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Tube Screamer FAQ Version 1

Discussion in 'Backline' started by JBroll, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. JBroll

    JBroll I MIX WITH PHYSICS!!!!

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    Tube Screamers... fuck me.

    I'll try to keep this brief, and inevitably fail miserably - so if you have a less-than-average attention span (or worse), the moral of this story is:

    Tube Screamers: good; repeated questions about Tube Screamers that have already been answered: bad. Curiosity: good (it may have killed the cat, but they never said it was the cat's curiosity...); complete failure to search for information that would answer your question before asking it: bad.

    Now, for the rest of you, I'll try to keep the language varied enough (Ha. Ha. Guess what that means, improperly-educated twatsnagglers of unsavory stock. Ha.) to help facilitate a quick search through this if you're really in a rush... or you really hate this but your friend is on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Marrying A Washed-Up Celebrity: Detroit Edition and used his Phone-A-Jackass-I-Once-Worked-With to ask you how to spell 'potentiometer', or something else of the sort.

    I'm going to try to cover as many bases as I can – basic workings of the Tube Screamer, basic uses of the Tube Screamer, not-quite-so-basic workings of the Tube Screamer, different versions of things once called Tube Screamers, less-basic uses of the Tube Screamer, mods to be performed on the Tube Screamer, bizarre uses of the Tube Screamer, and the like. This won't be completed the first time through, so I'll be updating it a paragraph or two at a time, and this won't be updated without new and interesting questions, so if you think you have an original question, ask. Clear? Hooray. Now, I'm going to be pulling questions from here and there, and most likely copy-and-pasting answers and such straight from the forums, so I thank you in advance for not being a whiny little snot when your question is immortalized in a FAQ maybe five people will read.

    Basic Usage

    Okay, first things... looks like fifth, no? Well, we'll pretend it's first. The most basic use of a Tube Screamer is as a projectile – guitarist out of tune, drummer off the click, bassist... being a bassist, whatever, the Tube Screamer, in its rugged boxy glory, is a formidable for telling people that you mean business. For this, among other things, I have to say that I prefer the Ibanez TS-7 because of its solid box and neat little knobs that can be pushed in and out to make accidental bumps of the knobs harder – I like to push the knobs out before I throw it at something just to see if I can push them all back in when the target is hit, but there are other fun games to be played, like 'Pin The Settings on the Forehead' or (with the help of cables and a take that you really don't need anyway) 'Randomly Engage Pedal While Swinging Maniacally Mid-Recording (and See How It Sounds!)' when you get really bored. Granted, not the most basic use you were expecting, but... hopefully you didn't think you knew everything, because I did say most basic and this is about as basic as it gets. Animals have been using weapons since that first time one monkey knocked another monkey in the head and discovered that he could now take his bananas much more effectively, and unless we want the world to be taken over by awful musicians who can't keep track of their own bloody heads we had better not lose that instinct.

    Technical Description
    Before we get to the real functions and workings of the pedal, it'll be very helpful to describe how the circuit actually works. There are many technically-oriented webpages, and a few friendly ones, out there, so if you have more questions they may be answered much better than I could, with neat words like 'electrolytic' and 'noninverting' as far as the eye can see if you're into that sort of thing. I'm also going to describe some basic mod concepts here, just to get the theoretical aspect down before giving out 'solder this here' nonsense later on.


    Input Buffer

    The first thing that touches a signal entering a TS is the input buffer. This doesn't do much but make sure that the source isn't too loaded – in guitarist-speak, it takes the pickup's coat and hat, makes it a nice cup of coffee, and sits it in front of the fireplace while the rest of the pedal gets dressed, so it doesn't get shy and nervous and start acting strange. This kind of input buffer is what's used in front of wah pedals or other non-guitar-friendly sources to stop the phenomenon known as 'loading', or more eloquently 'tone-sucking', as much as possible. Hell, it's not uncommon to take something of the sort and just shove it in front of a wah pedal, or build one into a guitar, to make life easier... but that's neither here nor there. Now, it's good to know that if your input goes into the box, whether the thing is engaged or not you're getting the full benefits of the buffer. If this bothers you, use a true-bypass box around the TS, or mod the TS to be true-bypass, but I see no reason why it should be a bother unless you really like the sound of a loaded guitar pickup. Now, if you think your TS needs more gain, upgrading the transistor and changing a few other things will do the trick here, but the next part of the circuit is designed to do just that so there's really not much point. You could also raise the input impedance by raising the value of the 510K resistor (pull one end out, put another resistor in the hole, solder it down, and then solder the resistors together), but this doesn't seem to be too necessary, so there's little to be gained by fucking with the buffer, apart from learning a little more about how it works and what it does.

    Clipping Stage

    The next thing to come is the clipping circuit – this pedal doesn't fuck around. The basic principle behind distortion is 'amplify too much now and go Bunyan on the forest later', and the TS is only a few steps removed from the most basic implementation of this. The way it used to be done was simple: crank the shit out of things. Eventually a point came when some part of a circuit couldn't handle any more, and it would start lopping off the top and bottom of the waveform... think of it like sitting at one of those old lie-detector thingamahowzits with the needle that goes back and forth when the box thinks you're full of shit, and being asked by your ex's father (who is holding a baseball bat and looking pissed as hell) why she started limping after that trip to the coast and why she won't go to Wal-Mart anymore: the needle can only go so far before something is in its way, so it stops at the edge and doesn't come back across until the input tells it to back off. If a component can't handle what's coming into it, it'll reproduce the middle as faithfully as it can between being flat at the top and bottom. That's why people bought treble boosters and hot pickups and other such nonsense before gain knobs were the in thing.

    Now, somewhere along the way people decided that just overloading a thing or two was too simple, or too unpleasant, or not bizarre enough to warrant dozens of unnecessary patents to ensure a comfortable retirement should anyone decide to try anything new in the next few decades. Clipping circuits started popping up left and right, and one of the 'classic' designs (like the one used here) is to use an opamp with a diode pair in the feedback loop. What this means, long story short, is that we've got ourselves a little toy that likes to change its gain depending on what's going into it. Now, a diode is like a pissed-off traffic cop – it only wants things going one way, and it'll keep too many things from going that way if it has to. At any cost. Not 'it'll write a traffic ticket' kind of pissed-off, we're talking 'completely eradicate driver, passengers, and vehicle instantly and without question or regret' kind of pissed-off. So if we want to have a signal of consistent 'size' (like traffic of a given density) coming out, what do we do? We shove way too many fucking people both ways, put a blue in each direction with a rocket launcher, and watch the carnage ensue. The gain stage starts by amplifying the signal by, roughly, factors between 10 and 100, and then it gets mangled down to a clipped signal on the way out. As a result, the signal's 'edges' tend to be more flattened-out, which gives us two things: a sort of compression (because where before soft was soft and loud was loud, now soft is loud and loud is fuck-me-that's-so-loud-it-has-to-be-squashed-back-down-to-fit) because of the amplification and resulting traffic armageddon, and a 'buzzy', 'fuzzy', 'hairy', 'grainy', 'overdriven' sound because the transition between 'peak' and 'not peak' is an 'edge' or a 'cliff' instead of the smooth curve that went into it

    That's the bulk of it, so I guess we could st- okay, no, there's something left out. I wasn't going to tell you until I thought you were old enough to handle it, but... actually, wait, that's not how this one starts off. Anyway, there's a little thing in the clipping circuit that softens this edge – it's a small capacitor, which you could look at as a sort of 'holding cell' for charge, and what it does is smooth the sound out with its charge-storing goodness... it's like when little kids in art class rub over a crayon/pencil drawing with a tissue to smooth out the rough edges. As the drive knob gets turned up more, this effect becomes more pronounced, so while there is definitely more clipping going on with the drive knob the softening is going on more, so it doesn't seem like it's been cranked as much as it has been if you're listening for 'buzz' - but there's more compression than you'd think there would be.

    There's another little cool feature in here that seems to some people to be the entire reason for using one of these – the low-end rolloff. If you're using a TS on its own, you might not want it – you might want a good, tasty crunch with some ass to swing around, and this wouldn't be for you – but if you're boosting an amp this will kick its shit into submission faster than you can say “Bow to your knees – and repent, if you please”. Actually, probably quite a bit faster than that. Oh well. Anyway, this mid hump comes from a resistor and a capacitor that tell the op amp what to sugar up and what to send home alone. Everything above about 700Hz or so gets itself some lovin', but the lower something is below that, the less gain – and, as a result, distortion – it'll get. What does this mean? No more distasteful splatter out of your amp on those chugga-chugga bits, angry sneery nonsense, or flubby low end. Hell, if you use it right this pedal is Gas-X, Midol, and fucking amphetamines all rolled into one.

    Okay, so... 720Hz sounds like what? I don't fucking know. Pull a clean track of a guitar, and shove an amp sim in front of it. Then, shove an EQ before the amp sim and crank down everything below 720Hz by about... I don't know, somewhere between 10 and 20 db an octave. Hell, if you want, shove the EQ after a distorted track and see if that tells you more about that range – it might. Depending on my mood, it sounds to me like either the 'cheap AM radio' frequency or the 'this is where feedback starts coming in with a cranked stack, a pissed-off JB in the bridge, and a complete disregard for noise ordinance', which probably doesn't say much for anyone else. Hell, it's probably safest to just call it the middle of the lower mids. Now, don't worry – the low end doesn't completely disappear, it just has a much stronger midrange to contend with. The midrange is more prominent, as well as more compressed. This is good. It makes our amps happy. It's why this thing is so bloody useful. Love it.

    Tone and Volume Knobs

    Here's where things get simpler. You can relax now. It starts off with a simple low-pass that starts cutting things above about 720. Not too much, but it does result in a noticeable hump – this is good for the amp too. Unlike the previous slice-and-dice, which killed lows in favor of a tighter, more controlled sound, this rolls off higher stuff to make the sound seem 'fatter', and the amp gets to focus more on the mids – which I shouldn't need to say are the range that we want our amp to be focusing on, because licking the head and toes of the signal isn't going to get us anywhere nearly as fast as going straight for the midsection. After this, the tone knob either rolls off or adds high end, depending on where the knob is set, and that's really all there is to it. The volume knob is as simple as it gets – turn up, volume bigger. If you or anyone you know has trouble with a volume knob, make sure to have a steady loop of 'Breathe in... breathe out... breathe in... breathe out' playing with the click track just to reduce the likelihood of stupidity-induced asphyxiation.

    Output Buffer

    This is where the TS9 and TS808 are different. They're really not that different at all, and it takes work to notice a substantial difference between the two – I've seen enough people arguing over which one is brighter and which one is smoother to become fully convinced that all but maybe five guitarists on the planet are entirely and irreversibly full of shit.

    Long story short, we have compression, a tiny bit of 'crunch', and a spiked midrange that wants to make its presence known. Neat, isn't it?

    Usage

    Put it in front of the amp, with low gain, tone wherever you think it sounds open but not harsh, and about unity gain. We're not looking to have it boosting things – that's what the gain knob is for. We're looking to have the pedal tighten the sound, compress and juice the mids somewhat, and clean up the high end. That's it.

    Mods

    Now... modding ideas, all over the fucking place. The first place to start is obviously going to be the diode pair. The diode pair, as we said earlier, is the pair of traffic cops raining fire and brimstone on 34th street. What happens if we make them more lenient? More traffic comes through – less compression, less crunch, more output. What happens if we tell one of them to tighten his shit up and the other to cut back a bit? Asymmetrical distortion – arguably the one and only reason why the Boss SD-1 has been allowed to live this long, it sounds more 'natural' to many and allows different harmonic content to show through. What happens if we tell the traffic cops to go to hell? They stop regulating – total fucking chaos. What happens if... okay, you get the picture, cap'n. One common mod is to replace one diode with an LED (say, the LED that tells you when your pedal is on – don't worry, they usually replace it with a cooler one) and thus get different harmonics popping through and a little more volume. If you match the diodes right, you can get more even-order harmonics through – this will make the sound more similar to the clipping of a tube. Yes, that's right – solid state distortion like a tube. Bite me.


    Another thing to go for is the range of the mid spike – remember that resistor and capacitor that sat around by the op-amp and kept the lows down? You don't want to do this to a pedal that sits in front of the amp and tightens things up, but for a pedal used on its own as the primary distortion unit there's a little trick to increasing the bass response – replace the capacitor with a bigger one. Right now, it's a .047uF cap, and you can switch it out for a .1uF, or put a .1uF in parallel with it (parallel means that the components are 'side-to-side', both connected to each side directly, while series means that one's front end is tied to another's rear end – capacitor values add when they're parallel and do funky shit* in series; resistor values add in series and do funky shit* in parallel) for .147uF – bigger numbers mean more bottom. Wouldn't go smaller, though, that would just sound a bit nasal and bizarre. If you really want to, though, put in a smaller capacitor.

    You can also go between a TS9 and TS808 if it really makes that much of a difference to you. Two bloody resistors in the output buffer are all it takes to go between the two, and pictures will shortly be up to show what they are and how to change them.

    Finally, the chip can be yanked out and replaced with very little effort. Find the little black box that has something to the effect of 'JRC 4558D' or 'RC4558D' or 'something-4558-somethingelse' (note that some RI TS9 and TS9DX pedals have a something-75558-somethingelse chip, which is easily the first chip I'd want to replace, and others still have something-2043-somethingelse chips that don't need to be burned in the fires of hell quite as much), yank it out, remember its orientation, and put in an IC socket (they cost pocket change at Radio Shack, and they make chip swapping a matter of moments instead of desoldering and soldering) – you can put any of approximately three gajillion chips in just for the hell of it. The 4558, the 'original' (but not really) op-amp used in the Tube Screamer, was cheap as hell and easy to work with – it's hardly a 'holy grail' of tone, it's just the cheap shit that was available when the pedal started being made. A while back companies started putting other chips in. Some were great, some were terrible, and the terrible ones were terrible enough to warrant a 'New Coke' backlash that got 4558s right back where 'mojo'-obsessed self-righteous snobs thought it should be. Try an OP275, an OPA2134, or an LM833 if you're feeling adventurous and wouldn't mind your pedal suddenly becoming better in every way. I think this is something people should try much more often.

    Thus ends the first attempt at this bloody mess. Any questions?

    Jeff
     
  2. JBroll

    JBroll I MIX WITH PHYSICS!!!!

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    QUESTIONS

    I've never noticed enough of a difference, myself. Then again, considering you could set things up so that going between a 808, a 9, and an SD-1 took all of fifteen seconds, you could try it.

    I'd probably have to say that, all other things held the same, you'll be really hard-pressed to find any differences between a 9 and an 808 through the amount of distortion we're using. And no, I don't mean grab a 9 and an 808 and go to town... I mean pop your box open, install a switch to go between 9 and 808, and see if you notice anything - the differences between different pedals of the same make can be bigger than different makes sometimes - and if you can pinpoint a world-changing difference, I'll send you a free picture of me not killing you with a knife.

    I have mine set at unity gain, just so that I can also use it for a light overdrive on its own if I need to, but that's your call. If you need more distortion, I'd think that the gain knob on your amplifier would be the easiest way to go.

    The main advantage of a TS is that it shapes the sound to be much more midrange-heavy. Amps get hit more by midrange. Your guitar sound lives in the midrange. Having a middier sound brings the 'meat' of the guitar out more to get hit by the amp, so it comes across more powerfully. Cutting treble smooths out the sound, and cutting bass tightens the low end, so the amp gets to spend most of its time hitting the part of the guitar's signal that distorts best. Too much bass and things 'fart out', too much treble and things get piercing. More detail in the full text, but for right now the midrange hump is what really makes the pedal worthwhile.

    The Tube Screamer does not blend in a clean signal – this is something that would be done for an overdrive used on its own, for a more 'natural' sound, but it's unnecessary (and possibly detrimental, if you really need the tightening) in the context of making a high-gain amp more manageable.

    I know that some pedals don't take well to 18V because of their components - I've heard that a lot of pedals have 16V capacitors that will pop if they're used at 18V, so I wouldn't recommend it. I see no reason why the circuit would need it - it's hardly starved for energy by any stretch - and there would be tweaking necessary to make the thing run well at 18V, so I'd say to not worry about it.

    It depends on a few things - how clean your wall power is (some places were wired well, other places were wired by crackheads with no idea how to do anything cleanly, so the adapter is largely dependent on how well your electrical work is done), how much you hate batteries, and how regular the two supplies can be: battery voltage drops as the battery starts to die, leaving a 'raunchier' sound out of some pedals and an outright shitty mess out of others (I put the Tube Screamer in the second category), so unless you can't be trusted with batteries I'd say to just go for those. Rechargeable batteries can be tricky, so make sure you get good ones and test them with a multimeter as they die down to make sure the voltage and current don't start dropping, or you'll just be annoyed after about half-charge.

    Okay, this part fucking sucks... first, some basics. As I mentioned earlier, the TS808 and TS9 are insanely similar – two resistors apart, in fact. Hell, if you know what you're doing with switches, you could have a switch sticking somewhere out of your box to go back and forth between the two... if you can hear the bloody difference. And honestly, as wide as component variances (read: well, we don't have two cups of brown sugar, so hopefully this hand-mixed glob of confectioner's sugar and cheap molasses will work almost as well... in any electronics you're going to face the problem of inaccurate component values, which is fine for small tolerances but disastrous for ranges like the 10 and 20 percent found all over the bloody place, and even more so for circuits that need fine-tuning and precision) are, I've played sets of pedals where I noticed more difference between two TS9s than between one TS9 and a TS808. So if you want to go from 9 to 808, I'll have pictures up later... for right now, you'll find some instructions on the web, and if they're too unclear shoot me a private message.

    The Ibanez TS7 is a TS9. Period. It's in a cheaper-looking enclosure, but the circuit is a TS9. What does that mean? It means you don't have to spend $800 on a boutique TS9 handbuilt in the space station with exotic camel-spit capacitors imported one at a time from Buttfuckistan and a case hand-painted by the last known member of the Snickerdoo tribe of Native Americans. You can spend $40 on a TS7 and it's just as fucking good, end of discussion. Also... if you have trouble putting two and two together, the TS7 (just like the TS9, whodaguessed) can be modded to 808 specs with... that's right, chief, two bloody resistors.

    The Boss SD-1 is very similar to the Tube Screamers, and works for all practical intents and purposes just like one, but there are some differences. First... remember that 'asymmetrical clipping' nonsense we hired the traffic cops for earlier? This one's got it. Fucking neat-o, right? If you're into that sort of thing. Now, I don't recall exactly what all of the other differences are, but the instructions are somewhere out there if you really care that much. Honestly, I'd leave the SD-1 mostly stock, as the asymmetrical clipping is great, but if it seems too flubby (as I've heard some might be, especially if they've been modded) then switch out that capacitor we talked about earlier and it's good to go.

    I was asked about the Bad Monkey, but I don't know enough about it to comment. I'll figure it out, eventually... but being broke, I don't have the resources yet to go around picking up bizarre overdrive pedals I don't need. I've been told that the components are too small to be modded easily, so this will be a fun one.

    The Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive, I've been told, is a TS with a different output buffer and a mixer to blend in clean signal – neither of these fucking matter, so go with a cheaper one.

    Unless you're a marketer for guitar pedals (in which case... lie out of your ass, true bypass can mean whatever the hell you want it to mean, you dirty bastards), it basically means that if you hit the 'off' button, the pedal doesn't do a thing to your sound. Most pedals don't have this – a lot of pedals tend to have an input buffer that is always on (Boss and Ibanez pedals are examples), others will have this control or that control playing with the signal when the pedal isn't engages, whatever – and the reason is that all of that mess going between pedals and through cables tends to fuck with signals like guitar output. A good buffer somewhere between your guitar and that three nautical miles of cabling you have before your amplifier can be a good thing – it'll drive the cable better and reduce 'tone sucking' from less-friendly pedals along the way. However, if you really want true bypass... don't buy those true-bypass boxes, and don't bother getting some hack in rural Wyoming to drill holes in your pedal for a fat stomp switch and charge you $50 for his trouble, just learn a tiny bit about how to wire up a DPDT switch and put it in a box. I'll draw up pictures eventually, but if you're capable of reading this far and not being genuinely confused as to why some letters are taller than others, you can figure out how to wire around a pedal for true bypass.

    As I said earlier, I don't think you need it to get around good buffers (like the stuff in Boss and Ibanez pedals), but if you have some $10 shitbox that decides to rape your tone, then by all means put a bypass box around it.

    The 'big name' is the 4558. The 'Texas' chip is the Texas Instruments RC4558P, which is a Malaysian-made copy of the JRC4558D, which is for all practical intents and purposes the same. Don't spend six bucks on either of these fuckers, or just about any op amp for that matter – you'll get them for thirty cents a piece if you know where to look.Personally, if I were to mod an SD-1 I'd put a 2134 in there and start tinkering with the clipping diodes. Even then, I'm not too inclined to think it needs the diodes.

    In all honesty... the 4558 isn't all that great. If you want to get all caught up in 'mojo' and that nonsense, spend thirty bucks on one and put it in, but the 4558 is a fucking shitty op amp. It was chosen solely because it was cheap and available. There are much better ones out there - maybe look for the 2134.

    There are plenty of great pedal mods out there that make the Tube Screamer work well on its own, but you have to be very careful with selecting one for use with a high-gain amp: if a pedal advertises a 'fuller', 'bigger', 'thicker', 'bassier' sound, you're going to lose that low-end roll-off you were looking for in the first place, and if a pedal advertises a 'clearer', 'brighter', 'open' sound then you're losing the high-end roll-off; if you get these, or any pedal with buzzwords to the effect of 'soften the mid hump', you're losing the very thing the Tube Screamer is useful for. You don't need more gain, more lights, more modes... don't worry about it. There are plenty of great modders out there – Keeley and Analog Man are two of the bigger names – but their stuff isn't going to stick out too much. Apart from things that change the clipping section or tone stack, there are mods that change the 9 to the 808, or vice versa – which are useless because they take very little work and can be done by anyone who can be trusted with lighting a cigarette – and some really fucking obnoxious mods that go for 'true 100% vintage spec' (or some nonsense like that) and, in addition to switching a chip, replace the resistors with 'vintage carbon comp resistors'... now, what the fuck does this actually mean? It means you're paying out the ass for nonsense – the carbon comp resistors have two distinctive characteristics, and they are wide variance and poor handling of hot stuff. The first part means that you'll have your '500K' resistors popping up anywhere between 375K and 625K if you don't have some seriously picky motherfuckers choosing them, and the second part means that if you run them really hot they actually start distorting the signal and adding in some second-order harmonic content. That last part would be a good thing... if (1) you could notice it in the pedal and (2) you could get the pedal running insanely fucking hot. Unless you're cranking an old Fender amp to 10, you're not going to get any noticeable effects on anything but your wallet from that. Long story short... don't bother. There are more useful things to spend your money on, like diamond-encrusted cigar clippers and thongs wound entirely from antique dental floss.

    I would recommend using a Tube Screamer wherever it sounds good, and turning it off wherever it doesn't. That's really all there is to it - it's not going to make your technique better or worse, it's not going to completely revolutionize everything your band does, it's not going to eat your drummer... it's just going to change the signal in a way that allows for it to be distorted better.

    While the average grizzly bear does not tighten up your sound if you put it between your guitar and your amp (note that attempting to use any orifice as an 'input' may result in severe injury or death), I've found that they're handy enough for such purposes to warrant being obtained anyway.

    No, actually, the yellow of the SD-1 has been scientifically proven to have a larger babe-magnetic field. Despite popular opinion, Macs do not seem to offer a measurable advantage over PCs because the only test subjects (those who use computer preferences to attract the opposite sex) do not get laid enough to display a trend one way or the other.

    Jeff
     
  3. Force666

    Force666 Member

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    But I thought all the babes were into money, and money is green (or excuse me, the American dollar is green).

    This is scientifically proven (by me and my dog),that TS green is the way to go to get American women. Our tests indicate that blondes especially gravitate towards the green and chrome of Ibanez and Maxon over any other overdrive of the same variety.

    Great article JBroll, a wealth of info and a good read for the comedic crowd!

    :headbang::headbang:
     
  4. Manicompression

    Manicompression doing it for the kids

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    Looks good dude, Im all about learning how to wire up a DPDT switch, if its really that easy it would make alot of one trick peice of shit effects usable. Interesting read though, I just bought a ts7 off ebay to dick with based on all the buzz around here pertaining to them. Your humor sells me on caring about clipping stages, mission accomplished.
     
  5. LSD-Studio

    LSD-Studio HCAF crusher

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    Good Thing Jeff!
    Thanks for the effort!

    I have to disagree in one point though...the TS-7 DOES sound different from the TS-9, Yes, it is the same circuit, but it uses different components. (carbon-whatever resistors sound different from whatever-other type...not only because value-tolerances).
    I think (after several blind-tests), that the TS7 and TS9 (although they've got the very same circuit) differ more in sound than the TS808 and the TS9.

    still very good, but a bit less open in the highs and less dynamic there as well.

    it's suble though. (I'm using a 808-modded TS7 for live and an 808 modded TS9 for recording now).
     
  6. Jarkko Mattheiszen

    Jarkko Mattheiszen The FU guy.

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    Fucking excellent job! Stickystickysticky.
     
  7. aramism

    aramism Member

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    awesome. sticky this!
     
  8. ffaudio

    ffaudio Member

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    Which one were you saying is more open in the highs? The TS7 or 9?
     
  9. JBroll

    JBroll I MIX WITH PHYSICS!!!!

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    It is true that carbon-comp resistors also distort the signal very slightly, resulting in a slight but noticeable increase in second-order harmonics - making the sound vaguely more 'tube-like'...

    ...

    ...

    ... at levels that can kill people. In a TS? Hardly - the variance is going to be the only thing noticeable there, especially through monstrous gain. It takes a good bit of work to get the 'magic' behind carbon-comp resistors to show, and it's not happening in a 9V powered pedal.

    On top of that, unless you're talking about an ancient pedal, or something you've brown-modded yourself, the carbon-comp resistors aren't even being used. Stock, they're the same resistors.

    Jeff
     
  10. ffaudio

    ffaudio Member

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    Well since we're keeping this all in one nice FAQing thread, what does the "brown mod" do?
     
  11. JBroll

    JBroll I MIX WITH PHYSICS!!!!

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    It replaces some of the resistors with components more like what was used thirty years ago... cheap-shit carbon comp resistors. Other places will call a 'brown mod' something that gives the pedal more of a 'brown sound', but generally they're referring to the carbon comps. You'll get a more noticeable change from the massive changes in actual resistance from these than you will from the 'carbon comp magic' - I think it's all a bunch of 'mojo' horseshit at this level.

    Jeff
     
  12. ffaudio

    ffaudio Member

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    So buying a new stock ts-9 would give that sound? You don't need a vintage one? Or an 808 modded one?
     
  13. LSD-Studio

    LSD-Studio HCAF crusher

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    was a TS-9 RI....

    but by looking at the componenst alone (R and C in the 7 are about half as big) you see that they're not the same, I mean they might be the same values and stuff, but everyone knows that even a different type of C in a guitar makes a slight difference, so why shouldn't all the components in a TS?

    anyway, I didn't want to bitch or so, just wanted to say that this FAQ-thing is great, just added that slight hint (I confirmed the difference in many blind-tests, they're subtle but definitely noticable)
     
  14. JBroll

    JBroll I MIX WITH PHYSICS!!!!

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    They could be different power ratings. I haven't heard of too many RI 9s using carbon-comp resistors - and it's possible that the 'difference' heard in the double-blind is because of a different chip used in some of the RI pedals.

    I've personally done double blinds solely changing the resistor type - handpicked resistors within one part in a thousand of each other, switched by DPDT in the same pedals, and nobody could notice the difference. I once posted them on a different forum and people asked me 'okay, now where's the other one you tested?' - not buying it.

    ffaudio, if you really buy into the carbon-comp thing you're going to have to put them in the pedals yourself. A TS7 and a TS9 have the same guts, so get the cheaper one (the TS7) and buy the carbon-comp resistors from an electronic store somewhere. If you don't go for the mojo, the TS7 is the TS9, so picking one of those up will do just fine for you.

    Jeff
     
  15. Genius Gone Insane

    Genius Gone Insane http://www.¯\(°_o)/¯.com

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  16. Unavailable

    Unavailable Member

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    Gotta say dude, you're a damn good resource to this forum.

    Cheers for all your help. :kickass:
     
  17. Student

    Student Member

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    Come on guys...this isn't GearSlutz, I don't care what resistor sounds more tube like, or even vaguely so. If you listen to Andy's reamps of all the pedals of the TS family and their modded cohorts...they all sound pretty much the same.

    If it sounds good, it's good...if it doesn't...put it back on eBay where you got it.
     
  18. JBroll

    JBroll I MIX WITH PHYSICS!!!!

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    Yeah, that's my take, more or less. The differences with a lot of these things are hard to spot on their own, and with things like carbon-comps they're not even there in any way I've been able to detect. Asymmetrical clipping will change things, as will tone stack modifications... but considering the number of *relevant* things that can be done I'm amazed that so many people ignore things like substantial op-amp changes (i.e. fundamentally different chip - OPA2134, et cetera), tone stack tweaks, and clipping section changes and decide that they're going to jack off to thirty-page long arguments about JRC vs. RC or silicon vs. carbon-comp or metal film vs. poly without actually knowing what they're talking about anywhere in the discussion.

    Jeff
     
  19. SickBoy

    SickBoy Croatian Panzer division

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    What about TS7's switch? Apparently it isn't as reliable as TS9's... At least that's what I've been reading on the net, but then again, that may just be a preconception since it isn't a "holy grail" line pedal. What are your experiences with TS7's switch?
     
  20. JBroll

    JBroll I MIX WITH PHYSICS!!!!

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    I haven't killed it yet. If it becomes a problem it's a fifty cent, fifteen second change. I don't beat my pedals nearly as hard as I beat my women, so I tend to find most pedals fairly reliable, but I haven't had a single problem out of my TS7.

    Jeff
     

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