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MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe, my first impressions

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by 3toes, Apr 30, 2010.


  1. 3toes

    3toes

    Aug 30, 2006
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Got my new MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe the other day and had some time to play around with it, figured I'd give y'all my first impressions of it. It's a whole different world from the Micro POG that I've been using for the past 2 years or so. I'll try and give my impressions thus far, but there are still a few aspects of it that need further testing.

    Construction: First the boring stuff... Pedal is solidly built, nice and compact, knobs move freely but not too much. My only qualm with MXR pedals is that the power jack is on the side next to the Input. I really really hate that. My Tech 21 VT Bass is the same way and it's really inconvenient to set up my board layout using a centralized power-supply and often having cables that run just too short.

    Control: You've got 3 knobs and a mid-boost button on top; very simple. Your 3 controls are Dry (for your unaffected level), Growl, and Girth. Growl and Girth are both 1 octave below your dry sound, but they're EQ'd differently. I'll be getting to how they're different in a moment. The mid-boost button is a tiny, blue led-lit button that gives you a +4db to +14db (trim pot on the circuit board to adjust) boost to the mid frequencies which you can set to either 400hz or 850hz.

    Sound: The pedal has that great analog octave sound, similar to a Boss OC-2, but feels like it has a quicker response. And with the two different octave EQs, you can get a pretty wide variety of textures. The Girth settings are very thick, warm and kind of boomy but still with a tad bit of texture. Think dub reggae. Growl has more texture to it, not as thick. Growl when played alone without any dry sound really reminds me almost of a ring-modulator tone. (I'll hopefully be getting a few clips up soon). The mid-boost seems like it will be quite useful, I haven't had a chance to use it in a band setting yet (although I will this weekend). By default its set to 850hz, not sure of the db level, but it's not much, so I'm guessing 4db. I'll probably leave it as is, sounds great.

    Tracking and Playability: As with any analog octave or synth pedal, tracking is the big issue. The BOD will track pretty darn good down to a low G, but will start to get a few glitches below that, with the worst being at the low E. I don't really consider that a huge issue since I mainly only use an octave when I'm slightly higher on the neck. The only other issue I've noticed with tracking is that when I'm playing an A on my D string (7th fret), the pedal will track correctly for a second or two then jump as if I'd hit a harmonic. Weird... It might just be an overly resonant spot on my neck, or my strings, who knows. Not a huge issue. And honestly, if you're playing with the dry signal mixed in (which is what the majority of players will do) it's not very noticeable. Playing speed has not been an issue with the tracking, it has been able to keep up with as many notes as I can play. But note that I haven't tried with a pick. Slapping results in a very messy sound, probably because it's tracking the actual attack on the string rather than the note produced.

    Overall I really like this pedal, granted it's incredibly different from my Micro POG. So it's going to take some getting used to. I'm going to get some clips up sometime soon hopefully, but I'll be happy to answer any questions about the pedal in the meantime.
     
  2. PJMiDi

    PJMiDi

    Feb 27, 2009
    Columbus, OH
    Thanks for posting a review of this. I've been very interested in this pedal over the last few days, looks like I'm gonna have to go try one out now.:bassist:
     
  3. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks for the review! Mine should be here Monday or so. In the meantime I've been developing GAS for a POG 2 or maybe even a Micro POG...but I think the former will be what would suit me best. Besides some of the cool sounds that the POG is capable of I'm thinking that the octave up would better suit me but I'm not sure yet. In your opinion, could the Micro POG cover any of the sounds that the BOD covers? I know they're two different animals but I'm just wondering if they can get close to each other in areas.
     
  4. 3toes

    3toes

    Aug 30, 2006
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    The Micro POG can do some cool stuff, no doubt. Being able to get an octave sound on a double-stop or chord is pretty awesome. But it's very very "clean" sounding. I really missed that gritty, synthy, analog sound... and the MXR gives me that.

    I should note that if I could have afforded to keep both, I would have.
     
  5. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    Gracias :grassy ass: :D

    Perhaps I'll take my for sale stuff to the evilbay - since it's not doing very well here - along with some other stuff I'm not using and try to fund a POG purchase.
     
  6. I've noticed that the Mid Switch is quite a small button. Do you think that you could hit that with your foot in the middle of a gig if you needed it? I haven't actually held one of these pedals and I can't decide if I'd be able to hit that mid switch if I needed it.
     
  7. 3toes

    3toes

    Aug 30, 2006
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    The way my board is set up? No... I wouldn't be able to hit it with my foot. If you know for a fact that you're going to need it, reach down and cut it on ahead of time. Then if you know that later you're NOT going to need it, cut it back off.

    Honestly though, it does such a great job of making the sound stand out even more, I'm probably just going to always leave it on.
     
  8. Very nice review but the part above rose my brow a bit. Of course this is all subjective but I found that slapping through the MXR resulted in a huge, powerful sound and sounded far better than any other octaver I'd had ever tried. What kind of settings do you use?
     
  9. 3toes

    3toes

    Aug 30, 2006
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Lakland 44-02, volume at about 75-80%, highs flat, mids moderately boosted, lows slightly boosted, 50/50 blend on my pickups, coil tapped to the neck side (basically kinda 60s J-bass sound).

    I'm certainly going to have to try this again, as I only tried slap for a moment. Granted with the dry blended in, the sound was fine. But I thought I caught something glitchy with my ear, so I dialed the dry completely out and tried it again. And that's where the sound was off. So I dunno, I'll certainly experiment more.


    Side Story: I'm going to have to call UPS and complain. I was working from home the day it was being delivered. And it came quite late in the day anyway (around 6pm). So I was sitting in the front-room of the house playing around through my rig when I saw him pull up. My house has a set of stairs, a landing, then a large set of stairs to get to the front door (stilted house above the garage). So I get up to go meet him half way. He walks up, talking on his cell phone, gets to the landing, then THROWS THE PACKAGE OVERHAND at the front door. I open the door and say "Hey, thanks for throwing my package..." He simply waves and drives off, still on his phone :mad:
     
  10. 3toes

    3toes

    Aug 30, 2006
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    I'm kind of curious if anyone else has experienced the glitch on the A-octave (D string, 7th fret) that I have? It tracks the note fine for a second or so then shoots up an octave.
     
  11. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    My guess would be dead spot. Most basses have one at the 5th fret of the G string, but that sounds like the same phenomenon.

    And I WOULD complain to UPS. My brother-in-law is a UPS driver as is one of my high school friends. It is a good job to have and most guys I've encountered do it well. There's absolutely no excuse for that kind of service though.

    As for slapping, I have yet to find an analog octaver that tracks slapping well. My guess is the it's a short duration note with a big attack envelope that gives the pedal fits trying to track. That's not to say that you can't slap with an octaver, but even with good technique it will flub out on you.

    Kwesi, try soloing either octave on the BOD and slapping a bit. You can get decent results but it definitely causes a lot more glitches than fingerstyle.
     
  12. +1 to this. I have the exact same problem also at C on the G string. It' weird because it doesn't sound like a dead spot when played without the octaver on but the loss of pitch is pretty consistent with it on.

    I'm actually very happy with the sound I get from my BOD when slapping I was just responding to 3toes. But, I can see some glitching happening with the dry signal zero'd out. I normally mix the two octaves with the dry for this super fat sound that I really like.
     
  13. smallbutmighty

    smallbutmighty

    Oct 1, 2007
    Seattle
    Warmoth - Marketing Director
    I know exactly what your talking about. I experience it at A on the D string, and also around frets 5 - 7 on the G string. And as Kwesi says, it doesn't sound like there is a dead spot when I play normally, but the glitching on those frets with the BOD on is dependably consistent. If I play the exact same notes higher up on the neck it tracks just fine....so that's what I do.

    I love it for slap, especially in conjunction with my 3Leaf Groove Regulator. Makes the intro that I do to Superstition sound monstrous.

    I find the mid-boost really handy when using it with the bridge pickup on my jazz. It fills in a little of the beef I lose when switching from the neck pickup.
     
  14. jam.majors

    jam.majors

    Mar 24, 2009
    Louisville, Ky
    I have been deeply enjoying the sounds from my BOD. It is a lot of fun. There's a teenager just starting bass for my church's youth group and I've been letting her use my pedals; she giggles a LOT when she switches on the BOD. It's great.
     
  15. 3toes

    3toes

    Aug 30, 2006
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Gigged the BOD this weekend, worked wonderfully. And yeah, sounds fantastic with my Enigma filter. I'll have to get some clips up of that.

    Back to the deadspot issue, I used my hollowbody (with flatwounds) for the show and didn't have the issue. So yeah, probably is a deadspot on the other bass or the frets need some attention.
     
  16. Robertron

    Robertron

    Feb 12, 2010
    NewYork, NY
    This was my exact thought process in deciding to keep the BOD over the POG. I do miss the polyphonic functionality of the POG though, very much :( Someday I'll have it again.
     
  17. 3toes

    3toes

    Aug 30, 2006
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    Yeah, likewise.

    Haha, so far my only real complaint w/ the BOD is having the power jack on the freakin SIDE!!!
     
  18. Robertron

    Robertron

    Feb 12, 2010
    NewYork, NY
    I've found that to be a bit of a pain too, and I know it'll be even more annoying when I pick up a SupaCharger...
     
  19. That's my only complaint on MXR pedals in general, is the location of the power jack. Otherwise, they're built like tanks. I'll be checking this pedal out soon....thanks for the review.
     

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