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BASS DESIRES lust for the low end

The Mid+ switch adds
tunable definition to
the suboctave.

MXR M288 Bass Octave Deluxe pedal

BY ED FRIEDLAND at 400Hz and a higher midrange pop
at 850Hz, while an internal trim pot

ASS PLAYERS just love low adjusts boost gain from +4 to +14dB.
notes, and while tuning down In addition, the classic MXR small-
to low Fs has gained popular- footprint casing is a plus for an over-
ity in some circles, the result sounds crowded pedal board, and true-bypass
less like the roar of the devil than operation keeps your tone unaffected
it does the gastro-intestinal flutter- when the M288 is turned off.
ing of the devil after a truck-stop
burrito. If you want to get into the PERFORMANCE
suboctave range and retain pitch AFTER MANY YEARS of using digitally
definition, you’re better off using processed octave pedals, I found this
an octave pedal. Octave pedals let box a welcome return to the lush,
you blend the original tone with a velvety tone I loved. The dual voice
“synthesized” note one octave below, controls and midrange boost make the
and this feature is key to producing M288 more versatile and useful, and
clearly defined pitch rather than while it’s not completely glitch free, it
flatulent dreck. The octave pedal has tracked far lower and cleaner than my
been with us for a long time and has original analog octave pedal.
seen several developments over the Octave glitch is a strange phenom-
years, but the low-frequency dudes enon. It is the combined result of the
at MXR/Dunlop have just added a bass guitar’s note integrity and the
significant page to the history of this manner in which the pedal processes
noble device with the new M288 Bass the signal. For example, on several
Octave Deluxe. of my basses, the C produced at the
G string’s fifth fret suffers from the
FEATURES classic “dead spot” shared by many
THE M288 TAKES a step backward in bolt-on neck instruments. The M288
time with completely analog circuitry. responds to that note with a less-than-
While digital models are typically less stable suboctave. But play that same
glitchy, many players feel that the pitch on the 10th fret of the D string
suboctave tones of these pedals sound and the suboctave is full and clean,
thin and sterile. The M288 utilizes with great sustain. Understanding
Dunlop’s Constant Headroom Tech- how your bass responds will help you
nology (CHT), which is essentially maximize the performance of this, or Tufnel’s Les Paul.
voltage regulation designed to keep any, octave pedal. The dry signal is clean and clear,
the circuitry supplied by a steady 18 The Growl control adds articula- so achieving a nice sparkly slap tone
volts for better headroom. It performs tion and presence, while the Girth with the suboctave was no problem.
this function even when power from adds depth and width. Between the On the other end of the spectrum,
the pedal’s nine-volt battery drops as two voices, I found it possible to dial dialing the dry signal out completely
low as four and a half volts. in perfect tones with many basses. OCTAVE DELUXE and maxing the Growl gave me a tone
The M288 is a dual-voice octave The real kicker is the Mid+ button, reminiscent of the cheap-synth bass
device with controls for the dry signal which comes preset from the factory LIST PRICE: $254.00 lines of late-Eighties dance hall reg-
level, Growl and Girth. Growl creates at +10dB@400Hz. Its two EQ settings MANUFACTURER: gae (which is also great for playing
MXR, jimdunlop.com
a throaty midrange one octave below let you optimize the effect for your CONTROLS: Dry,
the theme music from Pac-Man).
the dry signal, while Girth produces instrument. On a Music Man Sting- Growl, Girth, and
deep and smooth tones, also one oc- Ray or the bridge pickup of a Jazz, MID+ midrange boost THE BOTTOM LINE
tave lower. The ability to blend these the 400Hz setting added a low-mid (internally switchable THE M288 IS AN excellent octave pedal
between 400 and
two tones is a real advantage when it focus that brought the suboctave to 850Hz and adjustable
full of thick-and-juicy analog good-
comes to tweaking the effect for differ- the forefront. On my Precision bass, from +4db to 14db); ness. The dual voices and EQ options
ent basses and playing environments. or when I used both pickups on the foot switch make it possible to dial in an optimal
The Mid+ midrange boost button Jazz, the 850Hz setting gave a pres- POWER: Nine-volt tone for many different basses. ✺
battery or standard
is another feature that distinguishes ence peak that poked its way through
the M288. Located on the pedal’s the clean signal’s thicker texture. PRO CON
upper left-hand corner, it activates As good as it was, the M288 seemed TWO DISTINCT OCTAVE NONE
a selectable midrange EQ for better to improve when I plugged in my SELECTABLE FREQUENCY
definition. A small internal switch lets fretless bass. The unit tracked like a MID+ SWITCH;
you toggle between a low-mid boost Navajo scout and sustained like Nigel DISC SMALL FOOTPRINT