Ibanez Ts10 Vs Ts9

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JohnCordyJohnCordy Frets: 325


I wanted to see why this is the tubescreamer of choice for a few big players (SRV, John Mayer etc), so here is a side by side comparison of the TS10 and TS9.

The difference to me seems quite subtle, which is not necessarily what you'd expect if you believe everything you read!
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 50809
    The funny thing is that you could barely give them away before Mayer became known for using one...

    I’d guess the reason SRV had one is because when one of his older models broke he just bought a new one, and that was the current version at the time... nothing to do with the sound.

    They are slightly different - more than the TS-9 is from the TS-808 - but they still sound like a Tube Screamer.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • There was a TS-10 in PMT in Cardiff last year (not sure if it's still there) & they wanted £180 for it...
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  • JohnCordyJohnCordy Frets: 325
    I just recorded a shoot out between:
    Ts10
    Ts9
    Behringer Tube overdrive
    And Keeley Tone Workstation


    To be honest they're such small differences.
    @guitarcookie I just paid £195 for this one for the purpose of these videos....

    @icbm you're handy with a soldering iron etc arent you? Would be interesting to get a perspective from a real person about what the differences are...
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 50809
    JohnCordy said:
    I just recorded a shoot out between:
    Ts10
    Ts9
    Behringer Tube overdrive
    And Keeley Tone Workstation

    To be honest they're such small differences.
    @guitarcookie I just paid £195 for this one for the purpose of these videos....

    @icbm you're handy with a soldering iron etc arent you? Would be interesting to get a perspective from a real person about what the differences are...
    There is a difference in the circuit between the TS-808/9 and the TS-10 - the 10 has an extra buffer stage, but it’s in the bypass path and I think was added to cure the slight bleed-through into the bypass that the 808 and 9 suffer from (like the Boss SD-1). I would need to check the schematics in detail but I think the overdrive section is almost (or completely) identical.

    The only difference between the 808 and the 9 is two resistors in the output buffer, but having fitted a TS-9 with a switch to select the 808 values, I’m sure there is no audible difference. There can be noticeable differences between *individual* pedals due to component tolerance variations and drift over time, but that applies as much to any two TS-808s or TS-9s - and probably 10s - as it does to ones of different models.

    In short all Tube Screamers sound the same to a very close degree, and the only tiny differences you can hear are down to random variations. Assuming they all have the JRC4558 chip, anyway - there *is* a difference with other types, but ironically it’s only apparent when the gain is up close to full, which is not how it’s fashionable to run them nowadays!

    There’s a video by JHS where he A/B’d an original vintage TS-808 with a Behringer Tube Overdrive too, and they’re indistinguishable even when he switches in the middle of a held chord.

    Save your money...

    I like the TS-9 because it’s physically the most robust of all the versions, but I wouldn’t pay more than a reissue sells for. Otherwise I’d buy the Behringer.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 19848
    I used my original TS-808 for decades until someone gave me a TS-7. 

    I couldn't really tell the difference between them enough to care, so I sold the original one I'd bought for £16.50 for £225.

    :)
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  • T808 > ts mini > ts9 to my ears, but it's all tolerances in components according to Mr wampler and various others. 

    (Kind of annoyed I like the 808 the best though) 
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  • JohnCordyJohnCordy Frets: 325
    @ChrisCox1994 yeh I wonder if there's significant differences between even two of the exact same model that are as significant as the differences between models?
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  • I remember turning up to a gig with my pedalboard with my new shiny Robert Keeley Mod TS9 and feeling very superior to my mate who was also playing on the card who had TS10 on his board

    Then John Mayer dumped the Keeley and started rocking a TS10.

    It was around this time I really stopped giving a shit about overdrive pedals made of pixies and fairy dust
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  • KeefyKeefy Frets: 910
    Tube Screamers of all descriptions were ruined for me when I got a Thorpy Peacekeeper.
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  • JohnCordyJohnCordy Frets: 325
    @gibsongretschfan I think the Keeley Tone Workstation technically should have a Ts10 voicing right since that's Mayer's favourite? 

    Of course now the Ts10 is worth about as much as a tone workstation anyway so it's no longer much of a choice.

    In any case I think I kind of prefer the Behringer to the Keeley TS based on some experiments. Weird.
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  • soma1975soma1975 Frets: 4148
    I mean it's clearly 1 better isn't it. 
    My Trade Feedback Thread is here

    Been uploading old tracks I recorded ages ago and hopefully some new noodles here.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 50809
    JohnCordy said:
    @ChrisCox1994 yeh I wonder if there's significant differences between even two of the exact same model that are as significant as the differences between models?
    Yes. When I fitted one of my old TS-9s with a switch to select the TS-808 resistor values - which is the only difference between the two circuits if both are versions with the JRC4558 - there was no audible difference at all. In other words there is no inherent difference between the sound of a TS-808 and a TS-9.

    But recently I had two old TS-9s to work on at the same time - both from 1983 as well, so essentially 'identical' in every way - and they sounded noticeably different from each other, both at the same settings and if I deliberately tried to match the sounds rather than the knob positions. Both were definitely original and unmodified, so the only explanation can be that the component tolerances matter.

    My guess would be that two of a more recent version would sound less different, since component tolerances and resistance to drift over time have improved, but I haven't done any actual A/Bs.

    In any case, all of them sound like a Tube Screamer and I would defy anyone to identify the version if they played through one without being able to see which it was.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • JohnCordyJohnCordy Frets: 325
    edited January 22


    the above video pits the TS10 against the TS9, the Behringer Tube Overdrive, and the Keeley Tone Workstation (which has a red dirt in it)...Which sounds best? No idea.

    @icbm thanks for all that info, really helpful! That's what I figured might be the case...

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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 6977

    The op amp chip definitely makes a difference.  I had one of the TS9 reissues that didn't have the 4558 chip (75558?).  It definitely made a difference when I swapped the chip for a 4558.

    I thought I heard a difference when I swapped the resistors to mod it to 808 spec as well, which I did at a different time.  I didn't have it on a switch like @ICBM so that may have been my imagination.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 50809
    crunchman said:

    The op amp chip definitely makes a difference.  I had one of the TS9 reissues that didn't have the 4558 chip (75558?).  It definitely made a difference when I swapped the chip for a 4558.

    It does. If you have a Tube Screamer with any other chip than the 4558, it's the one upgrade that's really worth doing. The ironic thing is that it's actually the *poor* performance of the JRC4558D which makes it sound good, I think especially the low slew rate, which limits the HF response at higher gain settings. If you use a chip with a better slew rate then the pedal sounds harsher - so people who are putting fancy high-spec chips in are probably only making things worse... although those tend to be the type who run them with the level up full and the gain as low as possible, in which case it makes little difference.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 356
    back in the day, i wanted a 'tubescreamer' , but the shop only had the 'supertubescreamer', which had 4 knobs, so thats what I got, and then my pedalboard consisted of  st9 into heavy metal pedal, later I added a 'frontline' analogue delay-cos I couldnt afford the Boss DD, it did everything I wanted, and for a brief period I was running it into a 100watt 'superlead' and a 4X12, which got swapped for a Roland Cube 60, 
    How simple things were back then, 
    still got the pedals, still sound good, wish I still had the amps, the Cube died not long ago, and I didnt know what the Marshall was until much much later.
    I replaced it more recently with a JCM900 MK3, but more for nostalgic reasons, and I mainly use a Code or a Katana these days-no pedals.
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 50809
    andy_k said:
    back in the day, i wanted a 'tubescreamer' , but the shop only had the 'supertubescreamer', which had 4 knobs, so thats what I got
    Just what every Tube Screamer needs, an extra gain stage and a knob to add even more mids!

    The ST-9 is quite rare and sought-after now, which you probably know already... one of the only vintage pedals I had which I actually sold *after* it had gone up in value, rather than before.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • BBBluesBBBlues Frets: 599
    The main issue on the TS10 is that the jack sockets are soldered directly to the PCB. For any gigging player this is an accident waiting to happen. Mine had a horrible intermittent issue.
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  • JohnCordyJohnCordy Frets: 325
    @BBBlues yes - I've got it rigged with a switcher, but I imagine if you were stomping on it too, it'd be pretty dodgy?
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 50809
    edited January 22
    BBBlues said:
    The main issue on the TS10 is that the jack sockets are soldered directly to the PCB. For any gigging player this is an accident waiting to happen. Mine had a horrible intermittent issue.
    I replaced the ones on mine and my Fat Cat Distortion (which I think is a much better pedal, for what it's worth...) with metal-threaded ones with nuts. It's tricky to find the right version which are long enough to reach right through the casing - and if I remember rightly you need to put an extra nut on the inside so you can tighten the outside one without pulling the jack off the PCB.

    The pots are quite fragile too, because they're also PCB-mounted with no chassis support, and I've even seen one with a broken battery cover - it's a neat design, but the whole thing is too flimsy really, especially compared to the 9 series which is built like a tank.

    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone." - Walt Kowalski

    "Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand." - Homer Simpson

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  • JohnCordyJohnCordy Frets: 325
    @ICBM yeh it's a very strange departure the Ts10 in comparison you could hurl the Ts9 at a wall and it'd probably knock the wall through and still work?
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  • JohnCordy said:
    @gibsongretschfan I think the Keeley Tone Workstation technically should have a Ts10 voicing right since that's Mayer's favourite? 

    It’s probably just a Red Dirt (which I also owned) which is identical to the TS9 Keeley Mod Plus.... I think the 10 is a little more compressed but I might be talking pants because it’s been 11 years since I played one
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  • JohnCordyJohnCordy Frets: 325
    @gibsongretschfan you're right - it has a mod+ or baked switch on it
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