mainstays on many guitars boards however the internal designs of the TS-808 and in TS-9 are what causes discussion.
It simply comes down to the components used, the OPamp chip sets used in pedals aren't made FOR pedals in fact they're used in many products throughout the world. eventually new chip sets come along which does the job better for the majority of products so they are discontinued or made in such small quantities that they become prohibitively expensive.
Companies change the chips for something close and people often prefer the original sound of the original chip set. This means the early Tubescreamers with certain chips are coveted, rare and can be fairly expensive.
Fear not though Tonepedia user as we have gone ahead and sourced some of the rarest pedals on earth including many Tubescreamers with different Chip sets for you to try such as the quintessential JRC4558D and JRC2043DD chips found in the crossover from 808's to TS-9 in the early 1980's.
The JRC4558D is THE holy grail for most TS-9 fans who claim it has a slightly more pronounced mid range and causes the clipping have just the right amount of edge.
The JRC2043DD is claimed to give a little slight lower mid to bass push and a very slight notch in the low treble regions.
On this TS-808 unit we have a Malaysian chip 4558P. Compare it with the other tubescreamers including modern 808's too. This chip is claimed to have a softer touch and causes an overall lower sounding pedal.
For the sake of balance, there are many who claim components other than the opamp chips cause some of these artifacts and now YOU TOO can become an"expert" on the tones of tubescreamers by comparing them all here.
So enjoy and let us know what your think.