It’s pretty amazing how many different options we have for Tubescreamers these days. There’s the classic TS-808, TS9, the TS7 which I just bought last weekend, then there’s Screamer emulations in every virtual guitar amp package and then there’s the boutique and modded screamers. Ibanez even has 5 different Tubescreamers in production today. They all sound different! Every guitarist and studio engineer has one version they swear by.
A Tubescreamer can be used as a distortion pedal of course but it’s most used as a way of tightening up the bottom-end of an amp and to push an amp into distortion while still maintaining the character of the amp. The circuit includes a high pass filter which makes a huge improvement in tightness of palm mutes, it also has a midrange hump that adds clarity to picked notes. [read]