I heard a lot of good things about the TS9 and got it in my head to get one. A trip to Sam Ash in Brooklyn, NY and $119 bucks later I brought the "legendary" Tube Screamer home.
First impressions? It's literally built like a tank. In fact, I'd say it seems more robust than any Boss pedal and anyone familiar with Boss pedals know that that is saying a lot. It has the typical 3 knob setup: drive, level and tone so it's absolutely simple to use. Putting in the battery is the hardest part and even that can be done in a few seconds.
It came with a battery and the LED indicator lit up.. so where's my "legendary" sound? I cranked it's drive up to the max and it really lacked the punch I was looking for. I changed the battery with a new one. Nice bright LED lights up again indicating the battery isn't the problem. My Les Paul and American Strat with Texas Specials wasn't the problem and I knew it wasn't my 4x10 Fender Hot Rod Deville. I was pretty sure I had a maladjusted or defective TS9 so I returned it for a new one. Result? I hate to say it but this pedal will give you about 20% of the drive it's reputation seems to give it. I returned the second TS9 and took a Boss Blues Driver (BD-2) home instead. See my review on that unit.
Construction, quality, and finish are top notch. It certainly won't break or get damaged on its way back to the store.
Basically, if you need an overdrive pedal the TS9 is better than nothing. But honestly, not by much. And for it's extravagant price tag of $119 ($169 MSRP),I was left bewildered by how they actually get away with it. Of course there is a miniscule possibility that both units were defective but then what does that say about quality control? Steer clear of the TS9 or try before you buy this one.
I got this pedal as a birthday gift from a fan of my band. I forget the store, but I believe they run for like $99.
I love this pedal. I had been wanting one for quite a while as I am a huge SRV fan myself. There is no mystery, this thing did for SRV what the Fuzzface did for Hendrix. Hands down an invaluable addition to my blues rig and one that all blues cats should have. The distortion is just enough to give some great bite, given you have a good amp behind you. I play an american strat through some distortion pedals (including this one) to a tuner and a wah-wah, to a fender deville 2x12. Good stuff.
The only thing I don't like is the distortion is somewhat limited. By that meaning, the gain only goes up so far. I wanted to go from a classic blues number to a much harder rock tune (distortion-wise) and found that I needed to get another distortion pedal for that alone.
Everything else - build, quality, construction, looks, knobs, even that damn "sea-sick green" paintjob is fantastic. Very reliable, gigged for over a year without backup.
This thing really boosted my sound. Fender amps are fantastic for cleans and bluesy grit, but lack that Marshall authority, or that Mesa brutality. But for blues, the Ibanez TS-9 is the real deal.