Favorite Tube Screamer for metal?

Rex Rocker

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Wondering what you guys are using to boost your amps into tight chuggah territory.

I am aware it's sometimes amp-dependant, but I'm sure there are some basic guidelines you guys follow.

I'm liking the Boss SD-1 for its bite and tightness, but the bypass kinda sucks. My TS808 seems a bit congested compared to it at times. My cheapie TC Electronic El Mocambo sounds great, but the graphic, name, and form factor are ridiculous, LOL. I think the Maxon OD808 is alright too.

What do you guys like?


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Maxon 808, Lawrence Petross Saguaro, Pepers dirty tree, LWA burning spirit

But lately, the lawrence Petross Dutch.


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Of the 140+ boosts I’ve been through, my favorites and keepers for tight metal tones have been my Klon centaur, Protone Dino Cazares, VFE Merman and Audioarts 4100 rack PQ. Deadweald Duality DX is also pretty good, but not as tight as those others and not as organic sounding. Klon is what I use at least 95% of the time
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How do all those compare?

The Dirty Tree isn't really a Tube Screamer, is it?
No, it's a Integrated preamp clone or something

But tube screamers, klons, TCIP, they all do different flavors of the same thing.

Klons boost mids at 1k, 808s boost at 800k, etc.

If you haven't tried it yet, I would suggest trying an inexpensive Klone for boosting as you use your tube screamer right now.


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Maxon for me.

The best boost I have tried I don't really think is a tube screamer but the 2 button Koko boost for metal.

When I am ready the next on my list to try are a Timmy, MK 4.23 and a Klone


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I've been on the 808x for a long time now. If that sounds too sharp, I go to the MXR super duper badass hit you upside the head OD


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OD1X and 80s SD1. I’ve had Airis, VFE, Thorpy, Furman, Wiz Leopard, TC 1140...all killer but didn’t kick the OD or SD off the board. Funny side note..I tried all of those others with my 72 SuperTrem and it just didn’t gel well...but it loved my 30$ cheap ass Joyo Ultimate Drive that’s been in my gig bag unused for 8 years. Haha


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If you find your TS808 a bit congested then I would have to recommend the Seymour Duncan 805 you can set what ever amount of mid spike and add or subtract the bass frequencies to your liking. Out of all the OD's I have been through it sounds most like when I boost using my EQ pedals(vintage MXR 6band and Boss GE7 with a flat mid EQ boost, I really like mine.

Again to address your congested comment I would also have to recommend a VFE standout as well.

Psychodaves clip...VFE Dragon and Standout into a stock 1980 Marshall 2203 with 6550's.


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It's amp dependent like you said and also guitar/pickup dependent too. I have a Maxon OD808, Maxon OD820, and 6 Degrees Sally Drive. I really like all of them and they each have their own flavor that has me reach for them depending on the situation. The OD820 is fatter, so it usually works perfect when you want or need to retain a bit more fatness. You have the Maxon OD808, so you know the low down on that one. The Sally Drive is sort of like a hi-fi OD808 with more clarity and punch. I think both the 808 and Sally can get a little tighter than the 820, so these two may be better for amps that need more help in that department or when you just want to get something a little more direct and tight. If you had all 3 lined up you could easily tell the differences between them, but it's not like they're so far off that one wouldn't work in place of the other. At the end of the day they're all TS's through and through.

Outside of TS's, I too like the Boss SD-1. I've been preferring it with Marshall's because it's less congested in the mids and keeps more bite. The TC Spark Booster is also cool for being able to keep more of the original tone intact. I also like the Fortin Blade for something a bit more extreme. It's a little more particular, so it's not always the one for the job, but when it works it works.


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Pete's Pedals TS-9 modded to 808 spec's w/a 1978 Texas Instruments Malaysian JRC 4558.
Outstanding pedal for everything, not just metal.
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Klones, Timmy's, BB Pre and the Munnyman OD2020 are mostly what I use. I have multiple of all.

I recommend looking into Munnyman 2020, it's a modded Timmy type circuit with switchable Ge, Si, or opamp based clipping and a nice boost on the other half. Killer pedal.


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I always return to my trusty SD-1. I play with a lot of other pedals for boost. They all work and sound fine, but at the end of the day the SD-1 just seems to always end up being back there. I have several Klon clones I'm building on the workbench right now. I'll see how those sound.

I also have TS-9's and I like them a lot more for leads for more straight-forward rock. I don't like how they push for metal tones.