The original Octahive, with its blue distressed finish, was one of Beetronics’ earliest pedals and, according to the company, the “high gain fuzz with a well-pronounced high-pitch octave” was based on the '70s Tycobrahe Octavia.
That version has now been superseded with a refreshed V2 design that Beetronics says retains the circuitry and sonic qualities of the original, while adding new features.
On the original unit, the octave mode was turned on and off via a toggle switch on the chassis’ side. But this time round, the V2 uses the footswitch to do the job; it’s certainly more convenient in a live context compared to reaching down for a toggle switch.
To switch between straight fuzz (Buzzz mode) and Octave requires a quick double-tap on the footswitch. There are two LEDs that indicate which mode you’re in. You can also engage momentary switching by holding the footswitch; switch from the active mode to the other by holding down the footswitch until released.
Also, when the pedal is in bypass, hold the footswitch to momentarily activate the pedal and bring in the effect. If you’re worried about the accuracy of your footswitching, the pedal lets you set one of three different profiles for the momentary switching: Fast (20ms), Medium (100ms), and Lazy (250ms).
Buzzz mode is aptly named: this is a buzzy and brightly voiced fuzz that works brilliantly with chords and riffage. The Honey knob adjusts fuzz gain, and the Pre knob, which sets the level going into the circuit, can be balanced for a variety of sounds with plenty of scope to find your favourite – edgy or full-fat, smooth, and squidgy.
With Octave mode engaged for added harmonic texture you can dial in some familiar Hendrix-like tones, but roll the Honey knob back further for harder tones reminiscent of sitar or ring mod. There’s plenty of variation on offer as the Pre knob has influence on the intensity of that upper component of the sound, which is most prominent with Pre rolled back.
The Octahive V2 would be a great buy for the sound alone, but that clever switching really gives this Beetronics pedal an edge. Playing through the fuzz sound and just bringing the octave in momentarily for single notes or a whole passage is a joy. We urge you to give it a try.
- PRICE: $199 / £215
- ORIGIN: USA
- TYPE: Octave fuzz pedal
- FEATURES: True bypass, footswitchable octave, 3x footswitching profiles
- CONTROLS: Pre, Honey, Vol, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 50 mA
- DIMENSIONS: 70 (w) x 120 (d) x 50mm (h)
- CONTACT: Beetronics FX