Maxon's Apex 808 could be the best-sounding Tube Screamer ever

(Image credit: Maxon)

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 Tube Screamer 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. Maxon's new Apex 808, however, has the credentials that could make it 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 (opens in new tab) 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 Apex 808 is available now for $300. For more info, head on over to Godlyke (opens in new tab).

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.