Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox
A row of stacked amps in a (little) box
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted - 9-4-2012
Electronic pedal effects have been around for over 30 years and Ibanez has been there at least most of that time. The original TS9 Tube Screamer has a similar history but now the Ibanez TS9DX Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox reviewed here takes that much-loved piece to a new level.
The Ibanez TS9DX Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox takes the same circuit as was used in the TS9 Tube Screamer but adds 3 new settings - +, Hot, and Turbo – that increase the low-end performance. The electronic trickery is housed in a compact metal box with a full-width step-on actuator that is much easier to hit than a simple button. The button cycles the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox from adding the effects to the guitar and a true by-pass when it is not in use. An LED indicator light on the front panel lets you see when it is in the effects mode.
The Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox is powered by an internal 9V batter (they even include one!) or it can be fed by an external power source for the full-time users. The battery is accessed through a finger-operated panel on the back of the box.
The Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox has four dials built into a stepped down ledge where you will have difficulty accidentally changing them with your foot. “Drive” controls the depth of the distortion and increases sustain as it is rolled on. “Mode” is the major new kid on this block and has 4 settings. Turbo produces the modern bottom heavy tone used so much in rock these days. Hot adds increased mid ranges to the mix. “+” is described as grittier than the original TS9. The TS9 setting emulates the original TS9 sound. Level controls the output level when the box is enabled and the tone, well controls tone. But, the tone control might be the real sleeper here as it has a big impact on the sound and lets you bring back the brilliance of the guitar where lots of distortions just lose it.
The instruction sheet gives some suggestions for basic settings but being the ever-creative bunch that we are I expect there will be much experimenting before we settle on the right sound for us individually. The good thing is that the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox has plenty of adjustment to accommodate all but the most irrational among us.
Before actually plugging the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox in for the first time I wondered how it would differ from the on-board effects that come with some amplifiers. I was happy to note that there is a huge difference and all to the plus side for the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox.
I was amazed to see how I could add a bunch of distortion without losing the voice of the guitar itself. You can come close to completely distorting the guitar away if you really want to but what is really nice about the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox is that you have full control over how much of the original guitar comes through the distortion. The Tone control on the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox is very functional and lets you bring a bunch of bright back into the sound through the distortion. It also lets you control how much of the guitars high end comes through unaltered.
I think that the four modes are what make the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox the most versatile. These are very different modes that all have wide-ranging adjustability so you can tweak them to your liking. Once you get used to what you like in each of the modes, moving back and forth is neither difficult nor time consuming.
The foot switch is both positive and truly silent allowing you to move into and out of distortion without pops and crackles. I really like the idea of a large pedal rather than a button. Also, when shut off, the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox is a true by-pass in that it has no effect on the guitar. Click the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox off and your amp has full control over the sound with no loss or background noise.
I expect that those who are more experienced with stompboxes will like the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox even more because of how they can tune it to their already established tastes. I noticed while reading through the on-line reviews that there are precious few complaints (and those are small ones) about the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox. You just don’t see that very often.
With a street price of $119.99 (8-30-2012) the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox is not expensive in the world of guitar effects. It appears to be very well made, performs flawlessly and would seem to be a very good value. I think we are getting a bunch in return for the dollars we can devote to effects when buying the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox.
If you are looking to add some distortion to your little amp system, the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox should be a must-see. Even if you have a few stacks to play through, the Ibanez Turbo Tube Screamer Stompbox seems to be very popular with your contemporaries as well. Just because you have the multi-stack budget doesn’t mean you have to blow it on a more expensive but less effective Stompbox.
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