Ibanez Tube Screamer vs Boss SD-1: Pedal Comparison

If you’re looking for a mid-boosting overdrive pedal then the Ibanez Tube Screamer and Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive are two great options to consider. In this article I’ll compare everything you need to know about these two pedals so you can decide which is the most suitable for you.

Quick Comparison

The Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive pedal sounds brighter and grittier in comparison to the Ibanez TS9 and TS808 Tube Screamers. The Boss SD-1 is louder and has better battery life compared to the Tube Screamer and is less than half the price.

Ibanez Tube ScreamerBoss SD-1 Super Overdrive
Subtle and warmer overdriveMore grit and brightness 
Low-moderate volume Moderate volume
Uses symmetrical clipping  Uses asymmetrical clipping
73 hours battery life90 hours battery life

Here are links to Amazon so you can check the current prices:

Tone Comparison

The Boss SD-1 has more grit and sounds brighter in comparison to the Ibanez TS9 and TS808 Tube Screamers. Both pedals have that characteristic mid-range hump.

The Ibanez TS9 sounds closer to the SD-1 than the TS808 does. This is because the TS808 sounds a bit warmer and smoother with less grit compared to the TS9.

If you’re looking for something with more cut and drive then you’ll really like the SD-1 which is great as a boost pedal for solos as it has a bit more treble. The Ibanez TS9 and TS808 on the other hand are a bit more subtle. They have less treble and the bass sounds a bit looser making them sound a bit warmer and smoother.

The difference is mainly caused by the type of clipping the pedals use. The SD-1 uses asymmetrical clipping which gives it a more textured and gritty quality. The Tube Screamer on the other hand uses symmetrical clipping which gives it a smoother quality.

The Ibanez TS9 and TS808 are not as loud as the Boss SD-1, so if you need a bit more of a volume boost for solos/ lead sections then you may want to go with the SD-1 instead.

Check out this YouTube video to hear a comparison of the SD-1 and TS9.

Music Styles and Uses

Both these pedals sound great either through a clean amp, or gain-stacked.

If you’re looking to use one of them primarily as a boost pedal then I’d lean towards the SD-1 as the better option as it has more brightness, cut and volume that is ideal for soloing and lead playing.

If you’re looking to gain-stack the pedal to achieve a metal tone, I also think the SD-1 excels more for this application. The low-end response isn’t as loose as the Tube Screamer’s which makes it ideal for tightening up the bass and boosting the mid-range through a distorted amp/ pedal.

For rhythm playing, or situations where you’re looking for a more subtle overdrive or mid-range boost, then I think the Ibanez Tube Screamer is the best option as it doesn’t sound quite as punchy or gritty as the SD-1.

Controls and Functionality

With both SD-1 and the Ibanez TS808/ TS9 you get three basic controls:

  • Level: adjusts the volume
  • Drive: adjusts the amount of overdrive
  • Tone: adjusts the EQ balance

I think that the SD-1 has a greater range when it comes to all three controls compared to the TS808 and TS9 which have a more limited range. It can be easier to make more subtle tweaks with the Tube Screamer, but if you want something more versatile then I think the SD-1 is the best choice.

One thing I also wanted to mention is that I find the SD-1 (and Boss pedals in general) easier to switch on and off using the footswitch compared to the Tube Screamer which feels a little stiffer. Sometimes if I’m not wearing shoes the Tube Screamer can be a bit tougher to activate/ deactivate.

Boss SD-1

Ibanez TS9


  • The Tube Screamer consumes more power than the Boss SD-1. The Ibanez TS9 and TS808 will drain a 9V battery in approximately 73 hours whereas the Boss SD-2 will drain it in roughly 90 hours.
  • The TS9 and TS808 have a lower input impedance and higher output impedance compared to the SD-2.
  • The Boss SD-2 is slightly deeper and taller compared to the TS9 and TS808 but has a similar width.
SpecificationIbanez TS9Ibanez TS808Boss SD-2
Dimensions (inches)4.9 x 3 x 2”4.9 x 2.8 x 2”5.1 x 2.9 x 2.4″
Dimensions (cm)12.4 x 7.6 x 5.1 cm12.4 x 7.2 x 5.1 cm12.9 x 7.3 x 5.9 cm
Weight1.3 lbs (0.6 kg)1.2 lbs (0.5 kg)0.8 lbs (0.36 kg)
Input Impedance500 kOhms500 kOhms1000 kOhms
Output Impedance10 kOhms10 kOhms1 kOhms
Power Consumption7.5 mA7.5 mA6 mA

Options Available

Ibanez Tube Screamer Versions

  • Mini Overdrive
  • TS9
  • TS9DX
  • TS808
  • TS808DX
  • TS808HW

All versions can be run on batteries except the Mini Tube Screamer. The TS9 sounds more gritty and brighter compared to the TS808 and Mini.

The TS9DX is based on the TS9 but has an additional “mode” control which allows you to select between +, Hot, and Turbo modes.

The TS808DX is based on the TS808 but a boost functionality as well.

The TS808HW is the most expensive Tube Screamer and is hand-wired. It has a true-bypass, which means the guitar and amp will sound the same whether the amp is disengaged, or completely unconnected.

Check out my in-depth comparison between the different versions of the Ibanez Tube Screamer to learn more.

Boss SD-1 Versions

There are only two versions to mention here:

  • SD-1
  • SD-1W (the “Waza Craft”)

The SD-1W has a lower noise floor and more low-end giving it a slightly warmer sound. It also has a toggle on the top so you can switch between the “standard” mode and the “custom” mode which adds more grit and sustain. The SD-1W is roughly 2.5 times the price of the SD-1.

Pros and Cons

Ibanez Tube Screamer

Range of models with extra effectsLack of versatility
Easy to make subtle adjustmentsLimited drive and volume range
Mini and full-size versions availableExpensive

Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive

Good volume and drive rangeNo mini-version available
Great for lead/ solosCan be too aggressive
Good for gain stackingInexpensive

Here are links to Amazon so you can check the current prices:

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Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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