I remember the first time I encountered Jim Dunlop and their MXR line. I was completely amazed – I had never seen anything like that before. The products I saw seemed too good to be true and I kept convincing myself that the specs I saw on the website wouldn’t translate in real life. However, I really wanted to test my theory, so I took a risk and ordered my first MXR pedal. My first memories are tangled, because I was experiencing many different emotions – all at the same time. As I plugged it in and twisted some knobs, I was instantly teleported to another universe – a universe where my sound was so much better. Since then I got intrigued to try out their stompboxes and, if we turn a blind eye on a couple of mishaps, I can proudly say that they haven’t disappointed me. When I started playing bass, I thought I wouldn’t be able to find suitable effects. That’s when I rediscovered MXR – to be more precise, I fell in love with them all over again. Their bass line is out of this world. Today we’re going to discuss M288 Bass Octave Deluxe. It offers way more than I expected and delivers top-notch performance. If you want to invest in a reliable octave tool that you’ll utilize frequently, then this one’s for you. Let’s begin and dig into the details!
If you have played with MXR pedals before, you should already know that they have never been shy with their feature package. They always include little details that set their products apart from the competition and let us explore even more than we thought we would. M288 Bass Octave Deluxe is just like that. At first glance, it doesn’t look like a pedal that will deliver anything extraordinary. But a closer look reveals the real beast that’s hidden under the surface (both literally and figuratively). Before moving to the juicy properties, I want to mention how funky and edgy this puppy looks. Its metal enclosure is covered in sparkling blue color that will stand out even on the most colorful pedalboard. After all, its body shows off the inner virtues. This is the case when we are allowed to judge a book by its cover!
Bass Octave Deluxe is an analog pedal that is equipped with two different octave circuits. You can access these voicings via individual controls, which means you can switch between the two in little to no time. What’s more, this stompbox showcases one of the biggest virtues of the brand – Constant Headroom Technology (CHT). This means that you’ll be able to extend the headroom up to 18V even with a 9V battery and play with clean sounds as much as you desire. You can also add up to +14dB of boost to your signal and amplify its character even more. True hardwire bypass is just a cherry on top that completes the package. Oh, I almost forgot, you can also use an adapter if batteries are inconvenient for you. It goes without saying that Bass Octave Deluxe is a wonderful pedal that delivers versatility in a durable chassis and motivates your creativity to submerge your subconscious with ideas.
Precision and accuracy are the two qualities I appreciate the most in effects pedals (and not only). Without these two it’s always hard to translate your ideas into actual music. Imagine you have melody in your mind but can’t create it because you don’t have enough controls! What a tragedy! Have I scared you? Don’t worry, I didn’t have that issue with Bass Octave Deluxe. On the contrary, it gave me everything I needed with its internal and external controls.
The first thing I want to mention is Mid + button, which adds up to +14dB of boost to your midrange. The scope of its operation can be adjusted with inner controls. As you open up the chassis you’ll see a small slider and a pot: the former changes the frequency range to which the boost is added (either 850Hz or 400Hz), while the latter adjusts the amount of boost (from +4dB to +14dB). Let’s come back to the surface and discuss the rest of controls. Dry determines the volume of your original signal, Growl attenuates or amplifies midrange sub-octave, while Girth manages the level of deeper and smoother sub-octave. That’s it.
I can’t even articulate what’s waiting for you in terms of sound once you plug in Bass Octave Deluxe and start exploring its capabilities. It only takes some rudimental adjustments to start hearing wonderful sounds. Your bass starts to sound open and deep even at subtle settings. As you crank the knobs, you start to notice that you’re slowly drowning in funky madness. Girth and Growl are independent controls for two available voicings, which is really convenient. You can choose their exact amount and use the one or the other whenever you feel like it. Girth is in charge of deep, smooth and saturated sub-octave, while Growl yields an effect that is concentrated on mid-range. The ability to add as much boost to the midrange as you want is a wonderful thing, too – this way you can bring back all those frequencies that might have gotten lost in the process. If you hear that your bass is starting to get a bit flat, you’ll hit the button and everything will fall into its place. Bass Octave Deluxe isn’t forgiving – its faultless tracking will reproduce every mistake you make so be careful with your fingers. Once you perfect your technique, you’ll appreciate the precision of its response a great deal.
All in all, I don’t even have any major complaints about MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe. I’m still restraining myself from saying that it’s perfect, but it’s really close to that adjective. It offers faultless operation and the quality that can’t be encountered frequently. If octave is your beloved effect and you want something that won’t betray you, this is the one. Your bass will thank you if you go for Bass Octave Deluxe. Good luck!
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