Octave pedals are seen quite frequently nowadays, and what’s good is that they are constantly being improved on in terms of functionality and design. Whether you’re new to octave effects pedals, or an experienced musician looking to buy a new one, we are sure you’ll find this guide extremely helpful. We will be checking out the best and most talked-about bass octave pedals, and give you some insight on what to expect from each of them. Additionally, we will also be providing our number 1 pick for the best bass octave pedal out there right now!
BOSS OC-3 DUAL SUPER OCTAVE
- World’s first compact pedal with true Polyphonic Octave effects
- New Drive mode adds distortion to octave notes for a fatter, more aggressive tone
- Includes the original OC-2 mode, capable of producing notes one and two octaves down
- Poly Octave effect adjustable to play within a specific note range
- Bass input for adapting octave sound to bass guitars
- BOSS five-year limited warranty
At the top of our list sits the Boss OC-3 Dual Super Octave Pedal, which I’m sure this doesn’t come as much of a surprise to any experienced octave users out there.
The OC-3 weighs in at a mere 440g (incl. battery), and not only works with bass guitar, but electric guitar too. The unit features two separate 1/4″ jack inputs for each of these instruments which are labelled as GUITAR IN and BASS IN.
The layout of the pedal is very simple and sleek. The dimensions of the unit come in at 73 (W) x 129 (D) x 59 (H) mm. The standard Boss layout of the OC-3 gives you access to four different tone knobs, which we have detailed below for you to become familiar with:
DIRECT LEVEL knob
Controls the volume of the guitars signal. If you want to hear just the octave, then set the DIRECT LEVEL knob all the way down.
OCT 1 LEVEL (-1 octave level) knob
Controls the volume of the first octave. This is the one that is 1 octave below your original sound.
Changes depending on the mode set by the MODE knob.
RANGE: This functions as a RANGE knob when the MODE knob is set to POLY. This adjusts the range in which the octave effect is applied. The effect extends into higher frequencies as the knob is turned to the right; turning the knob to the left limits the effect to lower frequencies.
OCT (-2 Octave Level): This functions as a OCT2 knob when the MODE knob is set to OCT2. This adjusts the level of the sound two octaves below the original. The volume of the sound two octaves down increases as the knob is turned to the right.
DRIVE: This functions as a DRIVE knob when the MODE knob is set to DRIVE. This adjusts the amount of distortion in the sound. Turning the knob to the right intensifies the distortion.
Switches the octave effect.
POLY (Polyphonic): Enables polyphonic input. This mode creates a more stable octave sound than available in other modes.
OCT2 (OC-2 Compatible): In addition to providing sounds one octave below the original input, this also allows you to output sounds lowered by two octaves.
DRIVE: Adds distortion to the direct sound and octave sound
The POLY (Polyphonic) function allows the OC-3 to process chords. Funnily enough, this was the first pedal of its kind to allow this to occur. The OC-3 definitely set the benchmark for other octave pedals when it was first released.
With the OC-3 you also have the ability to add distortion to your octave notes using the pedal’s new drive mode. Furthermore, Boss have also gone and included their original OC-2 mode found on their previous model, which is a great feature to keep on the OC-3.
It should be noted that the OC-3 only produces notes that one or two octaves down from your original sound, and not up. The Poly mode attempts to redeem this feature by providing you with a sweet blend of both of the lower octaves to use instead.
Like any other Boss product the durability of the OC-3 is nothing to laugh at. The unit is built to the exact same standards of durability we’ve seen out of every other Boss pedal. We can tell you now that the pedal feels very sturdy, solid, and is most certainly built-to-last.
MXR M288 BASS OCTAVE DELUXE
- Constant headroom Technology (CHT) for exceptional headroom and tracking
- True bypass
- Organic analog tone
- Two independent octave voices
- Mid+ switch adds a midrange boost at user selected frequency
- Lightweight and durable aluminum housing
- Small footprint
Coming in at second place on our Best Bass Octave Pedal list sits the MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe.
The MXR M288 is a dual-voice octave pedal that offers a variety of options including: true bypass, analog tone, and multiple ways to shape your tone.
This dark blue stompbox is actually quite light (weighing in at only200g), and features a sturdy solid aluminium enclosure. The unit has 3 controls knobs (Grown, Dry, Girth), and a single toggle-switch (Mid+).
Controls the throaty, midrange octave-below tone mix
Controls the mix of your direct bass signal with the octave effect
Controls the deep and smooth octave below mix
Adds up to +14dB of internally adjustable low-mid punch (400Hz) or midrange pop (850Hz)
Toggles effect on/bypass
The unit can be powered using just a single 9-volt battery, which can be accessed by removing the bottom plate of the pedal. The patented Constant Headroom Technology (CHT) gives you studio-performance headroom. Additionally, this also provides you with better tracking.
ELECTRO HARMONIX MICRO POG POLYPHONIC OCTAVE GENERATOR
- Polyphonic super fast tracking: play chords, arpeggios or single notes with no glitches
- Adjustable volume for original pitch, one octave up, and one octave down
- Dry output jack in addition to the effect output jack
- Tough and compact die-cast chassis
- 96DC-200BI power supply included
The Micro POG (Polyphonic Octave Generator) is an ingenious piece of equipment that takes everything you loved about the original POG released in 2005, and places it in a more simplistic and miniaturised form. Thankfully the Micro POG is still able to provide the same flawless tracking and smooth polyphony of its predecessor, which makes it an easy contender for one of the best bass octave pedals out there right now.
Each of the three control knobs of the Micro POG are detailed below for your convenience:
Controls the output volume of the DRY signal. The DRY signal is the signal present at the INPUT jack. As this knob is turned clockwise, the volume of the DRY signal will increase.
SUB OCTAVE knob
Controls the output volume of the SUB OCTAVE signal. The SUB OCTAVE signal is one octave below the original input signal, half the frequency of the input signal. As this knob is rotated clockwise, the volume of the SUB OCTAVE signal will increase.
OCTAVE UP knob
Controls the output volume of the OCTAVE UP signal. The UP OCTAVE signal is one octave above the original input signal or twice the frequency of the original input signal. The volume of the UP OCTAVE signal will increase as this knob is rotated clockwise.
With the Micro POG you have the option of either going an octave up, or an octave down. Additionally, the pedal allows you to blend in your guitar signal with the utmost of ease. It’s really easy to adjust the unit’s control knobs make your bass guitar emulate an organ, and also some other truly unique sounds found only with the Micro POG.
The original POG has been incredibly successful over the years, and has been used on many different recordings. If you take a listen you can hear it being used by The White Stripes in many different instances on their albums.
As mentioned previously, the Micro POG is a miniaturised version of the original. This means that the pedal will fit much easier onto your pedalboard due to its small diecast housing. The unit does not take batteries and must be powered using the 9.6VDC/200mA AC adapter that is included with the product.
ELECTRO-HARMONIX OCTAVE MULTIPLEXER
- Generates deep, fat bass tones one octave below the notes you play
- Two separate smoothing filters enable you to tailor your sub-octave signal to the exact bass sound you desire
- Monophonic device that works only on single notes
- 9V Battery included (EHX 96DC power supply optional)
Electro-Harmonix makes a second appearance on our list of the best bass octave pedals with their Octave Multiplexer.
The sound created by the Octave Multiplexer has been around since the seventies, and allows you to produce a variety of warm analog tones that are one octave below your input signal. The sub-octave can be crafted to sound like a massive dub bass line, or fine-tuned to fatten up your riffs or solos.
It should be mentioned that the Octave Multiplexer is a monophonic device, which means that you should stick to only playing single notes at once when using it. If you do attempt to experiment a little though, you can create some awesome sounding hiccups that may sound just as good or even better because of it!
HIGH FILTER knob
Adjusts a filter that will shape the tone of the suboctave’s higher order harmonics. Turning the HIGH FILTER knob clockwise will make the sub-octave sound more gnarly and fuzzy.
BASS FILTER knob
Adjusts a filter that will shape the tone of the suboctave’s fundamental and lower order harmonics. Turning the BASS FILTER knob counter-clockwise will make the sub-octave sound deeper and bassier.PLEASE NOTE: the BASS FILTER knob is only active when the SUB switch isset to ON.
SUB Switch knob
Switches the Bass Filter in and out. When SUB is set to ON the Bass Filter and its corresponding knob are activated. When the SUB switch is set to OFF, only the High Filter is active. Turning the SUB switch on gives the sub-octave a deeper, bassier sound.
This is a wet/dry knob. Counter-clockwise is 100% dry. Clockwise is 100% wet.
This iteration of the Octave Multiplexer has been placed in a smaller diecast enclosure, but stays true to the original circuit seen in the past. It also features true bypass, so you can be sure that your original tone will remain untouched.
MOOER MOC1 PURE OCTAVE
- Precise polyphonic octave effects with no distorted sound (11 different octave modes)
- Full metal housing
- Very small and compact design
- True bypass switch
Finishing off our list is the one-and-only Pure Octave brought to you by the guys over at Mooer.
The unit is incredibly small, sizing in at only 42 (W) x 93.55 (D) x 52 (H) mm, and weighing a mere 160g. There is no doubt in my mind that you will have no problem storing this pedal away, or finding room for it on your pedalboard.
There are three different control knobs associated with the Pure Octave pedal. These are labelled DRY, SUB, and UPPER.
Adjusts the level of SUB part signal.
Adjusts the level of UPPER part signal.
Switch between 11 octave modes.
The Pure Octave gives you a tonne of options to style your tone using the primary MODE knob. This knob allows you to switch freely between 11 different octave modes as listed below.
-1 OCT & -2 OCT
-1 OCT & -2 OCT
+1 OCT & +2 OCT
+1 OCT & +2 OCT
-1 OCT & -2 OCT
+1 OCT & +2 OCT
I find this pedal to be extremely fun to experiment with. It allows you to produce some really awesome sounds. Although, this comes at a small cost. The pedal can only handle 2 to 3 notes being played at the same time, or it causes the octave sounds to shift out of tune.
The Mooer Pure Octave is a great purchase for those on a budget, but if you are looking for a bass octave pedal that provides you with more flexibility and options, then I would recommend one of the other pedals mentioned on this list.
WHAT IS A BASS OCTAVE PEDAL?
Bass octave pedals are ‘octavers’ that are able to generate a tone that is one octave below the note you are playing. In addition, some of these pedals are also able to produce a tone that is an octave above, or even two octaves below the note you are playing.
Traditional octave pedals are monophonic, which means you can only play one note at a time while using it.
Up until recently all octave pedals were analog, but due to advancements in technology we now have access to digital ones. These digital pedals have several advantages, such as being able to track the notes you play more efficiently. One example of a digital pedal would be the Boss OC-3, which is able to process chords and not just the single notes you are playing.
WHAT DOES A BASS OCTAVE PEDAL DO?
As mentioned previously, bass octave pedals are used to create a sound that is an octave above or below whatever you’re playing.
What these octave pedals do exactly is they mix the input signal of your bass with a synthesised signal whose tone is lowered or raised an octave higher than the original. The synthesised signal is derived from the original input signal by having its frequency halved (octave-down) or doubled (octave-up).
Octave pedals don’t instantly give you a great sound, they take some time to configure properly.
When you think of a standard octave pedal something like the Boss OC-2 might come to mind. They are one of the more popular octave pedals owned and used by musicians over the years.
WHEN TO USE A BASS OCTAVE PEDAL
Bass octave pedals are extremely useful if you’re trying to make your sound bigger. They can help add some meat and complexity to your sound by giving it that much needed oomph.
I wouldn’t say bass octave pedals are completely necessary for you to keep in your effects chain, but they are still a great tool to have to make you stand out from the crowd. They are also particularly useful for solos too.
Well that wraps up our article on the best bass octave pedals around right now. We hope you have found this list informative, and have gained some knowledge into the best octave pedals that are available for your bass guitar right now.
We would like to know your opinion on our best bass octave pedal list! Do you agree with our top pick? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Alex is a man of many talents. He’s been playing music since he was young, and has been the main content writer at Tone Start for the past few years. Alex loves to play around with different styles of music and enjoys listening to anything from country to classical.