But before you dismiss the Becos TS8-JZ Ziffer Overdrive as yet another TS twin, you should know Becos specializes in cramming multiple tone-sculpting controls onto mini-pedals. This time, its efforts have resulted in an adjustable overdrive that can scream with larger-than-life tone or sweeten with enhanced warmth and clarity.
On its face, the Ziffer Overdrive has the expected controls for Gain, Tone and Level, but it’s also upgraded by its three-way gain stage Clip Switch (Classic, Asymmetric, and Custom), a low-end frequency response Deep Switch (Classic and Deep), and controls for Dry/Wet mix and Dry EQ (a frequency booster and tilting lo/hi EQ).
As always, Becos overbuilds for a lifetime of use by using premium components such as audio grade op-amps, Panasonic multi-layer plastic metalized film capacitors and gold-plated tracing circuit boards. And, for those who crave more transparency and higher headroom, the pedal can be powered anywhere between 9VDC and 18VDC.
The impetus behind the TS8-JZ was to gently push the front-end of Ziffer’s Marshall Plexi (or any typical classic amp), and if that’s your general purpose, setting the Clip Switch to “Classic” ushers in that TS-808-style squishiness with very little coloration and a dollop of saturated creaminess.
As you click the clipping switch down from Classic to Asymmetric to Custom, you’ll hear gradual bumps in volume and varying shades of gain structure, with the overall tone becoming bigger and clearer. With that, if you plan on using the Ziffer Overdrive as a standalone drive, I found that the Custom (LED clipping) setting really boosts notes and chords with boldness and dynamic cut.
Whether I’m pushing a cranked amp or stacking the TS8-JZ with another drive stompbox, I believe most players will love the responsive slice of the Asymmetric setting with its perfect blend of bumped-up articulation and sweetened compression.
The Deep switch is fascinating to me; if I’m soloing or chugging in the lower register, then the Deep setting clearly makes the bottom end more defined and present. However, I still prefer the Classic setting for all the sugary harmonic content I’m used to. The Dry EQ works well if you need to recover some missing frequencies, but don’t completely disregard the Dry/Wet mix control.
I can tell you dialing back the wetness for some clean signal sounded exceptionally good through a high gain amp. For all its expanded versatility as an 808-style drive, the Ziffer Overdrive shouldn't be missed.
- PRICE: $169
- TYPE: Mini overdrive pedal
- CONTROLS: 3-way clipping toggle, Deep switch, Gain, Tone, Level, Dry EQ [lo/hi], Mix [wet/dry]
- BYPASS: True
- POWER: 9V DC, < 11mAh
- CONTACT: BecosFX