SIB VARI vs TONEBONE

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Cary Chilton, Sep 9, 2005.


  1. Cary Chilton

    Cary Chilton Senior Member

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    I have read on Gearpage the diehard comments of the varidrive or the tonebone's brit and/or classic. Has anyone put them head to head? Which sounds the best through many different kinds of amps? Which pedal likes a particular amp?
    peace
     
  2. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I think my SIB is more limited-I like it thru a Fender set clean or just a little hair, most other amps I'm not a big fan. The Tonebone is definitely more flexible and likes more guitars and amps. Both great but at the price difference and size, I'd go with the Tonebone Classic or Double...
     
  3. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Hands down the Classic stomps the SIB. I bought the SIB and expected it to sound a certain way (in my head). Didn't at all. Kinda "fizzy" and harsh, scooped the mids way to much. LOOKS FRIKKIN COOL!

    Well I tried the Tonebone Classic... it matched exactly what I hoped the SIB would sound like. Nice smooth mids, full amp like distortion. It's the best all around distortion made IMO. LOOKS FRIKKIN LAME THOUGH! And "Tonebone", that's a dumb name too. SIB (S**t I Built) and Varidrive = changing tubes for diff drive levels, it's full of vibe, but the tone falls short.... Unless he's updated it...
     
  4. rkstarr

    rkstarr Member

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    on my rk100,,,and gawd...ooh..the hot brititsh does not work as well.but kill sustain on the hot brit
     
  5. rkstarr

    rkstarr Member

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  6. jkr

    jkr Supporting Member

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    No doubt the Tonebone is more versatile, but I found that the Varidrive sounds way more natural than the Tonebone. All the distortion from the Varidrive is coming from the tube. My understanding is that the Tonebone uses op aps and such.
     
  7. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    "Varidrive sounds way more natural"

    If your real amp sounds fizzy and harsh... Well at least the SIB that I owned for about a year. Never could get into it. Loved my tonebone out of the box man! Yes the tonebone, uses solid state components with the tube to add harmonics. The Lovepedal Eternity uses op amps, it sounds frikkin killer! All I'm saying, is that however the tonebone works, doesn't matter to me, sounds better than any "all tube" pedal I've heard.

    It seems that some get an opinion of a piece of gear just cause it uses a method that other people on the internet disagree with. Every time someone brings up the tonebones stuff, someone replies with "it's really just a solid state distortion". Who cares, it sounds great.
     
  8. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    Yep I agree , I could care less what a pedal is made out of . It's the sound that I need. To me there was no comparison of the SIB Varidrive and either Tonebone. The TB's were wayyy better for me and my needs.. I've found numerous pedals I liked more than the SIB I owned for a few years but none I've liked more than either Tonebone (at what they do) ... That's what counts.. (WHAT SOMETHING DOES and WHAT YOUR NEEDS ARE) ... I have loads of pedals that I use instead of the Tb's too , but when I want the Tb distortion matchup with particular amps none have been better for that... Then again , we've now all seen threads here where guys post pics of their bands and post clips and we're all WAY DIFFERENT right? Got to try these things out ourselves to make our valid choices , and unfortunately if sound and applicably for yourself is the main thing we're worried about , it costs some money to try them . Good luck

    ERIC
     
  9. D.G.

    D.G. Member

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    Yeah, they'll definitely sound pretty bad with a 12AX7 into a BF Fender with the bright swith on! BUT, turn off the bright switch on the amp, replace the tube with a Mullard 12AT7, and solder a .01 pf (102) cap across the outer legs of the volume pot for use with really bright fenders, and it'll leave the Tonebone in the dust for natural distortion. 'Course, that may not be the sound you're going for anyway, and a Tonebone might still be a better match for you style, because YMMV! :D
     
  10. jkr

    jkr Supporting Member

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    I didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings. All I said was "My understanding is that the Tonebone uses op aps and such". First of all, it's the truth and second of all, I didn't say that was a bad thing. I just stated the fact. I've got tons of op amp/diode pedals. I bought the tone bone twice hoping to like it and it just didn't work for me. It is more amp forgiving than the Varidrive. The Varidrive is set best used with a 12au7 ((per the designers recommendation) or a 12at7)) and it really doesn't sound it's best going into a very bright amp because it's a full frequency pedal. I actually run the drive really low, turn the treble way down on the pedal, (and sometimes hit the front of it with a Klon set clean). With those settings it makes my JTM45, Deluxe reverb (bright cap mod with brigh cap off), or AC30 sound like there is a tube preamp section to the amp, not a pedal. The Tonebone sounded more pedal like to me, YMMV. I still think a TIM pedal would be my desert Island pedal, so I've got nothing against op amps/diodes, I'm was just stating a fact.
     
  11. ericb

    ericb Silver Supporting Member

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    BTW, my favorite tube by far in my old Varidrive was a 12ay7.. Tend to like those tubes lots anyway, but that was the best fit for the Varidrive for me. Of course if I remember right it wasn't But the 12ay7's I have (Rca and GE) sounded way better than any 12au7, 12at7, or ax7 I tried:)

    ERIC
     
  12. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Jkr, You didn’t hurt my feelings man! You are right, as I conceded. But we simply disagree on the tone. As said before, it matters what you’re needs are. It is possible that SIB has updated the Varidrive. I’d like to hear another one. And As I said, I hoped the Varidrive would sound a certain way, it didn’t, but the Tonebone did.

    If I seemed like my feelings were hurt, sorry!:AOK
     
  13. Guy from Idaho

    Guy from Idaho Member

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    ...first Varidrive (old version), then Hot Brit, then TB Classic, then Varidrive again (new version). My amps are nmv, Germino Lead 55 and Rockytop 45 combo. Mostly Les Pauls, occasionally my strat but more for variety than because I like how strats sound :)

    I love my Varidrive! Sometimes I push it with a COT 50. Everything else sounds synthetic by comparison. The Varidrive growls, it's organic, it channels Paul Kossoff. I tried a 12AU7 and a 12AY7 and a 12AT7 in it, but they sounded insufficient. Mine has an Amperex 12AX7 and it's clean enough for me. If I wanted a fender then I'd buy one, but I don't want one :p The key for me is to keep the volume turned to 3 o'clock, and the gain way down at 9 o'clock, that's where Kossoff and Warren Haynes live. Kick it with the COT 50 for Humble Pie at the Fillmore. Volume below 3 o'clock it gets rattier, sometimes that's cool. It's big and heavy but so's my amp, I can live with it. It sounded lovely with my Traynor EL34 bassmaster but kind of crappy with my EL84 bassmate, so I had to sell the bassmate.

    The Tonebones didn't do it for me, but they obviously do it for some people. JCM900-in-a-box, to me. Need an engineering degree to change the damn tube. Weenie little cord attached to a big ol' wallwart from walmart, no mojo there. Teenie little knobs and switches provide a thousand ways to make it sound worse. Classic was too scooped for me, kinda like an OCD, sounded pretty modern and I'm neither. But I might get another Hot Brit some day, for those Slash/Nugent/Mars moods, it's kind of fun and there are some cool sounding clips out there in webworld.

    fwiw, other non-keepers were Blue Tube & Real Tube (Blue Turd and Real Turd), Mesa V-Twin (yuk), Bad Cat ThinTone or whatever they call it, Bad Cat Xtremely thin tone, Hot Chili Tubester (that one's actually pretty cool).

    ymmv, and it sometimes does -GFI :dude
     
  14. Guy from Idaho

    Guy from Idaho Member

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    well now, that IS pretty much the bottom line, isn't it! :dude
     
  15. HBob

    HBob Member

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    I have both and I really like the Varidrive better. If I set the two pedals up for a similar sound I always wind up with a bigger, gutsier version coming from the Varidrive. The Tonebone can maybe get a little more distorted but then the noise really gets in the way for me on those settings. I really think the versatility of the Tonebone is kind of smoke and mirrors. The gain switch is useless. It only changes the settings on the gain knob. ( Change the drive gain switch from low to med and turn down the drive knob = same sound. Change the drive gain switch from med to high and turn down the drive knob = same sound. Who needs that? ) Kind of the same situation with the high end tone control and its "top end" switch. The mid switch and the filter would be better if replaced with a mid knob. That's another one of the Varidrive's stand out features. The tone controls are voiced very well. A point Guitar Player gushed about in an old review.

    The point an earlier reviewer brought up about the Tonebone using op amps for the distortion is relevant to me. Not because of "tube mojo" but because it really makes a difference switching tubes in the Varidrive. Not so much in the Tonebone. I guess to alter the voice of the Tonebone you'd have to switch out some op amps as well.

    Thanks to whoever posted the initial question. Putting the two side by side again has me putting the Tonebone on the "sell" shelf.
     
  16. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    "The gain switch is useless. It only changes the settings on the gain knob. ( Change the drive gain switch from low to med and turn down the drive knob = same sound. Change the drive gain switch from med to high and turn down the drive knob = same sound. Who needs that? ) Kind of the same situation with the high end tone control and its "top end" switch. "


    This is interesting circular logic... You push the switch up and then turn the knob down to defeat the purpose of the switch, so it's useless???? They do exactly what they're intended to do. You flip the gain switch up, more gain available, more high end available, more midrange etc., etc., It’s just this explanation doesn’t make sense.

    You CAN'T easily modify it, makes no difference to me, especially since it sounds better (to me) than the pedal that you CAN easily modify. Also you refer to a Guitar Player review of the Varidrive, something to note, GP gave a better review of the Tonebone (if that matters anyway??). I’ll repeat my assertion. I really feel like it’s a placebo effect, people just have some sort of hostility towards the Tonebone cause it’s circuit isn’t totally tube driven.

    Also, how do you guy’s feel about the fact that the Varidrive scoops mids quite a bit. I could never get a good midrange out of it, even with mids maxed. JMO…
     
  17. Guy from Idaho

    Guy from Idaho Member

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    I wonder if the newer version Varidrive is maybe voiced a little different than the earlier version, I don't like a scooped sound but seems like I could dial that in with my first Varidrive if I wanted to, not so much with the current one (not sure, have to leave work early and go try it :) I set the eq on mine almost the same as on my amp (bass very low, treble about 10 o'clock, mids about noon or a little above), so maybe another way of saying the Varidrive seems voiced similar to the Germino, I like a pretty mid-heavy tone and it works ok for me. Other things I like better about the new Varidrive is the LED corresponds to the footswitch, rather than just indicating the unit's plugged in, and the side switch for higher gain is cool though I mostly find the lower gain setting is enough for me. But at higher gain settings the Varidrive does have that almost-fuzzlike quality (as does the COT50, IMO) which is pretty old-school but I like it, whereas the Hot Brit for example you can dial in more crispness if you want it. Oh well, with my rig the Varidrive is the most woody-inducing pedal I've found, and that's what counts :p
     
  18. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    Yep, I wondered if SIB updated it (think I said this in my first reply). That's real cool about the LED showing on/off status instead of just power. That drove me up the wall! If he fixed the midrange problem the Varidrive would sound a ton better to me.

    I'd like to hear a newer one!
     
  19. jkr

    jkr Supporting Member

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    Aarondavis:

    As much as I like my Varidrive and use it as my main Distortion/OD over a ton of my other boutiquey OD/fuzz pedals that I own, I agree with you that it can be weak in the mids with the wrong guitar (and or amp). It seems to like my Humbucker guitars more. If I'm using a single coil guitar, I hit it with a Klon or Tim which kicks in the mids. As I said earlier, the Tonebone is more forgiving. I just found it didn't sound as "natural" (not better or worse) as the Varidrive. I could absolutely understand how someone might prefer the Tonebone over the Varidrive. The Varidrive is not the easiest to dial in and the Tonebone seems to know who it is right out of the box. When you dial in the Varidrive in right set up, you're home free, but I can see where someone might get frustrated prior to that and look at other options (I know, my Varidrive was up for sale before I had the right tube in it and a set up that could make it work at it's optimum). Long story short, I know where you are coming from.
     
  20. rawkguitarist

    rawkguitarist Member

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    jkr, thanks for the reply man. That is very true about the Varidrive, changing tubes does make a big difference. It shows how much of the circuit is driven by the tube. With the Tonebone, might as well leave the tube alone, LOL!!! They usually come with a decent JJ tube anyway.

    I have to stress, the Varidrive is FULL OF VIBE! You could hook a chain to it and use it as a wrecking ball in a pinch...

    I too like a full mid tone, why I dig Matchless and TopHat (think hot Vox tone). It's were guitar sings!!
     

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