The TSE 808 Tube Screamer pedal is one of the best overdrive emulation plugins available. It’s based off a legendary Ibanez Tube Screamer pedal that famous guitarists have been using since the late 1970s.
The TSE 808 plugin can give your amp sim some extra boost on leads and improve your guitar’s clarity and tone, especially on the low end.
One of the best things about it is that it can be downloaded for free from TSE Audio. It works with Windows and Mac OS X and is available in VST and AU formats.
The TSE 808 emulator comes with the TSE X50 amp simulator; that’s how I first came across it, but it’s also available as a separate download for free, and it works just as well with other amp sims like Recabinet and the free LePou amp sims.
The TSE 808 is commonly used in front of an amp sim to get better tone with heavy metal guitars. A lot of times it’s just used as an EQ with the drive turned down.
The 2.0 version of the plugin was released back in 2013. It offers a basic interface with knobs for Drive, Tone, and Volume. It has an input level dial that can go up to +6dB.
There’s a switch to choose either “Hi” or “Lo” quality (the high setting removes additional aliasing) and a switch to turn stereo on and off. The stereo setting can process two guitars at once, but they must be hard-panned left and right to avoid channel bleed.
The TSE 808 is a good plugin to add to your toolbox and is worth trying out, especially considering that it’s freeware.