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MXR M288 and Boss OC2

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by the low one, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    Sorry, I know this has been discussed before but I can't find the info I'm looking for.

    I have the M288 and really enjoy using it so this isn't about me wanting your settings. I like all the knobs at 12:00 with the mid boost on to stand out a bit, or push the dry to about 1:30 with the mid boosrt off and it sits nicely in the mix.

    This is more of an enquiry about the tone of the M288 vs the OC2. I don't have an OC2 to compare it with.

    Many of the recording I listen to were recorded with the Boss OC2 (thonking Guy Pratt, Pino, Incubas etc) so it's a sound I want to try and replicate from time to time. The manual has a 'Playhouse' setting which is widely believed to be the OC2 tone. Is this the case? Has anyone tested the M288 and OC2 side by side to see if the 'Playhouse' setting does the OC2 well? I can't find a Youtube video comparing both side by side.

    Tim Lefebvre in his recent demo of the M288 uses the pedal at 0:44 with just the dry and growl. He's also a big fan of the OC2 so it looks to me like the tone at 0:44 is him going for the OC2 tone. Does that sound about right?
  2. MD-BassPlayer

    MD-BassPlayer Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I did it a year ago or so. Close in a mix, but IMHO the OC-2 is the better pedal. Especially since you mention artists that have used, pick up an OC-2. I think they track better too.
  3. Low_blow


    May 14, 2005
    I feel the same. After I tried an old Boss, I sold my MXR BOD.
    Boss is not true-bypass, but it has a quality-made buffer amp.

  4. meursault42


    Jun 21, 2006
    to the OP:

    Tim Lefebvre has a MXR on hand for use with his active Callowhill 5-string. The output is too hot for the OC-2. I'm assuming MXR paid him $$ to do the demo, but that doesn't preclude his use of the Boss. I firmly believe that if he could legally marry an OC-2, he would ;)

    Not so sure about the tracking. At least if we are talking about how low the pedals can track. But I do know that you have to physically play/feel the OC-2 to appreciate it. It's about sound, yes. But it's also about how the pedal responds. It's very quick under the fingers.

    eh, the buffer is decent. But not 100% transparent. Most bass players prefer a little hi-freq attenuation anyways, so it doesn't really matter. But if you like super-sparkly top end, then you might wanna think about putting in a true bypass loop.
    DiabolicLow B likes this.
  5. Low_blow


    May 14, 2005
    Tracking speed: yes, Boss tracks faster. I could not live with the delay in octave sound in MXR (especially in fast riffs on the bridge pickup).
  6. I'd love to try an OC-2 myself. I find it tough to imagine that the difference in tracking speed between it and the M288 would be that great. I have a M288 and it's a fantastic pedal. It can get close to the OC-2 sound but not 100% of the way there. Additionally, it has a whole other tone for you to mix and mash with.

    This guy does some FAST licks and the thing sounds like it keeps up without any issue.
  7. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    My clips are long since gone but I directly A/B'd the OC-2 and M288 and recorded the results.

    I'd say the BOD gets more than close to the OC-2 sound. They are practically indistinguishable tone-wise when just using the Growl knob of the MXR.

    Here's my view of how the two compare:

    Both are compact but the MXR is slightly smaller

    The MXR has TBP which many people have to have. The Boss is buffered bypass. More to the point, it's a very good buffered bypass which I actually prefer as it helps in my position with a substantial effects chain

    I don't ever really use the -2 oct knob on the OC-2 so it is essentially a two knob (dry and -1 oct) pedal for me. The MXR has knobs for dry and two -1 oct knobs with different flavors, the "Girth" and the "Growl" controls. It also has a mids boost button. For someone like me who solos the octave down the mid button isn't useful, but for people blending it with the dry it helps the tone pop a bit in the mix.

    The Girth knob is a pretty flabby octave but it can increase the range of tones by blending it with the dry and Growl. The MXR also works a bit better with hot active basses and has a bit more gain on tap for the octave down sounds which is a solid advantage in my opinion.

    Other than the buffered bypass this is why I still have the OC-2 and sold the MXR. Both pedals have the same issues tracking low (getting progressively worse below the A on the 5th fret of the E string) but the Boss has far fewer "artifacts" when playing runs. It plays "cleaner" especially when soloing the octave down.

    Basically, I tell people looking for an octaver to do synthy tones (soloed -1 oct) to get the OC-2 for the better tracking and people using it primarily blended (for funky Pino style tones) to get the MXR for the added versatility.
  8. I agree completely...

    This is the MXR's biggest advantage for me- more volume on the octave down soloed tones.

    LOL, I do *exactly* the reverse because the added gain in the MXR's octave-down tones allows the soloed octave down tone to stand up on its own in the band's sound stage. I use the OC-2 for a blended straight plus octave down "thick" patch.
  9. I think this question is relevant to the conversation. I don't want to take this thread off track:

    So will any OC-2 work? There's a big price jump between the last OC-2s made and the early 80s japan models. I know some love the originals. I'm not looking to collect - I just want good tracking/tone.
  10. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    I can see that. The OC-2's inability to hit unity gain on a soloed octave can be annoying but I find that easier to deal with than the difference in tracking. I suppose (like with all pedals really) it comes down to which features matter most to you.

    I've had both and while I've never presented myself as a "golden ear" I personally can't tell a difference in tone or tracking between the Japanese and Taiwanese versions.
  11. BassMonstrum


    Mar 7, 2008
    I have both the japanese and the taiwanese OC-2, the MXR and the EBS Octabass. The MIJ OC-2 is on my main board, mainly because the footswitch allows me to kick it on/off simultaneously with my Boss LS-2 that is sitting right next to it (it's complicated...). If I didn't need this I may have had the MXR on the board due the versatility of having the voicings as I don't use the -2 octave on the Boss. However the MXR is on my secondary "I-only-need-a-tuner-an-octave-and-OD"-board, while the MIT OC-2 is on the rarely used cover-band board.
  12. the low one

    the low one

    Feb 21, 2002
    Yep, I'm sure Tim was paid $$ for doing the demo but as you say he does use the M288 too. In this interview he talks about using the M288. It's all interesting but skip to about 8:10 for the MXR reference:

    Tim's website has a photo of the effects he uses with Chris Botti and you can see the M288 on that.

    So, back to the OP. For those who've tried both pedals is the 'Playhouse' setting in the M288 manual as close it gets to the OC2?
  13. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    I haven't tried them side by side, but I own a MIJ OC-2 and I've tried (and now want) the MXR BOD. I found the tracking on the MXR far superior to the OC-2, I could play a low E without it going all glitchy and not octave-soundy. With the OC-2, I can't play below a low B without that happening, it's even worse when I don't have the compressor on my amp switched on. I can't wait to get a new octave pedal.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Someone on here posted a Youtube vid comparing a Japanese and Taiwanese OC-2. There was so little difference that I don't think it matters even a little bit. Besides, some of the Taiwanese OC-2's have leftover Japanese boards. I got one like that apparently. So you don't have to spend all that money on an extra "r" on the label ;)
  15. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    In my experience owning both at the same time, the MXR tracked lower notes better but slightly at the expense of higher notes (only slightly). The MXR also could sound very similar to the OC-2, though it always seemed a little smoother and deeper to my ears even with just the Growl dimed (which can be good or bad depending on what you're looking for- I preferred either depending on the context). I liked the midrange boost feature on the MXR alot- I could just barely turn on the Clean volume but have the midrange boost on and it just sounded like a more cutting tone to the octave instead of part of clean blend because of how much midrange boost could be dialed in. The only thing I didn't like about the MXR was that it seemed to not have as effective a gate as the OC-2, meaning that unless I completely deadened the strings between notes, it would still be trying to track the minutest string noises and anything else, and in combination with fuzz and filter these erroneous tracking noises could get pretty loud and uncontrollable (it wasn't really a big problem without the fuzz combo usually though- at least far less distracting). My OC-2 on the other hand is very forgiving of playing as long as I don't hit chords, and even cancels out the hum from single coil pickups. If the MXR had a better gate built in more along the lines of the OC-2, I think it would be about the perfect analog octave pedal. Since I don't really use Octave that much and generally only use it paired with fuzz/filter, I ended up ditching the MXR and keeping the Boss. Oh yeah- if you have both I recommend trying the OC-2 into the MXR- I got some pretty awesome gritty 2 octave downb tones that way as lonbg as I stayed high on the neck!
  16. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    There's no difference in sound or performance between the various eras of OC-2 production. Some unscrupulous sellers will tell you their Japanese model has some tracking magic that the Taiwanese boxes don't, and some fools will pay double for a lower-case letter 'r' printed on the top. Fortunately there are plenty of Taiwanese boxes out there with sensible used prices so anyone who isn't a total sucker can still get an OC-2 if they want one.
  17. winterburn69


    Jan 27, 2008
    I'm happy to report that my OC-2 is back to tracking quite well, back to how it tracked when I first got it. Then it started tracking like crap and I just assumed it was dying because it's old. Somehow (probably my son) the Direct Level knob got turned all the way off. Problem solved. Still want a few different octavers though.

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