Boss – OC-2 Octave REVIEW

Originally, the OC-2 was developed for guitarists, but back in the day bass players often had to turn to guitar effects and the BOSS OC-2 soon became a true bass classic…

The concept behind an octaver is simple: Add one or more notes to the original note an octave and/or two below. Some of the newer takes on octave pedals also include the option to go an octave above, though.

 

 

The OC-2 features up to two octaves below the original note and you have individual control over each octave as well as the direct (original) signal. This gives you six possible variations:

  1. Direct + Oct 1
  2. Direct + Oct 2
  3. Direct + Oct 1 and 2
  4. No Direct + Oct 1
  5. No Direct + Oct 2
  6. No Direct + Oct 1 and 2

 

 

white headphone with rhythm symbol

A key parameter that all octaver pedals are judged on is their ability to track notes precisely; especially in the very low end of the register, and the OC-2 gets into ‘tracking trouble’ when you hit the low F#. Please note that this is for the first octave below. If you add the second octave below, you would get into trouble much higher on the fretboard. By today’s standards this is not too impressive as many modern octavers can go all the way down to the Low E on the first octave – a few of them even beyond that…

In the sound clips section, you will find six short audio clips demonstrating each of the six variations as described above. I also added two clips using the octaver for melody/soloing rather then as part of the groove. You can see the exact setting of the pedal on the photo in the Soundcloud player.

 

NOTE! Please use headphones or ‘real’ speakers. You simply can’t judge low-end material on laptop, tablet or phone speakers…!

NOTE! If you are on a mobile device, please turn it to landscape mode to see the knob settings of the pedal for each audio clip.

BUTTON-SOUND-CLIPS

 

 

As discussed in the SOUND section, the OC-2 is in fact quite versatile and offers six possible combination of the three notes (Direct, Oct1 and Oct2). In the sound examples above, I tried to hit either even levels or at least 25%, 50% or 75% settings (with one exception). Once you start fine-tuning the blend parameter, you can sculpt even more interesting and purpose-tailored tones with the OC-2.

There are other octave pedals out there that offers even more features such as tone control and/or drive for each octave. Actually, the OC-2 has been discontinued and its successor, the OC-3, offers some of those options as well as a dedicated input for bass.

 

 

OC-2 is a classic BOSS pedal, which means it is well-built, yet not as rugged as some of the more high-end boutique pedals.

The knobs (still) have a firm feel to them and the input and output don’t crackle or anything even though I have been using it for almost two decades.

A common issue with BOSS pedals is that the small screw used for accessing the battery often breaks. However, I have always used the OC-2 with an external power supply, so that has never been an issue. I am aware of the potential problem though, and it should be mentioned that it can happen on this type of pedal

From a usability perspective, I have no issues with the OC-2. The big ‘pad’ that you stomp on is hard to miss, but on the other hand, I have never really had issues with the pedals that come with tiny foot switches either.

The design is classic and at the same time timeless. The BOSS pedals have had the same basic design for decades, and it would feel so very wrong to change that now. You might argue that they’re not pretty, but still they have a certain feel of quality and a nice retro vibe to them. I still find myself hit by momentary nostalgia when I noodle around with BOSS pedals… :-)

 

 

As just mentioned, the OC-2 has been discontinued, and something similar to the well-known vintage Fender market has happened. If a BOSS pedal is MIJ (Made in Japan), it is much more expensive on the second hand market than if it’s one of the units manufactured in Taiwan.

The unit used for this review is from 1995 and was made in Taiwan. I have not had a MIJ unit to compare with, so I can’t really comment on any differences regarding the tone.

Nonetheless, for a non-MIJ OC-2, the pre-owned price is around $60-65. And around $100 for a MIJ. I will assess the value based on the $60-65 mark.

 

 

I really do love the sound of the OC-2 and it does the job perfectly 99 out of 100 times. Overall it scores 81.2.

 

PROS

Great sounds

Versatile

Creative potential

Attractive used price (non-MIJ)

 

CONS

No tone control for the octaves

 

SCORE

SOUND: 82

VERSATILITY: 84

BUILD QUALITY: 75

DESIGN & USABILITY: 75

VALUE FOR MONEY: 90

TOTAL SCORE: 81.2

 

(The OC-2 Octave has been discontinued,
but Boss replaced it with the OC-3 Octave.)

 

 

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