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Can you make an Ibanez or Boss pedal True Bypass? <- Click here for the answer.
2013 is the 19th year that we have been modifying Tube Screamers like TS9, OD9, and other pedals like the Boss SD-1, DS-1, etc. In 1995 we were the originator of mods on mass produced pedals, to make them sound as good as possible, and more like older, rarer pedals. Inevitably, several copycats have sprung up (I guess we were on to something!); some may be a little cheaper but you usually get what you pay for in this world (excluding your taxes, unfortunately!). Lately everyone and his brother are doing Ibanez and Boss mods. We strive to offer the best quality and fastest service possible and will work with you to help you find the tone buried deep within your pedal. We stick to our philosphy of PURE VINTAGE TONE, not bells and whistles. We have aquired a $500 automatic desoldering machine in order to remove components from fragile printed circuit boards with the minimal amount of damage. When we use this tool, the parts almost fall out, leaving the board in perfect condition for the new components. We modify, build, and sell effects pedals for a living, and have to do the best possible job to keep our reputation (or whatever's left of it after the competition's constant bashing!). See our reference list below for all the professionals using our modified pedals. The pro's know who to go to, and now you do too. If your car is broken, do you go to a professional mechanic, or a computer programmer who will "fix" it on the side cheap? (p.s. we are no longer doing assembly language coding on PDP-11 computers, so don't even ask) ;-)
Many people have emailed me asking about Ibanez Tube Screamers on EBAY that were supposedly modified by us. Also people have asked about chips on ebay that are being sold as "New Old Stock" TS-808 JRC4558D chips. If you want a JRC chip for a project, get a new chip from Steve at Small Bear Electronics who sells them cheap (sorry we dont have time to sell chips or small parts). Most of the TS9/808 pedals being sold on ebay as ANALOG MAN pedals actually were modified by us- you can usually tell by the stickers and stamps on them. If the stickers are gone on the outside they will still have our gold foil sticker on the insulator plate under the bottom plate and our signature and date on the inside of the metal bottom plate. You may also see some fabulous art work on the bottom plate by one of the analog elves (some is not quite so fabulous...)
Recently there have been fake Analog Man pedals turning up. Some have no mods at all, the stock chip is covered in epoxy, which we never do. So check the pictures on this page against any pedals you see, and ask if they have our stickers and stamps. In Jan-2002 I received a ts9 to mod that was sent with a kit bought on EBAY (he decided to have me install it). The kit contained a chip I had never even heard of- a JRC062D. I looked it up and it is a JFET opamp, not even the same basic type of chip used on a TS-808. And of the 9 resistors sent with the kit, (why 9??) only 2 had values that could be used for a correct 808 mod. This was one of the most popular kits sold on ebay... so be careful out there!
Basically I modify many Tube Screamer and Boss pedals to exact TS-808 specs (or better) to improve the sound. After the mod they are smoother and less harsh, more musical, less like a pedal and more like a great cranked tube amp. I can sell you a new TS9, TS9DX (turbo), TS-808, or Maxon OD-9 or SD-9, or many Boss pedals, already modified, as we keep them in stock. There is an order form below for online ordering of a new pedal. Or you can send me your pedal to mod, it takes just a few days to get back to you. It is normally $45 for a ts9/808 Classic mod and plus return shipping. See below for a TS-808 Mod Form to send in with your pedal. Please fill out the form, then print it and send it in with your pedal to mod. It explains everything you need to send in a pedal for the mod.
In my experience about 50% of original TS-9s I have played have sounded weak and thin, mostly due to a weak or incorrect op-amp. The "distortion" issue of GUITAR PLAYER in October '92 mentioned this, and interviewed Eric Johnson. Eric. said that he "went through about 15 of them before he found a couple that he liked".
What is the difference in sound between an TS-9 and a TS-808???
The TS-808 is a smoother, richer sound with less harshness in the high end. It is more transparent and allows more of the guitar's true tone and your playing to come through. The tonal spectrum is wider and more natural. It is a subtle difference but it's enough that TS-808s are going for $450+ and I can sell as many TS-808s as I can get. But now there is no need to spend the big $$$ to get the true 808 tone!
Scott Henderson, who is one of the true tonemeisters of today's music, explained the sound this way (2/2001):
Got the new TS-9/808 today - sounds great! It has more bass, and is punchier sounding than my original (1980s) TS-9. Also, the midrange is voiced a little lower than my TS-9, which I think is why it sounds more transparent. Really fat and smooth sounding. Your Tube Screamer is pissing all over my poor little weak, no bass, nasally-sounding TS-9. I'm kind of surprised that yours sounds SO much better, since mine does have the correct chip in it. So there must be quite a few of those other little hoogens and striped doohickies that's you're swappin' out in thar. - thanks!
A bit later he also said:
I had a gig with my trio tonight and my guitar buddies said
my tone was better with the new Tube Screamer. And it was! I
A/B'd yours and mine on a miked up amp, but later compared them
again with my rig, and I could hear the difference even more. My
TS-9 sounds like cardboard compared to yours....
See the SILVER MOD page for more feedback from Scott from a message on my answering machine.
Scott use the TS9/808 on his (August 02) CD Well to the Bone, on tracks 1,5,6 and 9. On tracks 1 and 9, he ran it into a Roger Mayer Voodoo-1 pedal to boost it even more.
Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters has been one of my favorite guitarists since I saw him play at the Dallas guitar show years ago. Greg got one of my TS-9/808 pedals in April of 2001. He also sent me his old TS-808 to fix up, the switch was flaky. Greg wrote :
I just got through playing both the original TS-808 and your new TS-9/808. Here's the verdict. The TS-808 sounds really nice, for once the switch works! But, after plugging my stock 1957 Strat into both units and a 60's Fender Super Reverb, the TS-9/808 sounds better than the old Ibanez TS-808. I can't wait to try this through my 50 watt Plexi head and cab since the Super is a bit thin for my taste. The TS-9/808 brings out the 'sweet' tone of the Strat without muddying things up. By the way, this guitar got stolen last year out of my car & then baptized. The thieves freaked out and threw it in a creek! Thank God a Father and son pulled it out, and got in touch.
I just tried my '61 Slab Board Strat with the TS-9/808, sounds very nice. The cool thing about this pedal, it emphasizes the guitars tonal characteristics without altering the guitars natural sound. I like it!
I found a great combination last night. I was going through my guitars, and happened to plug my Sunburst 1959 ES335 into the ts-9/808 and Super Reverb. Man, this is one beautiful sound, very Cream/Carlton sounding. When you roll the guitars tone controls back, it really smoothes out nice & the PAF's sing! Pedals and Gibson's can be a strange animal, your Tube Screamer seems to work well with the PAF's. I'm actually getting that Larry Carlton 335/Dumble tone, beautiful sustain!
KWS Tour Survival option
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
has been using my modified TS9 tube
screamers since late 1998. On the left is a picture of three of
his pedals that he sent me for the mods. I have come up with a KWS
option to survive the abuse that occurs to pedals on the road. I
beef-up the mechanical attachments of the various components so
you or Kenny can't break them! Things like the pots, jacks, and even the
circuit board can break loose with heavy use. This mod will keep
those parts in place better than stock.
This option more than doubles the time it takes us to do the
808 mod, it is very labor intensive, but we will try to keep the price
down. It is an additional $15 along with the 808 mod.
It does not change the tone, but if you tour if could be worth
it. I also stick on the flourescent green gaffer's tape (easy to
see onstage) to make it look exactly like his pedals.
I can also add the KWS knob settings if you so request.
We put black marks on the pedal for each knob setting like he does
in the picture on the left (12:00, full up and full up).
The KWS option is only available on a 3 knob Ibanez or Maxon
pedal, not the TS9DX or Boss pedals. The numbers we write on the pedals is
random, Kenny has #1 to #6, let us know if you want a special
Here are some samples showing comparisons of our various modified pedals. We don't put them on youtube, because youtube degrades the audio quality so much that it's hard to hear any differences in pedals. Youtube compresses the sound, so the dynamics of the notes played cannot be heard. Also the sampling and bit rates of the flashplayer that youtube uses are too low, so the details cannot be heard, especially the top end. MP3 files are not perfect either, but we usually use MP3 to keep the file sizes small. Youtube is MUCH worse than MP3 sound.
Here are some samples showing comparisons of our various modified pedals. It is a POPUP WINDOW of Back in Black AC/DC licks.
Here are some samples of the TS9/808/Silver by William Johnson.
Used a Strat into the ts9/silver into a silvertone amp, recorded
with an SM57. These are not heavy or Hard Rock samples.
Trey Like Riffs pedal off then on.
Easy Phishy Cords pedal off then on.
Cool clean pickin' showing clarity and harmonics, gets clean at end when he picks gently. Again starts with pedal off.
Some chording and riffs pedal off 4 bars then on 4 bars.
Fast Riff amp set for light overdrive. Pedal off then on.
Clean Boost Setting (high level, low drive) pedal off then on.
Slow Clean Boost Setting with echo, pedal off then on.
Here is a sample that shows our TS9/808 is not just a blues pedal, it can be used for much more aggressive music. Here you can hear Tim O'Reilly in Grand Omega playing an SG special with Duncan JB pickup through a 5150 head -> Mardi Gras
Michael Katon has been using our Classic TS9/808 extensively on his last few tours of Europe and his CD BAD MACHINE including the title track. Michael plays high-energy, guitar heavy, Detroit blues/rock and boogie. You can hear a sample of BAD MACHINE (track 4) on the CDBABY.COM site.
Here is a sample of a jazzy clean tone with our TS9 silver mod, recorded direct with no amp. Daniel Zimmerman emailed me :
I love your TS-9 silver mod-very natural and amp-like. This solo from my
new CD was cut with my Tom Anderson Classic Strat into a Silver Modded TS-9
and straight to the board via a Palmer DI. There aren't many pedals that
can go direct like this---very cool!
Sample Kim's Song
---check out more of Daniel's music at: zimmermanguitar.com
Tube Screamers are awesome for STACKING (running into other
pedals, to add thickness, sustain, etc). Here is a video
Pascal Vigne, a professional guitar-player from
He is playing a Vigier guitar ---> TS-9 silver mod ---> DS-1 pro ---> Marshall 30th Anniversary (Clean Channel). Here is the youtube video
Here is Richie Ahigian playing Trey's part from nicu.
campbell american uk-1 > boss tu-2 > silver ts-9 > t.v. ts-808 > blackfaced '77 deluxe reverb
Both Tube Screamers have drive 11 o'clock, tone 11 o'clock, volume 1 o'clock.
sound clip -
(start) Intro riff Clean
(4sec in) Intro riff w/ silver ts-9
(9sec in) Solo w/ both silver ts-9 and t.v. ts-808
Here are some great videos with explanations from Scott Whigham, of our TS9 silver mod (with true bypass). This one is with a VOX AC30, and there is a link on there to another great video with a more common Fender Twin amp.
Here is Paul and So.Cal Pink Floyd Tribute Band Which One's Pink? playing his SD9/super with Midrange knob. The SD-9/super (gain max, tone and mids fairly low) is running through a deluxe electric mistress and just a little bit of delay into the Hiwatt, which is being run very clean. Comfortably Numb
We can modify any TS-9, original or reissue, to 100% TS-808 specs, using the original type JRC4558D IC chip. This will improve any TS-9 (especially the weak ones). I use an IC socket rather than simply soldering-in the IC chip. I do not normally use a socket on the TS9DX as there is not really enough room. I also modify the output section of the TS-9 circuitry to 808 specs, which couples directly to the input of your amplifier. I'll modify your TS-9 (original or reissue) for $45. (See below for pre-modified new TS-9s.) I also "blueprint" the circuit board and wiring while I'm in there. The workmanship on these is quite good, but there are often a few cold or weak solder joints that I can improve. On well used TS-9s there are often cracks in the circuit board or the power jack solder attachments which I can strengthen. I always beef-up the attachment of the AC adaptor jack with more solder. I also tighten up the pots and jacks which will cause problems if they move. For even more durability I have the KWS tour survival option to make it even stronger, for an additional $15 for those of you who tour heavily and don't want a pedal have any problems when you are away from home. If your board is broken and the adaptor jack is no longer tight against the case, you should order the KWS option which will fix the board and make it better than new.
We can also install SUPER BRIGHT Red, Green, Orange, or Yellow LEDS along with our mods. Make sure to send in our 808 Mod Form with your pedal.
We can clean the switch on an original TS-9 for an extra $5. The reissues' switches do not come apart like the originals, I have had no luck trying to clean them. I have found a decent replacement switch, as older reissue switches are not holding up well. We will install a new switch for $10 during a modification. The Newest '98 and later switches seem to be holding up better, we do not replace them unless they are already flaky. But there were some really bad switches in spring of 2007 again... we had to replace many before shipping the new pedals. See my FAQ for more info on cleaning an original 9 series switch.
The TS-5 is the only tube screamer made before 2003 that was not manufactured for Ibanez by Maxon (Nisshin Onpa). They are pretty cheezy but sound quite decent. Several people have asked about modifying the TS-5 Sound Tank into a TS-808, so I got one to experiment on. I am now satisfied with the modified sound so I will offer this modification for those who already have a TS-5 or are on a budget (Like I was when I had a ".edu" in my EMAIL address!). But for the ultimate in tone, the TS-9 will be the best pedal to modify, as all of its other components and the circuit board are just like an 808. There is more work involved in converting a TS-5 to a TS-808, and the circuit board tends to break apart when components are desoldered, but it is a cheaper pedal so I would like to keep the price down. Therefore the TS-5 mod will be the same price as the TS-9 mod, $45 plus shipping.
Many people have also asked about modifying the TS-10. We can now make a TS-10 into a TS-808, but there are many more changes required, and the unit is not as easy to work on, so the upgrade price is slightly higher. Also they do not hold up as well as a TS-9 - I got a few back to repair after 1 or 2 years of playing while TS-9s will go for several years or more of normal playing. The in/out jacks, power jack, and pots on the TS-10s will not last long if they are kicked around on a stage, because they are mounted on the fragile circuit boards but not on the metal case. We can replace a TS-10 power jack for $10 extra along with a mod. But if you already have a TS-10 and want the 808 sound, this could be your best bet. We will modify the TS-10 for $50 plus shipping. The switch on a TS-10 can be opened and cleaned but it's very difficult, be careful if you try it yourself as the switch guts are not easy to put back in right. We can replace the switch along with a mod for $10. Note that a TS-10 modified to pure 808 specs will emit a chirp when it is switched on and off if all 3 knobs are turned up all the way (not highly likely!). I have now solved this problem and it is done without a CHIRP on all TS-10 mods since January, 2000.
TS9DX Turbo Tube Screamer MODS : I can modify these exactly the same as I modify the TS9s with all the same options and prices. We also have MODE MODS avaiable for the DX to make the three new modes more useable. See the TS9DX page for more info on this pedal.
TS7 Tone Lok Tube Screamer MODS : The TS7 can be modded to full 808 specs quite easily, the chip is usually already the JRC4558D, so the price for the mod is $5 less than a TS9, Brown option is also standard on these. We can't change the LED on these are they are really buried inside under a bunch of boards.
In early 2004 Ibanez finally reissued the TS-808 pedal due to popular demand. This pedal uses the new 2002+ TS9 reissue board, made by Ibanez, not the older, slightly better quality MAXON board like the original TS808 and pre-2002 TS9. It does have the correct JRC4558D op amp and output resistors, so it sounds good, pretty close to our CLASSIC TS9/808 mod.
We have 2 mods for these, the SILVER MOD
(seen on the left) which will come out sounding
just the same as our TS9/808/Silver, or the TRUE VINTAGE TS-808
mod, to add some MOJO.
For more info on the silver mod and how it differs from
the TV mod, see our
SILVER mod page.
The TV mod looks the same exept
no RE-J sticker on top. They are both $75 if you send in a pedal,
or $235 for a new TS-808 reissue with the mods.
The TRUE VINTAGE mod is a fun mod, like putting original PAF's into a '59 reissue Les Paul (but a lot cheaper!!). To do this, we use a new Old Stock (NOS) actual early 1980s IC chip of the exact type used in an old TS-808. We can use the famous JRC4558D chip or the rare TL4558P chip. The TL4558P chip is a Texas Instruments chip, made in Japan as is the JRC chip. The TL could be a little clearer sounding but they are very similar. We also install a bunch of original style capacitors, replacing the cheap little capacitors that are now used.
Also important to this mod are the CLIPPING DIODES- we found some of the original blue striped TS-808 diodes and install them. These special diodes, along with the chip and capacitors, make the ultimate vintage TS-808 replica!! Not quite as clear as our SILVER MOD but the tone is true vintage TS-808, nice and WARM and smooth.
We don't do the common 15 year old mods from geofex or other
diy effects sites, like the other "gurus". Those mods do what they
say (more low end, more or less drive, etc). But if you have good ears,
you will find that the basic tone and sweetness of the tube screamer
sound is compromised. The low end will get flabby on those mods.
Our mods, which we used our own R & D to create,
are for the purest vintage tones possible, not just to make
a buck and capitalize on something that someone else started.
On the left is Jim Weider comparing his old TS-808 (which he rebuilt into a TS9 case after Rick Danko stepped on it- note the TS808 knobs!) with our new TS-808 reissue True Vintage mod. I used a dual loop box with a switch to switch between the loops. It also has a toggle switch to turn off the LED so you can do true blind comparison tests. After testing for a while, you determine which one you like best and why, then turn on the LED switch and see which one it is. You have to use this blind method otherwise there will be psychological bias. When we did this, Jim picked our new pedal as often (actually more often!) than his, proving we had FINALLY been able to capture the true vintage tone of his old TS-808.
We don't like to put a true bypass stomp switch on these as they look a bit funny that way. If you want true bypass, the Maxon OD-9 with one of our 808 mods is the best bet and cheaper, and looks fine as the stock switch is true bypass. But if you want a TS-808 or TS-9 with true bypass we can do that along with one of our mods. Here is a picture of the TS-808 silver (RE-J sticker) with the bypass switch.
The TS-808/True Vintage mod you sent me sounds fantastic..! (I'm sure you know this).. I am using the TS with a Maz Jr. (unbelievable amp) and an American Deluxe Strat. With this combo, dialing in Jimi or SRV is like turning on the TV.
I just received my new TS-808 re-issue true vintage modified tubescreamer.
The night I brought it home I played it in my living room and loved the sound.
I went right to work and added it to my pedal board along with my VOX wah and another
stock TS-808 re-issue tubescreamer. That very night I took it out and gigged with it.
The other guys in the band instantly noticed the tone I was getting it didn't change the
tone but I could actually hear every note being played, it just seemed to enhance what was
already there. I had people from the audience that had heard us play several times before
comment on how well they could hear my guitar tonight. It wasn't louder just more defined
it wasn't muddy at all. I absolutely love the pedal. I am going to send my stock TS-808 in
soon to be modded too. Great work!!!!! I will tell everyone where I sent it, thanks so much!!
Here is the link to purchase a new TS808 mod pedal on buyanalogman.com
In 2014, Ibanez came out with a reissue of the "Narrow" version of the TS-808, which came out in about 1979. They don't have the plastic battery cover or the power jack in the normal place.
These are pretty much the same circuit as a normal TS-808 except the input and output transistor buffers use an op-amp IC chip instead of transistors. The originals used 1458 chips, while the reissues use a newer spec 4558 chip.
We have a mod for these to bring them to original specs- our original spec chips, caps, and diodes mod is $55. We can also optionally mount a round stomp switch for True Bypass at extra charge. For the mod, we install two original type 1458 opamp chips and replace six tiny electrolytic caps with larger ones more like the originals. We also change the clipping diodes to original blue striped diodes as used on most of the old ones, as seen on the vintage board below, circled:
The input and output jacks on these pedals stick out and look bad, so we add some hardware on the inside of the jacks to make them look better and more like the originals. We also offer options on the graphics in case you want to leave it looking stock, or want the Analog Man markings.
We sell these pedals new, with our without mod, while they last (3500 pieces made workdwide)
In 2016, Ibanez released the MINI version of the tube screamer. It does not use normal through-hole parts like the other versions, so we are not modifying them at this time. If you need a cheap tiny pedal and don't mind it's disposability, it's a good sounding little pedal, and we sell them here.
An SD-9 is sort of like a TS-9 with more hair, they have a thicker, more saturated distortion sound which is great for leads or thick rhythm. Ibanez made these at the same time as the original TS9 (early 80s) and now Maxon is making them. The early SD9 pedals with a single circuit board like a TS9 (just wires running to the pots) sometimes oscillate (whistle) at high knob settings. The later original SD9 with a seperate circuit board on the pots did not have this problem. The new Maxon SD9 uses the later style board though it just has wires going to the pots, it does not oscillate. If you turn all 3 knobs up all the way there may be a little noise but the sound is best with the tone knob set fairly low so I don't think this is a problem. After our mod, you can turn up the tone knob and still get a great sound, without harshness or noise.
Scott Henderson had been using our modified SD9 for a while so we got a lot of requests for them. We can finally fulfill these requests with these new Maxon pedals, which Scott likes more than the Ibanez. The Maxon pedal has a TRUE BYPASS switch also, so there is no buffering or change in tone when the pedal is off. Maxon pedals are made by the company that made the original Ibanez pedals so they are the real deal. You can see Scott's TS9/808/silver on the left, and the SD9 mod on the right (which he or his wife have partially painted orange, which is more of a distortion pedal color!). Thanks to (c) Prosound communications Inc (who distributes our pedals in Japan) for the picture.
Our new SD9/Super mod takes the fine sounding SD9 and makes it smoother, warmer, and clearer, while retaining all the gain and cool tones of the sonic distortion. It does not make it sound like a tube screamer. The SILVER mod is not really needed on the SD9, as it's not meant to be a transparent pedal like an overdrive. So we recommend the SUPER mod instead for the best tone without spending money on the expensive silver parts which make little difference on a distortion pedal. The new Maxon SD-9/Super pedal is $165. This mod will totally change the stock sound as you turn the tone knob up, making the whole range useable. Also our mod kills any remnants of high frequency noise or oscillation if you crank the knobs. See my SD-9 page for more info on our revoicing. See below for online ordering.
The SD9 has quite a scooped midrange, especially stock when you turn the tone knob up any amount. After our SUPER MOD the lows are a little better but but it's still a little scooped in the mids. In 2007 we came up with a mod with the help of local guitar phenom Roger Filgate who loves the SD9/super but needed more mids to cut through with the band live.
We can now add a midrange trim pot on the Maxon SD9 board as there is plenty of room. It is marked at the stock value and we set and mark it at what we feel is a nice setting with a slight mid boost. I like best it with the tone knob down low with the mid at our marked setting, no more scooped LA sound, just a nice classic rock distortion sound. The trim pot will not fit on the original Ibanez SD9 pedals as there is no room on the board.
For either the Maxon or Ibanez sd9, we can add a small external MID pot under the volume or dist pot. The stock midrange setting is with the knob at 9:00, so there is no downside to getting the midrange knob. The modform has the MIDRANGE mod available internally or externally, along with our super mod or standalone (if you already have the super mod).
For best sound on the SD9, keep the TONE knob very low. Our midrange knob works great then, allowing you to add in the normal frequencies that sound great with guitar while keeping the annoying high end under control.
Here is a picture of the external Mid Mod.
We can also add the Bad Bob Booster as a seperate pedal inside the SD9! See the Bad Bob page for more info on this pedal. It has a stomp switch, LED, and volume knob for the booster which can be used alone or together with the SD9. Running the booster after the SD9 is the way we usually build them, it give the pedal more volume and a little more fatness. We can also build it with the Bad Bob before the SD9, that way when both used together you get more distortion.
We can also do a HALF GAIN MOD to lower the amount of distortion the pedal has throughout it's range. With this mod, it's closer to a Tube Screamer when the drive is down all the way. But it will only get half as distorted when all the way up, compared to before. No extra charge for this option along with the SUPER mod.
Other Ibanez MODS : I have successfully modified SM-9s to the 808 style chips and output section. An SM-9 is sort of like 2 TS9s (or SD9s) together.
The Maxon OD-9 introduced in the summer of '02, is a TS9 (looks exactly the same) with the correct JRC4558D chip, and it had a DPDT switch replacing the FET switching. This early OD-9 had "normal" bypass like an old 70s pedal but does not suck much tone when OFF. Since it is an exact TS9 circuit, we offer the same mods on the OD-9, either the CLASSIC or the SILVER mod, along with KWS option. In about 2004 they changed to an actual 4PDT true bypass switch. This OD-9 should not be confused with the original 1984 Ibanez OD-9 which was not a tube screamer circuit (and very rare, I finally got one!)
On the left you can see the OD-9 board with many parts removed in preparation for our SILVER mod. Much of it's TS9 circuit board was already empty because it no longer uses the TS9s FET switching. So there is less circuitry in your signal path for a clearer, purer tone. I recommend the OD-9 over the TS9 for best tone both ON and OFF. The true bypass switch is a little different feeling from a Boss or Ibanez switch. Like all true bypass pedals it goes down and back up to switch, unlike a momentary switch which just sends a pulse when you touch it.
The Maxon is made in the same factory that made the TS-808 pedals in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We are not sure where the new TS9 pedals are now made but they stopped saying MAXON in them in 2002. See our Tube Screamer history page for more info.
In late 2008 we released the Maxon OD9/808 with an added Bad Bob circuit inside. It's two pedals in one box, the Bad Bob has an added stomp switch on top and either or both can be used. There is a volume knob on the pedal for the booster volume, and a new LED indicator too. We can put the Bad Bob before the OD9 (adds more distortion to the OD9 when both are on) or after the OD9 (adds more volume to the OD9 when both are on). Either one can be used alone too.
The Bad Bob pedal is a booster based on the famous and much copied mini-booster "JFET mu-amp" design of Jack Orman (check out his site to learn more). This design was also used as the basis for most other boutique boost pedals.Here is a picture of the pedal with the optional SILVER mod (signified by the RE-J sticker). The Bad Bob addition is a $95 option along with one of our 808 mods on the OD9, on either a new pedal from us or one you send in for the mods.
We have worked on the Maxon OD-808 and now offer our 808/SILVER mod for it. The Maxon OD-808 is actually a TS-10 circuit (uses TS9/TS10 output section, it's not a TS-808 circuit) so it takes some serious work. We also include TRUE BYPASS on these mods because Maxon uses a normal size stomp switch which we can easily change to a 3PDT switch for true bypass. Now that the Maxon OD9 is out, there is no need for the OD-808 as the OD9 already has true bypass and has the actual ts808 / TS9 circuit board, and hand wired pots and jacks with normal size hand-wired pots, so they are more reliable and can easily be kept running forever.
9/06 : Maxon discontinued the AD-9, Sold out, sorry! I do have a few old Ibanez AD9 pedals in stock, and may have one like new demo Maxon AD9 with our mod in stock.
The Maxon AD-9 analog delays are cool because they have true bypass switches, are small, and run on a battery or a normal 9V dc adaptor. And the delay sound is AWESOME, one of the best analog delay sounds ever. But they have a slight volume drop and dullness in the dry signal when ON, so we tweek them to make them sound better. If you have all true bypass pedals or no pedals in front of the AD9, this mod will help a lot. The AD-9 has a DRY OUT jack and a normal output jack. A trick you can do is to stick a plug (like a George L's plug with no cable) into the DRY OUT jack if you want WET ONLY output out of the normal output. Or if you use both outputs, you will have only dry out of one and only delay out of the second.
The AD-9 uses about 18mA of power. For more info on the AD9 and the other available analog delay that I like, the EH Deluxe memory man, See my FAQ .
You can extend the delay time on the Maxon AD9 up to about half a second, but high notes on the guitar will sound like using a ring modulator, as the sampling rate will be too low. For playing the low strings, or bass guitar, it sounds pretty normal at these extra long delay times. But you might like the weird ring mod sounds for some things! If you max out the delay time trim pot, you can just back down the delay time knob and still get normal sounds, up to about 300mS.
We can also do an EXPRESSION PEDAL MOD on this pedal, using the DRY OUTPUT jack for plugging in the expression pedal. Controlling the DELAY TIME is very cool and a normal 10K expression pedal will work fine. It's $50 for the EXP mod, and the pedal works normally when you do not have an EXP pedal plugged into it. It is possible to put a second (only one will fit) expression pedal jack in the battery area, or maybe on the side next to the other jack too.
There is also a reissue Ibanez AD9 out now, which is cheaper as it is not true bypass and uses cheap delay chips. It does not sound as good with those chips. The Maxon and original Ibanez use VERY expensive, rare Panasonic chips- MN3205 4096 stage bucket brigade chip and MN3101 clock chip, just like the vintage delays, to get it's awesome sound. Here is an article from Legendary Tones comparing the Maxon to the Ibanez.
If you have a Maxon AD-9 we can mod it for tone/volume for $35 plus S & H, it's on our Ibanez Mod Form . Or for the expression jack mod for $50 plus S & H it's on this modform. The Ibanez does not have true bypass so there are no mods for them.
We can add a true bypass switch to these, and also expression pedal controller jacks. We can add a jack for delay time and/or feedback (repeat). With no controller pedal plugged in, the pedal operates as stock. When you plug in, the controller pedal takes over the function of the knob (delay time or repeats). We can put the jacks on the side(s) of the switch wherever you want them. The DELAY TIME controller allows for some crazy pitch bending! It also increases the delay time quite a bit if you use the Roland EV-5 as a controller and adjust the pot on the side of the EV-5. The expression jacks are $30 each along with a true bypass mod or $40 without. We also carry the Roland EV-5 expression pedals if you need one. The expression jacks are more expensive on Boss pedals due to pedal construction, this price is only for AD-900. Here is a picture of our AD-900 mod with true bypass and two EXP jacks. We can also adjust the amount of oscillation if you desire more or less range on the REPEAT knob (should be able to self-oscillate at the longest delay time if you want it to).
We can also mod the newer AD999 for expression pedals. But their pots are enclosed and mounted to the board so they are non-cleanable and non-replaceable, so if you don't already have an AD-999 I recommend finding an AD900 instead as they are made better and have a much more "normal" circuit.
The Vox Valvetone V810 is a great sounding pedal with true bypass, discontinued in about 2000. They were made in China or Taiwan for VOX but they sound quite good stock. When we checked one out, we found they were using some excellent quality components, and the circuit was nearly a tube screamer as people expected. But there are a few wrong values in there, so we tried modifying one to TS-808 specs with our SILVER MOD options and it came out great!!! So we will now offer this mod for the same price as our silver option on a TS9. It will sound just like our TS9/808/Silver plus have true bypass. We recommend getting the SUPER BRIGHT LED option as the stock LEDs are really wimpy.
This option is now included in the standard price of
the mods (classic and silver) as there are very
few people who did not order it in the past.
I use 1960's style Carbon Composition
resistors for the mod, and in three other parts of the circuit
through which the main signal passes. Don't be fooled by the word
BROWN (which some of my first customers came up with), it
does not make the tone dark or change it from the good old TS-808
tone. What the brown option does is make the effect slightly smoother
and a bit less harsh in sound, more like 1960's effects. It is a
great option if you use a bright amp like a Fender. I recommend
it for anyone unless you run the TONE knob all the way up on your
tube screamer and want a super bright tone. Most effects (and
amps) would still be built with these resistors today, but mass
produced products use the cheaper carbon film resistors to save
money. This option is standard on all mods but if you do not
desire it you can put a note on the modification form.
If these were not the best sounding resistors available,
then they would not be used by the high-end tube amp and pro audio
builders today, they are also still used by the military so the
prices are very high.
Which mod sounds more like a real TS-808?
All my TS-808 mods, have the same circuit as a real TS-808. Ibanez did not use the carbon comp resistors in the original TS-808 because it was made as a cheap (!) pedal and those resistors are too expensive. So our classic mod which comes with the brown option sounds like a TS-808 but even smoother! Some of our imitators change capacitors and other values in their "brown" options, but we found that changing these does not result in as pure a tone so we leave the 808 circuit the way it was designed in our CLASSIC mod. See below for info on our SILVER OPTION for something a bit different.
Do you change the capacitors or other components in your mod?
My CLASSIC TS-808 mod does not change the capacitor values, it uses the exact same values as an original TS-808. Anyone can find information online on changing various capacitors in a tube screamer to add low end. I have tried every mod I have seen online and many more that I came up with, and none of the simple capacitor changes sound quite right. They lose the sweet tone which is the reason to use a tube screamer, though it will sound good in a bedroom it will get very muddy on stage or recording with a band. These other guys' mods boost the low end like in the TS9DX modes, so it gets muddy. When we sell the DX we recommend our MODE MODS on the DX, then the deepest mode will be about the same amount of low end as the 2nd mode on the stock DX. We also do not increase the DRIVE, as this does not sound right on a tube screamer. If you need more drive it is better to use another pedal either seperately or along with the tube screamer. We recommend the Maxon SD9/super for more drive. Or many people use two tube screamers in a row, Trey from Phish and Kenny Wayne Shepherd are some of our customers who use two modified tube screamers in a row.
If you are interested in something a bit different, without as much of the strong vocal midrange, with a bit more low end and higher fidelity sound, then our SILVER OPTION will do the trick! Click on the silver dollar for more info. It is available starting in February, 2002. It is so MUCH more than any of the other mods available elsewhere in sound, and uses special components that I and my collaborator in Japan have found after an exhaustive search. The Silver mod includes the classic 808 mod, plus much more. We have spent several months refining the circuit, emailing each other at the end of the day so one could work on it while the other slept.
Click on the image on the left for a link to Ohbayashi san's Japanese page, you may not be able to read much of the Japanese language but it is interesting! As you can see in the picture, we also came up with a KILLER Boss BD-2/SUPER Blues driver mod!!! The BD-2 is a totally different overdrive sound, a very cool sounding pedal after the mod. Ohbayashi san, CAMTAC (Certified Analogman Modification Technician And Collaborator) can modify your pedal in Japan.
The man who helped develop some of our best pedal modifications came from Japan to work at Analog Man in the USA at the end of June, 2003. He did R & D work along with modifications for customers. We will have pictures and more information on the web site soon. He also came in June 2012 with the new Prince of Tone pedal and to do more R & D work on some new distortion pedals.
Can you make my Tube Screamer true bypass??
In order to make an Ibanez, Boss or other electronically- switched pedal true bypass, you need to drill a hole on top and mount a standard round metal stomp switch. On the TS9 there is already a small hole under the plaque on top, and there is just enough room for a switch. The TS-808 reissue is easier as we can use the stock switch hole. We also need to hot-wire the circuit so it is always ON. Mounting the switch is very time consuming and messy. We do offer true bypass on a TS9 or TS808 now for $40 along with one of our 808 mods, or $50 as a standalone mod.
We can also do the bypass mod and still allow buffered bypass if you would like the option of buffered or true bypass. The new stomp switch will be for true bypass when OFF, or stock tube screamer mode when ON (new LED on). In stock mode, the TS switch changes between PEDAL ON (LED ON) and buffered bypass. Here is a video with more info on this : youtube . This option is $15 more than a normal true bypass mod as we need to add a second LED for the stomp switch true bypass. Standard LED is used to show if the overdrive is ON or OFF.
Here is a picture of the TS9 with a new true bypass STOMP switch. These pedals do not really suck tone like a wah wah when off, as they use active electronic FET switching so it is not as much of a benefit as on something like a wah or big muff.
Instead of a true bypass mod, you can use a TRUE BYPASS box, which is a small box with IN, OUT, SEND, and RETURN jacks, and a switch. When OFF, the signal goes direct from the IN to the OUT jack. When ON, the signal goes through the SEND/RETURN effects loop (and the pedal that you have in that loop). These are handy for having around, you can even use it as an AB box in a bind. It is even possible to build true bypass loop boxes with multiple loops/switches. They are about $85 for a normal true bypass box in a generic case. I tested a TS9 in my TRUE BYPASS BOX to see if the TS9 was effecting the tone when it was OFF. There was a small loss in very high frequencies, but the sound was excellent and actually better when using very bright amps like my Deluxe Reverb. And the buffer might help if you don't have a buffer on your board. Here is more info on our Switch Boxes.
If you want a true bypass tube screamer, an excellent choice is the Maxon OD-9 which has stock true bypass. See my Maxon section for more info.
Using a Tube Screamer for CLEAN BOOST
Another use, which works best with a TS-808 or my TS-808 mod is a clean boost. Turn the gain (top left) knob almost all the way down (maybe on 1) and turn the tone (middle) knob down almost all the way too, and crank up the output volume (top right) to the desired boost level. This can boost a tube amp with nice smooth tone and very little pedal distortion (makes more tube distortion).
TS-9/808 MOD SOUND DESCRIPTION
A TS-9/808 upgrade customer (email@example.com) has described the sound better than I can, so here it is :
"I A-B'd it last night through a 4x10 Fender Blues DeVille with my 1960 Stratocaster. Comparing my modified pedal to my friends reissue TS-9 (same model w/out the mods), I could immediately tell that the tonal range was more natural than my friends; that is, the lows were low, the mid was right on, and the high end was sweet and rich, and I could get those Billy Gibbon's style sweet pinch harmonics. Overall, the distortion is more creamy and natural-sounding, rich in tone, while the other pedal has a week bottom end (too buzz-saw like), and a squealy and not at all sweet tone on the high notes. More distorted-sounding than true overdrive, really...
Also, what REALLY impressed me is that playing rhythm is possible, and I've always shied away from pedals for rhythm playing because they sound too thin, cutty, and trebly. But the TS-9/808 made the chords stand out and really fatten them up. Very natural sounding, very cool true overdrive sound... hats off! Thanks again Mike, and you mention that you treat all your customers like rock stars... that's true, but add that you make them SOUND like rock stars too! (OK, at least BLUES men!) "
MORE TS-9/808 MOD CUSTOMER FEEDBACK
A note from Paul Shellooe, Guitar & Vox, Dirty Pool in Boulder :
I'm totally amazed at the difference! I could even hear a huge difference between how I remembered my tone (before I sent the TS-9 to you) and how it is now. I use the Tube Screamer for a base rhythm tone. So the TS is a key part of the tone chain. The upgrade to 808 specs improved the sound of my entire rig by leaps and bounds. The TS-9 Reissue was OK, but still was a bit harsh and solid state sounding. The TS-9/808 is WARM, and really round. The "round" tone is what I'm always looking for. Real vintage Strats have a round tone -- each note is really full and not shrill. The TS is first in my chain of effects and is set with Drive all the way down, Volume all the way up, and Tone at about 1:00. These settings push my Fender Blues DeVille (I really want a Vibro King though!) and give me great sounding tube rhythm dirt and a little more sustain than just cranking the amp. The first thing I played was "Drivin' South" and every note rung really clear. The TS-9/808 is a lot more transparent (which is the key to a good effect) and because of that, is one of the only pedals that you can leave on all the time. With the TS-9, I was still looking for better rhythm crunch -- the upgrade to 808 specs ended that search.
I also shot the upgraded TS-9/808 out with my TS-10 and there was no comparison at all. The TS-10 was harsh and gritty and the TS-9/808 was full, warm, and huge on the low end. Whackin' the low E string tells all. Again, there's a roundness with the 808 that none of the other Tube Screamers have. It makes a Strat sound like a Strat should. I also noticed that using the 808 as a base distortion, feedback (using other distortion after the 808) is a lot smoother and easier to control. I compare it to the Mermen -- Jim Thomas is a master of feedback. Check out "A Glorious Lethal Euphoria" -- one of my favorite guitar records.
The switch now works perfectly too and I can't thank you enough for that. Even though it's on most of the time, I walk over to it and switch it off and on just because I can now. Funny how you're more confident when your equiptment works right. I even have the option of playing squeaky clean now 'cause the Tube Screamer turns on and off.
Thank you so much Mike -- service was fast, work was REALLY well done, and all the shipping was smooth. You're on the top of my recommendation list.
Brad Rabuchin wrote this in an email, showing how this pedal can really come in handy on tours:
Just wanted to thank you for the cool TS9/808 I got from you a few months back. I currently tour with Ray Charles and it's been a definite improvement over my TS9 or any of the other stuff I have. It especially came in handy for our recent swing through Europe. I was stuck with questionable backline amps on several of the gigs and that pedal allowed me to survive and actually get a pretty good sound (in spite of those lame amps). So thanks again for improving my tone.
If you are wondering if it will really come out the same as a real TS-808, here's what John Rachlin who has a recording studio in L.A. said :
I just want to congratulate you on doing a great job on my TS-9! Thanks also for doing it so quickly. I A/B'd my TS-9 with an original 808 before the mod and after the mod. As I mentioned in my letter to you before the mod, I could definitely hear the difference between the two. Upon A/Bing the the two after the mod, the two sounded almost exactly the same. In a blind listening test with my friend who owns the 808, we listened to how both units sounded. We then hit an A/B switch a couple of times with no sound and then blindly listened to the sound (no knowing which you unit the A/B was going to). We guessed wrong on which unit we were listening to more than half the time (i.e. they sounded almost exactly alike).
Richard Williams from the band KANSAS got a TS9/808 classic with the KWS heavy duty option in the summer of 2003 and wrote :
I just got back home from four shows in a row out west. That Tube Screamer sounds great. I am having my guitar roadie send my old one to you for the same mods.
Thanks for the great replies, guys! I can fire my ad agency now...
If you haven't had enough yet, you can check out the Harmony Central Effects reviews of the TS-9/808.
I don't personally think the difference is HUGE, but if you are really into your tone then it's more than enough to matter. The difference between a TS-9 and TS-808 is not something that you can easily see on an oscilloscope in the middle of a note, or hear in a sound sample on the internet. Much of the difference is in the roundness of the tone and the feel and response of the notes as you play, in addition to the smoother sound. At louder volumes the difference is even more pronounced. Works great on stage and cuts through the mix, which all the multi-effects processors and digital modelers have a real problem with.
Normal turnaround on mods is 1-2 days here plus 2-3 days priority air mail shipping. Often we are able to get pedals out the same day we get them, depends on our shipping schedule. Please see below for the TS-808 Mod Form and send it to me with your pedal. This form has all the shipping and payment details for sending me your pedal to mod.
Buying a pre-modified pedal
Many customers (especially overseas) have asked to buy TS-9s which are already modified, for convenience so they do not have to ship the pedal here and back. Also overseas prices for stock TS-9s are higher than my modified ones, and TS-9s are not available in many countries, even Japan!!! So I am now stocking brand new reissue TS-9's that you can order pre-modified to TS-808 specs. List price is $179 for a reissue TS-9, but our price INCLUDING the classic TS-808 modification is $165 plus shipping. The TS9DX with the same modifications is $185. This includes the original 9V battery, manual, and box. The brown option is part of our classic mod. See below for online order forms for new pedals.
There are some shops selling "analog man TS-808 kits". Unless they come in a white box with analog man Sun Face stamps and analog man stickers for your pedal, they are not our kits.
Trey Anastasio of Phish is using two of our TS9/808/silver pedals starting in late 2002, along with our BICOMPROSSOR. Here is a shot of Trey with them, on the phish.com website. When Trey plays with other bands or otherwise can't bring his whole pedalboard, he'll usually just plug into the TS9/808/silver. Here is a cool picture of THE EDGE using our pedal in New Orleans. One of our competitors claims that it's his mod, but you can clearly see otherwise. He still uses it on the solo in The Electric Co. Monster Magnet has been touring with several of our modified tube screamers and an SD-9 mod. Phil Caivano now has his TS9 upgraded to SILVER specs and runs it along with a KLON Centaur which he uses set clean. Phil prefers the overdrive sound of the TS9/808/silver over the KLON. He called here in 2015 and told us that after eighteen years(!), the TS9/Silver is still his favorite because it works with EVERYTHING, they use an incredible amount of cool vintage amps in the studio. Tony Iommi got one of my TS9/808 pedals back in 2000 (click on MAP, then YESTER-GEAR, then EFFECTS) and when I saw him playing with Heaven and Hell in 2007 he was using it in his live rig , and he bought another one. Other users of my TS-808 modified pedals are Kenny Wayne Shepherd (has six of my TS9/808 mods and one TS9DX/808), Scott Henderson pictured at left (Tribal Tech, Chick Corea, etc), Michael Landau (too many credits to list!), Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters, Will Owsley (RIP), Jimmy Herring (The Dead, Project Z, Allman Brothers, Phil Lesh-see his latest CD liner notes!, etc) got one of our TS9/808 pedals several years ago and another one to replace it. Richard Williams of Kansas, Gilby Clarke, Vinnie Moore (used his TS9 mod and SunFace on the 2012 UFO album), Sonny Landreth (TS9DX/808 along with our COMPROSSORs), Al Schnier (moe.), Steve Wariner OD9/808/Silver in late 2005, Wayne Krantz in NYC silver mod (Steely Dan, etc), Charlie Sexton (Bob Dylan, Arc Angels, etc). Jackson Browne's guitarist Mark Goldenburg got one but Jackson snatched it and has used it quite a bit. Page Hamilton of Helmet really like his TS9 silver mod that he got in 2005. Doyle Bramhall 2 is using our TS9/808 mod in 2005. Hadden Sayers from TX, Philip Sayce from Canada (Jeff Healey band), Jeff Pevar (CPR, Graham Nash, Jazz is Dead, etc etc), Lance Keltner, Dave Malone from The Radiators, Buddy Miller (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Buddy and Julie Miller, etc), Harley Fine in NYC, John Fogerty, Steve McCarty (Steve Miller band guitarist/songwriter), Matt Scannell (Vertical Horizons) loves his TS9DX/808/Silver, The Reverend Odie Johnson in Chicago, Jeff Pitchell of Texas Flood here in CT, Bill "Hot Rod Lincoln" Kirchen, Andy Latimer of Camel, Metallica (ordered two TS9/808 pedals when they were making their cover-song album Garage Inc.), Andy Powell and Ben Granfelt from Wishbone Ash (silver/mode mod DXs), Mike Tempesta of Powerman5000, TJ Helmerich in LA (silver), Dan Marx in NYC (heard on countless TV commercials and shows), Davie Allan (The Arrows), Steve Henderlong from 39 Stripes, James Dillingham (Wayne Watson), Stuart Swanlund (RIP) had TS9/808, OD9/808/silver and SD1-/808/Silver mods, formally of the Marshall Tucker Band and THE TONE GENERATORS, John Wesley (FISH, Porcupine Tree, etc), Albert Cummings, Jerry Finn (producer and Blink-182), Mark Abrahamian (Starship), Travis Dunn of Moses MaBone who won't go to a show without his CompROSSor, OD9/808/silvers, and KoT Ver4. Michael Katon (got a 2nd SILVER one and loves his Sun Faces!), Keith Stalcup in Nashville (Statler Brothers, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joan Osbourne, etc) got one of our Silver pedals in early 2004 and has been using it on all his tours, Brad Fernquist (Michelle Branch, etc) also got our silver mod and says it's killer. Gabriel Moses (Macy Gray etc) is using the silver mod along with many other pedals from us. Christopher Cross got one of our TS9/808 pedals in the summer of 2007 then bought another one for his new rack system. Ryan Newell of Sister Hazel is using a pair of our modified tube screamers. George Lynch has been using one of our TS9 mods and another "famous" mod, but he sent us the other one to be re-modded as it "made him squint when he turned it on". Roger Filgate who did a bunch of our sound samples above, played his TS9/silver mod pedal on Chubby Checker's 2007 hit "knock down the walls". Rogers Stevens of Blind Melon has been using our TS9/silver mod along with our Sunface and Mini Bicomp. Will Lee of David Letterman's band is using the TS9DX/808 on bass. In May of 2010 I went to BB King's in NYC and Popa Chubby was playing. I met him backstage and he told me he was using our TS9/808 that he bought used at Rogue Music in NYC. Oz Noy tried a bunch of different Tube Screamers and likes our TS808 with the classic mod, he got six of them in 2013 and said "It's the best sounding Tube screamer out there, it's as good as any old 808!" Even Ray Charles', Davie Jones' (both RIP), and Frankie Vallie's guitarists are using them!
Check out our BEAT TUBE SCREAMER page for some nasty looking pedals that still sound killer! Do you have one even more beat up that you still use?
Ordering on the website is for a brand new pedal, with our mods. If you are sending in a pedal for the mods, print out the Mod Form which will explain how to send your pedal in.
For easy ordering, check out our new website buyanalogman.com . The new website uses a shopping cart for everything so it's very easy to buy multiple items or add in options. It allows using paypal in addition to several other payment methods including credit cards. It also keeps track of status, tracking numbers, etc and allow editing orders after they are placed so it's best to use our new website.
Please see our BOSS PAGE for modified Boss pedals.
Keep on Screamin!
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