OD Review: Tim, Zen, AC Booster,Keeley BD2, Modded TS-9, Sans Amp

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by HarryJ, Dec 23, 2005.


  1. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    My Review:

    AC Booster
    Zen
    Tim
    Keeley BD-2
    Analogman/Vaughn modded TS-9
    Sans Amp (original)

    -------------------

    AC:
    Is a VERY compressed, warm OD with nice additive EQ options. Some very nice tones available here. The compression will make it very difficult to be dynamic... well, it just makes you work harder to get there.

    Zen:
    Covers some similar territory as AC, but I find it to sound MUCH more amp like, with MUCH warmer mids. Notes just bloom into beautiful tones that can go into harmonic feedback perfectly. When I use the neck pickup, the fundamental note sustains perfectly, when I switch to the bridge, it jumps up to one of many higher pitched harmonics. It is named Zen for a reason! It uses a subtractive EQ for tone, and has a "voice" knob that also seems to warm up the tone. Perhaps Alf can elaborate on what else it does. When I go from the Zen to my AC it is night and day. I prefer night :)


    Tim:
    Is a low compression, sweet OD that also uses a subtractive EQ approach. I find it to be totally different from the Zen or AC. This is a very transparent OD (when the EQ is set properly). Tim will push a slightly driven amp beautifully. The low compression also translates to very low noise factor. Tim has a second preamp stage, unlike the Timmy which compensates for the missing second stage by offering more gain from the first stage.

    The second stage can be used to get a more saturated gain sound and also allows a tone variance when engaged. Very useful!
    First stage can be a delicate OD for slightly OD rhythm parts. Engaging the second stage will get you the more smooth liquid tone. Of course, you could use more gain in the first stage of the Tim or Timmy to get there as well.

    The Tim has a dedicated effects loop. I use this to send to my digital delay so it is on only when the Tim is on. It removes it from the loop when the Tim is not on. How cool is that?

    Keeley BD-2:
    is very nice low compression OD that covers some similar territory as the Tim IMHO. The Tim does it far better and is sweeter. Not "apples and oranges" here more like apples and crab apples IMHO

    Analogman / Vaughn modded TS-9 is a totally different animal from the others. You know it, you may love it... It's got that pronounced mid hump we all love and hate depending on the amp and guitar. I prefer it with an amp with scooped mids like a BF Fender, and a Strat... you know like that guy with the funny hat used.... errr.. well you know who... lol

    Now, the Analogman mod improved the tone in a pretty subtle way IMHO. The Vaughn tri-mode mod is the most amazing mod I have seen to date for a TS-9, and the best kept secret... Shhhh! Read about it here: http://www.wpa.net/~vaughn/ts9/ts9.html

    This mod adds 2 separate 3 way switches. The first adds 2 different low-mid / bass boosts that really adds richness to the somewhat thin TS-9 tone.

    The 2nd switch is the real deal. This changes the compression and overall quality of the OD itself.

    It has an option to lower the comp ratio to the point of acting more like a preamp and sounds a bit similar to the Klon IMHO. Kicks butt in front of a slightly driven amp.

    The 2nd option is a far more dynamic OD tone that is much richer than the standard. After using this, I find the standard tone (including the Analogman mod) to be absolutely unusable! The 3rd switch option simply returns you to the standard TS-9 with A.M mod if you have that.

    The Sans Amp original model:
    I have been using this since I heard one of the first Beta versions at Sam Ash NYC in the 80's. It was the first OD I heard that made me give up the ProCo Rat that I was in love with at that time.
    This is still my #1 choice. I hated every one of their suggested settings using the 8 dip switches, and spent many hours trying different settings.
    I found one that is very amp like. I set it to very low OD much like a slightly pushed amp.

    The coolest feature here is the cabinet emulator function. I am able to send a line directly to the house system and still get a superb tone.

    Moral of the Story....

    We all know that OD's sound different with different amps, not to mention that they have to get along with the other members of your pedal board family. Some seem to sound best with single coils, others 'buckers.

    I like to have a few to choose from. Of the 6 pedals listed, The Keeley BD-2, and AC booster would not be on my A list.

    The Zen and Tim/Timmy are superb, must have pedals and I believe compliment each other well.

    The modded TS-9 has a totally different voice for those times when you want it. The mods are too cool 'fer words. funny hat optional.

    Some may disagree with my assessments, and I'm confident will voice them very shortly. I "calls 'em as I sees 'em"

    I have tons of audio clips using the Sans Amp on my site.

    I will work on adding clips of the others.
    I suggest listening to Scott Lerner's Zen clips as they KILL!

    Hope this helps some folks, as I'm a 2 finger typer and in pain :)

    Harry Jacobson
    www.harryj.net
     
  2. scottl

    scottl Member

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    Why thanks you Mr J!

    Hey dude, we need to hang and try all of our combined toyz! I wanna try the TS9 you speak of....

    Hope to chat soon.

    Scott
     
  3. MarkWorth

    MarkWorth Member

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    i like MY K-bd-2 : /
     
  4. jockman

    jockman Member

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    Just listened to some tracks on your site, WOW!!!!
    If thats the sansamp why bother with any of the over priced over hyped botiques?
    Was the Sansamp into the amp or direct to desk, can it be used like an od pedal and amp set up?.

    Jon
     
  5. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    Thx man,

    I usually run the S.A. into my Boss SE70 and send 1 channel into my '70's Marshall set totally clean and low volume. I then mic that. The 2nd channel goes direct to the board. I pan hard left and right. I sometimes displace one channel by 10 milliseconds, and invert the phase. I get a real nice definition, and super stereo seperation that way.

    Regarding the Keeley BD-2. I never said I didn't like it.
    It's a real nice unit... well until you A/B it with the Tim. That changed my view big time!

    HJ
     
  6. steeeve

    steeeve Member

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    Thanks for the reviews, Harry.

    Your playing is ridiculously great, man.
     
  7. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Because of your review I hauled out my Sansamp (#12,000-they built a LOT of those suckers). It does work well as an overdrive-lots of tone shaping abilities, kind of a classic sound (not working for Nu Metal but can get very high gain) and not too noisy compared to other solutions with similar gain levels. Thanks for reminding me!
     
  8. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    It's a great OD IMHO. You just have to spend time tweaking at first. As I mentioned, I felt all of there recomended settings were not to my liking.

    My favorite setting is all dips up except 6 and 8
    side switch on normal
    I keep both drives low, for a slightly overdriven tone and push it with various other devices.

    HJ
     
  9. Don L

    Don L Member

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    And I just bought a Keeley BD-2 to try...:eek: :)
     
  10. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    The Keeley BD-2 is very nice, I was able to get some great tones out of it! It can sound pretty gritty depending on the amp. I suspect you will like it much... jus' don't compare it to the Tim 'n you'll be happy :)

    HJ
     
  11. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the review, and wowza awesome playing .. I do believe at this point .. tone probably is more in the fingers then in that SansAmp .. So I wont get one cuz I know I can't sound like that ....
     
  12. Souled Out

    Souled Out Member

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    I think I'll spend the rest of day downloading and listening to your tunes. I also need to buy your CDs. I don't think i'd matter what type of gear you have. Once a player reachs your level a Gorilla amp could sound good. I'd love to be a fly on the wall if you and Scott L hook up. Thanks for the site.
     
  13. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    Thx Pai,

    But look at all the cool toys you have man! I haven't owned a Les Paul for ions. I had a '52 special (not reissue) in the early 70's, and a custom in the 80's... perhaps it's time again?

    As I see it, the point of new toys, for me anyway, is not centered around obtaining a particular sound in many cases, but more to satiate my constant quest for inspiration.
    I'm still very high on the Zen.

    P.S. Thanks so much for the kindness S.O. :)
    One of these decades I need to record a new CD. I just haven't had any interest in writing tunes for a long time.

    All of the tunes on my CD, except the 3 tunes I recorded with my old friend, Jordan Rudess (Steve Morse,Dream Theatre) were all recorded with MIDI tracks that I played via MIDI guitar. If I ever do another, it will be with live players.

    Regarding S.L.
    Scott has invited me to hang several times... Jeeez I need to get off my ass... :)

    HJ
     
  14. Cap'n Fingers

    Cap'n Fingers Member

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    Harry,

    I've heard a lot of players use the AC in combo with the RC Boost. Do you think the RC might put some dynamic response back into the signal? What's your take on that combination?

    -Mike
     
  15. jerseydrew

    jerseydrew Supporting Member

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  16. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    I have tried the RC/AC combo as well as BB.
    I liked it a lot, I felt the RC compressed the sound a bit more and had a more saturated tone due to the cascading preamps. Not a bad thing... a real nice liquid tone.

    I don't see the higher compression of the AC, and the Zen as a bad thing at all... It's just another flavor. You just have to increase the dynamic range of you picking.

    Once again I like the AC a lot... but just like the BD-2 and the Tim, I feel you will like the AC a whole lot more if you DON'T A/B it with the Zen!

    HJ
     
  17. fast ricky love

    fast ricky love Supporting Member

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    Cool review! Original SansAmp is a very underrated pedal!
     
  18. Ricky_Rockhardo

    Ricky_Rockhardo Member

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    Enlighten me, what the going price for a Tim pedal these days, guys?
     
  19. Cap'n Fingers

    Cap'n Fingers Member

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    Harry,

    Have you used an MI Blues Pro yet? I've seen a thread that raves about it. Wondering if it's oranges and apples compared to the others you've reviewed in this thread.

    -Mike
     
  20. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    Hi Mike,
    I'm sure there are a lot of great OD's that I have not tried.

    I never thought I'd ever say this but, the Tim, Zen combo has caused me to be totally satiated... I must not be feelin' well :)

    Harry J
     

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