Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9 vs TS808 – Which is Better?

The Ibanez Tube Screamer series is undeniably the most common pedal in the world of guitar effects.

In the three decades since its initial release, Ibanez pedal has been popularized by several musicians and artists of various genres throughout their careers, from The Edge to Stevie Ray Vaughan, who mastered these tube screamers to sculpt their tone.

Essentially, TS9 and TS808 are among the revered Ibanez lines recommended if you want real deal overdrive pedals delivering an overall variation tone and sound.

What sets these models apart from each other? In this article, we’ll cover a detailed comparison of TS9 vs TS808 to help you have some break-down.

First off, let us outline the similarities and differences in brief to have a quick look at each model.

TS9 vs TS808 - The Similarities

TS808 and TS9 are popular iterations of the Ibanez Tube Screamer that was integrated with circuit chips.

TS9 somehow is similar to the original TS808 in many ways. Speaking of exterior, they get the outside vibrant green frame with authenticity and elegance.

You can see identical 80s-style control knobs and footswitches that come with a vintage look. It comprises the on/off switch that fills about a third of the pedal’s body.

The colored LED on top of the pedal displays an indication of your battery’s status and effect.

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ts808 vs ts9

Internally, parts of both pedal structures are very similar. In fact, both models are hand-made pedals released centuries before the Internet.

TS9 and TS808 are also designed with hand-wired parts. In other words, as with vintage looks, the circuitry of TS808 and TS9 have almost identical features.

TS808 vs TS9 - The Differences

Regarding the main differences between the TS9 and TS808, it’s about the sound effect.

The after-released TS9 has a more modern, warmer medal tone, whereas with the same record, the original TS808 tends to sound fairly dark compared to the other, but with a smoother, mellower overdrive sound effect.

Two models generally have slightly different circuitry and components in the output section. TS9 uses analog circuitry, which turns TS9 to even better imitates the crisp rhythm crunch.

This results in their tone with a more modernized feel.

TS808
Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pedal
TS9
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer - Classic
-
-
-
Controls
Overdrive, Tone, and Level.
Overdrive, Tone, and Level.
Stereo​
Battery​
Bypass​
Max Gain
+30db
+30db
TS808
Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pedal
-
Controls
Overdrive, Tone, and Level.
Stereo​
Battery​
Bypass​
Max Gain
+30db
TS9
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer - Classic
-
-
Controls
Overdrive, Tone, and Level.
Stereo​
Battery​
Bypass​
Max Gain
+30db

Last update on 2021-10-23 at 22:02 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ibanez TS9 Overview

Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9 is the highly preferred option if you’re going to get a penchant for metal or hard rock music.

External Features

Let's look at the physical aspect; every element of the TS9 classic, from housing to the minute components, resembles the original product.

It was designed with a green seasick layout where metal footswitch and knobs are placed at the top of the case. This, in some way, brings up memories of the legendary TS808.

In the sound department, the re-issued TS9’s sound is delivered in a wooly crisp, smooth, warm, and mid-range tone.

The Tube Screamer works particularly well when you push the amplifier beyond the breaking point; the padel releases beautiful mid-tone overdrive sound.

Ibanez TS9 vs TS808

It’s recommended for playing with a solid-state amp or tube amp for light rock, blues, or country music guitar players in short, providing a dynamic tone.

Internal Circuit

Tube Screamer TS9 comes with a similar analog-circuit as its former TS808, except for its output, making a difference in the sound.

In reality, due to this output feature, it’s considered the TS9 delivers a bit brighter sound and has more aggressive gain compared to the TS808.

Sound Performance

They indeed find the sound “modern,” “brighter,” and “precise” when it comes to TS9’s sound. During the testing process, we've conducted, our guitarists notice such dynamite and clarity in the sound.

Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9’s clipping distortion helps tighten the sound making it more pleasant and softer to your ear. Additionally, when your pedal is at maximum power transfer, it adds a much mid-boost effect to the tone.

Putting a TS9 after fuzz pedals is a common technique, which adds a characteristic mid-range boost to the tone.

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer - Classic
  • Classic tone Tone, drive, and level controls
  • Tone, drive, and level controls give you access to warm, amp-like overdrive that's touch sensitive and ready to rip

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Pros

  • Delivers the best niche rock/blues sound
  • Accuracy and authenticity

Cons

  • Slight tweak
  • Doesn’t produce a wildly different tone

Who Should Buy TS9? 

Players who’re looking for a model for metal or hard rock music, the TS9 is your best option. Placing a TS9 with a high gain amp could produce a fairly brighter and dynamic sonic tone.

Ibanez TS808 Overview

Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808 is also known as a legend in distortion in the 1979 period. Relatively few pedals sought to emulate the sound of cranked up valve amps at the time TS808 was released.

External Features

Practically, the pedal provides a robust solution for your guitar. At first glance, it’s the die-cast chassis that makes the model’s signature overdrive.  Virtually, the body of TS808 hardly gets cracks.

Internal Circuit

Ibanez TS808 vs TS9

What makes the TS808 pedal stand apart from the crowd built around transistors is its JRC4558 circuit chip. Before the TS808, no model had the chip that allowed the machine to add just a bit of overdrive.

The invention of JRC4558 made TS808 be the first one in the distortion innovation.

Sound Performance

The classic version of Tube Screamer TS808 meets the optimum performance standards thanks to the JRC4558 chip.

This traditional pedal has been prolonged, and clearly many famous musicians and guitarists from different genres have this tool throughout their career.

So what can happen is that basically, you have the smoothness on the final sound of the pedal.

Once you use a little control of the volume pedal, it would seem that TS808 will add depth and liveliness to the sound but not sacrificing the natural tone of the instrument.

As you want to create the distortion you love, you can connect it to a tube amplifier. As the signal gets distorted, the consonance generates unbelievably strong sustain and harmonic liveliness.

It also worked very well when a band kicks into the mix, reducing the remnants of guitar's high frequencies noise while emphasizing a rich, mid-range bluesy tone.

Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pedal
  • Overdrive, Tone and Level controls
  • Delivers that warm, natural tube overdrive sound previously unattainable by conventional units.

Last update on 2021-10-23 at 22:02 UTC - 4/ Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

  • Durable case design
  • Smooth tone

Cons

  • Not super versatile in tonal ability

Who Should Buy TS808? 

For those looking for blues, classical rock, and country music, the original version on the market Tube Screamer TS808 can be a good deal to consider.

Ibanez TS9 vs TS808 - Which is Better?

TS9 is spot-on for rock, metal music. The green standard TS9 is very user-friendly and provides solid construction for guitar players.

The sound you get from TS9 makes you feel like there’s a pleasing and straightforward concept coming from your guitar and amplifier.

Typically speaking of TS808, it’s very reminiscent of the old school tube screamer for blues, country music.

Basically, this is the type of overdrive pedal that gradually, people have recognized how valuable it was getting and considered it a must-have for guitarists.

Overall, the TS9 will be best in unison with a solid-state amplifier. Some may find TS9 delivers a slightly tighter sound, which is a little aggressive.

Otherwise, to be heard with the warm and creamy tone, TS808 offers everything you need.

FAQs

Is The Ibanez TS9 True Bypass? 

A TS9 is a true bypass. When connected, it can aid signals through the pedal without tonal coloration and leads to sound improvement.

Is The Ibanez TS808 True Bypass?

Ibanez TS 808 Tube Screamer is a true bypass pedal that allows guitar players to bring out the best sound with overdrive effects from their guitars.

What Does An Ibanez Tube Screamer Do?

Ibanez Tube Screamer is a pedal that allows guitar players to bring out the best sound with overdrive effects from their guitars.

What Is The Difference Between Overdrive And Distortion?

Overdrive refers to the sound mimicking the original tone and pushing valves within a tube amp harder in a way the signal has hit the ceiling in what the tube can handle efficiently.

Normally, with an overdrive pedal, you can replicate the sound of a pure amplifier distortion. Since it is a gentle style of distortion, it does not always require such intense volume.

In terms of distortion, the aim of distortion is to completely change the sound’s effect to make the signal rougher and darken the output.

Then odd-order harmonic saturation happens and ends up becoming white noise.

Who Used Ibanez Tube Screamer?

Out of the market, even before the Internet, it was preferred among notable guitarists like the genius Stevie Ray Vaughan and other notable users, including Carlos Santana, Trey Anastasio, Billie Joe Armstrong, The Edge, and Kim Gordon.

They have all made good use of the Ibanez TS models to get the well-constructed effects and the best sounds while benefiting from a nice boost and tightening up many amps.

Admittedly, Ibanez Tube Screamer truly became an essential component of their signature sound.

Conclusion 

How to choose between these two models? In the Ibanez TS9 vs TS808 debate, the general rule is the genre of music you play can inform which model to choose.

Frankly, you can't have the best of both worlds when it comes to sound attained with one model. The ultimate decision lies in which sound you prefer – the vintage, warmer overdrive attained with the all-analog circuitry of the TS808 or the brighter, modern-sounding of gear-snobbery TS9.

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