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NAMM 2020: Is Maxon's Apex 808 the best-sounding Tube Screamer ever?

(Image credit: Maxon)

NAMM 2020: Any time we write about a new Tube Screamer overdrive pedal, the snide comments roll in hard and fast.

'Another one?' 'I could get this... or any one of the other 10,000 clones.' 'Just what we needed! Another Tube Screamer.' 

Look, we get it. The Tube Screamer is one of the most copied pedals out there, and there's no shortage of them on the market. We do, however, truly think that this new one might be the cream of the crop. 

Designed by Tube Screamer creator Susumu Tamura, the Apex 808 was developed over the course of three years. Tamura analyzed over 100 vintage and current production Tube Screamer/808 variants, coming to the realization that the best of the bunch all featured the same brand of IC chip, from the same production period. 

Naturally, this IC chip was sourced by Tamura, and then used as the centerpiece of the Apex 808's design.

Maxon says that the IC chip helps the Apex 808 generate unprecedented transparency, clarity and note-to-note separation. It also offers the new, added benefit of allowing users to change the overtone components of the signal based on input level.

At lower levels, this 808 offers up mostly even-order harmonics, with a greater blend of even- and odd-order, tube amp-esque harmonics on tap as the pedal's input level is increased. 

The release date and price of this tantalizingly awesome 808 are still TBA, though - judging by the fact that there's already a "sold out" note for it online - we're guessing this thing won't be easy to come by.

For more on the already-coveted pedal, head on over to Godlyke.