Price paid: £ 125
Purchased from: Ebay
Ease of Use — 10
The pedal is easy to use, with only four, front mounted controls. That said, there is a range of tones on offer between the clean tone and the octave filter, so it might take some time to dial in the sound you are looking for. The clean tone is also a "tilting EQ", meaning that as you turn the control clockwise, the bass frequencies are cut and the treble frequencies are boosted. This is a bit different to normal tone controls where one frequency is cut, so this might also take some time to get used to.
Sound — 10
The Aguilar Octamizer is a classic analogue octave effect. See a demo of what this pedal can do here:
The Octamizer synthesises a note an octave below your signal. It's not an exact reproduction - it's a synthesised square wave - and it requires a clear, single note to trigger properly. It also won't produce any other pitch intervals, so you'd need to check that it is an analogue octaver that you want, and not a digital pitch shifter. Despite its limitations, the analogue octave effect is highly desirable, with a thick powerful tone that is hard to get from a digital unit.
The quality of an analogue octaver is dependent on its ability to track - produce the note an octave down. The Octamizer tracks extremely well - with good technique, it tracks well down to a low G#. It has good sustain - around 7 seconds before it starts "glitching out" - and it can also handle complex rhythmic patterns without tripping itself up.
A feature that sets Octamizer apart from similar units (MXR Bass Octave Deluxe, Boss OC-2) is a tone control for the clean signal. This opens up new tonal possibilities, and you can give your sound the kind of clarity usually found on a digital unit. There is also a filter for the octave down signal that give a range of tones from a warm, doubling effect through to a raw synth-bass sound. Otherwise, the Octamizer has a clean signal - no noise added when the effect is engaged, and it is transparent when the effect is bypassed.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Aguilar build their own steel enclosures that seem to be designed with heavy live use in mind. The pedal is actually larger and heavier than it seems from photos, and is longer than most other pedals. It also has its jacks mounted on the top, so this might cause problems fitting and wiring the pedal to a board. Older Aguilar units have "lip" around the jacks that has caused problems using certain patch cables, but this has been reduced on more recent models - including this one - and I have had no problems using angled jack cables. The switches and pots are also feel positive and I'll have no worries using this pedal live.
Overall Impression — 10
The Octamizer is an excellent unit, with construction and sound that is as good or better than any other octaver on the market. It also offers more control than any of its competitors. Octave pedals can be tricky to use, and to get the most out of this pedal you will need to have good technique. I have had success using this pedal playing fingerstyle with a passive Precision bass, but you might find that your technique or equipment doesn't work with this unit. Make sure you test this pedal out - and check out the MXR and 3Leaf if you can - before buying.