Lost.. Not sure what else to do with octave pedals..

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by tyjacks, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. tyjacks


    Dec 23, 2002
    Memphis, TN.
    Purchased two octave pedals, Boss OC-2 (eBay) and MXR bass octave. Neither seems to work well with any of my active basses (MTD AG6, Fender Am Elite 5-str, FBass BNF-5, Fender MM 4-str). Only appear to work when basses are in passive mode, otherwiase the sound is very distorted and no clear octaves. Read in a blog it could be dead spots on the neck maybe? Any ideas or suggestions would help... MXR said the signal was overdriving (to hot) the effects circuitry? Is the 3leaf audio octabvre any better for active basses?:
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Dead spots don't work that way. They impact one or two notes only.
    If you're clipping the pedals turn the volume down on the instrument.
    Josh Kneisel and obimark like this.
  3. tyjacks


    Dec 23, 2002
    Memphis, TN.
    Already tried that, just distortion at a low volume. Signal level vs volume??
  4. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    What notes are you playing?

    These pedals really prefer to be used while playing higher notes and not much lower than low A.

    If you're trying to get octave below low E or lower it's really just not going to work well.
  5. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    My OC-2 handles active basses fine. What's your right hand doing?
  6. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    If you have access to a comp or limiter, experiment with it before the octave; YMMV, finding the sweet spot may take a bit of tweaking. But as mentioned above, there's only so low you(or your speaker)can go.
    Joe Ty likes this.
  7. tyjacks


    Dec 23, 2002
    Memphis, TN.
    Playing above 5th fret, D/G/C strings. Maybe it me, I've tried softer attacks with left hand, just cant seem to get them to sound like online demos. I'll continue to tweak them and my attack while playing, notes are not be clear with distinctive octave/synth sound like in the MXR demos...
  8. Pacodelivery


    May 25, 2014
    Try feeding the octavers more of your neck pickup and roll off the high end. The bridge pickup has more high end harmonic content and as such can confuse the synth. Your neck pickup is closer to a sine wave and thus has more clear note information, and has less presence of harmonics other than the tonic to throw off the tracking.

    My guess is that when you're sending it through the preamp on your bass you're giving it too much treble content for the tracking to read your pitch well. The more treble or more harmonic complexity in your signal the more of other notes besides the tonic are present. The octaver can't figure out which of the available notes it should be reading and distorts or flutters between them. A passive signal is by definition less complex so it's less inclined to be problematic, though the same issues can exist they're just easier to avoid.
  9. It shouldn't be that difficult. You don't need to go changing pickups and whatnot. Octave pedals aren't complicated and it shouldn't be difficult to make them do their thing. The problem can only be a few things...

    1) Bizarre bass tone: Are you playing with an unusual tone? Like super boosted lows?
    2) Weird technique: This is unlikely but do you pluck in some sort of unusual way? Take your hands out of the equation and play the open G with a pick. It will track.
    3) Pickups too hot: You said turning the volume knob down didn't help so this is unlikely.
    4) The amp: You didn't mention what amp you're playing through. A tiny practice amp may not be able to reproduce the octave tones.
    maxmaroon and Pacodelivery like this.
  10. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Step up and get a 3Leaf octave pedal
    arrowsun likes this.
  11. Don't buy a 3Leaf octave. If you're having issues with the OC-2 you're going to have issues with the 3Leaf as well.
    Mosfed, AngelCrusher, cnltb and 6 others like this.
  12. Pacodelivery


    May 25, 2014
    Yes I think this is good advice. I've heard that the 3leaf tracks somewhat better than the oc2 but one half of the pedal is fundamentally the same with some improvements in stability. It might help improve some issues people invariably experience with the oc2 under normal operation (which others like me find part of its charm) but what you're experiencing is not normal.
  13. Pacodelivery


    May 25, 2014
    What I mean to say is, it's probably best to figure out what about your setup or technique is causing two different octave pedals with two different circuits to act in same undesirable manner. It's unlikely that just getting another analog octave pedal is going to solve your problem.
  14. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I tried my OC-2 with my Spector ReBop and it wasn't pretty. I discovered you need to drop the level significantly and (with that bass at least) drop a HPF in front of the OC-2 to get it to behave. My passive basses all worked fine with it however. Just don't try make use of the 2-octave down knob with a bass as your inout. Leave it off.

    Can't comment on the MXR. Never played through one of those.
  15. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Yep. That and more gain on tap than an OC2 which capped out at essentially unity gain.
  16. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    I'd recommend the Micro Pog or the Bass Whammy, I have both pedals and use extremely hot active 5 string basses and have no issue using either pedal distorting or tracking on low notes.
    The Pog has a more synthy sort of sound so I like using that one.
    neuman and superheavyfunk like this.
  17. jazzycats


    Oct 17, 2014
    IME , OC2 works well from the low C (8th fret of E string) and above
  18. superheavyfunk


    Mar 11, 2013
    I was going to suggest this. Analog octave pedals hate active basses, in my experience but my bass whammy and all the POG variants ive tried have all worked perfectly well
  19. Lava

    Lava Supporting Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    El Paso, TX
    I have the OC2 and the MXR Bass Octave Deluxe and both work great with my active and passive basses. But as others have already stated, anything below the low A will be unusable with both pedals.
  20. Tim Lefebvre said in his interview with Janek Gwizdala that while he loves the oc-2 he uses the mxr with hot basses. Are you running other pedals into it that are boosting the signal or are you using extreme eq settings on the bass itself? Could be the amp just can't handle it also. Does you active bass have a gain trim in the control cavity? For example on my thumb nt5 that was an issue my tech found. He lowered it and no issues after that.