3Leaf Audio Octabvre Mini Review
Designed for session bassist Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, John Mayer), this stomp serves up both classic octave thump and synth-like glory.
All recorded playing through Bergantino B│Amp paired with two Bergantino HD112 cabinets.
Clip 1 - Nash P-style bass with tone at 50 percent. Pedal settings: volume at 1 o’clock, mix at 1 o’clock, tone set full left.
Clip 2 - F Bass BN6 with bridge pickup soloed, tone knob dimed, bass and mid-boost at 50 percent. Pedal settings: volume at 1 o’clock, mix at 2 o’clock, tone dialed full right.
Bassist Tim Lefebvre knows effects. So does Spencer Doren, the mad scientist behind 3Leaf Audio. These two talents came together to produce the Octabvre, a pedal inspired by the Boss OC-2 and Mu-Tron Octave Divider tone circuits. Just recently, 3Leaf released a more streamlined version of the effect: the Octabvre Mini. Although it doesn’t offer the sub-soloing capabilities of the original, it does provide the tone-blending options of the first incarnation for really fattening up your bass sound.
Three controls manipulate the wide spectrum of sub-octave sounds. The volume knob adjusts overall output while the mix balances the ratio of effect to original signal. The real magic lies within the reworked tone control. Setting the tone control completely counter-clockwise offers up a sound similar to an OC-2, and turning the dial to the right is intended to yield a fuzzier, synth-like effect.
Since the pedal’s namesake often uses a Precision-style bass, I put the Octabvre Mini through its paces with a Nash P-style strung with Thomastik flatwounds. For a modern alternative, I also employed an F Bass BN6 with nickel roundwounds. The other side of the signal chain consisted of a Bergantino B|Amp paired with two Bergantino HD112 cabinets.
Starting out with the Nash at a jazz-fusion gig, I turned the pedal’s tone dial all the way to the left and balanced the signal with the volume and mix controls. What I got was a thick, growling beast of a vintage-inspired sound that perfectly accentuated a jam of Billy Cobham’s “Stratus.” The effect and original signal were almost synchronous, surprising my ears with quick and accurate delivery as I explored most of the fretboard. The pedal even managed to capture notes in the lower regions of the 4th string—a rarity for many octave pedals. Fans of the OC-2 will be pleased to know that one can get super-close to replicating its familiar timbre, and I would argue that the Octabvre Mini out-tracks the old Boss box.
The Octabvre Mini transformed the F Bass into a synth machine, ideal for those Nate Watts/Stevie Wonder moments. Diming the tone dial and soloing the bridge pickup invited fuzzy slides and glissandos that enhanced the pulsating bass line to “I Wish.” Bridge pickups don’t always track the best, but the Octabvre Mini did quite well in delivering sub-octave companions to the notes of the barking back pickup. At the end of the night, it was band consensus that the Octabvre Mini is no gimmicky effect. It’s a very practical tone machine that added girth and authority to the foundation of the ensemble.
3Leaf nailed it with the Octabvre Mini. The tracking is accurate and quick with tones that masterfully replicate classic octave effects and synthy sounds. And as someone familiar with the original Octabvre pedal, I can say with confidence that the miniature version is a noticeable improvement in terms of both tone and tracking. Some will get squeamish when they see the price tag, but this pedal’s value can be heard within seconds of use. Even with the many great octave pedals on the market, this Mini has already planted its flag in the upper echelon of sub-octave offerings.