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Ashdown/ Dr Green Octa Dose

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I bought this pedal after frustratingly missing out on a couple of Boss OC2's on the dread eBay. The Octa Dose is sold as a kind of offspring of the sub octave harmoniser that appears on some of Ashdown's amps, which I've always thought was a cool-sounding, if slightly impractical feature. They retail at about £69.00; I got an ex-display one for £50.00. I struggled to find a review anywhere (just one on YouTube) so I thought now that I've used it on a few gigs, I'd post a quick one here.

I've mostly used it playing my MTD KZ6 through Ampeg gear, but I've also tried it through an Ashdown 220 combo and using a passive P-bass.

Here's Ashdown's website spiel:

Straight from Dr Greens surgery in conjunction with Ashdown Engineering comes the Octa Dose pedal.
Expanding on from Ashdown's tried and tested sub harmonizer originally included in the ABM range of bass amplifiers, (which delivers an octave lower than the note played), the Dr has upped the flexibility with Direct and Octave controls making it easy to dial in anything from subtle thickening undertones to full on sub synth bass. This is a very flexible and fun pedal.The pedal also features true bypass switching and is housed in a custom designed steel casing that will stand up to being stomped on night after night.

Pedal Controls
• Direct - Control the amount of clean bass signal
Octave - Adjust the amount of low-octave signal

Functionality 6/10
As the website spells out, the pedal's controls are simple and it is very straightforward to operate. It runs from a 9V psu or battery. The true bypass is nice and it runs noise-free. My main problem here it the bypass switch; it's one of those old-style jobs that 'clunks' mightily when you hit it. More annoyingly, when you engage the pedal you get an audible pop through your amp. To be fair, if you engage it while playing in an ensemble situation it isn't particularly noticeable, but if you're going for a subtle switch (I used it on a musical theatre gig recently and spent a lot of time faffing with mute switches) it is quite obtrusive. The tracking is a slightly mixed bag- it works really well in the middle middle/low register, but when you get down to C#1-B1 (sounding an octave below with the pedal on) it can only handle short notes before the octave signal jumps back up the same pitch as the direct signal. Also, in the upper register, the signal starts to break up on sustained notes. I realise that these are well-documented problems with analog octavers, but when you're not far off the price of a OC2 or 3, I feel that Dr Green could have done a bit better...

Build 9/10
No problems here; the metal casing is solid and the bypass switch is sturdy. The pots are plastic and feel a little cheap; however they turn smoothly, so I'm not too fussed. Dr Green seem to go in for a kitschy 50's vibe, so I suppose it fits the aesthetic.

Sound 7/10
The two controls give you a reasonable number of usable sounds; the octave sound itself delivers well on the retro/analog front with a pleasingly round, sine wave-ish sound. I've had most success using the direct signal at 12 o'clock and the octave at 11, which produces a classic, centred octave sound, not a million miles away from the sub harmoniser. Pushing the level on both controls gives quite a saturated, aggressive sound; going past 3 o'clock with the direct control gives a pretty hot signal boost. With any analog octave pedal, there is always some inherent glitchyness, but there are a number of issues that I've found with this pedal which go beyond this. The most obvious one for me is the clicking that seems to occur when you come into any contact with the E or B string. I thought this might be me getting lazy with muting, so I tried really focussing on a clean left-hand technique to eliminate any unwanted noise. However, the clicking continued. It even occurs if you play fully muted notes, or damp the strings completely with your left hand. The clicking is much more noticeable with a high octave signal; dialling in more direct signal does reduce it slightly, but never entirely. It does however, sound pretty good when playing with a group- the clicking isn't so obvious and it seems to blend really effectively, although I think it would be a bit of a chore to use for recording.

Overall, I think this is a reasonable entry-level octave pedal, with decent tonal possibilities. However, glitches reduce it's usability and I feel that it is probably a bit overpriced, given these issues. I feel a bit torn about it- I really want to love it, as it sounds great in a group, but it has too many irritations...

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Does the switch popping not go away after a couple of stomps? I've noticed pedals do this when first set-up and engaged.

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Hmmm, as far as I can hear, it does it every time I engage it. I might try a slightly more scientific approach to double check!

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Stomp clicking/popping ought to be a thing of the past - c'mon pedal people!

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