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previous: John S. Hey Jim....what's with the attitude... -- 3/2/2000 10:04 PM View Thread

Re: To Jim the "Beer Commercial Guy" LOL :o)

3/3/2000 5:47 AM
Jim S.
Re: To Jim the "Beer Commercial Guy" LOL :o)
Oops... it looks like I've gotten myself into trouble...  
Let me explain:  
First of all, I speak from experience. About two years ago, I did mod two of my friend's original TS-9's to TS-808 specs. One came stock with the "good" chip and other came stock with the "bad" chip. I replaced the "bad" chip in that one and did the resistor replacement thing in both. There certainly were noticeable differences in both pedals due to these changes. The tone was mellowed out and slightly fattened up. Definitely worthwhile for someone who likes using Tubescreamers. And certainly the TS-9 reissue really could use some help.  
However... even after being modded, I felt that these TS-9s still suffered from the same basic problems. Too much compression (especially if the gain control was turned up much above the minimum setting) and an unnatural EQ that boosted midrange frequencies at the expense of bass and treble frequencies (loss of transparency). Admittedly, the bass response was helped somewhat by the mods.  
I just can't help feeling that there are now better choices out there for overdrive pedals, even including ones that are loosely based upon the Tubescreamer-type circuit (such as Fulldrive II) but have substantial changes that give a less-compressed and more natural sound. Good examples of recent overdrive pedals that sound more realistic (at least to my ears) are the Stamps Drive-O-Matic (also an op-amp/clipping diode based circuit, as far as I can tell) and the Blackstone MOSFET overdrive (no clipping diodes used at all). I'm not trying to hype these in particular; I'm sure there are some other really good overdrives out there that I haven't tried yet.  
Tubescreamers have there place, but I think it's a limited application. They only seem to work really well with single-coil pickups, with the gain all the way off (or nearly so) and plugged into an amp that is turned loud enough where it is starting to overdrive. Especially with the TS-808 mod, there is a nice "humbuckerization effect" (due to the midrange EQ hump) that fattens things up a bit and helps with the sustain.  
Where Tubescreamers disappoint is when the amp is set to play fairly clean (which may be necessary in a small club). Now, in order to get enough sustain and dirt, you need to turn the gain knob to 12 o'clock or more, and then things compress too much and you lose dynamics and touch sensitivity. At least, this has been my experience.  
So...if you enjoy playing through a Tubescreamer, then by all means, experiment with the different chips and mods, and have fun. The differences are not really that drastic, but they are there. In addition, if you have the time, it's worth checking out some of the other overdrives that have come out in just the last few years. We've come a long way since 1978.  
Sorry if I ruffled some feathers.

Trace q{Sorry if I ruffled some feathers.... -- 3/3/2000 2:46 PM
John S No problem Jim...Communication Breakdown again! -- 3/3/2000 8:47 PM