Quick Hit: MXR Vintage Bass Octave Review

Exploring the deep with a pedal that won’t file an eminent domain claim on your board.

Recorded with Epiphone Scroll bass into Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface into GarageBand.
Clip 1: Mid switch engaged, oct 1 at 3 o’clock, oct 2 off, dry knob at 10 o’clock.
Clip 2: Mid switch engaged, oct 1 off, oct 2 dimed, dry knob off.


Small footprint, impressive tracking, mid-boost switch.

Love the small size, but the knob trio is mighty tight.


MXR Vintage Bass Octave


Ease of Use:



Housed in a tough, mini-format enclosure, MXR’s Vintage Bass Octave makes simple work of going subterranean with a three-knob control set that takes obvious cues from the lauded but discontinued Boss OC-2. There’s Oct 1 (one octave down), Oct 2 (two octaves down), and Dry level. However, the company’s new octaver also manages to squeeze in the handy addition of a mid-boost switch.

The range of sounds and applications with the Vintage Bass Octave are wide, whether you’re after a slight thickening of your tone, power-chord-like beef, or a stew of sub-low, synthy space funk. The tracking is impressive for an analog octaver. With the Oct 1 control dimed, my notes were holding all the way down to the 4th string’s 1st fret before glitching, which is oftentimes deep into no man’s land with an octaver.

The aforementioned mid switch bumps the midrange of the clean signal by 6 dB at 800 Hz, but it can be increased to 13 dB via an internal trim pot. The analog pedal’s warm and rubbery subs are fantastic, but it’s nice to have this boost feature for some more mid point and growl to punch through—especially when going double deep with the Oct 2 control. Plus, even without the octave effect engaged, you have a clean mid bump at the ready when the situation calls for it. And while fun on their own, the Vintage Bass Octave’s subs would just love a play date with your favorite dirt pedal.

Test gear: Fender Precision, late-’70s Epiphone Scroll prototype, Gallien-Krueger 800RB, Orange OBC212, Focusrite Scarlett 2i4

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