Combining overdrive and octave pedals

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by the low one, Jun 11, 2021.

  1. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    I'm using MXR bass overdrive and MXR bass octave deluxe and on there own, no issues but together I notice a volume drop. It sounds like the drive is compressing the octave.

    Is this normal? What's the best way to combine both? I run the octave first, then into the overdrive.
  2. HoochfromParis


    Jan 14, 2013
    Doing the other way, Broughton Locust Star into IE DubT with amazing results. Not sure how it impacts tracking. It def should, the signal being harmonically more complex, but the extra grit i get on octave tone worth the try !
  3. The only time I've experienced this is when running Octave into an actual compressor pedal. The compressor is seeing a huge signal with the lower octave added in there, and squashing it down hard leaving you with a perceived output of less than unity. That's why I always run compression first in my chain. Drives are of course compression of a sort too, but I've never seen them result in a quieter signal like a real compressor when running octave into them. I get a volume boost when running octave into my drives. I guess it could be a headroom thing? Maybe back down the gain on your overdrive? What are your typical settings on the overdrive?
    HolmeBass likes this.
  4. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Yep, I love (LOVE) octave right after dirt. I have a handful of octave fuzz pedals (combined) and one of them has an ordering switch so you can easily reverse the placement of the octave. It's so much thicker and smoother with the dirt first. Anyway, there is no single right answer so try both ways. But the way some dirt circuits gate the order can make a difference. Good luck.
    catcauphonic and AudioTaper like this.
  5. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    I'm running the drive quite low on the overdrive, around 9:00. I have all the knobs roughly at noon on the octave.
  6. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    San Francisco
    I have drives that don't react well when getting goosed with an octave, or other hot drives before it.
    I always run my octaves after compression but before dirt.

    I should try dirt first but it's never really been a consideration.
  7. I generally prefer drive into octave. IME and IMO, this allows the octave to track more predictably, preserves my clean and overdriven tones, and I prefer the sound.

    Flipping the order is more unpredictable IMO bc the octave sends much more low end content into the OD than the clean signal alone, and ODs tend to struggle with bass frequencies. But this behavior can very pedal dependent.
    Rabidhamster and Killing Floor like this.
  8. Ever look into DOD Meatbox?
  9. Howardzark


    Nov 11, 2020
    I have an Aguilar Agro. Placed an MXR octave deluxe after, and made the lead guitarist's ears bleed. After that, he stayed in his own lane.
    catcauphonic and King Weapon like this.
  10. danbones


    Sep 24, 2017
    Los Angeles
    i’ve been using an mxr sub machine, and i find i have to dial everything back pretty deliberately, otherwise it blows the roof off the room.s not sure why your mxr octave would give you a volume drop, but i’m reading it has a mid switch that will give you an additional +15db at either 400 or 800kHz, so start by having that engaged? i’m guessing since it doesn’t have a volume control that you’re losing a lot of midrange somewhere when it’s engaged. my recommendation is to either boost the mids on the pedal rather than switch the pedal order.

    also, check out the sub machine!
    arepa_funk likes this.
  11. ComeHomeShane

    ComeHomeShane Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2016
    Southern California
    I run the same pedals, MXR OD into the MXR BOD are the last two on my chain. IME the BOD is typically below unity when playing in the first octave, but as soon as I play above the 7/8th fret it sings nicely. I recommend put the BOD last.
  12. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    Have you tried switching them around in the chain?
  13. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    How much drive do you run on the OD? How much Growl and Girth on the octave? Maybe I need to back off the octaves from 12:00 to lower the signal going into the OD.

    Thanks for this and others who have suggested the same. I'll give it a go.
  14. ComeHomeShane

    ComeHomeShane Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2016
    Southern California
    I don't run a lot of OD, 9 o'clock ish. On the octave, I don't run a lot of girth and growl at the same time because it gets too muddy. Also, changing the internal mid frequency helped give it a little boost.
    the low one likes this.
  15. This is an important point. I run my BOD: Growl 3:00, Girth and Dry 10:30, Mids ON.
    the low one and ComeHomeShane like this.
  16. arepa_funk


    Nov 2, 2020
    Love the Sub Machine! Fuzz is great and the sub is meaty and huge. I've found running them in parallel with the tone slightly south of noon gives me the best clarity and impact. It should come with a warning tho, it can peel paint off walls.

    Separately, I also run a 3leaf Octavbre Mini into the SSBS Mini. Low end is intact, volume doesn't drop. Great synth tones too.

    When using a filter tho, I've experimented with changing the order to:

    Octave -> fuzz (sub close to fully CCW) -> filter -> overdrive.

    I've found an overdriven filter tone to be particularly cool in my setup. Imo, ymmv, etc
  17. jw23mind

    jw23mind Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2017
    Reading MA
    Drive first, into octave. Other way tends to be counter-productive, as the drive is trying to de-emphasize lower frequencies and so the subs are a liability. Good to try both ways though.
  18. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    I've tried drive first but I prefer octave first. For me I found the octave was muddy after the drive.

    I've lowered the amount of octave going in, especially the Girth and with the mids on it is helping.

    A work in progress but thanks for the suggestions.
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    Jun 22, 2021

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