Submitted April 2, 2006 by a customer from optonline.net
"Perfect and Legendary, but... Overpriced."
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This review would have gotten a perfect 10 across the board, were it not for the hefty price tag. That aside, there is really nothing bad to say about the TS808. If you get one, you'll fall in love with its beautiful tones and response characteristics immediately. This is a pedal that you'll end up using for life. I've had mine for over 25 years, and it still kicks major booty each and every time I play.
I've been playing for 35+ years, and I purchased my first Tube Screamer back around 1980. If you're looking for a warm, bluesy overdrive with a minimum of noise... look no further. This is an effect which is best used for its subtle tones and relatively "sane" overdrive characteristics. In fact, in combination with a vintage Strat, I can't think of any other device that comes close to this pedal when it comes to producing the perfect "flavor" for Texas-style blues.
It doesn't have a lot of features, simply because this pedal is simply a one-trick pony. Plug it in, fire it up, adjust the 3 knobs to taste and the rest is up to you and your fingers. I can't stress this enough: think of the TS808 as a TONE effect, and not so much as a fuzzbox. If you're looking for heavy overdrive, you're in the wrong place. The TS808 is all about WARMTH and subtlety. I never did understand why they put the word "Screamer" in it's name... although if you really push it, it can wail Steve Ray Vaughan style with no troubles at all, and a minimum of hissy noise (thanks to the coveted 4558 chips).
Ease of Use
The footswitches on Tube Screamers have always been a point of contention over the years, but overall it's a very easy pedal to use. You'll have it up and running just the way you like it in no time. Works best in conjunction with a tube amp, or at least with an amp modeled after one of the classic tube stacks and combos.
It's a tank. My only issue is with the footswitches, which I've mentioned already. More specifically, after owning one for several years, don't be surprised if the footswitch goes intermittent on you. This was particularly bad on the original TS9's, but the 808's also occasionally suffered from footswitch problems over the years. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to repair if this ends up happening to you. It's not common enough to worry about in any case.
This is where we come to a parting of the ways. This pedal is a re-issue of a unit that originally sold for around 45 bucks when it was first introduced. Ibanez has obviously priced this re-issue VERY high, no doubt because it has become legendary amongst professionals as being one of the finest overdrive units ever produced. Well... I'm sorry, but as wonderful as the TS808 may be, it's not worth the re-issue price. That is, not unless this is the ONLY way you can get your hands on a working TS808.
Ibanez has always had their you-know-what together. I've never heard of any complaints about their support, and I doubt I ever will.
The Wow Factor
The unmatched tones of this unit are super-sexy. I've never minded its funky "Kermit green" color, either. The TS808 is a winner. You'll be proud to have one in your lineup. At present (and for over 25 years), there simply is no substitute for this pedal... which is no doubt another reason for its high price.
Pro musician, Sales, Engineer, Product tester
Anything but hip-hop, and I'm with ya.
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