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SOUND:

The Octorsion is a rather diverse pedal based on its dual-functions, with distortion and an octave up blend merging together. I have reviewed other such pedals, but found them more specific to that heavy stoner or proto-metal type music, which is perfectly fine. The Octorsion, on the other hand, works very well if you want that heavy and thick distortion/fuzz quality, but it offers so much more. First, you can dial in just a bit of distortion (with or without a bit of octave) for a classic Rock sound (as well as adding a hint to an already driven amp to drive it harder). Dialing it up provides some nasty sounding distortion that would sit well with Thrash Metal, whether playing rhythm or lead. Next, adding just a bit of Octave fattens the tone, but not in an exaggerated way (you don’t really hear that high-end octave jump through as it tends to blend exceptionally well with your guitar’s tone and the pedal’s distortion). Of course, the Octave function can be used independently and without the Distortion if you want some added dimension to your amp’s tone, whether clean or driven. Overall, the Octave is highly complementary rather than boisterous or super obvious. My favorite setting for rhythm is to have the Distortion close to 12-noon and the Octave about 9-o’clock (a solid heavy crunch with some added fullness). However, the demo included with this review goes through various settings that range from subtle to intense. There is an issue of dialing in both Octave and Distortion, which is not problematic, but it takes a few seconds of tweaking. When cranking the Distortion the volume increases (as it’s driving the circuit harder), whereas mixing in the Octave reduces the volume somewhat. Consequently, although both Octave and Distortion work very well together and sound great, you will need to adjust volume somewhere (on the pedal, from your guitar or amp, or via a volume pedal) if you prefer different combinations of Octave and Distortion in your playing.



GENERAL USE:

The Octorsion is activated by its popless footswitch. The Volume provides good headroom, and so make certain the volume is turned down prior to engaging and then determine your volume accordingly. The Tone knob (a combined high and low pass filter) has a good range and sounds very appropriate at 12-noon to start; from there you can tweak in more low or high end. There is no mud or shrill whether turning the Tone knob very low or high, which makes it easy to find several good sounds. The Distortion and Octave knobs work independently – you can have none or a lot of either and in any mix between. The Distortion knob has a very big range, with zero heard in the signal when turned all the way down and with a moderate crunch being heard when turned to 9-o’clock (presuming you’re working with a clean amp channel). At 12-noon the Distortion kicks in very nicely for Hard Rock tones; it becomes aggressive and ‘nasty’ beyond 2-o’clock as it pushes the circuit to the limits. The Octave knob is connected as a mix knob and provides an octave up effect. When up full (with distortion turned all the way down) you get a clean octave up.


OTHER DETAILS:

Hand-built in Sweden, the Octorsion measures 112mm(D) × 90mm (W) × 50mm (H with knobs) or 4.40 (D) x 3.54 (W) x 1.97 (H) inches. A solid built pedal, it has raw metal aluminum chassis with black laser engraved graphics (each pedal is machined engraved/etched with ‘Moody,’ the number and date on the underside). The footswitch has a solid click when engaging and disengaging the pedal, although silent when turning the pedal on (no popping). The four plastic knobs (Volume, Distortion, Octave and Tone) are of standard and good plastic quality, and the pots feel very solid and smooth when turned. The footswitch is far removed from any of the knobs, although sandwiched between the cable input and output (and so, some care is required to prevent possible damage from regular stomping and a slip of the foot). The Octorsion’s power input is located in the back, requiring a 9VDC standard power supply (negative tip) and no battery.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

This is one of the better drive/distortion + octave pedals I have tried because of its overall sound (great distortion tone), but also the flexibility of the tones and how well the octave compliments the distortion (rather than dominates it). Both the Distortion and Octave can be dialed all the way off or all the way on – and any combination thereof. This flexibility has the Distortion ranging from a very light crunch when turned up slightly to being very gnarly and intense when cranked beyond 1-o’clock. The Octave is that added bonus that, as stated, creates an element of fullness without dominating the tone; it acts as a supporting facet to the primary tone and to help push through the mix. At about $155 USD (depending on exchange rate at the time when ordering direct from Moody Sounds in Sweden), the Octorsion is a very averaged priced pedal that offers a lot of flavors, whether driving your dirty amp just a little harder or converting your clean channel into a Rock machine. You can achieve light crunch and filthy bluesy leads, all the way to heavy thick grungy tones and even ripping buzzcut sounds. The Octorsion also has a cool industrial look, with its bare metal aluminum chassis and laser etched writing/graphics.
 

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Blendable octave-up is a critical element, and we're starting to see it on more octave-up units. The vast majority of octave-up fuzz pedals out there give you a choice of octave-in-your-face or bypass. One of the aspects of frequency-doubling to produce octave effects in the analog domain is that bass is also hiked up by an octave, so one tends to lose the "meat" of the guitar signal.

The old Ampeg Scrambler (not the recent issued pedal of the same name) included a blend control that panned between clean and the octave fuzz, and was one of the few octave-up fuzzes to do so. The Foxx, Green Ringer, Octavia, Superfuzz, Kay, and many others lacked such capability (The Fender Blender was named for including such a feature). The "Texture" control on the Ampeg simply dialed in octave better or worse (worse = more of a straight fuzz).

The trouble with the pedal was that there was no means to dial in sensitivity. You either got the full fuzz or you didn't. I made myself a combo pedal with a heavily modified Distortion+/DOD250 as the front end, feeding a slightly modified Scrambler. As a "front end" I could control how hot a signal was fed the Scrambler portion via the output volume of the drive section. By cranking the gain of the drive, and keeping the volume more modest, the onset and sustain of the octave could be adjusted.

The mods? Since optimal octaving is generally attained by removing harmonic content that clouds/obscures the octave, I removed a lot of the treble from the overdrive front end. I also restored the bass those drive pedals traditionally lost as gain was increased. So, a much "warmer" version of the drive circuit the front end was based on, that could still yield a nice overdrive sound on its own when the Blend control was set to full "clean". And since the Scrambler would be receiving inputs that could be quite hot, I swapped out the ultra-high-gain input transistor on it for a more modest-gain unit. Finally, I noticed a lot of hiss in the fuzz side of the Scrambler, so I added a bit of lowpass filtering on the octave side.

The result is a pedal that can go from warm overdrive and a bit of "grunt" through to tones that nail whatever an Octavia or Foxx can do, with a far more pronounced/audible octave up than you can hear in the original, to full-out assault and sonic "implosion" with the 4 knobs. Because I've taken steps to control the unwanted aspects of the sound, there didn't seem to be any need to include a tone control. Plenty of sonic variety as is.

 
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