Maxon unleashes Susumu Tamura-designed Apex808

Developed by the original Tubescreamer’s creator, could this be the best 808 yet?

Maxon Apex808

Image: Maxon

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For the development of Maxon’s Apex808, Susumu Tamura, the inventor of the original Tubescreamer, took three years to analyse over 100 different vintage and in-production TS/808 variants. This research, according to Tamura and Maxon, may have led to the creation of an apex Tubescreamer, to sit in the front of the signal chain.

The original TS808 was lauded for mimicking the growl of an overdriven tube amp, delivering flattering compressed, sweet and full sounding overdriven tones. Tamura’s study claimed that the best sounding 808s not only featured a specific brand of IC chip – but that said chip’s production period factored in an equally important role. This particular IC chip was then sourced by Tamura and incorporated into the Apex808’s design.

“The use of this ‘hen’s tooth’ IC has a dramatic effect on the sound characteristics of the Apex808,” said Maxon. “[It generates] a transparency, clarity and note-to-note separation so uncanny that it makes other drives sound as if they are being played with a blanket over the speaker.”

The use of this specific IC chip has also given the Apex808 an added benefit: the overtone components now change based on the input signal’s level. Maxon explained: “At low levels, the Apex808 generates primarily even-order harmonics. When the input level is increased, the Apex808 generates a blend of even- and odd-order harmonics, creating an overtone series that imitates the preamp and power sections of a tube amp with remarkable accuracy.”

Hear the Apex808 in action, below.

The Apex808 is priced at $300, learn more about it at maxonfx.com

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