Monday, August 30, 2010

TS-808 Review

Since this is a SRV Blog, i thought i'd review a ts 808

Like the OCD, this is not a distortion box. It’s an overdrive box. The difference between overdrive and distortion are important, because they involve different approaches to the electronics. Click here for a good discussion. Overdrive boxes are known as “soft clipping” devices where gain is inversely proportional to input signal. Usually the boost is in the midrange with the high and low ends slightly cut off. The Tube Screamer is a pure midrange booster, and produces a beautiful, warm tone. The OCD on the other hand also boosts in the middle, but has added electronics that add sustain and boost harmonics and overtones. With the OCD, you can get a FAT, almost compressed tone. With the TS, you just get a boost – but that’s not a failing in the least!
As with the previous review, neither pedal is better than the other. They both have their uses. When I want lots of sustain – especially with solos – I’ll use the OCD. But for general broken-up rhythm, I’ll use the TS, but that’s not necessarily a de facto standard…  In any case, let’s discuss some features…
Note to metal players: This is not the pedal for you, if you’re looking for a real hairy kind of distortion. Think of this box as a driver to achieve pre-amp distortion. That tends to be on the brighter side. This box will not produce a fat tone, so buyer beware!
But if you’re looking for warm type of pre-amp breakup, this box is for you! It couldn’t be easier to use, either. Just three knobs: Overdrive, Tone, and Level. To get the tone you like, just fiddle with the knobs until it sounds right to you. Generally, I set the tone knob to 12 o’clock, which is pretty neutral (though the tone knob really doesn’t have that much dynamic range), set the overdrive to 10 – 12 o’clock, then set the level to slightly louder than the volume of my amp with the box switched off.
As far as build quality is concerned, it’s an all-metal casing. I gig with this box a lot so its hefty weight and solid build is a boon to gigging. And unlike the normal toggle switch you find on most boxes, the TS is (de)activated with a square switch. It’s not only aesthetically pleasing, it’s also really functional. The only beef I have with the box is that the light source of the LED is set kind of deep, so you have to be practically right over the box to see if it’s switched on or off.
Finally, the Tube Screamer is not cheap. A “Re-issue” like mine will set you back ~$169.00, while vintage boxes run up to $450.00. All I can say is that the money you spend is entirely worth it!


  1. Wow, I never realised how much these things cost!

  2. nice info man

  3. love your blog. i will visit regularly! please check out my blogs & :]