A lot has happened since the Boss OC-2 Octave became common on bass pedal boards. Today, there are plenty of dedicated bass octavers around, and many of them offer some unique features. The T65 Analogue Octave from COG Effects certainly does…
First, a quick note. Virtually all octave pedals have the option of bypassing the clean signal, and as a result the isolated octave signal gives you a synth-like tone. We did, however, decide to not add all octave pedals to the Synth pedal category as it should be reserved for dedicated synth pedals. This one, though, has some features that make it capable of getting deeper into the synth pedal territory than most octavers. So we will make an exception and add this pedal to both the Octave and Synth categories. Now that we got that sorted, let’s get started!
The T65 features 5 knobs plus the usual LED and a footswitch. The CLEAN and DOWN knobs are the common and expected controls for the clean bass tone and the 1 octave down signal respectively. The remaining 3 knobs are what sets this pedal apart and makes it highly flexible. The FILTER knob lets you sweep through a range of very different tones for the lower octave and the UP knob lets you blend in a third signal one octave above the original signal.
The LOOP knob is interesting. It has nothing to do with a ‘looper’ function, but controls an FX LOOP. You will need a Y-split cable to insert an external pedal, but if you have/get one, you can connect any pedal to the T65 and use the LOOP knob to blend in some of that signal into the chain.
There are 5 rounds of sound clips in this review:
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.
No doubt, the T65 is one of the most versatile octave pedals you can get your hands on. The FILTER knob alone allows you to drastically change the vibe and feel of the octave tone – from smooth and round to biting and dirty. And if you need even more grit, use the UP control to blend in some edge.
Now, the UP signal is not clean and was never intended to replicate your clean tone an octave above. It was deliberately made to add bite and attitude. And it works very well regardless of whether you use it as a third signal to your DOWN and CLEAN tone, or if you bypass the dry signal for some synthy sounds.
The LOOP feature is by nature extremely versatile as you can insert any pedal you want, but it does require additional pedals, of course, and a Y-split cable as well. But the idea is original and it works like a charm. I will give COG credit for that and claim that it adds immensely to the overall versatility and creative potential of this pedal.
This is one rugged pedal that doesn’t seem to break easily. Everything feels very good and gives me no reason to question the overall build quality or durability. The sound is clean (even when dirty – if that makes any sense), and I detected no unwanted noise or quirky hardware. Finally, the tracking is very good and I could go all the way down to an open E, playing relatively short notes.
As mentioned in the Versatility section, the LOOP design idea is brilliant and in combination with the flexible FILTER and UP knobs, the UI is well laid out and just works out great. Further, the LOOP circuit can also double as a normal FX Blend pedal, meaning you could disengage the UP and DOWN knobs completely and blend any FX signal with your clean tone. One obvious scenario would be to connect a compressor pedal in the LOOP to create parallel compression.
Should I mention a few downsides it would be the relatively large footprint, but with the additional stereo jack for the LOOP, it was probably necessary and it does allow more space between the knobs than if it had to be squeezed into a standard Boss or MXR format. But then again, if space is an issue, and you can live without the LOOP and UP functionalities, COG’s T16 delivers the same great octave sound, but in a micro-footprint format. You can check out a full review of it right here.
The one other issue is the physical knobs. The are firm and nice, but the indicators are not offering a lot of visual feedback. They are super cool with pointy markers, but as they are all-black and the artwork on the pedal looks like cracks in a piece of broken glass, it can be hard to see at a glance how the pedal is actually set. Having said that, chances are that you will use this pedal as a set-and-forget unit anyway. Once you find the sweetspot for your personal tone, you probably don’t have to worry much about tweaking the knobs on the fly.
Today (2016), a T65 can be purchased on the COG website for 170 GBP. By today’s exchange rate that is a little shy of $240, which makes it a fairly expensive, but with the feature set, high quality and great sound, I think it is justified. Further, considering that it could make your FX blend pedal obsolete or save you from buying a separate one, makes the price even better. Overall, great value, but also a bit of an investment.
The T65 is a great octave pedal. It allows you to create more unique octave tomes than most competitors, especially if you add one or more pedals to the (FX) LOOP. The quality is great and the UI is flexible, but the footprint is a little large. The price is above average – but the tone and creative potential is well above average!
Very high quality
Good value for money
Can double as a regular FX Blend pedal
Fairly large footprint
Knobs are hard to read