What is it?
Excalibur Overdrive TS-4558 Tone Screamer. Made in china as an OEM for german brand Excalibur, around 2007.
As i got a bit burned with my not-doing-my-homework and hoping for something decent from the delay sold side by side with this one, i must say that my enthusiasm was not very high to deal with this. These come relatively cheap and as the color and the name suggest, it’s a screamer. Didn’t even bother to open it up to show the flux residue of the chinese toaster oven.
Why would i. It’s nothing more but a JRC4558 hearted, ever so slightly modified tubescreamer that acts exactly like all the other 1500 TS derivatives out there. Add this to floating plastic board mount jacks and you got your Tone Screamer. If there ever was a pedal to give out extreme case of meh, this makes the top three by any standards. Funny how the word “Germany” is retained on the bottom rubber. It’ s not “made in”, but simply “Germany”. At least the lying and cheating mode on this one isn’t nearly as high on this one than on the delay. At least on this one they say it straight to your face by calling the unit a Tone Screamer. This way there won’t be any doubt about what the unit does and what it sounds like.
How does it sound?
Like a Tubescreamer. Is there anything more to add? In the vast ocean of the units built around this late 70’s circuit, i see very little point in getting this one. It tries to look like a german made high end product, while it is nothing more than your average chinese, mass produced unit with questionable quality. Soundwise the difference is slightly more output and a hint of more gain. Nothing to write home about. There are a lot of good TS derivatives out there. Get any of those instead. I’d go for Nux green overdrive instead of this in a heartbeat. Same tone in more affordable package. And no bullshit.
There is very little positive i can say about this unit. Again. Do your homework before you buy into “The quintessential overdrive pedal.”