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I was out and about today and found a TS808DX at Big Boss so I figured I'd try it out. They also had a zendrive which I had been told was really good so I tried them both out.

I have a TS9DX so I am going to compare the 808DX to that (probably easiest to understand that way). This review wont be too long as I am kinda under the weather at the moment but if anyone has any questions, please ask and I'll get to them whenever I log in.

The TS808DX has a built-in volume boost, which can be used without the OD engaged (very helpful!). It isn't as much boost as I would like in a pedal like that (Considering the Fulltone Full Drive 3 has a lot more meat to it) but it drives the 808 really well. The 808 has a much fuller tone than the 9DX(in TS9 mode), and with the extra boost, it gets a little beefier. The gain knob at max does have a lot more meat than the TS9DX (TS9 mode) maxed out as well.

The biggest downside to this pedal is that without the boost, it lacks a punch to cut through in a band setting. If it was used in a blues or jazz band it would work really well imo. In a metal setting, driving the amp with the boost engaged it would work okay but outside of that it's not great for metal (especially modern metal).

Also, cost is fairly prohibitive. The price point here in Japan is around 270 USD, and for the lack of punch it has without the boost, imo that's a bit too much. I do understand it's a limited edition model so the price will be high but I think I expected just a tiny bit more fullness in the sound.
 

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The biggest downside to this pedal is that without the boost, it lacks a punch to cut through in a band setting. If it was used in a blues or jazz band it would work really well imo. In a metal setting, driving the amp with the boost engaged it would work okay but outside of that it's not great for metal (especially modern metal).
To be fair, the Tube Screamer was never really intended to be the primary source of gain for a "metal" tone, but either to drive the front end of an already-distorted amp into further saturation, or to take a clean amp and give it a bluesy overdrive. And today, while the Tube Screamer is a very popular boost in the metal world, it's not really intended as a gain boost so much as a way to pre-EQ your signal a little bit and focus it a little more strongly in the midrange, and change the WAY your amp saturates, rather than add saturation.

It's not supposed to be a screaming metal sort of OD pedal, you know?
 

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What exactly is the difference between a TS808 and a TS9? Ibanez does not spell this out at all.

I've been playing around with different drive pedals on my Axe-Fx II, so I'm going to assume that their behavior is pretty realistic. Their model is a "modded" TS808. Not sure what mods would have been done?

Going along with what Drew is saying, the Tube Screamer seems better suited to more classic amps. It pairs particularly well with old Marshalls that would not be high gain by today's standards. With the TS808 driving the amp, you can get a really sweet classic 80's type distortion. The Boss SD-1 is similar, with somewhat of a different character to it.
 

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Yeah, its an overdrive as opposed to a distortion pedal... I have been using my TS9dx in front of my Satchurator... then on to my multi-effect pedal... then into the clean channel on my amp. It seems to work well when I use a slightly overdriven setting on my multi.. one that is not really distorting, but almost... then kick on the TS9 for crunchier parts or the solo. Or in a fairly distorted setting on the Satchurator it works like the "more" button. Hit that TS9 and it just screams and sustains.

I'm not really sold on the TS9 yet though... wish it had a little brighter sound. Seems to be kind of flat and not very dynamic... it does add lots of volume boost though.

The TS808 is supposed to be better than the 9.
 
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