What’s the Difference Between TS808 and TS9? A Comprehensive Comparison

If you’re new to the world of guitar pedals, you’ve probably heard of the legendary TS9 and TS808 from Ibanez. If you’re wondering what the fuss is all about, you’re not alone. These two pedals are some of the most influential overdrive pedals of all time, and they have a devoted following among guitarists everywhere. But what’s the difference between the TS9 and the TS808?

Both pedals are variations on the same theme: they are overdrive pedals that produce a warm, tube-like distortion sound that’s perfect for rock and blues. The TS9 is a revised version of the original TS808, which was produced in the late 1970s. The TS9 was designed to be more affordable and more reliable than the TS808, but it also had some differences in sound. The TS808 is known for its smoother, creamier tone, while the TS9 has a slightly brighter and more aggressive sound.

Despite these differences, both pedals are hugely popular with guitarists of all genres. They have been used by everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan to John Mayer, and they continue to be among the most sought-after pedals among guitar collectors and enthusiasts today. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, there’s no denying that the TS808 and the TS9 are both classics in the world of guitar pedals.

History of Tube Screamers

The first Tube Screamer, the TS-808, was introduced by Ibanez in the late 1970s. It quickly became a staple of many guitarists’ pedalboards, including legendary players such as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton. The TS-808 was originally designed to be a high-end overdrive pedal, with a warm and natural sound that could push tube amps into creamy saturation.

  • The TS-808 used the JRC4558D chip, which has become synonymous with the pedal’s characteristic sound. This chip was also used in many other classic overdrive pedals of the era, such as the Boss OD-1 and the Maxon OD808.
  • The TS-808 was discontinued in 1982 due to the high cost of the JRC4558D chip, but its popularity continued to grow as players sought out the original units on the used market.
  • In 1985, Ibanez reissued the Tube Screamer as the TS-9, which used a cheaper chip and had a slightly different circuit than the TS-808. The TS-9 had a slightly brighter and more compressed sound than the TS-808, but still had the same basic Tube Screamer character.

Since the original releases, there have been numerous versions and variations of the Tube Screamer, including signature models for various players. Some of these models have features such as additional switches for more tonal options, or modifications to the circuit for a more customized sound.

To this day, the Tube Screamer remains an iconic pedal in the world of guitar overdrive, with a sound that has influenced countless players and recordings.

Model Year Introduced Distinguishing Features
TS-808 Late 1970s JRC4558D chip, warm and natural overdrive sound
TS-9 1985 Cheaper chip, slightly brighter and more compressed than TS-808
TS-10 1986 Increased output level, additional tone controls
TS-7 1999 Combines TS-9 and TS-808 circuits, “hot” mode for more gain
TS808HW 2004 Hand-wired reissue of TS-808, with higher quality components

Overall, the history of Tube Screamers is one of innovation, experimentation, and evolution. Despite the many variations and imitators that have appeared over the years, the original Tube Screamer sound has remained highly sought-after and beloved by guitarists around the world.

Circuitry Differences between TS808 and TS9

The TS808 and TS9 are two of the most popular overdrive pedals in the market, and they both come from the same company, Ibanez. While the two pedals may look quite similar, their internal circuitry differs greatly.

  • Input Buffer: The TS9 features a JFET input buffer, which results in a slightly brighter sound and a minor increase in gain, whereas the TS808 has a bipolar input buffer, which produces a warmer and smoother sound and decreases the noise levels.
  • Clipping Stage: The TS808 uses the revered JRC4558D op-amp in its clipping stage, which provides smooth and even harmonics, and this is one of the key factors that gives 808 its unique sound. However, the TS9, on the other hand, uses the Texas Instruments RC4558P op-amp, which produces a slightly less complex and compressed tone than the 808’s clipping stage.
  • Output Buffer: TS9 features the JRC4558D op-amp as its output buffer, whereas the TS808 uses a bipolar output buffer. The result is the TS9 having a slightly brighter and more transparent sound compared to the TS808 which has a warmer and smoother quality to its tone.

Overall, the differences in circuitry between TS808 and TS9 result in slight but noticeable tonal differences. While some may prefer the brighter sound of the TS9, others may appreciate the smoother and warm sound of the TS808.

It is also worth noting that the quality of components used in the construction of these pedals also differs slightly between the two, with the TS808 tending to use higher-quality capacitors, resistors and diodes.

TS808 TS9
Bipolar Input Buffer JFET Input Buffer
JRC4558D Clipping Stage RC4558P Clipping Stage
Bipolar Output Buffer JRC4558D Output Buffer

In conclusion, while both the TS808 and TS9 are fantastic overdrive pedals, understanding the circuitry differences will help you determine which pedal suits your playing style and tonal preferences better. We hope this article has shed some light on the two pedals and helped you make an informed decision when selecting your next overdrive pedal.

Tone Differences between TS808 and TS9

The Ibanez Tube Screamer is one of the most beloved and iconic guitar pedals ever made. Two of the most popular models are the TS808 and TS9. Both share many similarities in their design, but there are some differences in their tone that may make one pedal better suited for certain playing styles or musical genres.


  • Both are based on the same JRC4558D chip, which is sought after for its warm and natural overdrive tone.
  • Both have the same three-knob configuration (overdrive, tone, and level).
  • Both are housed in a similar green casing with the same layout and graphics.

Differences in Tone

The TS808 is known for its warm and creamy overdrive tone, with a more pronounced mid-range. It has less low-end and top-end than the TS9, resulting in a smooth and rounded sound that is ideal for blues, classic rock, and jazz.

The TS9, on the other hand, has a brighter and more cutting tone, with a slightly scooped mid-range and more emphasis on the lows and highs. This makes it more suited for hard rock, metal, and other styles that require a more aggressive and distorted sound.

Tone Element TS808 TS9
Mid-Range More pronounced Slightly scooped
Low-End Less emphasis More emphasis
High-End Less emphasis More emphasis

Ultimately, the choice between the TS808 and TS9 comes down to personal preference and the music you play. If you prefer a warmer and smoother tone, the TS808 may be the better choice. If you need more bite and aggression, the TS9 may be the way to go. Or, if you’re a true tone geek and want the best of both worlds, you could always get both and see which one you like better!

How to Identify Authentic TS808 and TS9

If you’re a guitar player, you’ve probably heard of the Ibanez Tube Screamer. It’s one of the most popular overdrive pedals out there, with the TS808 and TS9 being the two most famous versions. But with so many knockoffs and clones on the market, how can you tell if you have an authentic TS808 or TS9?

  • Look for the label on the bottom of the pedal. The TS808 will have a silver label with green lettering, while the TS9 will have a black label with silver lettering.
  • Check for the JRC4558D chip. This is the chip that was originally used in both pedals, and while there are other chips that can be used, the JRC4558D is seen as the “holy grail” of overdrive pedal chips. Not all authentic TS808s and TS9s will have this chip, but it’s a good indicator that you have the real deal.
  • Look at the screws on the back of the pedal. Authentic TS808s and TS9s will have Phillips head screws, while knockoffs and clones may have different types of screws.

But what if you still have doubts? Here are some additional ways to identify an authentic TS808 or TS9:

On the TS808:

  • The power input on an authentic TS808 will be on the right side of the pedal, while on the left side for TS9.
  • An authentic TS808 will have a green LED, while a TS9 will have a red LED.

On the TS9:

  • The tone potentiometer on an authentic TS9 will have an “A” stamped on it.
  • The TS9 will have a square footswitch, while the TS808 will have a round footswitch.

If you’re still not sure, you can also check the serial number on the back of the pedal. Ibanez has a database where you can enter the serial number and it will tell you if the pedal is authentic or not.

TS808 TS9
Silver label with green lettering Black label with silver lettering
Power input on right side Power input on left side
Green LED Red LED
Round footswitch Square footswitch

When it comes to buying an Ibanez Tube Screamer, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re getting an authentic pedal. With these tips and tricks, you should be able to identify whether you have a real TS808 or TS9.

Timeline of TS808 and TS9 Production

In the world of guitar effects pedals, two names that stand out are the Ibanez Tube Screamer models TS808 and TS9. While they are both overdrive pedals, they have slight differences that make them distinct from each other. In this article, we will dive into the timeline of their production and how they have evolved over the years.


  • The Ibanez Tube Screamer 808 first came out in the late 1970s, around 1979 to be exact.
  • This pedal was designed to be used in conjunction with tube amps, as it could boost and smooth out the signal, producing a warm and natural overdrive.
  • It was also known for its mid-range boost, making it a popular choice among blues and rock guitarists.
  • However, due to production costs, the TS808 was eventually discontinued in the mid-1980s, making it a rare and valuable collector’s item.
  • Although it was no longer in production, the TS808 still remained a popular choice among guitarists who wanted that vintage, classic, and authentic sound.


In the absence of the TS808, Ibanez released its successor, the TS9, in 1982.

  • The TS9 kept the same overall design and functionality of the TS808 but had a few key differences.
  • It featured a different op-amp, which gave it a slightly different sound, although it was still warm and smooth like the TS808.
  • Another notable difference is that the TS9 had a wider frequency range, making it suitable for a broader range of musical styles.
  • It also had a more rugged housing, making it more durable for traveling musicians.
  • Although it was a different pedal, it still had the signature mid-range boost and overdrive that made the TS808 so popular.


Both the TS808 and TS9 have become iconic pedals in the guitar world, and their timeline of production shows how they have evolved over the years. While the TS808 is a classic vintage pedal that has become rare and valuable, the TS9 carries on its legacy while having a slightly different sound and improved features. Whether you prefer the warmth and mid-range boost of the TS808 or the versatility and durability of the TS9, both pedals have left a lasting impact on guitar music.

TS808 TS9
First produced in 1979 First produced in 1982
Discontinued in the mid-1980s Still in production today
Known for its vintage and classic sound Wider frequency range and improved features
Rare and valuable collector’s item More durable and versatile

Custom Modded TS808 and TS9 Options

While the TS808 and TS9 are both popular Tube Screamer models, the world of custom modding has given players the ability to get even more out of these classic pedals. Here are six options for custom modded TS808 and TS9 pedals that any gearhead might consider:

  • The Keeley Modded TS9: This mod takes an original TS9 and upgrades many of its components, improving the overall tone and dynamics of the pedal. The result is a smoother, more transparent sound that cuts through the mix in a way that the stock version of this pedal never could.
  • The Analogman TS808: Analogman is known for creating some of the most desirable guitar pedals out there, and their TS808 mod is no exception. This custom job increases overall output level and sustain, giving the Tube Screamer a little extra oomph when you need it most.
  • The C6 Mod: The C6 Mod is designed to help the Tube Screamer retain its mid-range punch while adding a little extra low-end warmth to the signal. The result is a fuller, more robust sound that works especially well for blues and classic rock.
  • The Monte Allums H2O Mod: This mod adds a second toggle switch to the TS9, allowing players to flip between a more traditional Tube Screamer sound and a boosted version that packs a lot more punch. The mod also adjusts the input impedance of the pedal to help maintain the clarity of your tone.
  • The JHS Mod: JHS Pedals has created a variety of different mods for the Tube Screamer, each designed to tweak the sound in a different way. Some of their most popular mods include options for more gain, more clarity, and a wider frequency response.
  • The Robert Keeley Modded TS808: Similar to the Keeley Modded TS9, the modded version of the TS808 features upgraded components that allow for more dynamic range and increased headroom. The end result is a pedal that delivers a more nuanced, expressive sound that works well for a variety of different musical styles.

Whether you’re looking for a little extra sustain, more clarity, or a fuller, more robust sound, custom modded TS808 and TS9 pedals offer plenty of options for guitarists looking to take their tone to the next level. With so many different modders out there, it’s easy to find a mod that works for your individual playing style and needs.

Mod Effect
The Keeley Modded TS9 Improves overall tone and dynamics
The Analogman TS808 Increases output level and sustain
The C6 Mod Retains mid-range punch while adding low-end warmth
The Monte Allums H2O Mod Adds an extra toggle switch and adjusts input impedance for improved clarity
The JHS Mod Includes options for more gain, clarity, and wider frequency response
The Robert Keeley Modded TS808 Upgraded components result in more dynamic range and increased headroom

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, the right modded Tube Screamer can help you get the most out of your guitar tone. With so many different options to choose from, it’s easy to find the perfect custom modded TS808 or TS9 that will take your playing to new heights.

Famous Guitarists Who Use TS808 and TS9

The TS808 and TS9 are two of the most iconic overdrive pedals of all time. They have been used by countless guitarists over the years, and many of them have become synonymous with the pedals themselves. Here are just a few of the most famous guitarists who have used the TS808 and TS9:

  • Stevie Ray Vaughan – Perhaps the most famous user of the TS808, Vaughan used the pedal to achieve his signature blues tone. He famously used a modified TS808 with a higher gain than the stock version.
  • John Mayer – Mayer is another guitarist who is closely associated with the TS808. He used the pedal extensively on his early albums, and it is still a mainstay of his live rig today.
  • Eric Johnson – Johnson is another legendary guitarist who has used the TS808. He used it on his classic album “Ah Via Musicom”, and it features prominently on tracks like “Cliffs of Dover”.

These are just a few of the most famous guitarists who have used the TS808 and TS9. However, countless others have used the pedals over the years, and they continue to be popular among guitarists of all genres.

For a more in-depth look at the differences between the TS808 and TS9 pedals, check out our article on the topic.

Pedal Circuit Type Year Introduced
TS808 Overdrive 1979
TS9 Overdrive 1982

Both the TS808 and TS9 have their own unique characteristics and are favored by different guitarists for different reasons. Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to personal preference and the specific tone you are looking to achieve.

What’s the Difference Between TS808 and TS9?

1. What are TS808 and TS9 pedals?
The TS808 and TS9 pedals are both overdrive pedals that were manufactured by Ibanez. These pedals are often referred to as “Tube Screamers” and have been used by many musicians over the years.

2. What’s the difference between the TS808 and TS9?
The main difference between the TS808 and TS9 is the type of chip they use. The TS808 uses the JRC4558D chip, while the TS9 uses the TA75558P chip. The TS808 is also known for having a warmer, more organic sound.

3. Which one is better – TS808 or TS9?
The answer to this question is subjective and depends on personal preference. Some musicians prefer the warmer sound of the TS808, while others prefer the brighter sound of the TS9. It’s best to try both pedals out and see which one sounds better to you.

4. Can you modify TS808 and TS9 pedals?
Yes, both TS808 and TS9 pedals can be modified. Some modifications include changing the chip to achieve a different tone, adjusting the gain, or adding true bypass. However, modifying the pedal can void the warranty, so it’s important to be cautious.

5. How much do TS808 and TS9 pedals cost?
The cost of both pedals can vary depending on whether they are vintage or reissued versions. The original TS808 pedals can cost anywhere from $800 to $2,000 or more, while the TS9 can range from $100 to $400.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this article helped you understand the differences between the TS808 and TS9 pedals. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and what sounds best for your specific needs. Remember to always do your research before making any modifications to your pedals, and thanks for reading! Be sure to come back to our site for more music-related content.