Let’s be honest, octave is not one of those effects that are appreciated by everyone. It’s not a distortion or overdrive which are utilized by musicians of almost every genre and it’s not that easy to operate either. Though it was made popular by guitarists such as Hendrix and Page, it’s not as sought after as its siblings. Yet there are still people who use it frequently and let its qualities set their performance apart from the crowd. But this article is not just for those. My aim today is to introduce to you a pedal that can be a great option if you have never used the effect before. Due to its price, it can be a great starting point so that you know what you are dealing with and if you like it at all or not. Of course such a device could not be from a brand other than Boss. The build quality and reliable sounds have guaranteed them an eternal place in countless lists of the best effects pedals. Today we are going to single out their OC-3 – an octave stompbox that only knows how to go low. If you aren’t looking for high octave, then you are in the right place. Let’s begin and see what the virtues of this one are.
When it comes to the features of Boss pedals, more often than not we get a typical, traditional package with minor differences. Such pattern isn’t a bad thing by any means – you always know what to expect and don’t have second thoughts at checkout. OC-3 is featured in a durable chassis, just like all of its siblings. You could run it over with a truck, drop it from Eiffel Tower or dunk it in the hot oven – this thing will still work. Seriously, it can withstand any “normal” abuse with ease and will last you interminably (and be with you even in the afterlife). The design is the same as always – without anything extraordinary. More importantly, OC-3 offers two octave down sounds: it can go down 1 or 2 octaves, letting you achieve those bassy sounds. It has a separate input for bass so that you can utilize the effect with that instrument as well. It is equipped with a Direct Out that outputs only dry signal and gives you the ability to emit guitar and octave sounds separately. This pedal has polyphonic mode and though the tracking isn’t absolutely perfect, it’s more than great for such a small price. In other modes the input is monophonic so don’t force sophisticated chords on it. It can also produce distortion so that you can add some drive to either dry or octave sounds. OC-3 is a real gem in terms of sonic versatility, don’t you think so?
In order to supply this baby with power, you have two options: you can utilize a single 9V battery or avoid additional costs and stick to the adapter. Either way, this baby will perform wonderfully. As you can see, here Boss has mixed together simplicity and diversity, which is always the best combination one can have. Awesome!
The control section of OC-3 looks the same as on other units from Boss. You will see four knobs mounted in the top part of the pedal. They have different functions and some even might perform uniquely depending on the chosen mode. Though it’s not that difficult to grasp what is what, I think you should still pay attention to this part so that you won’t have any trouble playing it for the first time.
The first on the panel is Direct Level. It changes the volume of the original signal and lets you adjust it to your liking. Then comes Oct 1 Level which determines the volume of the sound that is an octave below compared to the input signal. Mode knob lets you choose between Poly (polyphonic), Oct 2 and Drive modes and changes the function of Control encoder. The latter has different duties depending on which mode is chosen. In Poly it modifies the range of the polyphonic octave (takes it from lower to higher as you turn the knob clockwise), in Oct 2 it adjusts the volume of the sound that is two octaves below than the original, while in Drive it adds girth to your signal and intensifies distortion as you rotate it clockwise.
Boss OC-3 is an updated version of its predecessor, OC-2. When you compare these two, you notice that the upgraded model has way more options to boast about. Its monophonic input is sensitive enough to track individual notes better than the older pedal, which is wonderful in my opinion. The polyphonic mode enables for the utilization of simple chords, though the tracking is not perfect and you might have some problems with more complicated ones. This means that OC-3 will respond well as long as you choose carefully what to feed into it. Drive mode adds extra character to the pedal as it mixes 1 octave down sounds with some girth. 2 octave down sounds fantastic, as it is rich in its essence and thickens up your tone quite well. The ability to plug this one with bass is amazing, as your notes will be recognized perfectly no matter how low you go. These added effects make OC-3 an even better bang for the buck as its versatility will keep you busy for hours on end.
To sum up everything said above, Boss OC-3 is a wonderful pedal if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option. It has outstanding build quality that is mixed with versatility of sound and great options to work with. This baby will not give up on you no matter what. Though it has some flaws, we cannot really complain considering the price of this one. Take a risk, experiment with OC-3 and who knows, maybe you will fall in love with octave all over again. Good luck!
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