Tone/Style Comparison (DS-1 relinked)

Which tone do YOU prefer?

  • DS-1

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • TS9DX

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


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I recently got to play with Pooo's modified DS-1 and I recorded some stuff with it. Later, got my TS9DX and thought it nice to do a comparison and play with different styles.

All gear used is the same, settings too. Only difference is whether its the DS-1 or TS9DX boosting.

Both pedals are Randolfed, the DS-1 has a slight electrical fault though, so at the end you can hear it pulsating. Haha...

NORMAL TONE - no boost pedal



SO! Please comment on the TONE primarily and then on the PLAYING STYLE. The DS-1 has loads of sustain but the TS9DX has great bite so I had to alter my playing... granted, the tracks are played differently but well, all improvised lah.
For tone, i kinda preferred the DS1, it sounded "thicker" so to speak, so there seemed to be more "kick". also, it seemed better suited to the shredding parts that u did. the 'aw' of ur mids is more vocal and pronounced on the DS1 too, at least, imho
however, the ts9's crunch is quite distinct, and not sure how to describe, but :oops: the "creamy" sound when u bend single notes sound good too

for playing, i find the TS9 version seems nicer :D
TS9DX for me, since I'm a sucker for smooth tones. The DS1, even after modding, retains the cold and sterile feel that I dislike about digital pedals.
just my 2 cents worth of cos.

I posted that before listening to the 'normal' tones, and I must say I like that as well. The Breed neck always rocks!
hey guys... haha... the DS-1 is beating the TS9DX!!!!!!! WHY?!?!?

Anyway, Raymond, dude, there's 2 options only! Can you stay with the norm!? :lol: You too, Werewolfboy! Well, granted lah, the TRI AC is nice on its own...

Fruitwine, aye.. the DS-1 is thicker and just more ooopmh... however its not as warm as the TS9DX plus its got not chugga leh. Palm mutes sound horrid on it... but yeah, the aw is nice. I love my TS9DX's crunch and clarity.. even has good dynamics!

Haha.. vaiyen, yeah, i feel that way too. The DS-1 has been randolfed and despite sounding SO MUCH better..its still like that loh. :( Breed neck is the aye awesome thing my man.. you got 1 too leh. Hehe... great medium output pup!
boss... just use a volume pedal lah :lol: frankly i like neither, cos they color the sound in a way i don't really like lah.
Hahaha... NO.... I want colouration!!!!!

And yeah, I'm getting back my old DS1 from the dude I sold it to. One of the 1st generation mods done by Randolf. :)

i dont like tone that is too smooth, its sounds really dead, the roughness in the ds 1 adds some life to your playing, it feels so much more 'alive'. Thats for me lah.. but i think for your playing style you should take the TS9DX instead, it suits your style better than the DS1.

haha i think its not a fair comparsion, since (imo) the DS1 licks sounds nicer than the TS9DX , the votes might be bias in that manner.
Oh wow, Ok, here's my take on this very interesting thread about the modded DS1 and TS9DX which I do elaborate at quite considerable if not disturbing lenght with modders and enquirers.

Before anything else I'd like to gently but promptly state that mods like all the wide variety of pedals out there available in the world today, will not make you a better player. They can only help you to sound better. Yes even stock or boutique pedals, amps and guitars.

The version of DS1 Switchblade Mod used in the test is 1 of 3 types of DS1 Custom Switchblades that I currently offer. This mod is for me a range of improvements on the best qualities of the original Keeley SEM and the Ultra designs. Common comments of the original SEM are that it lacks oomph with too little gain and that the Ultra has too much low end oomph and not enough upper mids. Users of both the SEM and Ultra do benefit from using the DS1 mods in either or both ways of setting the dist at zero with level full or the dist from 12 o clock to full out shred. You will notice that you get more highs with higher settings of the dist knob so the tone knob on the original SEM and Ultra a certain point help you balance the amount bite to oomph factor. Because I don't rely on a stomp eq pedal in my setup(at this point in time) I've found in my own use of both the SEM and Ultra that I want the flexibility of shaping the upper mids of the DS1 in low or high distortion settings. Thus my lil creation out of necessity...The Switchblade. I introduce another 2 or 3 way flick switch to choose the kind of zoning in on the mids and upper mids. This is to afford the flexibility of assigning the DS1 for either mild overdrive for introducing that classy "there not there" kinda clean into breakup tube amp like character or super saturation full shred Vai lead type tonality.

Hint: Set your amp at the edge between clean and the hint of tube breakup, Set the DS1 drive knob real low and the tone knob at 10 or 12 o clock with the switchblade "on" use the 2nd or 4th pos on your SSS, HSS or HSH for a really nice variation of the "King Tone" Kick in either the CS3 or the OD or all at the same time! Try! :)

The TS9 will always remain hyped about but the reality is that most are caught by what they've "read or heard about" but get kinda shocked when they actually do hear how "unhyped" the stock pedal seems to sound. This usually happens because we forget to take considerable account of other very contributings factors like the settings, type of guitar, the action, the pups,the string gauge, amps, tubes, speakers, micing technique, post speaker processing and most importantly the player itself. The TS9 was always a very cheap and widely available overdrive pedal worldwide. But in the hands of SRV who obviously hand "tones" within his hands he made that pedal an intrinsic part of his "King Tone" sound that is world famous today. Most users get easily put off by how tame the distortion seems to sound out of the stock pedal but they often do not realise that most of the Kings out there actually used the pedal with the dist at min and the level knob flat out kicking the front end of some amazing tube amps. Tube amps are a whole other volume for further discussions.
The modded TS9DX that our dear Moo uses is another custom job whereby it's saturation range is designed for a wide variety of almost everything "OverDrive" that can be contained in a pedal without a tube.
This custom TS9DX has serious amounts of headroom and even if the dist was set at zero and the level was full you'll get quite a sick amount of signal level that'll kick your amp into distortion zone. The reason I created this for "Moo" was to allow him to explore further into his quest for tone by experimenting with various degrees of combined or isolated saturation from the pedal other stomps or the amp. You will find that the infamous "chugga chugga" palm mute sounds better with an overdrive pedal kincking the amp rather than a distortion pedal because the overdrive pedal and amp naturally has within it's character to reproduce the dynamic transients better...if you can get what I mean :)

Taking the compressor, wah and volume pedal aside at the end of the day after all the exploration of vintage, cutting edge, stock, mod, diy or boutique pedals out there IMHO it's down to 3 types of saturation that you owe it to yourself to discover and incorporate into your stomp pedal arsenal regardless of brand, cost or hype;

The 3 must have types of saturation pedals for any serious tone freak player;

1. Overdrive
2. Distortion
3. Fuzz

What to do if you don't own a tube amp?
Well tube amps seem to come in various flavours these days thanks to techno advancement;

1. Full Tube (Pre and Power amp sections)
2. Rectifiers (Power supply, Pre and Power amp section)
3. Hybrid (most likely only 1 preamp tube in the amp's preamp gain circuit)
4. Tubelike (most likely silicon diode based clipping ccts just like stomps)
5. Modelling (sophisticated cutting edge digital audio replication technology)

I would highly recommend anybody to go for options 1 & 2 1st where possible and where cost becomes a major factor look into "5". Modelling is a great way to learn and appreciate the various characters of tube amps, cabinet material design and speaker types that all contribute to how the classic amps sound the way they do and artists, producers and engineers apply their usage in accordance to their intended musical vision. Options 3 & 4 are really for those with serious costing issues.

I hope this has been helpful. Phew! :D
Ah... guitarnoob, I have not been able to do that enough to give you reliable feedback.

Hi_fi, I see your point. Hence I wanted to get back my old ULTRA DS-1 (done by Randolf) for the sake of that thick, fuzzy tone. I find that while thick is nice and all, you would note a lack of dynamics with the DS1. The TS9DX replicates volume changes and picking dynamics much better.

WAH. Randolf. Thats a LONG post! Heh. Yeah, your custom TS9DX is one sick pedal... i dig the standard blues tone from it, but it can go jazz and hard rock on it own! I suddenly want more custom creations.
Sadly, i think the dude with my old DS-1 don't want to give it up. Hai... oh well... I may, just might, perhaps... get another DS-1 from you. With something like say, 9 switchblade and a varitone and a TB Switch?
ShredCow said:
I may, just might, perhaps... get another DS-1 from you. With something like say, 9 switchblade and a varitone and a TB Switch?

errr...i think you're sick. you may need modding yourself be careful! Heh
Hahaha! Man! But anyway, seriously, randolf, can you TB my TS9DX and CS3? :)

edo, don't like that lah, at least switches are better than knobs. :)
Hahahah ya I know!
What's worse is that that there's also 1,2,3...3,2,1...1,3,2.....
Ayoooo! So crazeeee! (but i like!)
ShredCow said:
Hahaha! Man! But anyway, seriously, randolf, can you TB my TS9DX and CS3? :)

edo, don't like that lah, at least switches are better than knobs. :)

Can, :D but for reasons best left undisclosed and safety for your mental health I will only perform such drastic atrocities for your spare units. Leave this fine modded children alone!