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Octave Up or Down???

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by spikez, Jan 29, 2006.


  1. spikez

    spikez

    Jun 26, 2005
    Hi there people!

    I´m thinking about buying a MXR M-88 Bass Octave (Octave Down). The reason I have been thinking about it is because me and a friend (who plays guitar) are really into experemental (yeah sure, sometimes the correct adjective is more like noisy :) ) kind of sound and he likes to use is guitar in a very non-guitar fashion, soo I thought that when he starts to make those alien beeps and skuashes and whatever, I could step on the MXR and play in the upper octave of the neck soo it sounded like two guitars and the bass, one guitar f***ing arround and the other mirroring the bass (or the other way arround).
    Now the question is, for me to do this, do you advise me to buy and octaver down and play in the upper octave of the neck OR buy an octaver up and play in the "fat frets" area of the neck? Do you think it will be the same?

    Thanks in advance to any replys and sorry if there are any spelling errors.

    PEACE ON EARTH.
     
  2. dadodetres

    dadodetres

    Dec 19, 2004
    URUGUAY
    i never tryed one, but i understand the digitech whammy can do both, tracks well, and has an expresion peadal to do all the "slide" between the note and the octave (which can be very interesting in experimental/noise)
     
  3. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass

    Dec 26, 2004
    Playing in the upper octave with the octave down effect will give you a really smooth low end. But playing low with the octave up(depending on the pedal) can somtimes give a sitar-ish sound(which could make things interesting).

    Just my two cents.
     
  4. plasson

    plasson

    Mar 21, 2005
    Well... Actually, In my humble opinion, the Whammy doesn't track good, expecially if you are going to play fast bass lines.
    My advice is: take an octave down octaver and play on the upper frets: it will give you a fatter tone, and the high octave will be REAL (most octavers are not going to make your "octave up" sound realistic...).
     
  5. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    This is the issue.. Your question is a good and fundamental one, when it comes to this octave-doubling thing. I haven't seen this exact issue covered lately (for those who are thinking to reply "use a search") - that being 'what do I base my decisions on when deciding whether to play the high octave or the low'.

    I've been looking into this my self.

    Generally-speaking - the octave-downs convert your bass signal into a square wave, then use a digital circuit (treating it as though it were a 'clock pulse train') to divide the frequency down. Then they use filtering to make this 'clock pulse' sound 'more musical' again. In these there's essentially NO delay between your played note, and the 'new' octave-down sound (as there can be with other methods). The problem they can have is 'tracking', where the sound glitches-around, sometimes warbling between two different notes. It's pretty uncontrollable and bad-sounding when this happens, even from an 'experimental' perspective.

    Octave-up pedals - like the Octavia-type - use controlled ring-modulation, or some kind of modulating or 'hetrodyning' or whatever to come-up with an octave. These have much more organic sound, but not necessarily harmonically musical. These can have a delay between the original and the octave, but when this happens the octave will swell-up and develop over some short period - like less than a second.

    Downs, I gather, can work more reliably and consistantly over a wider range of notes. Ups, I think are tuned to work best over some range of notes - tracking best in the center of that range, and getting whippier as you move away. The thing-is, though - up-octavers at their worst still provide a freaky, somehow facinating tone; downs, on the other hand sound pretty just straight-up bad when they glitch.

    When it comes to double-stops (intentional OR accidental!), the 'down' that we've discussed will always rather unpredictably glitch when you put two notes at once into them; The 'ups' will produce freaky ring-mod like sounds that are repeatable - it may seem random or unpredictable at first, but when you play the same two notes, you get the same freaky, metallic overtones.

    The other predominant method for octaves, of course, is a pitch-transposer - which can give you any interval you want, and they can go up OR down, AND they do it completely polyphonically AAAND they never glitch or mis-track. The downside of these is a pretty definite delay between the original and the new note. Also - being oh-so polyphonic and digitally-perfect and all, they can sound pretty cheezy. They can make your bass sound like there's a cartoon-character playing along with you. They can also sound warbly - in the digital signal processor, it's actually transposing a little chunk at a time, and then splicing the pieces together; you can sometimes hear artifacts from this.

    I think that digital transposer method isn't really getting a fair chance. If there were a unit that let you filter the input or output of the transposer before it was mixed back in with the dry signal, many of their disadvantages would be much-diminished.

    ...THEN... There's the POG. I don't know what method they're using with those things - but they sound SO freakin' cool. I want one bad.

    Joe
     
  6. dadodetres

    dadodetres

    Dec 19, 2004
    URUGUAY

    you mean that theres a low pass filter roundering the wave?¿
     
  7. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yeah, that's what I assume would be a minimum.

    I would think that what accounts for most the differences in character between different models is the filtering profile in-place before the original wave is converted to binary pulses (to optimize tracking), and then after the pulses are divided (for voicing).

    In the case of the 'pre-filtering', the general signal processing rule is that the tighter you filter (in other words - the narrower of a band of freqs you let through), the less a comparator will glitch (they usually use a comparator circuit to go to pulses from a continuous wave). So if you're willing to have a down-octaver that only works for less than one octave, it would most likely track perfectly.

    The 'post-filtering' won't make a difference in tracking, it just adjusts the tone of the output. But where as with the pre-filtering you're pretty-much going for a bandpass with sharp cutoffs, with the post-filter a designer might want to use a radical EQ curve to get a certain desireable character to the tone.

    Joe
     
  8. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    Unless you use an analog octaver.
     
  9. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I am talking about an analog octaver, Man.

    Joe
     
  10. bass_drum

    bass_drum

    Feb 13, 2005
    Alberta,Canada
    If you have the money I'd suggest gettign a P.O.G., it can go both ways!:eek: :smug:

    But seriously, I have done quite alot of research with octave up pedals, and it looks like the P.O.G. sounds the most natural. Plus it has octave up, 2 octaves up , ( each has a "detuned" effwect aswell) and one octave down, so it will be the most versatile aswell.
     
  11. ArwinH

    ArwinH run rabbit run

    Dec 1, 2005
    Southern California
    I'd say get a P.O.G or an eight string, coursed, bass. I'd still ove to have a 12 string though, because to em that's just a beautiful sound, or the sound of a mack truck crashing through a wal of bricks...depending on what you're going for :bassist:
    A consideration you'll want to make though: if you find it important to utlilize open strings in your playing style and its hard to reprroduce with fretted notes I would suggest going for the octave up.
     
  12. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    I disagree.

    I do two handed tapping and chordal tapping and the Whammy tracks just fine.
     
  13. Tedintheshed

    Tedintheshed Banned

    Oct 8, 2004
    Columbus, Ohio
    Have you heard the Octron?
     
  14. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    I've got an Octron - It's really good.
     
  15. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Excellent - I've been wanting to talk with someone who has one of those --

    What I'm wondering has to do with the performance of the up-octave section. does it work well - I mean generate a nice, clear, fairly-distinct octave across the entire range of notes on the bass? Is there any range - highest or lowest notes - where it peters-out?

    I'm not really worried about the octave-down section so-much, as I practice pretty-disciplined muting, and use flatwounds, and use hard compression first in my signal chain. ..I assume there wouldn't be any issues with the down-section. You don't find it to be finnicky at all, do you?

    Got any clips??

    Thanks -

    Joe
     
  16. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    The octave up tracks all notes down to C on the B string. The octave down tracks all notes down to F# on the E string.

    It doesn't like double stops, but it doesn't make dischord when you do.

    The octave up has an internal switch whether you want Octvia sounds (fuzz octave) or clean. The clean is very clean, the Octavia sounds are cool if a bit lo-fi.

    I don't have any clips.
     
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Cooool!

    Thanks for getting back to me right away, Toast!

    I'm seriously thinking of signing-up for one...

    Joe
     
  18. spikez

    spikez

    Jun 26, 2005
    Hi there.
    Thanks for all the replys people. I´ve decided and I´m going for the P.O.G.. Althrough it may be some what expensive, I think it will give me more option, wich is good. Thank you again for helping me in this question people.

    PS to Ice Man : Tool forever and after.
     
  19. Toasted

    Toasted

    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    It took me about 3 months on the list to get it :)
     
  20. :eek: Dave told me it would take six to eight weeks.. That means i'm probably gonna have to wait for nine more weeks :(