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Best of Mini, Compact, Medium and Large Octave Fuzz Pedals

AnasoundsFuzzOctave FuzzPigtronixWampler+-
2019GPXMiniMaxOctavePedal700-min.jpg

Following on from my usual ’Best of’ features I am now increasingly doing these different enclosure size round-ups, as the main features are mostly compact pedals - and I feel I need to give you options right throughout the range and scale of what is available.

 

I’ve picked the Anasounds Crankled Bitoun Fuzz and Wampler Fuzztration as my recommendation for the compact and medium categories. While for Mini I think the Pigtronix Octava is the most feature-rich / best option at that size. I actually have the mini Malekko Omicron Fuzz - which is a Super-Fuzz style pedal with 3-way internal clipping option. The Octava by contrast has its controls on the outside - and gives you the option of using this pedal purely as an Octaver - i.e. minus the fuzz.

 

This is actually a fairly rare occurrence as I have 2 pedals from the same maker at either ends of the scale. I feel the large format Disnortion is just the most capable pedal of its kind at this level. It reminds me a touch of my Empress Multidrive - in that you can mix up different Channel voicings in parallel. The Distortion combines Overdrive with 6 x EQ Clipping Fuzz, and Octava / Octaver Stage - each has a volume dial - so you can mix up the different flavours as you wish - as subtle or heavy as you like. I actually have the Distortion Micro - a Mini pedal version of this which unfortunately leaves out the Octava stage, but cleverly combines the Overdrive and Fuzz in 6 voicings, and allows you to run both Serially as well as Parallel. So it would have been cool to have the Maxi and Micro Disnortions both here, but the latter alas as mentioned omits the octave part!

 

Pedals are listed in order of enclosure size:


Pigtronix Octava Micro Octaver with Fuzz - £149

This is actually principally an Octave Up Octaver or specifically a all-analog frequency doubler - with controls for Volume, Dry/Wet Blend, Filter (Tone) and Drive. Fortunately it also has a small Fuzz button which engages a Fuzz circuit/voicing to make it an Octave Fuzz - and a pretty decent one at that. It won't quite compete with some of the more full-bodied ones at the larger sizes, but if you're tight for space and need an Octave Fuzz - then this is probably your most versatile option. I actually have the Malekko Omicron Fuzz which is a mini Super-Fuzz clone with 3 voicings - via internal switch, but only two controls on the exterior. The Malekko is somewhat more gnarly though if that's what you're looking for!


Anasounds Crankled Bitoun Fuzz - €249 when new (50 unit ltd edition)

It's very close at the moment between this Anasounds Crankled Bitoun, and the superb Beetronics FX Octahive, but the slightly thicker / denser voicing of the Anasounds, and the clever interplay between its two different Buzz and Fuzz voicings is what wins the day for the Bitoun! Both are excellent sounding Octave fuzzes, and right now both are on my board / in my pedal-chain as such - so take your pick really.


Wampler Fuzztration Octave Fuzz - £189

This is my likeliest next Octave Fuzz addition - as mentioned, I was a touch peeved initially that the format wasn't of the typical vertical Wampler Deluxe enclosure - but the slightly harder-to-fit-in horizontal orientation. In any case this mix of tones and feature set at the right price-point makes this pedal well worth it in the end - and I've been won over. It will be added to the collection at some stage - just a matter of when.


Pigtronix Disnortion Overdrive/Fuzz/Octave - $189 (Direct)

It seems like most suppliers have discontinued this fantastic pedal in favour of its Disnortion Micro replacement as mentioned here a couple of times. I can't see any of these in circulation in the UK, although there are some on Reverb.com, and the pedal can be acquired direct from the Pigtronix site still. The Disnortion is a really clever Triple Parallel Channel / Effects Pedal- combining Overdrive, Fuzz and Octava / Octaver voicings. For Overdrive you get the classic 3 knobs - Level, Gain and Tone; for Fuzz you get 6 EQ clipping options on a rotor - Bass, Scoop, Treble, Smooth, F.A.T. and Full Range alongside Level and Gain, and for the Octava you get Level and Filter. Each has its own footswitch for on/off - and you can blend each in parallel via how you set the 3 Level dials. As mentioned in the intro this reminds me to a degree of my Empress Multidrive which sort of does a similar-ish thing with Fuzz, Overdrive and Distortion Channels / Voicings - while the switching there is somewhat different. This is however a really smart and versatile tone-machine which sounds great. It will likely be decommissioned soon, where it could really do with a slightly more modernised update in a more compact enclosure - while keeping all the existing elements fully intact.


Final Thoughts

The Octave Fuzz is a wonderful sound for most of us, for some of us in all its guises - from smooth to spiky, textured, rough and overblown. I feel this selection fully represents the scope of what is available with the best candidate for each size category - although there are lots of options and alternatives out there, and you may well prefer another slightly different flavour.

 

Of course don't forget the compact SolidGoldFX 76 - which has a wonderfully smooth ability with Octaves - if you want to do things more 'tastefully' then that is likely your perfect choice. There are actually a whole load of different flavours here from synth-like to raw and raucous - and as there is so much choice I have no doubt that you can find your own particular perfect variety.

 

This is obviously my own selection, and I hope it's brought you a step closer in your ToneQuest - Octave Fuzzes over and out for now.

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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