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The 6 Best Tube Screamer Clone Reviews

Best Tube Screamer CloneWhen confronted with a variety of options across different online stores, finding the best tube screamer clone for you might be daunting. It can even be almost impossible.

You need a lot of time to sift through all the products online. You need to review the lists that the reviewers make about the features, specs, weaknesses and strengths of each of the tube screamer clone being sold.

Who has time for all of them? You also can’t afford to check, say, whether each of the

you bought has the right EQ curve accents. Can you check whether each can be, say, modded to enhance its gain or elevate its reverb?

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. In this article is the most comprehensive guide we can make in order to understand and find out the best tube screamers in the market, as well as which among them stands out as the leader.

Let’s get to work!

Top 6 Tube Screamer Clone: Comparison Chart

Colorname Dimensions Weight View on Amazon
Behringer TO800 Vintage Multicolored 2.76 x 2.13 x 4.84 inches 9.9 ounces Check Price
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Multicolored 5.3 x 3 x 2.4 inches 1.25 pounds Check Price
Maxon Reissue Series OD808 Overdrive MultiColored 6 x 5.75 x 2.5 inches 14.4 ounces Check Price
Boss BD-2 Blues Driver Guitar Effects Blue 3.94 x 3.94 x 1.57 inches 10.6 ounces Check Price
BOSS Stereo Super Chorus Guitar Pedal MultiColored 5.9 x 3.7 x 2.5 inches 1.15 pounds Check Price
Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini MultiColored 5.98 x 2.99 x 4.02 inches 10.3 ounces Check Price

 Best Picks of Tube Screamer

#1: Behringer TO800 Vintage

Features
  • Get vintage overdrive, smooth sustain and screaming fat tone
  • Uses original 4558 IC plus MA150 distortion diodes for authentic vintage sound
  • Captures every nuance of your playing from smooth overdrive to screaming tube sounds
  • Dedicated Drive, Tone and Level controls for awesome sound shaping
  • Status LED for effect on/off and battery check

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links (#ad) / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s safe to assume that most of the tube screamer clone kits that people use today may include the  vintage Behringer TO800  Whether it’s the vintage overdrive aesthetics that it has or the fat tone of its sound that screams music, this is one good TSETSE clone you’d have to consider.

I think this might be the right screamer for you when you’re all about nuances. The level of nuances you can capture with this screamer is a stand-out among the rest, as it can capture smooth overdrives and tube sounds that scream.

When what you’re after is added convenience wherever it’s possible, the added status LED in this model can let you do a battery check and turn the effects off/on with minimal effort.

Another dead-on handy feature with this is that it lets you get that distinct, raw vintage appeal for your overdrive. If you want some smooth sustain and a fat tone that sends shivers to your veins, this might be the one to get.

This model uses the original or patented 4558 IC that’s trademarked by the brand, which means you got some distortion diodes in your instrument. This is useful when the vintage sound you want to deliver is as authentic as you want to get.

What I Like
  • You get authentic and quality vintage overdrive vibes that are unlike any other
  • You can capture the most nuanced effects, from overdrive to screaming tones
  • The status LED light in the switch gives you maximum ease
What I Didn’t Like
  • No PSU-SB DC  power supply included
  • You will require at least two separate cables not included in this package if you’re using it with an electric guitar with no amp

#2: Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer

Features
  • Classic tone Tone, drive, and level controls
  • Tone, drive, and level controls give you access to warm, amp-like overdrive that's touch sensitive and ready to rip
  • The Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer is a reissue that's just like the original in so many ways
  • Same factory, same components, same housing, same famous seasick-green paint, and the same crankin' overdrive that made the original one of the all-time classic pedals
  • Guitar Player called it the best

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links (#ad) / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tube screamer pedals tend to be complicated with effects that don’t really work, but the good thing about the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer is that it is chock-full of essential features that make your investment worthy. Proof of that is its set of classic tone effects and controls that you can do for your drive and effect levels.

If you’re after a set of touch-sensitive, intuitive controls that easily put you into rip mode as fast as possible, this is the tube screamer to take. Like it’s previous issue, this Ibanez remastered release stays true to the original version and is noteworthy enough that Guitar Player called it “the best”.

I can even agree why this tube screamer can be considered by some as the best boutique tube screamer in the market today. Its circuitry is made in the same way that the previous one was, which by the way was a coveted model by many guitarists.

Whether your priority is to master your drive or elevate your level controls, this screamer gets things done. Even if you just want a modded TS9, the structure of this model can still pass as the best tube screamer alternative you can get without hurting your wallet.

What I Like
  • This is made with the same circuitry that made the previous release a coveted model by many guitarists.
  • It can give you warm and amp-like overdrive
  • It’s touch-sensitive and automatically ready to put you into full rip mode.
  • Level controls in this model can reach a wide range without tone and quality loss in its drive.
What I Didn’t Like
  • This is good for chunky melodies and rhythms, but can be a bit weak for solo segments of the performance.

#3: Maxon Reissue Series OD808 Overdrive

Features
  • A favorite overdrive pedal among many popular artists, such as Adam D of Killswitch Engage, Nick Hipa from As I Lay Dying, Metal Mike from Halford and the list goes on
  • Offers the smooth, natural overdrive of a full-up tube amplifier in a compact pedal
  • Incredibly dynamic, the Maxon OD808 pedal responds precisely to playing nuances and allows your instrument's natural tone to shine through
  • Identical to the original circuit and featuring the JRC4558 IC chip
  • Most imitated and most lauded overdrive circuit of all time
  • The OD808 provides the natural, mild overdrive of a tube amp without sacrificing your guitarâs original tone

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links (#ad) / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Many can say that the Maxon Reissue of its OD808 Overdrive series is the best tube screamer pedal available for both beginners and professionals.  I think this is because even the popular artists these days, such as Nick Hips and Adam D of Kill switch, have this as their favorite choice.

There’s a lot to love about this release: first, it can offer smooth and natural overdrive that’s distinct from other brands. It’s also made with full-up tube amp control levels that fit well in a compact pedal.

With its dynamically unique level of ability to capture nuances, you can get your playing skills to shine through at no extra effort.

You want to sound as professional as you want but you don’t feel confident you have the skills yet? This may be the one screamer to get to bring you to that direction.

You know this is the unit to look out for because it’s simply the most duplicated or imitated release today that has an exceptional circuit for all those overdrive effects.

True, you may be able to get the same effects above from other brands, but only with this OD808 version can you seem to achieve a natural level of overdrive.

This is an overdrive that doesn’t compromise the raw, natural and original tone of your guitar.

What I Like
  • You get an incredible set of dynamics with your tone, overdrive and control levels with this release.
  • The reach of nuances you can achieve with this may be comparable to nothing out there.
  • It’s got the same original circuit of the JRC4558 IC chip of the previous release, which many musicians already vouch for.
What I Didn’t Like
  • The distortion effects may be limited for some.
  • This is not really a distortion screamer and playing tones of metal theme would be a problem.

#4: Boss BD-2 Blues Driver Guitar Effects

Sale
Features
  • Classic "blues" guitar tones with tube amp simulation
  • Warm distortion and overdrive
  • Responds to nuance and volume changes
  • AC adaptor (not included) or 9V battery operation (included)
  • BOSS five-year warranty

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links (#ad) / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This Boss BD-2 is a leader among the other competitors because of its ability to play out classic “blue” guitar tunes. I think this effect is even made more pronounced by the simulation that this model has from its tube amp.

The many features that make this release an admirable choice include its warm distort and overdriven sound effects. Its ability to respond to nuanced, volume transitions or changes is also top-notch.

Most importantly, it has the BOSS 5-year built-in warranty. You already know that almost all the brands out there offer precise responsiveness to nuances and changes in volume.

But this Boss BD-2 dials it up a notch by making sure your guitar’s original tone doesn’t get affected as you adjust your gain and levels.

I also think this is the right tube screamer to get if your priority in your play is crunch and cream, which are trademark in blues music. If you’re nuts about distortion and heavy metal vibe, then you’d be having a hard time with this.

The warm overdrive you can achieve with this release is guaranteed to play the kind of vibe you can find in aged tube amps. You want that 30-year old blues song feel in your emotive distortion? This can get you there.

What I Like
  • Iconic “blues” sound with this screamer’s crunchy but sticky tones
  • Maximum nuance levels without losing original guitar sound.
  • Overdrive sound effects in this release remind you of aged tube amps.
  • More overdrive/distortion effects than other tube screamers.
What I Didn’t Like
  • You don’t get an AC adapter included in the kit.
  • No lifetime repair for parts.

#5: BOSS Stereo Super Chorus Guitar Pedal

Features
  • Model# BCH1

Last update on 2020-10-19 / Affiliate links (#ad) / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

There’s a lot for you to love about this Boss Super Stereo pedal, but one of the major reasons is that it is made by Boss itself, a trusted brand in audio technology.  Second reason for you to consider exploring this is its Super Chorus (CH-1) design in its pedal.

It’s designed to make sure you only get a dynamic, full-range but clean classic sound. The chorus sound effect you get with this pedal, too, is worth mentioning.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that this pedal lets you miss out on a good set of fundamentals.

What I mean is that with its extra sound effects comes with the basic foundation of crisp and clear highs and an added effect that lets you feel like it’s always in stereo mode. You can also play around and shape the kind of sound you want by its EQ, Effect Levels and Depth knobs controls.

If you’re looking for a pedal that can connect to both a Mono and a Stereo output, especially when you’re looking to maximize your dual amps, then this is the pedal to get.

This can also get you to work with vocals, but I’m guessing you’d have to set up and spend a bit more time to make it work.

What I Like
  • Chorus level of dynamics without muddling a guitar’s original tones.
  • Crisp highs and a stereo mode effect
  • Variations to play around with in terms of effect levels, EQ and depth knobs.
What I Didn’t Like
  • Requires 9 volt battery to play this.
  • This doesn’t play easily well with vocals.

#6: Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini

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Tube screamers tend to be overfilled with effects that don’t really add any value that makes a difference, but what you get from an Ibanez Mini is nothing but the essentials. Some of these neat, valuable features include its ability to play growls at mid-range levels and touch sensitivity that’s always at its most expressive.

There’s no wonder many guitarists of varying genres take favor for this screamer. Other things you can love about this pedal is its classic green model color and the simple knobs you can dial without much effort to get your desired levels.

Wide tones need priming, and this pedal’s overdrive pedal gets you there without much fuss. This is the exact kind of feature and convenience you want when you’re in the rush and the gig is about to start, and you’re short of time to make elaborate adjustments.

It’s unfortunate, though, that you need a 9V transformer, and not just a simple battery, to use this. However, this pedal makes up for that by making it work really well if you pair it with any standard bass guitar.

If you want some tube screamer at the most approachable price but is packed with overdrive controls for your pedal board, then this might be the one that could hit your goal.

What I Like
  • You can get to play wild, raunchy mid-growls without losing its original guitar sound.
  • You get touch sensitivity controls for minimal hassle.
  • You can prime your wide tones with minimal fuss with this pedal.
  • The knobs are designed to be simple so you waste no time when you’re already on stage.
What I Didn’t Like
  • You have to get a 9V transformer to use this.
  • Some users may find its tone a bit too distorted and its top end way cut off than expected.

What’s the Best Tube Screamer Clone?

I choose Behringer TO800 as my pick as the best tube screamer clone because it’s one of the rare ones out there that can add both power and warmth to your guitar in a quality that’s unheard of from others.

You can also play around with a lot of tone effects and it still sounds how an original tube screamer does.

Why is the Tube Screamer so popular?

A tube screamer is popular because it overloads your amp, gives your playing skills a whole different level of dynamics and makes it still sound clean. It’s popular because it’s an efficient way to improve how your guitar transmits signal and delivers distortions.

Many musicians also find its saturation effects useful for added sustain.

Who Makes the Best Tube Screamer Clone?

I definitely would give it to Voodoo Lab as my No. 1 maker of the  best screamer clones in the market today.

A major reason is that it’s the maker of the Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive, known for its iconic “clean mix control” settings. Plus, John Mayer mentioned this brand, and that’s the end of the argument.

Why you need a Tube Screamer Clone?

Music is all about fun and expression, and you can definitely express more nuances, attitude, modalities and variations with the help of a good tube screamer clone.

Plus, you don’t get to spend more since you get the same effects from an original but pay less because you’re using an emulator.

How to Choose A Tube Screamer Clone

The main factors to consider before purchasing a tube screamer clone would be: controls, power supply, replica vs upgrade, durability, size, brand and layout.

  • For power supply, you have to make sure whether your pedal uses a 9v battery or a transformer. It’s important to check, too, that its brand maker can guarantee durability and for how long.
  • The lay-out or design of the pedal may not make a big difference, and it can all be the same. But check if the lay-out fits your unique and demanding taste.
  • Compactness is important if you use a lot of pedal boards. Get the ones that can make things portable and make the output sound rich without added components.
  • A brand of your tube screamer matters more than you’d like it to be. To buy it is an investment so you have to make sure you go to a brand that delivers quality.
  • Look also for a brand that offers well-serviced  and long-life warranties that put your investments safe and rewarding.
  • Feedback is another factor. Go to the kind of music authorities or forum sites you trust and ask around.
  • Is this the kind of clone that guitarists you look up to would approve? What are the advertisements look like compared to what the product really looks like?
  • You have to also try it out yourself. Go bring your own guitar if possible to test if the pedal board is to your liking.
  • The nuances you actually get may differ from what you read. A product can make all the exaggerated claims that the real features may not be able to back up.

 

Tips for Using and Maintaining Tube Screamer Clone

Guitar Tuner PedalThe basic tips for using and maintaining your priced tube screamer clones are mostly the same as the tips in maintaining your other gadgets.

For starters, you need to place them in a cool, dry place away from humidity and too much condensation. You may also need to remove the 9V batteries off them when not in use.

It can also extend your clone’s lifespan if you regularly check them for dust, rust and other foreign debris. Whether you’re buying an expensive clone or a cheap hand-me down, these tips can definitely help save you money in repurchases.

Regularly updating the warranty policy or the fine print in your receipt will maximize your clone. It’s also helpful to contact the manufacturer directly if they offer free repairs for a limited time or entire lifetime.

You also have to avoid overusing the clone during practice. Overuse without giving the unit a bit of rest is a sure way to overheating such clones, resulting to shortened life.

Maxon OD808 vs Ibanez TS808

Pitting the Maxon OD808 vs Ibanez TS808 would result to such comparison:

If you want more clarity and a refined take on the standard overdrive, then you’d have to go for the OD808.

If what you’re after is a fluid and sweet sustain in your effects, going for the OD-808 will also be more rewarding.

Apparently, Maxon made the TS808 so both practically don’t sound any different from each other, but Maxon seems to have inferior quality in parts and the way they construct their releases.

Regarding the chips inside them, the Maxon has a JRC4558D chip, while the TS808 is made by Toshiba.

FAQs

Is Maxon OD808 a true bypass?

Technically, yes, but its input and output buffers are designed for retain.

What’s a TS9 stand-out feature?

A stand-out feature of the TS9 is its modern and edgy sound compared to the TS808.

Where are Ibanez Tube Screamers made?

They’re generally made in Taiwan.

Final Verdict

From a careful analysis, I have picked the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer as the winner. I like how right its compact size is, giving more space to other pedals in the set.

Control-wise, this clone responds very well to the most nuanced adjustments you make. More than that, the dynamics and power it affords all musicians are something other clones cannot easily replicate.

For these reasons, I have no doubt that the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer is one of the finest, if not the best tube screamer clone in the collection we analyzed above.

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