Ibanez TS9 vs TS808: The Best Among The Best !!

Are you having a problem in choosing between choosing Ibanez TS9 vs TS808 ? Well, I do understand why you are torn between the two! It can get you that warm and vibrant sound of an overdriven speaker stack.

But did you know? Before the invention of guitar effect pedals, our superhero rock stars didn’t have fancy guitar pedals with them. They drove their tube amps to the limit and driven their speakers to a scream!

A Look To The Past

But before we come to appreciate that dirty sound, the standard was just clean music. Clipped signal means that you got your speaker and amplifier set up wrong. Literally, it was an off sound and nobody wants to listen to those kinds of things!

But in 1951, Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm played a song using a broken amp. The Rocket 88 is one of the earliest forms of rock and roll that inspired and popularized the use of clipped sound. The Rocket 88 was a hit, and many people started to appreciate the “new” genre of music.

ibanez ts808 vs ts9

photo credit: http://twixnmix.tumblr.com/post/167162924988/ike-turners-kings-of-rhythm-recorded-the-first

In the 1960s, another hit was born out of a broken preamplifier. Grady Martin had a hit with “Don’t Worry.” It was a live performance, and he went on with a broken preamp. Surprisingly, people loved it, and later he recorded the piece using the same broken gadget.

If you look carefully at it, it seems like the discovery of distortion, or fuzz, or clipped sound, was a result of an accident that people pretty much liked. From the 60s, musicians have mastered the art of driving their amps to create that “dirty” sound.

Overdrive in Smaller Boxes

Because tube amps are expensive, many aficionados and enthusiasts tried looking for a way to achieve that “gritty” sound without the need of high-end amplifiers. Thus, the birth of fuzzes, overdrives, distortions, and many other variations.

Imagine having a small box that can replicate that warm and vibrant sound of a tube head. Oh! That dirty sound! Well, it can be challenging for us to imagine that. Guitar effects are everywhere and almost every musician, if not all, use guitar effect pedals.

The Tube Screamer

Ibanez is one of the first Japanese musical instrument companies that have entered the global market and made a name for themselves internationally. They were founded in 1957 by Hoshino Gakki Co., LTD. They manufacture a wide range of musical instruments including electric guitars, acoustic guitars, electric basses, guitar effects pedals and other music accessories.

ibanez ts9 vs ts808

Since the 60s. Ibanez has been manufacturing guitar effects and competing with the big American brands like Boss and MXR. TS808 was preceded by their overdrive pedal and has become a hit. Many artists, including Joe Bonamassa, Andy Timmons, and Keith Urban, used TS808 in their careers. Even today, it’s a popular choice among modern artists.

Early in the 80s, the TS9 was released. Ibanez’s TS9 is heavily based on the TS808’s circuitry. The enclosure, however, was different. They retained the color, but the design was distinct. Buddy Guy, Kirk Hammett, Billy Joe Armstrong, and Greg Howe are some of the most notable artists who used TS9.

Now that we know the family background of the Tube Screamer, let’s get to know them better!

​Ibanez TS9 vs TS808

Here’s what the two gadget’s specifications look like side by side.




Number of knobs












Max Gain



Ibanez TS808 Overdrive Pedal Review

This legendary pedal revolutionized the industry and made a massive success in the 70s. This pedal is later on followed by a series of tube screamers that many famous musicians have enjoyed. This guitar effect is one of the most copied, modded, and replicated overdrives.

tube screamer ts9 vs ts808

Technical Specs

Ibanez’s TS808 is housed in its iconic green enclosure. The dimension of the pedal runs at 4.9x2.8x2 including the knobs. It has three knobs that control the amount of overdrive, tone, and level of the effects. It has one ¾ inch jack input socket and one ¾ inch jack output socket.

This pedal can run using a 9v battery or a 9v AC power supply. The battery door is located at the back and does not need screws to open. It has an LED indicator that shows when the pedal is turned on.


This guitar effect pedal is very easy to use.  With only three knobs to dial, finding your tone is not too complicated. Dialing the overdrive knob will give you more gain and a more clipped “gritty” sound. Dialing the tone high will give you a brighter and warmer tone while dialing it down gives you a muddy or boxed tone.

The last knob, the level knob, determines how much effects are mixed with your original signal. This acts as the volume knob and gives you louder projection when cranked. This device only has one output and cannot employ a wet/dry setup.

Sound Quality

Many avid fans of the tube screamer can differentiate it just by listening to it. It may require advanced skills or long experience to be able to distinguish Ibanez’s tube screamer from other brands. If you yearn for that “dirty” and “gritty” sound output, TS808 will surprise you!

The warm tone and high gain give you that old-school rock and roll vibe. When the overdrive is cranked to max, it can give you up to +30dB boost. With just three knobs, you will be able to emulate a screaming tube amp with your solid-state amp.


•    Ibanez is known for their tube screamer series.

•    Many musicians agree that this is one of the best guitar pedals in the world.

•    This iconic guitar pedal will give you a taste of the past!

•    Troubleshooting and repair are easy with analog guitar pedals.

•    Many famous musicians vouch for this pedal.


•    This guitar pedal does not have an option for wet/dry setup.

•    This product is a little more expensive than the TS9.

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Review

After the success of TS808, Ibanez released the “9 series” in the early 80s. Among the 9 series, TS9 got most of the attention. They retained the color scheme for the series and even today, you will find it easy to spot a tube screamer on a pedal train.

ts9 or ts808

Technical Specs

TS9 has almost the same circuitry with the TS808. It’s housed in a green enclosure and has the name number of knobs for the same control parameters. There is a subtle difference in the size which is quite unnoticeable. TS9 measures 4.9" x 3" x 2". It has the same LED switch indicator, input, and output jack sockets.

As with the TS808, this unit can run on 9v batteries or 9v AC power supply. Although it is so much alike with the 808, TS9 has a different design.


The ease of use is retained in this unit with only three knobs to tweak. It’s almost the same with the TS808 when it comes to function. The drive knob gives you up to +30dB of gain while the tone knob gives you a brighter tone. The brighter tone is the distinct characteristic of TS9 that differentiates it from TS808.

The level knob controls the volume of your output. Lastly, with only one socket for input and one for output, you don’t have the option for a stereo setup.

Sound Quality

Many say that TS9 and TS808 have identical sound. However, the keen observers disagree. The TS9 has fatter lows and a little grungier output. Its high gain enables it to have longer sustain. Clearly, TS9 has a brighter tone.


•    This product is one third much cheaper than the TS808.

•    Many musicians claim that it sounds better than the TS808.

•    This device has been heavily modded and improved by the DIY community.

•    Compared with the TS808, it has a fatter and fuller sound.


•    It does not have stereo output.

In Summary

Many musicians would debate for long hours which among the two is better. Some would swear that TS808 has better output and others would die for TS9’s fatter tone. If you had a look at the tube screamer’s past, many famous musicians would agree that both are excellent distortion pedals.

But hey, if you are on a tight budget, TS9 is around thirty percent more affordable than the first tube screamer! Plus, today, you can find many reviews that show the difference between their tones. If you are on a tight budget and you want fatter and brighter tone, definitely, TS9 is for you.

However, if you want that retro vibe and you don’t have a problem with your budget, you can go ahead and have a TS808.

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Ibanez TS9 vs TS808: The Best Among The Best !!
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