fairly inexpensive octave down pedal, low to no noise?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by pcake, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i've never been into pedals, always liked a very clean tone, but lately i've started wanting to create soundscapes and things different than i've done before.

    something i've always liked the sound of is an octave down with 2 different notes and a hint of fuzz. or sometimes no fuzz. but being able to adjust which 2 notes they are or having a low note and the actual note would be spiffy.

    so i've come to you. i don't want to spend too much while i get acquainted, and i don't want a massive learning curve. what i DO want is something that doesn't add hiss, buzz or noise to my sound and has octave down. octave up could be fun, too. fuzz only if the pedal can be used without fuzz.

  2. Jakeman

    Jakeman Swamp Thing Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2006
    New Orleans, LA
    Can't help with octave up or inexpensive. Helpful thread here:

    Comprehensive list of analog octavers

    For what it's worth, I use an Iron Ether Subterranea, 3Leaf Octavbre, and a Mantic Hulk. Have experience with the COG octave series and a variety of BOSS OC-2's. Helpful hints: 1) Go analog. The only satisfactory digital octave pedal I've played with is the TC Sub n Up, which was cool... but digital... 2) Don't get hung up on tracking. You gotta "play the pedal". Glitches can be your friend. 3) You owe it to yourself to turn that clean signal off and only use octave down.

    Hope that helps.
  3. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    analog. right - check.

    reviews keep talking about tracking... i don't even know what that is *LOL*

    i don't have to turn the clean signal off till i decide what i do and don't like and what gets me a sound that works for what i'm doing. after all, the sound you're looking for and the sound i'm looking for may not be at all the same sound.

    thank you very much for your input - do any of the ones you mentioned have less of a learning curve, being more a "try and see what you like" situation?
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  4. jwr


    Jun 28, 2010
    Overland Park, KS
    Digital versus analog is obviously a huge place of argument for these types of pedals. I have NEVER found a good octave down that tracks well, does not sound weird or glitches like crazy unless the mix is turned down and it's blended. That being said, the Octave Jawn, which is digital has a pretty good octave down IMO. I absolutely detest the OC2 however. I'm all for digital.

    When I want a blended octave down (meaning kind of sitting parallel to my signal versus on top of it), I use the Jawn. Sometimes I use an IE pedal as well. Both are digital.
  5. Boss OC-3 is a great one that I've used for years. It is digital, but I don't think you should let that put you off at all. It sounds great and works great. Tracks beautifully and has a cleaner, more reliable attack than many of its more fashionable competitors (cough cough MXR BOD). It behaves like an analog octaver in the sense that it's monophonic and there is no latency or delay to the notes at all. I've shot it out against a number of other "cooler" octavers with the intent of replacing it, and it has won time and time again. It even has a super rad drive mode with a weirdly good distortion if you want it.
  6. Emanuel

    Emanuel Master of the run-on sentence Supporting Member

    Hey Homegirl!
    Tracking refers to the pedal detecting the note you are playing on your bass so it can create the octave note. All octave pedals (except maybe the EHX Micro Pog, which is digital)

    require you to play “cleanly” that is playing a solid note, one note at a time and without other noise that will confuse the pedal because it needs to figure out what note your playing. Using the neck pickup and rolling off treble helps because there will a strong fundamental and less information for the pedal to deal with. As you go lower it gets harder for the pedal to accurately detect the note, technique will be critical the lower you go as you deal with the pedals limitations, expect that. But if a pedals reviews consistently mention poor tracking I’d avoid that pedal.
    Just know that some will always complain about tracking, it’s important to have reasonable expectations and good technique. But both what Jakeman & jwr said I’d is true:
    “You gotta play the pedal" Even when using great technique you are going to bump into the limitations of the pedal, other gear you’re using and even personal limitations or plateau in your development. Don’t trip. Keep playing. All the above can be thought of as one “pedal”, play the pedal.
    “Glitches can be your friend” Glitches refer to an Octave pedal mis-detecting a note and playing the wrong one, bouncing between octaves or making cool robotic sounds. “unstable” is the word that comes to mind.
    It could be the pedals limitations or a poorly played note but this too can be added to your repertoire of sounds and people have made great use of it. You want to play to the strengths of the pedal.
    I’m in complete agreement with jwr insomuch as all of this is subjective. That’s one of the things I love the most about music.
    But “turn that clean signal off and only use octave down” is a good exercise. Search for a Boss OC2 with the -1 octave solo’d and you’ll hear what he’s talking about. I call it “Robot Funk”.

    I myself much prefer analog octaves. More fluid to play with warmer organic tone and a lot more character. I can track down
    below A on the E string of a 4 string bass all day long and fast but where I come from you’d better get on with what you got, so we did.
    All that said the digital EHX Micro Pog might be a good fit for you
    if you can find one used. It’s super “landscape” tracks extremely good, has knobs for octave down-your clean signal-octave up
    and its polyphonic, you can play more than one note at a time.
    The octave down is a bit nondescript and the octave up is a bit piercing so search and listen.
    Octave and Fuzz? Look for a used Red Witch Zeus-not very “landscape” tho!
    Keep playing, I’m rooting for ya! E
  7. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    Most Octave pedals today Have some digital sections. I would go for the TC Electronics Sub N Up . It has one octave down 2 octaves down And one up. Also has tone prints from many different artists that can be loaded from your cell phone in a couple seconds . If you don't like it move on. It Tracks great is very versatile even without using the tone prints. Plus not killer expensive.
  8. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    FWIW, I second this.
  9. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i was considering getting the TC nether, among others, but toneprints could be interesting. are any of them for bass? they have a lot less info on them than they do for some of their other products toneprints and no samples...
  10. I have one of these that works well, and is quiet. It’s vintage 80’s. Sometimes they can be found for very little. Some people ask a lot for them, and get it. I recommend it highly. 9E7B2F58-AF62-4CA7-A615-69C6A4C977F2.jpeg
  11. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Drunken Sailor Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    Valeton OC-10 is a cool little clone of the famous (and much more expensive) Boss OC-2. Could be worth a look.
  12. The learning curve with analog octavers is in how to play clean, glitch-free notes, not in the control suite. The controls are all really simple, basically some volume controls for the clean signal and each octave, and maybe some tone controls.

    I think the Aguilar Octamizer is a great pedal. The SubT mentioned actually has quite a lot going on, but it is also my favorite.

    Many of us do not use an octaver the way a guitarist might, to add a subtle octave down note to your otherwise clean or over-driven lines, but rather with the clean off, or low, and the octaver is a tone generator to create an entirely different timbre, usually a synth-like tone.
    Jakeman and DJ Bebop like this.
  13. I'm cheap, have a short attention span, and don't idolize stuff like vintage gear or analog vs digital.
    Yes, I'm a caveman :)

    So this is what I've been using when the desirer for FXs hits:

    I thought the octave as well as the other FXs were good. I think they are out of production now.
    Zoom B1Xon Bass Effects Pedal with Expression Pedal

    And have been replaced by this thing:
    Zoom B1 FOUR / B1X FOUR Bass Multi-Effects Processors

    They both have an octave as well as more. They are inexpensive multi-effect units.

    They are not boutique, vintage, or expensive, sorry :)
    Tommy V, -Asdfgh-, mikewalker and 2 others like this.
  14. A lot of people get hung up on analog vs digital, but actually the main consideration is whether it's monophonic or polyphonic. Polyphonic might sound appealing since you can play chords, but with a polyphonic octaver there will be some latency or delay in the beginning of the note. It will not be as immediate and crisp as a monophonic octaver. Bass players traditionally use monophonic octavers because the immediate response lets you lock into a groove and really play. TC Nether as you mentioned OP is a monophonic octaver, and really just a clone of the Boss OC-2. It'd be a decent choice. The only issue with that one is, with that line of TC pedals, I believe they don't activate until you lift your foot off the switch. So you press down, it's not on yet, then you take your foot off the switch, now it's on. Makes it hard to time it if your window to engage the effect is small. Whatever you choose, I think you'll just want to make sure it at least has a monophonic mode.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  15. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    but the big question here - are any of these very low or no noise? no hiss, buzz, whine?

    i have a B1Xon in my closet, actually. i hate - no, i despise - the menus/tone bank, but maybe worth digging through them.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  16. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    It's not exactly cheap and I suspect it's gone up considerably since I bought mine a couple of years ago, but I love my EHX POG Nano. Can octave up and/or down with control of the blend and is very clean. It's one of two affect pedals I use on my gig board. Silent button makes it even better. I picked up a used heaper unit (EBS OctaBass) used before I got the POG and it just didn't give me what I wanted - it's in the pile of pedals that need to be liquidated. I've yet to find any Octave up that sounds good on higher register notes (G string), but my primary use is as an octave down and play lines primarily on D and G strings.
    bassstation, pcake and DJ Bebop like this.
  17. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    I get no extraneous noise from my SubNup just what it is supposed to do . And a lot of the tone prints are by bass players .
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  18. After I got mine I played with it for a few days. After that, I ignored all the pre-loaded stuff unless it was already along the lines of something I would do. I started right in making my own patches. I found it to be easy for me.
    A pedal train with up to five pedals in a row, in any order. With each pedal adjustable.

    Just start with a patch that is close to what you want or make a blank one. Take out or put in the effects you want. Save and repeat :)

    I've built up a lot of patches since I've had this. In reality, I use mostly about 6-8 patches live though :)

    Also these guys: ToneLib – Complete guitar studio in your computer make an editor that is compatible with the Zoom B1Xon and can make editing easier and more visual.

    Download Tonelib ZOOM
    Download – ToneLib
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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  19. NortyFiner

    NortyFiner Drunken Sailor Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Portsmouth VA USA
    My experience with octavers is limited, but I don't recall ever having noise issues with any of those I've had. They don't seem to be as noise prone as some other types of effects.

    Now, noisy modulations -- if I start down THAT path we'll be here all day...
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
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