Bass effects can be tricky: not all of them will sound the best with this instrument. For this reason, we’re pretty limited in our choices. You pick out something that doesn’t suit lower notes and your sound is ruined. But there are some that make the magic happen. They get on with bass like a house on fire and let you add versatility to your performance. One of those is definitely octave. It has to be utilized carefully, though – you go too low and you become inaudible, you go too high and you lose the low-end. One octave up or down is the optimal amount that will work in virtually all the cases. It depends on the pedal you use as well. If they are built for basses, the chances are they will track your notes pretty accurately. You won’t be disappointed especially if you invest in a bit more expensive unit. Today I’ll introduce EBS OctaBass Studio Edition. This stompbox is the recreation of the original which came out in 1992. The brand decided to update it according to the modern needs and improved couple of specs to deliver even better results. Its qualities are perfect for any type of bass guitar – you won’t have any problems with tracking with this one. If you are considering an octave pedal but haven’t made up your mind yet, this article might be of great help. Let’s begin!
EBS has always kept a leading position with bass effects. Their products tend to be perfect for this instrument and seem to accentuate all of its qualities. We’ve discussed their stompboxes in the past as well, but now we’re dealing with OctaBass. This puppy is capable of dividing octave with classic touches, while including some of the features that diversify its character quite a bit. The first feature I want to mention (because it’s the most significant one in my opinion) is that this pedal has wonderful tracking capabilities. It can easily recognize your notes and chords (be careful with the latter). The brand recommends playing higher on the fretboard for improved tracking, so keep this in mind just in case any problems occur.
OctaBass has analog circuitry which is the best thing that can happen to the octave. It suits this effect especially well and steeps it with unique character. To diversify the product, EBS have included three different modes that give you a lot of options. High offers sounds that resemble synthesizer, Mid delivers classic octave divider effect, while Low accentuates sub-octave character and makes your bass even more expressive. Altering between these three will allow you to change the essence of your tone quickly and even experiment with those alterations mid-performance. What’s more, OctaBass has a true bypass switching which keeps your tone intact. This puppy can be powered by a single 9V battery or an adapter. It comes in a sturdy and rugged enclosure and promises to last you through years of constant utilization. At this point, I think we’ll all agree that this stompbox is a wonderful option for bassists regardless of the genre you perform in.
No matter how simple the pedal is, octave is still quite difficult to operate. You should be careful with it not to ruin the body of your original signal. Imagine how confusing it would be if the stompbox itself was sophisticated too. That’s why we should appreciate that EBS OctaBass comes in a simplified package. If you haven’t played with this effect before, I highly suggest referring to the manual and starting out with the sample settings. This way you’ll have the chance to understand what octave does to your sound and act accordingly. After all, such effects force us to take smaller steps on the way to perfection.
Control panel isn’t overcrowded here. All we have are two knobs and a toggle. Normal sets the level of the original sound coming from your bass, while Octave does the same thing for the wet signal. Between these encoders you’ll encounter a toggle – it lets you choose either High, Mid or Low modes. Apart from these controls, we do also have a footswitch that enables you to activate or turn off the pedal with just a click. It’s pretty clear that OctaBass is a mere pleasure in terms of tweaking and offers us versatility in the shape of simplicity. What else could we ask for?
The original OctaBass was a real treat for bass guitars. Studio Version, while having additional specs in the circuit, still resembles its predecessor with its sonic quality. Generated effect is beautiful – in Mid mode you hear your bass but an octave lower. In High, you are left with synth-like sounds that thicken up your low-end. In Low, your bass will become so fat it will have to go on a diet. All of these modes are precise and clear – they alter the character of your sound completely without deteriorating its original body. As I have mentioned above, the best part about OctaBass is its tracking capabilities. No matter what you throw at it, it will still recreate your notes in the best way possible. EBS mentions that this pedal could be used with electric guitar as well, however, you might experience loss in high-end. After all, this puppy was designed for bass. Plus, we don’t have any tonal controls to make up for those cut-off trebles. That’s not a deal-breaker by any means. I don’t think you’ll be buying this unit for your electric guitar anyway.
To sum up everything said above, EBS OctaBass Studio Edition is one of the best pedals in the bass octave family. Its tracking will leave you surprised for days and force you to pick it up frequently. You’ll be reaching for this unit even if you don’t really need octave in that particular moment. That’s how captivating it is. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this pedal as much as I do. Good luck on your journey in the world of divided octaves!
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