Saturday, March 28, 2015

Memory Lane: BOSS OC-2 Octave Pedal Review


The month would not be complete without a review of some sort of BOSS effect pedal, so today we are looking at the good old OC-2 Octave pedal. This is a darned good effect that was replaced in the BOSS line-up with the OC-3 in 2003.

Roland’s BOSS division makes effect pedals for the everyday working musician. These are folks that cannot afford the boutique pedals, or more realistically, they realize that good is good enough (sort of a Voltaire attitude). You have seen that you pay whatever you want can pay anything you want for guitar effect pedals, with the choices include crummy junk for twenty bucks all the way up to hundreds of dollars for stuff that was put together by people in first-world countries. BOSS pedals fall in the middle, as they are reasonably priced and good quality, making them a good value.

What exactly does an octave pedal do? It lets users fatten up their sound by adding up to two additional tones: one and/or two octaves below the original note.

The OC-2 is a standard single-space sized pedal, measuring 2.9 inches wide by 2.4 inches tall by 5.1 inches long, and it weigh in at a touch under one pound. See? The metric system will never catch on as long as I am on watch! This pedal runs on a single 9-volt battery or it takes the optional BOSS PSA adapter.

It has the same general style as other BOSS pedals, but this one comes in a subtle dark brown. The outside of the sturdy metal case has a ¼’ input and output jacks, and a jack for the aforementioned AC adapter. The expected BOSS high quality is to be found here, with a smooth finish, clean wiring, and knobs that have a nice feel. These knobs include OCT 1, OCT 2, and DIRECT LEVEL. Here is a quick and dirty rundown of what they do:

- OCT 1: adjusts the level of the one octave down tone.

- OCT 2: adjusts the level of the two octaves down tone.

- DIRECT LEVEL: adjusts the blend of the original tone and the effect.

That is it, you don’t even need a manual to figure this thing out. About two minutes of knob twisting will get you the tone you are looking for and then you can move on with your life. It might be one of the easiest to use pedals I have come across.

The OC-2 works really well for both guitar and bass. If you want it to track chords, it will not, and it is not always perfect when tracking single notes either, which is part of its charm. It allows for a more organic and less processed tone, and it really thickens things up nicely. Everybody should have something like this on his or her pedalboard. It is not something that will get used on every song, but when you need a fatter sound the OC-2 will deliver the goods. As a bonus, if you throw a phaser pedal into the mix, you can get some of the most awesome 1970s tones imaginable!

If you are searching for a good quality and effective octave pedal, the BOSS OC-2 fits the bill, and it is certainly simpler and easier to use than the four-knob OC-3. It will get the job done and is certainly reasonably priced with nice ones selling for around $60 to $100 on eBay. They seem to be holding their value well, so if you buy right it should always be worth what you paid for it.


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