Review: Beetronics FX OctaHive and WhoctaHell Pedals

(Image credit: Hughes & Kettner)

Considering there are so many stompbox exhibitors at the NAMM Show, it’s almost crucial to set yourself apart from other pedal manufacturers in order to get noticed. Such is the case for the dedicated folks from Beetronics FX, who I met at last year’s show. Their booth had a total Comic-Con vibe, with bee-themed graphics and anachronistic, mechanical-styled pedals, which almost gave me the feeling that some rogue melittologists decided to make stompboxes for the Steampunk crowd. But put aside the pomp and circumstance of their presentation and, lo and behold, these guys make incredibly musical pedals. For this review, I decided to inspect the OctaHive (hi-gain fuzz with octave up) and WhoctaHell (low octave fuzz) stompboxes, both of which left me with a serious buzz — and that’s a good thing.

FEATURES The OctaHive and WhoctaHell are military-grade fuzz boxes that look as if someone yanked out a WWII-era submarine control panel. Both have a brushed-metal industrial motif, robust jacks and footswitches, classic amplifier knobs, vintage pilot lamp and mini-toggle switch. The OctaHive is the most straightforward of the two, with three controls: Pre, sets input volume before the circuit; Honey, sets circuit gain, and Vol, master volume. A side-mounted switch turns the high pitch octave effect on/off. A cool feature is that the pilot lamp’s color indicates whether the octave is on (red) or off (blue).

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.