Octavers,,,,,,why are outboard types inferior?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bassix, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. bassix


    May 1, 2000
    Denver, Colorado
    It's been my experience that any octave pedal such as the Boss OC-2 (or 3), EBS Octabass, or any others I've tried don't track well and just don't sound good in general. It's certainly possible there is a 'trick' to using one I haven't yet discovered, but so far I haven't had much luck.

    On the other hand the onboard units built into both the Ashdown and Behringer heads tracks beautifully and sounds very, very good. I can't imagine that the built-in units are technically far superior. If that was the case, one would think that the designers would simply put the same circuit in a pedal and sell the heck out of it!

    Since listening to the way Marcus uses his octave pedal (yes, I know it's either a Boss or an EBS) I've wanted to add one for similar effect. However, they always sound distored and track badly. On the other hand, I did a gig this weekend where a Behringer bass amp was supplied and I was astounded at how good the octave circuit sounded. No distortion, near perfect tracking. Has anyone had the same experience I have? If so, does anyone know why? Am I missing something?
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    Is your bass active or passive? Some passive basses don't have the necessary output level to fully trigger an octaver, so a preamp and/or compressor before the octaver can help there.
  3. Hipnotic


    Feb 26, 2002
    CT/NY U.S.A.
    Hey bassix, I have wondered the same thing. I have a Boss OC-2 and it doesn't track well at all. It's pretty lousy with a guitar also. In the Incubus "Alive at Red Rocks" DVD it sounds like Ben Kenney has a great octave effect on a few tunes. I wonder what he is using?

  4. +10,000,000

    Octavers work by converting the fundimental waveform of your bass to a digital on/off and then halving the frequency, and then converting it back to a quasi-sinewave and mixing it back into your original signal. If you're not sending the octaver an adequate, consistant signal then the thing won't track correct AND the converted waveform will not be consistant (end result sounding a little "hazy").
  5. bassix


    May 1, 2000
    Denver, Colorado
    My point as previously stated, is that I've never been able to get a decent sound out of ANY outboard octave pedal; active or passive basses. This has been my experience playing many different pedals over the years with many different instruments. In my case it's not instrument specific.

    What IS different is where the effect is located. When I've used onboard octavers in Ashdown and Behringer amps they track perfectly.
  6. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    ok, I'm not sure if you meant to, but you come across as slightly snippy here. Your profile has no information in it whatsoever, so I have no idea how long you've been playing, what gear you own etc, what you've owned etc etc.
    And I have had no issues with many outboard octavers - dod octaplus, ebs octabass, deep impact, digitech bass synth wah. Which is why I was trying to narrow down your problem to a potential output level issue.

    Could you expand about what you mean when you say "just don't sound good"?
  7. rhett


    Dec 23, 2004
    Austin TX
    tried a peavey kosmos (or equilvalent)?
    rack only, a bit expensive for an octaver, but tracks perfectly and good tone. if i felt that using that effect were an integral part of my sound, i would use mine religiously.
  8. You want something that tracks well and tracks CHORDS?

    Try an Electro Harmonix POG.
  9. bassix


    May 1, 2000
    Denver, Colorado
    Didn't mean to sound snippy. I'll try to update my profile if I can figure out how to do it.

    What I mean by "just don't sound good" is that they all track poorly and have lots of glitches and distortion. HOWEVER, when I've played through the afore mentioned Ash and Behr heads, they sound great.
  10. The trick with octavers is using the neck pickup (if available) with the tone knob rolled a bit off. Tracking increases a lot.

    Also using a compressor before it helps the tracking.
  11. bassix


    May 1, 2000
    Denver, Colorado
    Thanks man. This is the kind of help I'm looking for.
  12. This won`t improve tracking but anyway...I found that compressor after octaver can improve the sound too. It`s hard to explain but it some how sounds more aggressive and has more sustain.

    Neck pickup is octavers best friend and my EBS tracks much better when I play with little bit softer touch than usually.
  13. Bassosaurus


    Aug 27, 2005
  14. prockenklang


    May 22, 2003
    I have a couple of Eventide Eclipse harmonizers that track right on the money!