In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: February 05, 2021
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Octave pedals can allow you to layer rich, bright tones or deep bass sounds into your guitar, bass and even keyboard signal. While these effects have a somewhat limited set of uses, they can make all the difference to your sound when you really want to stand out.
In order to help you find the best octaver pedal for you, we reviewed dozens of the most popular pedals on the market today. Through that, we found the Electro-Harmonix Micro POG Polyphonic Octave Generator. This impressive octave pedal offers extremely fast and accurate tracking, as well as precise controls for the sound effect you want to create. On top of that, we found nine other octave pedals, highlighted in the table below, that we think are great options for improving your sound.
When considering which pedals deserve our attention, we looked at a number of different features. First, we looked at whether each octave pedal is designed for guitar, bass, keyboard, or a combination of the three. We also took into account the octave range and the controls that the pedals provide for adapting your sound. Finally, we checked whether the pedals include the adapters to give you a steady power supply. We spent tens of hours researching products, and you can find our detailed reviews of the ten best octaver pedals below. We also have a buying guide to help you determine what features you need in your octave pedal.
"Every bass guitarist will adore this pedal because of mid-range boost and various controls, which can significantly change your sound. The voices of this unit are independent, and it has true bypass."
"Sometimes you don’t have that much free space available and searching for something smaller. With this compact-sized pedal, you will have 11 different octave effect modes and knobs for independent voices."
This polyphonic octave pedal for guitars is simple but extremely effective. It’s popular among musicians and our editor’s choice thanks to extremely fast tracking. With this pedal, you don’t have to worry about mismatch between what you’re playing right now and what effect the pedal is creating.
The pedal is controlled with just three knobs. The sub-octave knob allows you to control how loud the voice of one octave below your input sound is, while the octave up knob controls the volume of the higher octave effect. So, you have the option to play both higher and lower octaves simultaneously with this pedal. A dry knob controls the volume of the input signal.
The only downside that users found to this pedal is that it has a loud click when you first turn it on. This can be problematic if you want to flip the octave effect on in the middle of a song, so you’ll want to use the dry knob to control it while playing.
This wonderful octaver guitar pedal has a ton of functionality for you to create advanced sound effects. To start, you can choose to modify your sound by going up octaves, down octaves, or both simultaneously. On top of that, guitarists loved that this pedal allows you to create octave effects that are up or down three octaves from your input sound.
Unfortunately, you can’t control the volume of the individual up and down effects. But, a blend dial allows you to precisely determine how much octave effect you want to mix into your guitar’s natural sound.
Even better, an expression pedal input on this pedal allows you to create some very intricate effects. For example, you can use an expression pedal to generate pitch shifts or glissando effects. The Latch switch further modulates the expression pedal input, so the options are truly unlimited.
The only complaint that users had about this pedal was that the sound could be a little muddied when using it with overdrive in your effects panel. But, they noted that this was a minor issue and hardly noticeable in most rock and metal songs.
What we liked:
Advanced pitch control
Compatible with expression pedal
Up or down up to three octaves
Comes with power adapter
What could be better:
No volume controls for simultaneous up and down effects
This digital octaver pedal from TC Electronic is extremely versatile. It’s one of the few pedals that we reviewed that can be used not only for guitar but also for bass and keyboard as well. Plus, it features a true bypass switch that musicians, who can hear every off tone, absolutely loved.
The Sub ‘N’ Up pedal features a relatively simple set of controls. You can switch between mono and polyphony modes using a basic switch. While the polyphony function gives you a lot more fidelity, the mono mode mimics the classic sound of old-school octaver pedals. Either way, you’ll get extremely fast tracking with this pedal.
This pedal is especially suited for bass guitars because it features a second sub-octave that can be controlled separately from the first octave down. But, users note that you’ll need to be careful not to blow out smaller amps when turning up the Sub 2 volume – a testament to how low and booming the -2 octave effect on this pedal truly is. Also, some users found the TonePrint app very glitchy and frustrating.
What we liked:
Works with guitar, bass, and keyboards
Simple knob controls
True bypass switch
Polyphony or mono switch
What could be better:
TonePrint digital app can be glitchy
Must be careful with Sub 2 volume in pair with smaller amps
This octaver pedal from BOSS is designed for dropping the frequency of your guitar or bass while also providing stable sounds. Importantly, unlike most of the other pedals we reviewed, it doesn’t go both up and down – instead, you can only go down one or two octaves with this pedal.
Users loved this pedal because it has a built-in drive mode, which allows you to create some very fat and aggressive-sounding effects in the lower registers. The drive mode is only available for the first octave down, but a control dial gives you precise control over exactly how your drive effect sounds.
Unfortunately, some customers weren’t satisfied with the lack of true bypass switch. This wasn’t a deal-breaker for many guitarists and bassists, but it’s something important to watch out for.
It’s also worth noting that this pedal comes with a five-year warranty. For the relatively modest price, that’s a huge plus that ensures you’ll have this pedal for years to come.
What we liked:
Compatible with guitar and bass
Includes built-in drive mode
Comes with five-year warranty
Octave effect can be adjusted within a specific note range
This octave pedal from EarthQuaker Devices is as simple as it gets. Simply plug your guitar or bass in and hit the on the switch to start tracking with a +1 octave effect. The only control to worry about on this pedal is a switch for standard or momentary operation. Beyond that, the pedal is either on or off.
That’s great for beginners, but the lack of a wet/dry control can sometimes be frustrating. Still, users loved the tracking on this pedal and found that the octave effect it does make is generally very clean, especially when used for single notes. The pedal can handle chords, but the effect starts to break down in quality slightly.
Unfortunately, this pedal doesn’t come with an adapter, so you’ll need to pay extra for that. But, the simple design also means that you’ll get more life out of a nine-volt battery than for most other octaver pedals.
This octave pedal from MXR is specifically designed for bass guitars. While it’s only capable of dropping one octave, users loved the organic analog sound and the control that they have over it. A “girth” knob controls the fatness of the octave effect, while a “growl” knob allows you to add a deep, static edge to your effect. For achieving a unique bass sound, these controls are perfect.
Users also liked that this pedal has a mid-range boost, which stops your sound from being overtaken by the -1 octave effect. The dry knob also has a nice range so you can really dial in your effect.
The only downside to this pedal is that the tracking isn’t 100% perfect. But, users found that this can be mostly alleviated by ensuring that the pedal is at the front of your effects panel. With that setup, many bass players report keeping this pedal activated with the settings on low throughout entire gigs.
This pedal from DigiTech combines octave and whammy effects to give you a ton of control over your sound. The octave effect can be applied in seven half-steps, up to ±3.5 octaves, or you can jump one full octave at a time. Users noted that figuring out how to combine all of the controls on this pedal can take some time, especially since you have the depth of your effect and tone shifts.
It includes multiple footswitches for different effects and a momentary footswitch for some tricks, which is rare for many other models. With that, you can create hammer-on and pull-off effects for your octave jumps or whammy effects. The pedal is made from durable metal, and users felt that it was solid enough to stomp on without being afraid of breaking it.
Users also liked that this pedal comes with a true bypass switch. However, they did have some complaints about the tracking with this pedal, which really suffered when playing chords.
This versatile and high-quality digital octaver pedal from Donner is a great option for guitarists and bassists. This durable and compact pedal is capable of creating octave effects in semitones up to ±7 (3.5 octaves), or you can switch up or down one or two octaves directly.
The sharp/detune/flat switch on the top of the pedal can be confusing, and users weren’t quite sure what to make of this effect. Ultimately, the consensus seemed to be that the sharp effect is best for guitars, while the flat effect is best for bass. However, most musicians left this switch in the same position and simply adjusted their effect using the wet and dry control knobs.
Aside from that, users were happy with the true bypass in this pedal. They also found that the tracking was surprisingly good, given the budget-friendly price of this small-sized pedal. However, some guitarists felt that the octave effect wasn’t fat enough and left something to be desired, even when the wet knob was fully activated. Overall, it is a great investment for those effects.
This inexpensive pedal from Joyo combines an octave effect with the distortion. The cut-rate price shows that you can only go up one octave with this pedal, which somewhat limits its usability.
But, users were pretty happy with the controls on this pedal. A mid-cut switch allows you to modulate the frequency of the octave effect, and a tone control knob gives you a lot of adjustability in how your octave-up effect sounds. As far as the distortion effect goes, musicians noted that you get what you pay for – it really is better described as “fuzz” rather than true distortion. But, it’s a nice effect to have on your panel without adding another pedal.
The pedal also has a true bypass control, which is important because users noted that the sound is still extremely fuzzy even when the fuzz dial is turned all the way down. The downside is that this means that you can’t really separate your octave effect from the fuzz effect.
This affordable octaver pedal from Mooer is a great choice if you’re on a tight budget or don’t have much space on your effects panel. The pedal is extremely flexible, although users noted that Mooer could have done a better job designing the controls. You have 11 different octave effect modes to choose from, each one combining a different number of octaves up and octaves down.
You can customize your effect sound using the sub and up knobs. But, these are really small knobs, so you’ll need to be careful when trying to make tiny adjustments. It’s easy to twist the knobs too much and go overboard. Unfortunately, the dry mix knob is just as small and suffers from the same issue.
That problem aside, though, users were very happy with the tracking on this pedal for it’s price. It also comes with a true bypass switch, which is a nice addition to ensuring your sound stays clean when you don’t want an octave effect.
What we liked:
Low price tag
11 different octave effect modes
True bypass switch
What could be better:
Control knobs are extremely small
Mode dial is confusing and could be better designed
Things to Consider
Now that you’ve learned more about our ten favorite octaver pedals on the market today, how do you choose between them to get the one that’s right for you? In our buying guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about octave pedals – from how they work to the features you need to know about in order to make sure you’re picking the right pedal for your music style.
Choosing the best octaver pedal
With so many options on the market, finding the octaver pedal that will give you the sound effects and controls you want can be difficult. Here, we’ll walk you through some of the most important things you need to consider in order to ensure you’re getting the best pedal for your needs.
Octaver pedals can be used for guitar, bass, or keyboard. But, not every pedal is made to work with all three of these instruments. If you play the guitar, you’ll have your a pretty wide variety of octave pedals to pick, since guitarists tend to use these pedals more frequently. If you play the bass or keyboard, your options will be a lot more limited. Still, there are good options for you – like the MXR and BOSS OC-3 pedals for bass or the TC Electronics pedal for all those three instruments, including the keyboard.
Analog vs. digital pedals
Recently, all octaver pedals were analog. But advances in digital sound technology means that digital pedals have become more popular in our days. So which is right for you?
Digital pedals offer the possibility to track multiple frequencies, which allows them to be much more faithful in reproducing your underlying sound along with the effect. Analog pedals, on the other hand, operate in just a single frequency.
In many cases, the tracking on digital pedals is often much faster and more reliable than on analog pedals. But, not every digital pedal can emulate the warm effect sound of a true analog pedal.
If you do opt for a digital octaver pedal, you can look for one that is programmable with custom settings – like the USB-connectable TC Electronic Sub ‘N’ Up pedal.
Mono vs. polyphonic pedals
One of the most important differences among octaver pedals is if they are monophonic or polyphonic. This difference boils down to whether your pedal can create octave effects for chords, or whether it can only create an effect for a single note at a time.
Monophonic pedals can be a great choice for bass guitars, which focus more on single notes than on chords. But, if you’re looking for a pedal for a guitar or keyboard, you’ll probably want the ability to add octave effects on top of a multi-note chord.
Octave pedals can have one or multiple different effects. Some pedals, like the MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe, are designed only to bring your sound down by an octave or more. Others, like the Joyo JF-12 pedal, only bring your sound up by an octave. Most of the pedals we reviewed, though, are capable of going either up or down an octave depending on your needs.
There is a lot more to octaver pedals than just how many octaves they can go up or down.
Ideally, your octaver pedal will have a volume knob for each sound that it layers on top of the input signal, allowing to control the mix of your effects precisely.
Being able to switch between dry, unprocessed sound, and wet, effect-mixed sound, is also important. With a wet knob, you can precisely control how much of the octave effect comes through in the output sound, regardless of volume.
Many of the octaver pedals we reviewed include a true bypass so that you won’t experience any interference when the octave effect is switched off.
On top of that, look for features like the ability to switch between monophonic and polyphonic effects. This can be helpful if you only want to create an octave effect for a single note even when playing chords. Finally, many octaver pedals include additional switches and controls, such as for distortion and growl – these can be a big help if you want to layer additional sound effects onto your octave effect.
One of the most important things to look for in any octaver effects pedal is fast tracking. Tracking refers to how fast the pedal can process the sound signal coming from your guitar, bass, or keyboard. In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be any latency between the input signal and the octave effect – but in reality, every octave pedal has a small amount of latency. It drastically influences what styles and songs you can play.
The best way to identify if an octave pedal has minimal signal latency is to check reviews from experienced musicians.
This isn’t a huge deal, but the power supply does matter. Batteries are portable and convenient, but they also don’t last very long when using your octaver pedal heavily. Adapters ensure that you have steady power, but they also mean that you’ll need to deal with wires and potentially extension cords at gigs.
If you opt for a pedal that can take either batteries or a corded adapter, check to see whether the adapter comes included with the price of your pedal.
Most likely, your pedal will sit on your effects panel. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be easy to break. Octaver pedals should feature aluminum or steel casing to protect the interior wiring, especially if you’ll be transporting your pedal to and from gigs with any frequency. It’s also important to make sure that the knobs are durable since loose knobs can ruin your gigs and any other performances.
Unfortunately, many octaver pedals don’t come with warranties to protect your device. But a few models, like the pedals from Mooer MOC1 and BOSS OC-3, give you a year or more of protection against damage and defects.
Octaver pedals vary quite a bit in price depending on the quality of the device and what you need. On the high end, you’ll find options like our editor’s choice pedal, the Electro-Harmonix Micro POG Polyphonic Octave Generator, that cost just over $200. Medium-tier pedals, like the BOSS OC-3 and TC Electronic Sub ‘N’ Up, are significantly cheaper but still pricey – these units price tags are between $100 and $125. If you’re on a tight budget, there are several decent octaver pedal options that cost less than $50. For example, check out the Donner pedal that costs $45 or the Joyo JF-12 octaver, which is sold for $40.
Octaver pedals are typically placed at the front of your effects in a signal chain. But in this case, “the front” means the front of the true effects devices. If you are using a volume pedal or tuner, you’ll place the octaver pedal behind those. The reason for this placement is that having your octaver pedal early in the signal chain reduces latency and ensures you get the most responsive effect for chords.
No, the size of your octaver pedal doesn’t determine its reliability. When it comes to reliability, the main things to consider are the quality of the unit (which is usually reflected in the price) and whether it offers fast tracking or not. Keep in mind that the age of your pedal and how you use it will also determine reliability over the long term. If you plan on taking the pedal with you for live performances, make sure you choose a unit with durable construction. Ideally, the pedal casing should be made of aluminum or steel, and the knobs shouldn’t be loose.
Unfortunately, guitar-specific octaver pedals don’t really work well for bass guitars. That’s because the abilities of octave pedals are limited, particularly in terms of whether they can go up or down one or more octaves. If you need an octave effect for bass, it’s best to look for a bass-specific octaver pedals like the MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe pedal. There are also a few more versatile models of octaver pedals that we have already mentioned before.
The Sub ‘N’ Up is an extremely versatile digital pedal that’s also quite easy to use. It works for guitar, bass, and keyboard, and users loved that you can change sounds just by switching between mono and polyphony modes. The Sub 2 control is also a big plus, although you’ll want to make sure you have a bass amp before cranking that knob.
The Pitch Fork octaver pedal is one of the most advanced pedals we’ve seen. It gives you multiple pitch shift modes and the ability to make up and down octave effects simultaneously. It is also compatible with the expression pedal and offers the Latch switch to further modulate your effects from that pedal.
We feel the Micro POG is the overall best octaver pedal on the market today because of its incredibly fast tracking and simple controls. This wonderful octaver pedal is really effective. The knobs allow you to control your up and down octave voices independently, and precise polyphony tracking ensures that your effect is always matched to what you’re playing at that moment.