• Buffalo FX TD-X review

    gilmourish.com - Buffalo FX TD-X

    Buffalo FX has boldly tackled the Tube Driver – the overdrive that has defined the tone of David Gilmour and Eric Johnson for the past decades. So, without further ado. Here’s my review of the TD-X.

    The Tube Driver has a long (and turbulent) history. Designed by BK Butler, the pedal has seen many labels (and owners) over the years. See Kit Rae’s full run-down of all the different models.

    David Gilmour started using overdrive in the early 70s, with the Colorsound Power Boost. It’s featured heavily during the Meddle/Dark Side/WYWH/Animals period. After using different overdrives (pedals and amps) in the 80s, David settled with the Tube Driver in the early 90s and it’s been his main overdrive since.

    Nothing sounds quite like the Tube Driver. Its design, based on a ic and tube driven preamp circuit, has the unmistakable flavour of a tube amp. Perhaps closest to the early Marshall models but its really got a tone of its own.

    It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Buffalo FX. In that sense I’m probably biased but they really make some amazing sounding pedals, like the Patriot and the Evolution. Like many of you, I’ve really looked forward to the TD-X hoping that Steve would once again would present a fine version of a classic and deal with some of the common issues known to these pedals.

    Whether or not it’s an issue comes down to taste I guess but the tube driver isn’t the most versatile overdrive out there in the sense that it needs the right amp to reach its full potential.

    On brighter, mids scooped amps and typical bedroom setups, the Tube Driver can sound rather harsh, fizzy and thin. Even on a loud Hiwatt, which would be the closest match for replicating David Gilmour’s 1994 to present tones, the pedal can sound boomy and sometimes be hard to tame.

    However, what I love about it – when you do hit that sweetspot – is the huge tone, the fat low end and the crispy top. Again, nothing sounds quite like the Tube Driver.

    So, how does the TD-X fit into all this? First of all, the pedal is housed in the now standard Buffalo T-Rex-ish casings, with a bright led, true bypass and 9V powering. Controls are hi, lo, gain and volume.

    Clean-ish boost

    Settings for Tube Driver and TD-X: level 2:00, lo 2:00, hi 1:00, gain 9:00

    The stock Tube Driver feature a 12AX7 tube, which provides a considerable amount of gain. Depending on your pickups and amp it can be tricky to use the Tube Driver as a clean booster, without it sounding thin. One trick is to replace the 12AX7 with a 12AU7, although this dramatically changes the character of the pedal.

    With the settings above, the Tube Driver sounds pretty dirty, although rolling down the guitar volume a mark or two cleans it up nicely. It’s got a nice punch and ads a hint compression to the tone.

    The TD-X has noticeably more headroom, which is a plus for smaller bedroom setups and for boosting. It sounds transparent and a bit more responsive to the guitar and my picking compared to the Tube Driver. The TD-X also works nicely as a booster for other overdrives and Big Muffs – complimenting them, without colouring too much.


    Settings for Tube Driver and TD-X: level 2:00, lo 2:00, hi 12:00, gain 10:30

    I rarely use the Tube Driver for full out distortion or fuzz so this is my main setup for almost anything I do besides clean or fuzz.

    Personally I think this is where the Tube Driver really shines. That amp-like tone, with rich dynamics and response. It needs a bit of mids boost to get that smooth sustain and rounded off high end, which is why a Hiwatt (or similar) seems to get you closest to David Gilmour’s tones.

    Again, having more headroom than the Tube Driver I need to give the TD-X a bit more gain and I also think it sounds better with a tad more high end sparkle. One of the goals with this design, was to roll off some of that high end harshness you often get from the Tube Driver, which Buffalo definitely has managed to do without compromising the character of the pedal.

    Once again the TD-X matches the Tube Driver perfectly. It sounds fat, a tad darker and the gain seems to have a bit more harmonics. On a smaller amp, the Tube Driver comes off as a tad harsh, while the TD-X stays smooth and dynamic.


    Settings for Tube Driver and TD-X: level 12:30, lo 3:00, hi 10:30, gain 4:00

    You really need a loud tube amp and a nice chunk of mids for these settings to work but when you do, the Tube Driver is hard to beat. It sounds like a cranked up plexi with a germanium fuzz in front of it, oozing with harmonics and sweet sustain. On brighter and smaller amps, it can sound pretty bad and hars.

    The TD-X sounds perhaps a bit more linear and not as aggressive as the Tube Driver. Perhaps its the lack of the tube or the fact that the TD-X is meant to be tamed a bit. Still, this is by no means a negative thing. Cranked up, the TD-X is remarkably silent, which the Tube Driver certainly isn’t and the distortion sounds less compressed.

    The verdict?

    Inspired by David Gilmour, I bought my first Tube Driver in 2006 and it’s been my main overdrive ever since. For me, it’s gone from being a Gilmour pedal to one that I rely on for most of my own tones. It works nicely on my setups but I’ve always had a hard time making it work equally well on smaller amps and sometimes even recording.

    The TD-X is everything the Tube Driver is and more. It’s equally huge sounding, with a distinct and unique amp-like character and quality. It’s as dynamic and responsive to your pickups and playing. Slightly darker, not as aggressive and overall a bit more well behaved.

    The TD-X is an excellent choice if you’re having trouble with your Tube Driver on brighter amps or your bedroom setup – or if you think the original is a bit too pricy. If you’re a purist and Tube Driver fanatic, then you might find that it lack some of that over the top character but I guarantee that you also find it to be one of the best sounding overdrives on the market. Highly recommended!

    See Buffalo FX for more details.

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176 Responsesso far.

  1. Sal says:

    I recently picked up a PastFX TD-Y, which is a clone of the Buffalo TD-X.
    The TD-Y is quite impressive, it just sounds great at any setting. Quality product.
    I’ve never a Tube Driver or the Buffalo TD-X, but for those that want that tone, the TD-Y is another option

  2. Don says:

    BJORN, Hope you had a nice holiday season and that 2021 is filled with great health and happiness.

    Question: Now that the TD-X is no longer available except in the used market (if one can find them), what pedal would you suggest is the next closest thing to the TD-X in that, is is successfully emulating a Butler Tube Driver in the 9V format (sans tube).

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Bjorn says:

      I would say the Boss BD2 and the Wampler PlexiDrive. Both are very close to the Tube Driver. Both in the sense how they sound and how they respond to your playing.

      • Don says:

        Thanks again for the quick reply! Very helpful.

        One follow-up question: I noticed you didn’t mention the JHS Charlie Brown but, on a post you shared a few years back about JHS pedals, you did reference the Charlie Brown with similar comparisons to the Tube Driver. What are your thoughts in how it compares to the two you recommended above?

        As I jump between Amps, Guitars, numerous pedal setups, and variations thereof, I prefer pedals that have some nice flexibility/adaptability and range so, I throw that out there to provide context to this question (may be helpful to others.)

        Have a wonderful day!

        • Bjorn says:

          Apologies for the late reply. The CB is based on those early Plexi amps. It’s got a lot more mid range than the Tube Driver and although it will cover some of those tones, aspecially on more scooped amps, I think that pedals like the CRayon, PlexiDrive and the BD2 are much closer.

    • MattG says:

      I recently discovered there is an Austraulian company called “PastFX”, who make a pedal called the “TD-Y”, which is intended to be an exact clone of the Buffalo FX TD-X. No affiliation (I don’t even own one), just happened to run across it. It might be worth a look.

      I did DIY my own TD-X clone using the “Cattle Driver” PCB from PedalPCB.com. I don’t own a TD-X or Tube Driver to compare to, but it sounds good to me!

  3. Etrusco says:

    I Bjorn
    In your opinion has a better gilmourish/tube driver tipe of sound the “classic” BD2 Keeley (or Waza, Mooer, Monte Allums, etc) or this Buffalo TD-X?



    • Bjorn says:

      The BD2 has a tiny bit more mid range and compression so I would say that although both the BD2 and Tube Driver works nicely on most types of amps, the BD2 is more versatile or easier to set up. The Tube Driver and TDX can be a bit too bright on some amps. I haven’t tried all of the BD2 variants out there but the stock Boss is very good. The Waza and Keeley are fairly similar, with an overall warmer tone.

  4. Phil B says:

    Check this out if you wanna know how the TD-X sounds into a Hiwatt T20 with V30 Cab ;)

    I think it’s phenomenal! I have added a bit of EQ, not much and some Reverb.

  5. Daniel says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Thanks again for your awsome reviews!
    Umm you have probably already answered that kind of question… Using a Hiwatt custom 20, would only a Buffalo Evolution be enough to screen all of Gilmour’s tones ? Or a TD-X , or banaboost is also needed ?
    Thanks a lot !

    • Bjorn says:

      The Evo is a Rat style distortion and while it can do boost, overdrive and distortion I consider it mainly a distortion. A TDX is a more versatile pedal, capable of more tones. Ideally I’d go for both and have the TDX as a booster/overdrive and the Evo as a distortion.

  6. Walter H. says:

    Bjorn, thanks for the quick reply. I missed the Carrera on Reverb.com, :-(
    Oh weel, There will be more.
    Are you at all familiar with VFE pedals out of Tacoma, Washington? I bought one of thier Dragon Overdrives. I added their Charge Pump option so at 9volts you get 20volts of internal voltage, lots of Headroom and it has 60db of Boost available. I am working on finding the sweet spots still unlike my Tree of Life set behind it in my pedal chain. It has an adjustment internal trim pot for the amount of compression. It comes set at a low compression setting, would adding compression to the pedal be better for my Solid State Fender Cyber Deluxe amp? Also it can be True Bypass or Buffered. It’s positioned second in my pedal chain, do you think changing to buffered bypass would benefit me? I know I can try it but if it’s the dead wrong way to go I don’t want to make a mess.
    Thanks for All You Do for All of Us!
    Walter H.

    • Bjorn says:

      Haven’t tried the Dragon. Whether or not you should use a compressor depends on whether you need it or not. It’s a type of pedal that’s often misunderstood because it’s more of a tool than an effects pedal. I’m not that familiar with your amp so I can’t really tell whether you need a compressor or if any issue can be solved without one.
      Do you have other buffers in the chain? If not, then you probably want to engage the buffer.

  7. Walter H. says:

    Hello Bjorn, hope all is well.
    I want an additional second Overdrive to go with my Tree of Life. This TD-X is a top contender but how does the Buffalo FX Carrera compare? In the US there are not as many avenues for the Buffalo FX line up and I’ve found a good price on a Carrera. If you would help me out with a comment and opinion I’d appreciate it.
    Amp-Fender Cyber Deluxe Solid State
    Guitars-Fender American Stratocaster HH hard tail (Neck Sidewinder) (Bridge Black Cobra)
    PRS SE Semi Hollow 22 Neck & Bridge std PRS Humbuckers.
    Thanks for All You Do for All of Us!
    Walter H.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Walter! The Carrera might be a better choice for your amps. It’s kind of a Tube Driver with more mids and compression, which I think should fit your amps better.

  8. Patrick Kennedy says:

    My apologies if this has been asked before. Trying to decide between the TD-X and the Evolution. Guitar is a Eric Johnson Thinline Stratocaster and the amp is a ’65 Princeton Reverb Reissue with a Celestion G10 Gold speaker, making the Princeton a little bit less mid-scooped. I have other drive pedals such as the Wampler Plexi-Drive and Velvet Fuzz. Lower amp volumes are a priority. I would appreciate any insight you have, as you make both of these pedals sound amazing.

    • Bjorn says:

      I guess both pedals are to some extent overlapping your Plexi Drive and Velvet Fuzz. For the Princeton I think the TDX would be the best choice as the Evo can sound a bit thin on mids scooped amps but it depends on how you set up the amp too. The TDX is, IMO more versatile and can cover the Evo to some extent.

  9. Luca Severini says:

    The amp is an Hiwatt Dr103 Musicground era, the guitar Fender Custom DG Nos…

    • Bjorn says:

      The setup should get you close. Obviously, how you set the amp and pedals and the room plays a role. What do you mean by buzz? The Tube Driver does have a lot of harmonics, which can appear as buzz but so does most gain pedals. How’s your stright height and neck curvage? Are you sure you’re not experiencing fret buzz? The Tube Driver can also be a bit flabby in the low ends but the right settings on the pedal and amp should fix that. Personally I like to have the volume on the Tube Driver around 2 o’clock for a bit of boost. That often smoothen the tone a bit.

  10. Luca says:

    Hi Bjorn, i disperate looking for a comfortably numb tone heard in Gdansk. Now i have placed a cornish G2 and after a Butler TDriver. The sound is overall very similar but when i play a wounded string the sound is less definition and the medium frequencies is buzzed. I think it’s the tube driver’s fault. what other effect could I buy alternatively without this inconvenience ad obtain a Gdansk lead sound? Buffalo Tdx? Thanks Luca

  11. Cédric says:

    Hi Bjorn, I’d like to know your thought.
    I play with a strat clapton with EMG DG20 (and a PRS but i prefer my old strat). In a mesa Boogie Nomad
    I got a BK TD and i love it. I use it for low gain with Effectrode PC-2A, and fire bottle when i want a little more. With delay it’s just heaven, even at low volume. The TD has really something more than all other pedals i’ve tried.
    I got an Evolution too that i use for higher gain, but i don’t like it that much (it’s better and more open sounding than a rat but…I hate rat). I prefer the Patriot for muff and solo, and my effectrode TD for rythm with “high” gain.
    I’ve alway thought that i need a second BK TD for Higher gain solo (I love it with tube screamer but it’s a bit noisy).
    So, my questions : Do you think the TD-X (with or without Fire bottle) could replace the evolution for higher gain?
    Have you tried to boost the BK with TDX or TDX with BK?
    If you have to keep just one, would it be BK or TDX (no matter about the size)? Thanks, Cédric

    • Bjorn says:

      I’ve experimented a lot with this same issue. The TDX, and before that the Tube Driver, has been my main overdirve unit for years and years and I’ve struggled to find a high gain pedal that can match it, without going into fuzz or Muff territory. You can go for a second TDX and just crank it. It does a pretty good job but personally I wanted something a bit more distortion-ish. Pairing it with a Xotic EP sounded really good and I giess the Fire Bottle could do much of the same job. But check out the Vick Audio Tree of Life. That’s, to me at least, a great companoin to the TDX for higher gain settings. The OCD is also well worth checking out.

  12. Diego says:

    Hi Bjorn and compliments for your site !! I am very undecided if i want to buy td-x buffalo or vick audio tree of life. As overdrive currently I use red dirt keeley (screamer type) and i’m fine but i would like to know if for the tones of Gilmour I would step forward with one of these two pedals? …
    My setup is Fender stratocaster custom made with texas special pickups or Eric Clapton strat with lace sensor pickups,princeton reverb, boss cs3, keeley red dirt ,vick audio 73 ram’s head,fulltone mini deja vibe,nova delay and mooer eleclady…

    Thank you!

    • Bjorn says:

      I think that you will find both the TDX and ToL to have more low end and an overall more open tone, compared to the Red Dirt and I think both pedals will compliment your amp perfectly. The TDX is a full range overdrive, capable of anything from clean to pretty heavy distortion. The ToL has more mid range and might sound warmer but it has the same wide span of tones. Personally I prefer both of these over a TS type of pedal.

      • Diego says:

        Thank you Bjorn for information. Unfortunately in Italy Tol and tdx are not available in stores for comparative testing. You must buy blind, but fortunately there are people like you who do these nice reviews. Great !!!!

  13. Don Slesnick III says:

    How does the TD-X work with a Solid State Amp and as part of a pre-amp pedal chain. i.e., I run a full chain of pedals into a Quilter solid state amp. starting with a compressor –> drive pedals –> modulation effects –> delay/reverb –. amp. I was reading that the BK tube Driver worked better into Tube amps and, based on your review, I was wondering if this pedal would be a better fit for a setup like mine and/or am is a better choice something more simple like a Boss Blues Driver (BD-2W version)?

    Many thanks as always for your insights.

    • Bjorn says:

      I’m not familiar with the Quilter but my experience is that the TDX works nicely with solid state amps. It’s more about how the amp is voiced. Check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for your amp.

      • Don Slesnick III says:

        Thanks for sharing the link — extremely insightful and with a lot of good advice. I had seen the article before and gave it a quick glance but I now see how I should have started with that read. For those following along in the comments, I highly recommend that post (linked above) as a starting point.

        Additionally, specific to the Quilter MicroPro (and many of their other amps), one of their great features is that they have different “Voice” settings that, in their respected modes, share character traits to that of a Marshal, Fender, or other well-known amps. As such, and in reading your article, the Amp allows me to quickly switch voices that may work better with a particular pedal or when trying to get specific sound (Leads vs Rhythm).

        If you haven’t had the chance as of yet, it might be worth your time to look into the line of Quilter products. They share very tube-like qualities but are solid state (to note: not digital modeling either.) From combo amps to 200-watt 4 pound mini heads, they have a lot of great attributes that speak both to the bedroom noodler and the touring professional. For the stereo pedalboard, the idea that one can have two 200w amps, with direct out built-in and powering most any cab, all with a total of 8 pounds, and the reliability of SS ….. there is some fun possibilities. If nothing else, many users have them as backup for when their tube amps give them grief.

        • Bjorn says:

          Thanks for the tip!

          • Don Slesnick III says:

            TD-X arrived today — sounds great and adapts well to the various voices offered up by the Quilter Amp. I like the great depth of GAIN on tap and how the pedal sounds consistently good from low to high; so many ways this pedal can be used.

  14. Uwe says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    Do you think it would be worth the cost to replace my Keeley Bd-2 ” phat mod” the New Keeley “SuperPhat mod Pedal,”. Any real improvements ?

    How does it compare with Buffalo Td-X ?


    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t A/B tested them so I can’t really tell. As far as I’m aware, they’ve pretty much created the Super Phat Mod with the modified Boss pedal close in mind. Based on memory alon, I can’t hear much of a difference. The TD-X is similar but slightly darker, a bit more mid range and compression and perhaps smoother on the higher gain settings.

  15. Eric Brady says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I’m currently have a Tree of Life and 73 Rams Head by Vick Audio. I really like the Tdx, but was wondering how similar the sound is to the Tree of Life? I’m currently using a Laney Cub 12r amp.

    • Bjorn says:

      The ToL has much more mid range and a smoother breakup. The TDX is more amp-like, with a bit of that early Marshall character. In general, I would say that the TDX is a better choice for David’s tones but it can also be a bit bright on some amps and mids scooped Fenders and Vox in particular. For that the ToL is better.

  16. Paul says:

    Great demo Bjorn.I have the TD-X and the Evolution. Would you put the TD_X before the Evolution to boost it or after? Both sound good.


  17. dab says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    First of all, great job on the website, thanks for all the information.

    Now to the question:). I am considering purchasing an TD-X; I really like the tones you get in the clip, and obviously David’s sound (Coming Back to Life, Shine on, Faces of Stone etc.) I heard live this year. However, I am not sure it will “fit” my amp, which is a Fender Super Reverb (reissue), quite bright and mid scooped. I spoke with Steve and he told me that the mids get more pronounced when rolling back the treble and bass. Will this still give me a “gilmourish” sound through my amp? If not, do you have any other recommendations for those kind of sounds? Furthermore, I am looking for something to boost my Box of War, which sometimes seems to be lacking “something”, would the TD-X work?

    Current chain:

    Fender Stratocaster AVRI 62
    Fender Stratocaster with EMG DG set

    Vibe Machine
    MJM London Fuzz
    Boss CS-2
    Wren and Cuff Box of War
    Barber Direct Drive
    Fulltone OCD
    EHX Soul Food
    Boss RT-20
    TC Flashback

    Fender SRRI


    • Bjorn says:

      Hi! It’s true that you can achieve more mids by rolling back the treble and bass, which is what Eric Johnson does with his Tube Drivers but it will also sound thinner and you’ll lose some of that high end crunch. To be honest, for your amp I think the OCD, which you already have, is a better choice. Still, the TD-X is voiced for a darker and smoother character compared to the Tube Driver, so with the right settings, it will work pretty well with most amps.

  18. Justin Whitstine says:

    How does the TD-X compare to the Andy Timmons version of the Angry Charlie? Thank you!

    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t tried the Angry Charlie nor the @ Timmons so I can’t really tell. From what I understand, they’re both based on the JCM800 Marhsall tone, which isn’t that far off the Tube Driver, although that is closer to the old JTM/Plexi stuff. The TDX is very similar to the Tube Driver, with a smoother top and a slightly more linear break up.

  19. Don says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    How do you think this would sound through a higher-wattage, 6L6 based amp? I’ve got a Mesa Boogie Express 5:50 Plus – great, Fender-esque clean tone and tons of tone-sculpting options. Torn between this, a Wampler Plexi Drive Deluxe and Vick Audio Tree of Life as my proverbial Swiss Army Knife overdrive: light overdrive and fuzz boost (Vick ’73, V2, Buffalo Patriot) on my clean channel and lead boost on the amp’s overdrive channel.


    • Bjorn says:

      The Tree of Life would probably be your best choice, having the most mids and compression of them all but the TDX does a great job on Mesa and Fenders.

  20. Marco says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    i’m looking for a clean boost for my Blackout Musket and i was thinking to the Buffalo Powerbooster, so a “classic” choice. But now with the TD-X i’m very confused. The TD-X can be a good choice to have both a clean boost (for my Musket) and, if necessary, a gain boost? Thank you.
    Best regards.

    • Bjorn says:

      You could go either way. The Powerbooster is more transparent, with a slightly brighter tone and a more glassy overdrive/fuzz tone, when cranked. The TDX, which is based on the Tube Driver, has a tad more mid range and an overall more tube amp-like character. Personally I think the Powerbooster is a better booster but it also depends on what amp you have.

  21. Nicolas says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I do hesitate between Steve’s PowerBooster and TD-x to boost my Cornish G-2. Which one would you recommend me?

    Best regards.

    • Bjorn says:

      The Powerbooster for darker amps, with compression and mid range. It will provide a more vintage flavour and more headroom. The TDX is more verstile and works with any amp. It has a slightly more modern, Marshall character.

  22. Henryk says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I just learned about the Buffalo FX TD-X and I made a quick decision to buy it but then I learned that there is also another model Evolution. Could you help me to decide which would work better for singing solos? I don’t like high gain for solos but smooth singing.
    I greatly appreciate your reviews and help.
    Los Angeles, CA

    • Bjorn says:

      The TD-X is an overdrive, capable of anything between clean boost to creamy overdrive and tube-like distortion. The Evolution is a Marshall-like distortion and although capable of nice overdrive sounds, it’s really a dedicated distortion pedal.

      • Henryk says:

        Thank you Bjorn,
        I ordered TD-X and it arrived two days ago. I am glad I chose it, I love it. I compared it to my Butler TD and because of the size TD-X will find place on my pedalboard. I have many boutique pedals but now I can see how short then come when compared to TD-X. What an amazing pedal.

    • Huy Tran says:

      Evolution is the way to go. Very smooth at high gains. Especially with a clean booster.

      Also try out a Rat or Boss Ds1/2 if you want it for cheaper. Great pedals.

  23. Philippe Elskens says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Seems like an amazing pedal! Have you ever played ‘The Dude’? How would you compare it this one?

    • Bjorn says:

      The Dude is based on the elusive Dumble amp, with tons and tons of mid range and quite a lot of gain. The TDX2 is more early Marshally, with a more transparent tone and a wider gain sweep from clean to near fuzz. Two very different sounding overdrives but both are definitely worth checking out. The TDX works best on mid rangy amps, while the Dude is great on the more scooped ones, like Fender and Vox.

    • Huy Tran says:

      I am actually deciding between the Dude and Lenny. If I get one I’ll post back here with my thoughts.

      I am not sure if I will get it though. I have a really great board that doesn’t really need anything and the Dude and Lenny are pretty expensive.

  24. Ran says:

    Hi Bjron,
    Awesome playing as always.
    I have a question: I own a JHS muffuletta. Do you think the TD-X and the muffuletta would play together nicely?
    I dont see the point in getting the evolution instead of the TD-X since i have the JHS pedal that i can stack with the TD-X. Am i right? My amp is a mesa boogie Mark v:25 which i set to clean/fat clean.
    Thanks in advance, your website has been an amazing source of knowledge!

    • Bjorn says:

      The TDX should go nicely with the triangle and ram’s head modes at least. Set it fairly clean and after the Muffuletta for more of an EQ effect, with a slight volume boost to even out the top end. The other modes are probably better on their own.

  25. Kris says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    Wanted to see if you could help me replicate the overdrive tone Gilmour uses on the 2nd and 3rd solos in Coming Back to Life. Wanted to see if you could recommend settings for the Buffalo TD-X for his division bell tone. I’m using the TDX in combo with a Boss CS-2, CE-2, TC Nova Delay, and Boss RT-20. Playing my strat through my Hi-Tone 50s in stereo which is very similar to the Reeves 50. Thanks in advance as always man!

    • Bjorn says:

      What’s your pickups?

      • Kris says:

        Pickups are fender custom shop 69″s in neck and middle, Seymour Duncan SSL-5 in the bridge.

        • Bjorn says:

          As always I recommend setting up the amp(s) first the do the pedals. I’m sure you already got a brat amp tone so I’d set the TDX up for a slight volume boost, with the volume around 2:30, bass 2:00, treble 1:00 and the gain around 10:00. Add a bit of compression – nothing over the top but just enough to add some sustain and smooth out the top a bit. This is a start so tweak the pedals to match your amp and environment. Keep in mind that the album version is actually very clean, with a compressor, hint of overdrive and delay, while the live versions, and especially the more recent versions, do have a bit more gain.

    • Jonathan Thomas says:

      Nice amp, I just got a Reeves and have very similar pedals to you. Been experimenting with stereo myself and am really interested in how you built your setup for stereo? I assume you only have one HiTone amp? Many thanks

      • Kris says:

        Thanks Jonathan, love my Hi Tones, like the Reeves, build, sound quality, attention to detail is unbelievable. To answer your question, I have a pretty large pedal board that covers nearly all of Gilmour’s different tones. Right now I have the board ending with my RT-20, stereo out to a lehle little dual, and then stereo out to each Hi Tone. The lehle isn’t really necessary since Im not splitting the signal but thought about doing it initially. I also plan on trying the CE-2 between the lehle and one my amps. Let me know if you need any other info, hopefully this helps some.

  26. Lorenzo says:

    Hi Bjorn
    Would you say this one is comparable to the Firebottle? Thanks

    • Bjorn says:

      No. The Fire Bottle is a clean booster, designed much as the front end of a tube amp. The Powerbooster is an overdrive.

  27. stuart says:

    Hi Bjorn, Great review on the Buff TDX power booster love it. This is one pedal that is so important to have. After reading and seeing your review I just had to order one from steve. I just want to say you do such a great job putting all these reviews together, I think a lot of us ( Floyd fans) would be stuck with out your Gilmourish. You have really helped me understand so much more about the sound of Gilmour the hole Tec side of things .Amp setting ,What pedal suit what etc. Any way Cheers Bjorn

  28. Huy Tran says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Happy new year and Good luck with your followup to Greatest Show on Earth for 2016!

    Just posting my review of the TD-X for those that are interested.

    So I’ve had about a week now to play with the TD-X and it is great. It isn’t an exact clone of the Tube Driver to me but it is very close. It can pretty much do anything. It can boost, it can be used as a booster for high gain pedals and it also has a lot of gain itself.

    I am using it with the Evolution and having heaps of fun. Since there are plenty of videos and reviews about the TD-X on it’s own I thought I’d share my favourite use of the pedal.

    With the gain on 11-12 o clock on the TD-X and using it to boost the Evolution I get my most used distortion tone at the moment. It is VERY different from a Big Muff tone and even very different from distortions such as the Boss DS-1/2. Maybe closer to the Marshall JCM 800ish with Humbucker tone but with more low end and the single coil goodness. It just sounds phenomenal.

    I still prefer the rolling back the gain on the Evolution rather than maxing out the gain on the TD-X for the stuff that needs it, such as the Gdansk Great Day for Freedom solo. For those who have watched Bjorn’s 2 part review of the TD-X, that’s pretty much how I like to use it. Bjorn never really has the gain past 12’oclock in the songs he demos. For anything that needs the gain past 12, I use the evolution with the gain rolled down instead.

  29. Ian Hamilton says:

    Hi Bjorn – I have a follow-up question for you:

    As I mentioned before, I am currently running a Vick Audio Overdriver into a Vick Audio ’73 Ram’s Head (and I am using the two pedals in combination to get some of the more saturated Gilmour lead tones – e.g. from Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell. Love both pedals, and the OverDriver is great for those early 70s tones!

    As you noted above, however, I’m finding that the Overdriver’s tones are not nearly as smooth as the TD-X or the Tube Driver, and so I’m not quite achieving that beautiful smooth lead tone from (for example) “On the Turning Away”, and so this is mostly what is pushing me to think about getting another overdrive pedal with a more modern tone palette.

    I’m even finding that the Overdrive/’73 Ram’s Head combination is not quite giving me a Comfortably Numb main solo tone that I’m looking for (my Iron Bell actually seems to do a better job of producing that tone), so the problem even goes back as far as “The Wall” tones, it seems…

    With this in mind, if I get a TD-X and use it to replace the Overdriver, will the TD-X pair well with the ’73 Ram’s Head if I use them in combination?

    Thanks again!

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Ian! The Overdriver has that vintage flavour, with a scooped glassy tone. David used the Powerbooster mainly as an overdrive unit in the 70s for songs like Time, Have a Cigar and Pigs. Those tones are much more raw and uncompressed, compared to the Tube Driver tones of Division Bell and On an Island. The TDX is warmer, smoother and perhaps more modern sounding. It’s two different types of overdrive. The ’73 has lots of gain and with the mids boost engaged for either flat or boost, you might find that the pedal can operate without a booster. The TDX will probably work better as a booster for the tones you need but you should set it as clean as possible to avoid dark and overly saturated tones.

      • Ian Hamilton says:

        Thanks again, Bjorn – much appreciated! This confirms what I’ve been thinking, so the TD-X will be my next pedal.

        • Ian Hamilton says:

          Hey Bjorn, I received my TD-X pedal last week, and I am absolutely LOVING it. This pedal is the biggest single improvement to my Gilmour tone palette so far (even more than my RT-20, ’73 Ram’s Head, Overdriver, and Iron Bell pedals which are all fantastic), so thank you again for your great review and extra advice!!! Still experimenting with how to use it as a booster for my Vick ’73 Ram’s Head, but for David’s newer (non-fuzz tones), the TD-X just nails them.

          I should add that the pedal has had another surprising benefit – somehow, it has quieted down the noise in my entire direct pedal chain going into my amp, which is a very welcome improvement that I didn’t expect.

          Love the tone with the TD-X gain set at just below 9:00 o’clock and playing the neck pickup…drenched with delay…. “Barn Jam 121” and “Poles Apart” solo nirvana!!!

          Still grinning like an idiot! :) Thanks again, Bjorn!

    • Brad Roller says:

      For my colorsound powerbooster, an 18 bolt stu casteldine reissue, you have to play LOUD to get it to smooth out. I set the bass to about 12:30 treble at 9:00 and gain to about 3:00, i use a send/return volume control and swt it to ABOVE unity level. Thats the key i think. when you push the master volume then set the gain to what you need, it will smooth out alot better. At least for me it does. Dont give up on the powerboost circuit! It can do amazing things with practice. I get all kinds of awesome tones with mine! Hope this helped Ian!

  30. Uwe says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    Thank you for your previous advice!

    Actually I have the same questions for the “On an Island ” tone…

    I’m a bit lost in your “setup and settings” section.You give the setttings for a Tube driver as “vol. boost”, another Tube driver the other as “overdrive” …

    But in the “song by song setups”, you simply refer to “Tube Driver” (I guess that one is for the Vol. boost setting, right ??), and to “distortion” (Is that the Tube driver for “overdrive” setting?). Then there is the Pete Cornish G-2, and the Ram’s Head…

    So please, what would be your settings with the following pedals:

    – settings of the Wampler Plexidrive and Keeley BD-2 (wich one for Vol; boost / which one for “distortion” or “overdrive” setting (including the toggle switch setting)?
    – your settings for the Red Pig hoof from electronics orange (Ram’s head)
    – your settings for the Vick audio RAT / replacing a Pete Cornish G-2…


    • Bjorn says:

      There are few sources that can confirm actual pedals and settings used for On an Island. We know bits and pieces from looking at pictures and guessing but it’s hard to be 100% certain. I have therefore used vague terms to avoid making mistakes. David almost certainly used the Tube Drivers for both clean boost, overdrive and possibly distortion as well, combined with either a compressor first or a distortion after. Or both.
      Again, as I always mention, these settings are suggestions only. Make your own adjustments for your rig.
      1. Both the PlexiDrive and BD2 can be set to either unity volume or a slight boost. Both pedals react like a tube amp, if you crank the volume a bit, making them sound smoother and more compressed. The more you raise the gain, the more I’d roll off the tone. Start with the tone at noon and roll it down as you increase the gain. At full gain, I’d roll the tone all the way down or open it up just a hair.
      2. Volume 1:30, tone 11:00, gain 1:00. Roll down the gain a notch if you use a booster.
      3. I don’t have the Vick RAT but start with all the knobs set at 70% and work your way around that.

  31. Uwe says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    Please, what would be your settings for Div Bell type of Tones, using both Keeley BD-2 and Wampler Plexidrive? Which one should be set for low gain/boost, which one for overdrive? And please, what would be your settings (including the toggle switch on each pedal). I currently own a Sound City 50 w head and a Laney Cub head.

    Best regards, Uwe

    • Bjorn says:

      It obviously depends on your amp settings, speakers, your guitar and its pickups… among many things. I can give you my settings, but they might not apply to your setup…
      I would use the BD2 as a clean booster – fat mode, volume slightly above unity, tone 9:00, gain at the very edge of breakup.
      The PlexiDrive I’d use to replicate the Tube Driver set for medium gain – bass mode, volume slightly above unity, tone 10:00, gain 1:00.

  32. Arya Boustani says:

    Thanks for the review. I found out in your demo of TD-X that the foundation of the tone has a lot of similarity with B K Butler Tube Driver (TD). The high and low partials of TD are not as evident in TD-X. TD-X sounds to be a more pure version of the TD sound. I imagine for studio recording it can be lots of ways to add to the partials and richness of the tone, or perhaps using a tube pre-amp / booster to boost the partials and a compressor downstream of that prior to the tube amp to highlight the partials even further without squishing the dynamics too much.
    Do you think using a Wampler Plexidrive downstream of Butler Tube Driver helps to create the mid boost and smoothing effect of a cranked up real Plexi?
    Thanks again. Very helpful review and great playing!!!! :)

    • Bjorn says:

      I wouldn’t say that the TDX lack the complexity and richness of the TD. They are very similar sounding but the TDX was designed to sound a tad smoother, with a slightly rolled off high end. Otherwise, it’s hard to tell them apart. Keep in mind that I have used a slightly different setup for these reviews than what you might be used to from Gilmour :) My experience with blending the TD and PD is that is sounds dark and even a bit muddy. The best way to boost a TD is to either use a second one or with a transparent booster, like a powerbooster clone or the TopTone Shine Boost.

  33. CARLOS - BRAZIL says:

    Hi Bjorn! Is this pedal “similar” to Buffalo’s PowerBooster? Or both can be combined on a rig? I only own a Buffalo FX Evolution (and I’m using a SparkBooster…). Best regards!

    • Bjorn says:

      To some extent, yes. They’re both very transparent and amp-like. The TDX is slightly darker, with a smoother breakup and gain. The Powerbooster is brighter, with a more fuzz like gain.

      • Carlos - Brazil says:

        Hi Bjorn! My doubt remains. I already have a Buffalo FX Evolution on my rig (and for me it sounds far more fuzzy/muffy and not like an overdrive) combined with a SparkBooster. Which of the Buffalo Pedals (PowerBooster OR TD-X) should “fit better” both as a substitute for the SparkBooster and to function as a “good overdrive”? Thanks in advance! Regards from Brazil ;-)

        • Bjorn says:

          The Powerbooster is the most transparent and the one with the most headroom. Still, the TDX is the most versatile I think. It has enough headroom for boost, while the gain breakup is much smoother and works better for overdrive tones.

  34. Ramon says:

    I’m sorry for being unclear..
    My question is.. How does the ‘black and yellow’ Tubeworks real tube overdrive compares to the Buffalo TD-X. (Gilmour-wise) BK answered my email and wrote that the Black/yellow ‘Gibbons’ TD is capable of producing “most of the tones of a tube driver”.. And that got me thinking..
    Allthough it’s cool to have a ‘real’ BK Butler tube driver onboard, I’m affraid that it wont mix that well with my Koch..
    So,… I’ve ordered a TD-X, the descision is made.. The TD-X (and your review) sound just too good to ignore..
    Thanks for all your hard work and sharing!

    • Bjorn says:

      Oh, OK. I haven’t played the black and yellow version for a while so it’s hard to do a comparison. Like BK said, it can do pretty much what the current TD does, although not identical. TDX is very similar, with a tad less top end and an over all smoother breakup. How these different versions ultimately sound depends on your guitar and the amp.

  35. Ramon says:

    Dear Bjorn,
    I’m Currently in a prog/symphrock band that plays a lot of Floyd.. I’m also a BIG, BIG Gilmour fan and chasing his tones for a few years now.. In those years i’ve collected some nice toys (effects)..
    But… I’m lacking a tube driver.. I got the Patriot from Steve and it’s, like the reviews, huge and mindblowing! For Distortion i’m using RAT (LM308), for Fuzz i’m using a Skreddy Lunar Module, for muff I use the Patriot..
    Now.. The TD-X seems to be the way to go for the mild overdrive (tube driver) section..
    I’m playing on a K-Line strat with the Chubtone ’63/’63/el Gordo pups trough a KOCH Multitone ll 100 w head with KOCH KCC 412 RM cabinet. For some modern floyd stuff I use a ’57 reissue with the EMG DG20 set.
    Now i’m also able to buy a black/yellow ‘real tube driver’ (the one with the internal transformator). I E-mailed BK and asked him about this version (for lack of terms I call it the ‘Billy Gibbons’ TD)
    For the versitality i’m leaning towards the Buffalo TD-X..

  36. Dave Eftekhari says:

    Dear Bjørn,

    I am contacting you as I have a question regarding your reviews of the TD-X and Evolution by Buffalo FX. I completely understand that you are busy and might not be able to answer such questions, but nonetheless I decided to still try and contact you, since I truly need some insight.

    Currently I have a Tube Screamer 808 by Ibzanez, an incredible delay pedal (Echotone by Carl Martin!) and an Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi. The Big muff just does not work well, I really need something else.

    Therefore I had already contacted Steve about the Evolution since it’s a very versatile pedal with lots of options. However, the TD-X seems like a great pedal as well.

    However, does the TD-X deliver lead tones on it’s own as well? I love the tone but I am afraid the gain is not present for lead solo’s. That is the only reason I am looking at the Evolution, because I want to have a great overdriven lead tone for solo’s, but I LOVE the tone the TD-X creates. Can you perhaps comment on this? Could the Tube Screamer stack with the TD-X as well?

    I am playing through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Tube Amp, with a Fender Strat standard.

    Thank you for your time Bjørn!

    All the best from Holland!

    ps: I was at the Oberhausen concert of Gilmour and it was incredible and I truly hope you enjoyed your trip in London as well!

    Kind regards,


    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Dave! The TDX has a wide sweep, from clean to cruncy overdrive and heavy distortion. You can also add the Tube Screamer on top of that. The Evolution kind of picks where the TDX stops… although you can tweak it for milder tones as well. It’s also got more mids, which goes well with your Fender amp.

  37. Cor says:

    When I plugged it in, thirst thought was Menatone Blue Collar. No idea if the TD-X uses the same components but similar warm fuzzy compressed sound. I A/B’t it with my old Chandler/Butler and yes, it has roughly the same EQ (pretty flat with just a tiny mid bump somewhere) and it is in the same ballpark but it lacks that “big amp” feel of the C/B, highs have more of a nasty snarl and lows are less round. The C/B has also more smooth and open upper mid where the TD-X has more low mid wallop.
    It is not a bad sounding pedal, by all means, but I dont see it replacing the C/B. I also A/B’t it with the Line6 amp farm tube driver (also a pretty good rendering) and although not as warm as the TD-X, those smooth open mids were even more pronounced.
    In all fairness, I tested it on a Princeton and because of the flat EQ I think that pedal needs a middy (British) amp and some volume to shine.

  38. Dmitry says:

    Hallo, Bjorn
    I would like to replace my BD-2 (not modded) with that pedal.
    What do you think is it a good idea or I will get similar sound?
    My setup is AmStrat CS69 CS69 SSL5 – MXR Dynacomp – Pig Hoof mk1 – BD2 – Tc Spark Booster – El Mistress – NOVA Delay – Laney 12R

    • Bjorn says:

      The BD2 is a great pedal and somewhat similar to the Tube Driver and TDX. It’s got a tad more mid range but otherwise they’re quite similar. The TDX got a slightly more scooped tone, a smoother break up and, in my opinion, a more balanced and dynamic tone.

  39. Doc Dave says:

    I got my TD-X last night and had just a little while to experiment with it. Forget about it’s usefulness as an OD alone, which has a rich, full tone that no other pedal I have quite captures. However, when using in conjunction with a Muff, I noticed I greatly preferred the sound of it before rather than after. Before my ram’s head, civil war, and triangle clones, I especially liked the compressed smooth sustaining tone it added. After it seemed to just make it louder or more fuzzy or overdriven, when I really dont need. Anyone else like it before Muff? I havent used it before my fuzzface clone yet. But also, I like my Overdriver after the Muffs as I like the EQ it can control on the Muffs, but not feeling the same about the TD-X.

    • Bjorn says:

      Sorry for my late reply. Boosting before or after a high gain pedal depends on what tones you want, and the voicing of the booster and high pedal, as well as the amp. I like having the booster after my Muff but placing it first will give you a slightly different tone. Actually, if you consider the Muff as a cranked amp, you would add an overdrive or booster in front if that amp so boosting before high gain pedals certainly makes sense. A matter of taste.

      • Jake says:

        I’m also finding I prefer my TDX before my Big Muff as well. Still experimenting before and after but I get a more raw, gritty sound that way.
        When I have Big Muff > TDX, and the Big Muff is on, i get a huge volume drop when I turn the TDX on. I can’t get to the same volume with both pedals on as I can with just the big muff. Not sure what that’s about.

        • Bjorn says:

          The TDX might have a lower output so the volume will drop when you engage it. It also adds compression, when you stack two more pedals, which will drop the volume or transients and you will perceive that as lower volume. Increase the TDX volume.

  40. John London says:

    Currently my drive chain is as follows: Buffalo PB > Evolution > BK TD > Boss BD2. I enjoy having the PB in front and the BD2 at the end so I can have the option of stacking a somewhat clean boost with OD pedals from either end. My frustration is that I’ve always wished I had two Tube Drivers – one for hi gain and one for low – and maybe eliminate the BD2 (that I modded and is awesome in itself). Anyway, my question is this: If I were to buy Buffalo’s tube driver, which TD do you think would be better for the lower and higher gain options? Or would you not bother and just make smarter use of the other pedals I already have?

    • Bjorn says:

      Very sorry for my late reply, John. Depending on your amp and guitar, I think the TD-X holds up better as a high gain Tube Driver but the Butler is better at cleans and milder overdrives.

  41. KEITH says:

    Hey Bjorn, cleared the cache on my phone, just getting my info logged back in. Hope you’re doing well. Talk to you soon!

  42. uwe says:

    Hello again,

    Actually i have the same question for the On an Island Tone:
    – settings of the Wampler Plexidrive and Keely BD-2 for Boost and overdirve
    – your settings for the Red Pig hoof from electronics orange (Ram’s head)
    – your guess for the Vick audio RAT settings / replacing a Pete Cornish G-2


    • Bjorn says:

      As you know, it all depends on how you’ve set the amp, your playing technique etc but in general, try this:
      – PD: gain 2:00, tone 11:00, volume 11:00 bass off. BD2: gain 8:00, tone 9:00 (you may want this lower), volume at unity or slightly above.
      – I know some of the newer pedals that they’ve made have a lower volume. Mine is VERY loud, so you might want to adjust the volume settings. Volume 11:00 (you want it at unity or slightly above), tone 10:30 and gain 1:00.
      – volume at unity or slightly above, tone 35-40% and gain 50-60%

  43. uwe says:

    Hello Bjorn,

    please, what would be your settings for Div Bell type of Tones, using both Keeley BD-2 and Wampler Plexidrive. Which one should be set for low gain/boost, which one for overdrive, and what would be your settings (including the toggle switch on each pedal). Help would be appreciated! Own a Sound City 50 w head and a Laney Cub head at home.

    Best regards, Uwe

  44. Lewis says:

    Hi Bjorn

    I already have an Evolution, but the TD-X does sound good! Given that the TD-X and Evolution have a lot of overlap, is there any reason to own both? Can I justify the purchase of a TD-X?

    • Bjorn says:

      If you can’t find a reason to buy a new pedal then you just have to try harder… :) Seariously, they do overlap to some extent. They’re both fairly dark and they have a lot of gain. The Evo is a distortion, with less headroom. The TD-X is an overdrive with more headroom, low end and a bit less mids. I think they compliment each other well, as you can have one mild overdrive and one heavy distortion.

  45. Carlos - Brazil says:

    Hi Bjorn, how are you? Does this new Buffalo pedal works fine with the Evolution? Is it a substitute for the Buffalo’s PowerBooster with more resources or all the 3 can be joined on a rig? Best regards! Thanks for your testings.

    • Bjorn says:

      I guess all three compliments each other. The Powerbooster is no doubt the most vintage sounding and the one with the most headroom. It’s a nice overdrive pedal but you would need the TD-X or Evolution for the more modern sounding high gain stuff. The TD-X and Evolution is perhaps the two that overlap the most.

  46. Dave A says:

    Ok Mr Riis unfortunately that there is a very good review , infact so good as to make me want to try one of these , may have to wait as many Gilmour costs for next month are aproaching , now the biggie , will this be on your board .

  47. Carlos Z. says:

    Hello Bjorn. I hope you are having a splendid August. I recently purchased the Buffalo FX TD-X recently, although it has not arrived yet. I wanted to know your thoughts/advice about volume boosters. I was thinking about picking up a TopTone Shine Boost but I wanted to know your thoughts about using the Buffalo FX TD-X instead.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Bjorn says:

      Volume boosters are tools more than an actual effect so it’s a question of whether you need one or not. I use the Shine Boost to add a bit of boost for some of my leads and also to add a bit of mids presence.

  48. m ja says:

    Bjorn , do you make reviews on handmade overdrives even not related to Gilmourish sound?

  49. Uwe says:

    Hello again, i’m currently using the wampler plexidrive and a keeley boss bd 2 for the Division bell tones, on a sound city head and also a laney cub head for home playing…would it be an absolute improvement to replace them with the Buffalo TD-X?


    • Bjorn says:

      There’s not a huge difference. They’re all based on that early Marshall tone. The PD has quite a lot of headroom, boosted upper mids and a nice compression. The BD2, as you know, is fairly similar although not as much compression. The TD, has a much bigger tone. Difficult to explain what that really is but it sounds bigger and fatter. It has a more transparent tone compared to the other two but not as much headroom. More lows and a smoother gain at higher settings. I love all three so it’s more a matter of what you need and what fits your guitar and amp. Based on your setup, I’d say that all three works equally well.

  50. george says:

    what is attractive about this is that its just about impossible to get proper tube driver with an australian power plug, so a boss 9v is great.. What is unattractive is the shitty currency conversion to 200 euros. Does this even have an actual valve in it? for valvey changey shenannigans?

  51. Kirk Streckfus says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I love the website and all the work you’ve done. Quick question for you. I’m building a Gilmour rig and am looking for the best amp.

    Playing a strat with Fat 50 neck, CS69 mid, and a killer 60s fender bridge. My pedalboard is Eric Johnson Fuzz Face, Vox Wah, BK Butler Tube Driver (with replaced tube for smooth lead tone), Buffalo FX Powerbooster, MXR Phase 99, Costalab Choruslab, and Catlinbread Echorec.

    Looking for something like a Fender Twin but am concerned I won’t be able to get a good distorted tone even with the Powerbooster with a Twin (I could be mistaken though). What would be the best amp in your opinion to get great Gilmour tone but also great distortion with the Powerbooster (thinking the end of Sheep kind of crunch)?

    Thanks so much bud!


    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Kirk! The Twin is a bright sounding amp and at lower volume, you may experience some fizzy overtones from both the Powerbooster and Tube Driver. Depends on how you’ll be using the amp. For bedroom playing, I’d go for something slightly darker and with more mids. If you’ve never tried a Twin before, then I recommend stoping by your local store and try one. Check out the new Laney Lionheart L5-Studio as well. Great sounding amp and it goes well with your pedals.

      • Kirk Streckfus says:

        Thanks Bjorn! I know you like your Reeves. What do you think of the Custom 50 Combo with Power Scaling? Are these about as unforgiving as an AC30? I’m looking some great cleans, ability to take all my pedals, but with the ability to at times take the amp into a situation where I want/need volume even though I’ll mostly be using it at home.

        Thanks again!

        • Bjorn says:

          Hi Kirk, sorry for my late reply. The PS on the Reeves is really meant to be an option if you want the tube distortion. On lower volume and clean settings it becomes quite redundant as the Reeves has plenty of headroom as is and it sounds great on lower volume. My best tip is the Laney Lionheart. It has as Voxy chime to it but can also tweak it for Marshall and Hiwatt tones.

      • Kirk Streckfus says:

        I’ve been playing with the tube driver for the past week and am not getting along with it. Too noisy and I can’t get a smooth light fuzz tone to save my life without a lot of buzz. Might be crazy but I’m tempted to sell my tube driver and pick this up to get a more flexible overdrive. Thanks Bjorn!

  52. Uwe says:

    Hi bjorn again. I do have the same question for the vick audio rat.
    How does it compare with the buffalo évolution which is a clone of the Pete Cornish G1. Think about On an island for the use of the G-1….
    That’s what I use the Vick Rat for….
    Willbit be a great improvement to replace the Vick rat with the buffalo évolution?

    Best regards

    • Bjorn says:

      The Evolution and G2 are similar to the Rat. They have creamy gain, lots of sustain and a considerable mids boost. The Evolution, like the G2, has a much more open tone though, more low end and a more dynamic response.

      • Uwe says:

        Thanks. BUT i was thinking you had tried the Vick Rat…
        How does that one precisely compare to the Cornish G-2 or Buffalo evolution, please?

        • Bjorn says:

          The Vick Rat is a clone of the classic mid 80s Rat with the LM308 chip that makes all the difference. The tone is saturated, lots of mids and a moderate low end. Doesn’t have a lot of headroom although you can tweak it for some milder overdrive tones.

          The G2 and Evolution are both based on the RAT but they have a more open tone, not as much mid range – although the Evo has a mids switch – a tad more low end.

  53. Ian says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Great review as always. The new TD-X sounds capable of some beautiful, smooth and dynamic low gain tones but now I’m torn!
    I already have the excellent Buffalo Evolution as well as quite a variety of drive and boost pedals which include TC Spark Boost, EHX Soul Food, Monsterpiece COD (Colorsound Overdriver clone), Blackout Musket and BYOC Large Beaver but love Buffalo FX Pedals… would you recommend the TD-X or the Power Booster to complement the Evolution? I really love that smooth overdrive that Gilmour does so well so would welcome your recommendation between these two fabulous pedals from Buffalo.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Ian! You Already got a Powerbooster clone and the Park Boost isn’t far off. I’d go for the TD-X. As much as I love the Powerbooster I think the TD-X is more versatile and even more so than the Soul Food. The Evolution is somewhat similar but its got much more gain and mid range. The TD-X has more headroom, less mids and a more dynamic tone.

      • Ian says:

        Hi Bjorn,
        Thank you for the response. Have you had the chance to try the MXR FET Driver which I believe is modelled after the Tube Driver? I wonder how it compares to the TD-X – could be interesting as it is a smaller footprint. No doubt that the Buffalo FX pedals sound amazing though.

        • Bjorn says:

          The Fet Driver is somewhere between the Dover Drive and the Tube Driver. A bit flat sounding to me and a bit too bright.

  54. Charles says:

    Hey Bjorn, great review and demo!

    Are you excited for Rattle That Lock? Planning on doing a feature after it’s released?


  55. Mike Walters says:

    I work for a brewery in Colorado USA. I remember hearing about the Tube Driver in various interviews with David Gilmour and always wondered about it. Then, by chance, I read that BK Butler, retired, still lives in Denver. I was able to locate an email address for him and asked him if he knew of any boutique guitar shops that might have one of his pedals that I could check out. I never really expected to get an answer, but he saw my brewery email address and shot me a reply. He said, for the most part, he doesn’t really make those anymore since he’s retired and that there wouldn’t be any ships that would have them since they were a custom order for quite a long time.
    I emailed him a thank you and expected that to be it.
    A couple3 days later I got another email from him saying that he dug around and found a handful of very rare vintage tubes that he had tucked away years ago and had never been used, quite an upgrade from what he usually used. He offered to make me a Tube Driver with these rare vintage components. He also included a newer addition of a Bias knob where you can alter the voltage going to the tube which has a major impact on the tone.
    After a few days he had the pedal done and we met in a coffee shop. He signed the back of it and we sat and chatted for a long time. He told stories of David and other artists and all about negative voltages and other electrical engineering topics…somewhat over my head. He was a great guy and feel very honored to have one of his pedals. He even signed it for me and I had the Barista take a couple photos of us for me.
    The pedal sounds amazing and along with my Buffalo Patriot & Evolution, I have all the glorious distortion I could dream of.

  56. Kris says:

    Thanks Bjorn! Similar to other posters here my board has a collection of overdrive and distortion pedals as is. I have been craving a tube driver for sometime now though. With my gain section consisting of the Evo, Plexidrive Deluxe, Patriot, and 73 Ram head, which one should I replace :) for a TD-X? While I have a lot of pedals on my board, I’m trying to keep my board versatile. Like everyone, I like having the next best thing, but also want to ensure I don’t have pedals that duplicate each other tone wise.

    Still kinda struggling between deciding on a new BK Butler or the TD-X……

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Kris! As I’ve commented on earlier, if my Tube Driver broke down, I’d replace it simply because it’s become such a big part of my tones. Still, I think that the TD-X is a more versatile version of it. It sounds better on a wider range of amps and typical bedroom setups in particular. I would recommend the TD-X over the TD unless you really want a TD :) In regards to your board – the PD is the closest match so I’d replace that one.

  57. crimson says:

    Hi! Wonder if the flex boost from mooer (a xotic ac-boost-pedal-clone) has any gilmourish attitude. did you try it? Is it more a power-boost style?

  58. Kris says:


    Great review as usual! I hope I can one day play half as well as you :) If you had a choice between the TDX and a new BK Butler tube driver which would you choose. I play a strat, seymour duncan ssl5 in the bridge and fender custom shop 69’s in the middle and neck all running into a HK tubemeister 18 head, and HK cab with a 1 x 12 celestion vintage. Thanks!

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Kris! I love my old 2006 Tube Driver so if I were to replace it I would have bought a new BK. If I hadn’t played a BK before I’d go for the TD-X because it’s easier to make it sound good and especially on lower volume and smaller amps. The BK can sound harsh and boomy but the TD-X is much more linear and well behaved and it works nicely with the H&K :)

  59. Debargho says:

    Finally the review’s up! Thanks Bjorn. Nice article – although it’s slightly biased toward Buffalo FX (to be honest, I don’t have an issue with this- I’m a huge fan of Steve’s products).
    It’s time I retired my tube driver for a TD-X, I think!
    Though comparisons arnt always correct but sometimes they are inevitable – How do you think it compares with the Dover Drive as both pedals seem similar in certain characteristics?

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! I know you’ve been waiting :) Yes, I’m biased towards Buffalo but that shouldn’t be a surprise :) I really like this one and I think Steve has managed to deal with the issues often addressed with the Tube Driver – the harsh top, the boomy lows and the low headroom. I’m still going to use my 2006 Tube Driver on my stage board as I think it works better with my bigger amps but the TD-X will be used frequently and definitely be a part of my studio board :)

  60. Ben Ferwerda says:

    Hey Bjorn!
    Awesome review! Like many, I have been dying to see this review. I have a Wampler Plexi Drive on my board as my main overdrive per your suggestion and it is great. But, do you think the TD-X is worth replacing the PD? I really enjoy the PD but it does sometimes come off as a little too smooth. Maybe not enough grit. Anyway, I play a Fender but I use a spark booster in the mids boost mode to give it a little more kick. Any thought?

    • Bjorn says:

      The PD has a fairly low gain output – just like the old JTM45 amps. The TD-X is similar in the sense that it too is very similar to the early Marshalls but it has a lot more gain. It also has less mid range, which makes it a bit more transparent at higher gain settings. Depends on how versatile board you want. I see no reason why you can’t run both as they cover different ground but they also overlap to some extent :)

      • Ben Ferwerda says:

        Thanks for the insight Bjorn! My board is much like the way your studio board is set up on your site with the muff, the Evolution, and the PD. If you were to add the TD-X to that set-up, what would be your main use for it? I suppose maybe a cleanish boost for muffs and maybe Shine On tones. But then would that make my Spark booster irrelevant? I’m wondering if I am getting carried away with my gain pedals!

        • Bjorn says:

          First of all, you can never get enough pedals :) The TD-X or the Tube Driver is very similar to the Plexi Drive so since you already have that one, it’s perhaps not a must have pedal. Havning said that, the PD has a lot of headroom and a hint of mids boost. The TD-X has more gain and an overall fatter and more saturated tone. At the moment, the TD-X has replaced my PD on my studio board. I might carry both but the TD-X sounds really nice on my studio setup.

  61. Dimitris says:

    I had almost decided on a BUFFALO FX POWER BOOSTER, but waited on your review on the TD-X.
    I was given an XOTIC EP BOOSTER as a gift from my new band. I also have a SUNFACE BC109, so I kinda understand, what boosting really does. I was after up to Wish You Were Here overdrive tones, hence the POWER BOOSTER. But the last days, I listen to Gdansk Live and liked TUBE DRIVER and MUFF tones. And I really like some of your work with the TD.
    To me, FUZZ and PB sound a bit more aggressive and raunchy, while MUFF and TD, more smooth, mellow and bit more saturated.
    So now, I am between BUFFALO PB and BUFFALO TD-X.
    1. Which of the two colors the amp less? The TD has a MARSHALLy tone, right? Do they maintain the amps’ character?
    2. Which is more dynamic, responds to your picking better and cleans with guitar volume rolling down?
    3. On most videos the PB sounds a bit muddy and not as defined as the TD-X, in higher gain settings. Is that really so, or just my imagination?
    4. What do think of the EP as a booster?

    • Bjorn says:

      1. I would say that both are very transparent but the Powerbooster is perhaps the most transparent and the one with the most headroom. Especially the Buffalo Powerbooster.
      2. Again, the Powerbooster has more headroom so it’s easier to make it sound clean. The TD-X is more responsive to your playing though, having a more amp-like character.
      3. That’s a correct assumption. The TD-X has a much more defined and balanced gain stage.
      4. It’s a nice clean booster and the slight mids boost helps your amp or other pedals that you use it with, cut through the mix.

  62. Thierry says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Steve really does a great job!!! I’am looking to this new gem but i need your help. My effect chain is : Effectrode pc2a compressor, Electronic orange pig hoof yellow label(but i’am looking for the Bfx patriot), Buffalo fx Power booster, Buffalo fx evolution, Mooer eleclady, Retrosonic phaser, Boss RT20, TC Electronic flashback triple delay into a Koch Studiotone XL. Do you think it will be best to replace the Power Booster by the TDX?



    • Bjorn says:

      The Powerbooster is a different pedal I think. The TD-X has more gain, a slightly darker character and perhaps a more modern touch to it. I would say that the Powerboost is great for 70s Floyd, while the TD-X is for the 90s and present. If anything, you might find it to be somewhat similar to the Evo.

  63. david moss says:

    great review as always, i have the powerbooster and evolution how do you
    think this pedal compares with those two, would it be worth getting the tdx.
    keep up the great work.
    many thanks dave.

    • Bjorn says:

      The Powerbooster is a different pedal. Very little mids, lots of headroom and an overall more vintage tone. The TD-X is somewhat similar to the Evo, although much less mids, more low end and more headroom. I think they all compliment each other.

  64. BAHARKOUSH says:

    It has a huge mid response ! i have a chandler TD with a 12ax7, i know the sound of the CTD is more lightly than the BKTD but no one of the TD has a mid response like the new buffalo.
    My conclusion ( after watching rattle that lock 15 seconds haha ): Buffalo TDX is the pedal that you will need to do covers of his new album.

    Thank you for the rewiews bjorn! is a pleasure like always!

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! Actually, it doesn’t have much more mids than the Tube Driver but the fact that you got a slight high end roll off, emphasises the mids a bit. I also recorded this with a Reeves Custom 50, which like the old Hiwatts has a lot of mids. I didn’t use any EQ in the mix so there’s a lot going on in the 400Hz and 1k range. Keep in mind too that David often use the Tube Driver with Fender amps in the studio, which gives you a nice mids scoop.

  65. Based on the recording I actually am a bit disappointed about the darkness. I guess I would have to hear it in person but overall I think I would pass on it as a clone for now.

    • Bjorn says:

      Keep in mind that this was recorded on a Reeves Custom 50, which has a nice mids boost like the old Hiwatts. I also didn’t use any EQ on the clip, which would have brightened it up considerably. The idea with the TD-X, as I understand, was to roll off some of that high end harshness you get from the Tube Driver but as you can see from my clips, I’m also using fairly moderate HI settings so there’s plenty of sparkle in there.

  66. Steven C. says:

    Huge fan of Steve’s work and just ordered my TD-X. I own over 70 vintage and present day pedals (yeah I have an issue :)) and Steve’s pedals are consistently some of my favorite pedals. Thanks Bjorn for originally directing me to his pedals! Cheers!

    • Bjorn says:

      Yep, he makes some amazing sounding pedals and he has a great understanding of vintage tones and what needs to be improved.

  67. Anmol says:

    Hey bjorn,
    Very nice playing and detailed review. How does this compare to the evolution if we are only trying to get the slightly high gain to full on solo tones.


    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks! The Evolution is a distortion pedal so in that sense, it’s more versatile for high gain stuff. Depends on what pickups you use and how hot you want it. The TD-X can get pretty dirty and with hotter single coils or humbuckers it can definitely take up the challenge with the Evo.

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