30 Pedals in 30 Days 2015: Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

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ibnanezDon’t forget to check out the vids and enter the Randall Amp Give-Away below!

Add “A Little Drive” To Your Rig

The New Tube Screamer Mini Keeps Your Tone Big Without Taking Up Tons of Space

Get it?  A “little drive?”  Little?  Like small?  I worked really hard on that one!

Anyway, on with the show.  It is entirely possible that simply saying the word “stompbox” conjures in the minds of musicians images of the venerable Ibanez Tube Screamer overdrive.  Even if one doesn’t own a proper Ibanez TS pedal, if he or she is using an overdrive it’s highly likely some or all of that pedal took its design and tonal cues from the rugged, slime green-bathed units.  Whether dirtying up a clean amp or pushing an already cooking tube rig into further saturation, the Tube Screamer is as ubiquitous in the gear world as the Stratocaster, Les Paul, or Marshall stack.

30 Pedal 30 Days 2015 gave The Tone King an opportunity to not only dive into a brand new iteration of the Tube Screamer, but also revisit one of his most popular videos.  Way back on December 13, 2010, TTK published a now-famous Tube Screamer shoot-out, that took viewers through a detailed audition of the TS808 reissue (the original from the late ’70s), the TS9 reissue (a repackaged and slightly tweaked TS that originally hit the market in the early ’80s), and the multi-voiced, hotter TS9DX (introduced in the late ’90s) variants.  

Since we here at TheToneKing.com had a new Tube Screamer model to play around with, we thought it would be cool to better inform our 3P3D review with a fresh Tube Screamer shoot-out.  This will help you, dear reader, know exactly what the new Tube Screamer Mini can do for you, in addition to possibly turning you on to one of the classics.  For the purposes of this new shoot-out, we kept the TS9DX in it’s traditional mode to get a more direct comparison with the other models.

The most obvious thing the Tube Screamer Mini brings to the table is it’s compact size.  It’s the understatement of the year to say that mini pedals are all the rage now, with working musicians and hobbyists alike valuing compact, easily transportable rigs and pedalboards.  Ibanez’s standard-sized pedals aren’t even that big to begin with, but now that famous Tube Screamer sound is able to squeeze into even tighter spaces aboard an already heavily loaded pedalboard.

What you’ll notice from TTK’s review/shootout is that each model shares the same famous tonal DNA that defines the Tube Screamer sound: smooth grit generated by the pedal’s symmetrical clipping design, with slightly varying dollops of musical gain and midrange, depending on the model you’re using.

The TS808 reissue, the granddaddy of the line, is transparent and open in it’s range, with slightly rounded highs, making it a great option for those players who want to preserve the majority of their base tone when they go from clean to dirty.  

The TS9 reissue is a bit brighter and crunchier than the 808, with slightly more lift in the mids, making a perfect for both pushing solos and leads to the front or adding punch and drive to rhythm lines.

Line 6

Though we didn’t dive into all of the options here, the TS9DX and it’s multi-voice capability and expanded gain mean it can inject the classic Tube Screamer tone into tons of different situations, including those that demand gain levels that go beyond what an overdrive pedal is expected to deliver.  

And what of the Tube Screamer Mini?  It’s graphics harken back to the TS808, and it certainly provides the same transparent, open tone of it’s famous forefather.  But it also has some of the TS9’s edge woven into it, making it able to mimic both classic models with little effort.  It’s small footprint also means that even if you already own a Tube Screamer, you can easily slide the Mini your rig and set one TS for a clean boost and the other for more drive, cascade them for extra sustain and fatness, or simply open up some more room on your board without giving up the Tube Screamer tone that you dig.

While it’s not 100% of the size of a traditional Tube Screamer, the Tube Screamer Mini certainly provides 100% of the vibe and voodoo the little green monster has been providing to players near forty years now.  As we’ve seen from the TTK’s brand new Tube Screamer shootout, it’s tough to go wrong!  

 

 

 

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Filed Under: FeaturedNewsEvents3P3D-2015

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