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Are octavers safe for cabs?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Dragonlord, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    It might be a silly question but I've never cranked an octave down out of fear of blowing a speaker. Is this irrational? Or do you only use an octaver with higher notes? I play a 5 string, how low is it safe to go with an octave down at rehearsal/gigging volumes? Thanks!
  2. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    I don't think you need to worry about it as long as you don't push the volume too hard. I use an octave and it sounds kind of cruddy once you get below a low G in my opionion unless you have a sub... but I haven't fried a speaker and been playing with octaves and a microsynth for years just might sound farty on the low B.
  3. NoxNoctus

    NoxNoctus The Crushinator

    May 9, 2004
    Annapolis, MD
    HPF would help as well, cheap insurance for your speakers and generally helping clean up your tone
  4. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    I do tend to roll off bass and bass mid...
  5. Id say you're fine aslong as your sensible with it. I make sure when the octave is on that it doesn't jump in volume also... others may prefer that but I don't. That helps. Also... most octaves can't do the mega low notes so you'll probably hear and feel it before it does damage.

    Saying that.. if you crank it to full octave and volume then yes it probably will do damage!
  6. Dragonlord

    Dragonlord Rocks Around The Glocks Supporting Member

    Aug 30, 2000
    Greece, Europe
    Thanks everyone... it seems odd to me that there are effects designed for bass that could damage bass cabs. A HPF does indeed sound like a good idea, but having to bring two pedals to use one safely is beyond me. Maybe there should be octavers with built-in HPF, but I haven't seen any. Oh well. So if the octave down is set at half the volume of the dry signal, would you say it should be safe even when cranked? I have an Octron on the way and I don't wanna do any damage (esp. since I don't play through my own cabs only)...
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I wouldn't make any assumptions like "half the volume" etc. Instead, find a sweet tone using the effect while your whole rig is at low volume; then gradually turn up the amp volume until you start to hear clipping; then in small increments either turn down the octave, or turn down the lows with EQ, and in equally small increments turn up the amp volume. Eventually you will find a balance point where you can't go any farther with those adjustments without losing the effect, losing too much low end, or clipping the amp or speakers too much.

    Basically listen for distortion and adjust accordingly.
    Josh Kneisel, Teijo K. and Dragonlord like this.
  8. I've never had a problem with octavers and speakers.
    Mantic Density Hulks are a different kettle of fish tho, they can SLAY speakers
  9. Pacodelivery

    Pacodelivery Supporting Member

    May 25, 2014
    Use your Ears!!!The sounds a speaker cone makes when it's being pushed too hard are different from other sorts of clipping. Learn what that sounds like, then avoid it!

    Like @bongomania said, keep turning up your amp until you start to hear something funny ... to me it always sounds either distinctly like paper being stressed or sort of overblown in kind of the same way a saxophone can be. Don't overdo this, turn up gradually, but you can do this once without damaging your rig, you just shouldn't keep it running at those levels.

    Other sorts of clipping can be desired, but unless you're Dave Davies you should never push your speakers into distorting.

    My best practice is to find what levels of sub frequencies are comfortable for your rig and set them in practice and use the same ones at gigs. This will take some trial and error

    HPF are helpful but not a cure all. You can damage speakers even when you're running a hpf, and of course you can damage your speakers without ever using octavers at all.
  10. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    With analog octavers I find they generally only track well/sound good down to about the A on the fifth fret of the A string.

    That means the octave tone produced would - at most - be a whole step lower than an open low B string which has always been just fine for me.

    Playing much lower than that using an amp w/o a low pass filter at high volumes could prove detrimental to your cabs.
  11. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    This. Just get yourself a high-pass filter and you won't ever need to worry.
    marmadaddy likes this.
  12. I have blown a few old and not so powerful cabs and also a few amps when using octavers and too much volume.
    Never tube amps but transistors and hybrids...
    Lesson learned to listen to your gear lol
  13. RickyT


    May 29, 2015
    Dee Why
    OD, Fuzz & Distortion can damage your cab to. Even a bass amp can damage your cab if you're stupid.

    Like with everything bass/amp/cab related, use your ears, don't be stupid and you'll be fine.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    An envelope filter would be more of a danger imho.

    Edit: if you combine both, you should be more careful. I like my comp after both to smooth out the peaks and valleys.
  15. MCS4


    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    As others have said, it isn't the effect, it is simple things like whether you are clipping your amp to much or not... which can happen just as easily by blasting a fuzz or OD pedal too much, or even by simply setting your amp's own settings at unsustainable levels.

    I use an EBS Octabass at loud rock gig volumes with no major problems thus far, sometimes hitting notes below low-B range. I just keep an eye on the amp's clip light to make sure that my settings and playing aren't causing it to engage (or at least not too often), and if so I adjust accordingly.

    I do generally keep the Octabass at roughly unity volume, and my favorite settings tend to be around 50/50 between dry signal and octave signal or with the octave signal slightly higher (although that choice is exclusively due to what I think sounds best, as opposed to an attempt to avoid harming the amp).
    Dragonlord likes this.
  16. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    Nah, think of it this way: there are effects designed for bass that encourage you to buy a subwoofer. The pedal manufacturers and speaker manufacturers are in collusion!!!
    Dragonlord likes this.

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