Price paid: £ 10
Purchased from: eBay
Ease of Use: Pretty basic pedal, it adds a note an octave below the note you play. Controls are simple: Octave level controls the volume of the octave note produced by the pedal, Direct Level controls the volume of the direct guitar signal, and Tone changes the tone of the octave note a bit. The manual (available on the internet) is good, but not really necessary with a simple pedal like this. // 8
Sound: I play a Fender Jaguar (with a humbucker in the neck position)-EHX Double Muff-Devi Ever Disaster Fuzz-DOD Octoplus-BYOC Octave Fuzz-Ibanez CS505-MXR Carbon Copy-EHX Deluxe Memory Man-Laney VC15. This pedal tracks the guitar pretty accurately for an analogue device, although it can't handle more than one note played at a time (it just makes a warbly sound underneath the clean signal), or some low notes (about low E-G).
The octave down note sounds nothing like the guitar that goes into the pedal, it sounds like a soft synth, but I really like the texture.
Dry sound is exactly the same with the pedal off or on, the Direct Level control can give a boost even when the pedal is off. With the two level controls, you can get anything from only dry signal to only the octave down, which can be quite cool and synthy. The tone knob barely changes the tone of the octave down, it's only really noticeable on very high octave settings, and even then doesn't do that much.
Combined with distortion and fuzz this pedal sounds brilliant; it's great for Jack White-style riffs or crazy noise like on Neil Young's Hey Hey, My My (and lots more of his live stuff). Personally, I really like the slightly bad tracking, where it warbles sometimes or plays the same note for some reason, that's the sound I bought it for.
The bad tracking and weird synthy quality of the octave note would make it very bad for a clear, precise, 'professional' sound. // 9
Reliability & Durability: Like all those old DOD pedals, the enclosure is very sturdy, that won't break. When I got mine, the battery cover was already missing, but I use a power supply (9VDC positive tip). I used a battery for a few months though, and it was about 5 months of use (keep in mind that it uses power for the buffer/preamp even when not engaged) before the battery died. I'm not quite sure about the switch, it's flimsy and an electronic thing rather than a mechanical switch, I might change that at some point, but for now it works fine. I've never gigged with this, but I wouldn't hesitate to use it live with no backup, I've had no problems with it yet. // 7
Overall Impression: I play stuff like Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Wintersleep/Broken Social Scene most of the time, and this pedal matches those things well, at least for me. I play in a pretty messy style and like noisy messy tones, so I doubt everyone would feel the same way. I also play a lot of blues/60s Rock'n'Roll, where I'd never use this pedal, I don't think it would fit. I tend not to use any effects for those anyway.
I've been playing for 7/8 years probably, other gear I mentioned above, plus a Fender Jazz Bass (this pedal doesn't really work that well with bass). If I lost this pedal I wouldn't go out to buy one right away (for one thing they aren't that common), I wouldn't even look for another octaver since I only bought this on a whim because it was cheap, but if another showed up on eBay I'd most likely buy it, it has a fairly unique sound.
The thing I think puts this pedal above most other octavers is the great ability to blend clean and effected signal, and also I love the crazy, glitchy sound. I don't like the crappy switch, as mentioned earlier. The only other octave pedals I'd get are other weird old analogue ones I think: I don't want a clean, accurate octaver.
This pedal sounds fantastic as part of a fuzzy, crazy sound, but definitely don't buy it expecting a clean sound like modern digital octavers. Not for everyone. // 8