What is an Octaver?
Octaver audio effect is a simpler form of a harmonizer. While harmonizer, as its name suggests, creates harmonies from more than two notes, octaver works by shifting the original but for an octave up or down. Guitarists commonly use this effects in guitar performances. It is as a type of special effects unit which mixes the input signal with a synthesised signal. The synthesised musical tone is an octave lower or higher than the original. The synthesised octave signal derives from the original input signal by halving (octave-down) or doubling (octave-up) the frequency. This is possible due to the simple two-to-one relationship between the frequencies of musical notes separated by an octave.
I should mention that the octaver pedals are traditionally analog. For a longer period of time simple octaver pedals were all that was available. However, as time passed by and digital technology became more advanced, much more versatile designs emerged on the market. Today, we can divide octaver pedals into analog and digital models. It is safe to say that both of these has its benefits.
The Power of Analog
Analog octaver pedals use the analog circuitry in order to achieve the desired effect. They were mostly limited to an octave down compared to the input signal. In addition to this, most of these analog pedals are monophonic. This means that they are capable of delivering a single sound on top of the input sound. So, if one tries to play a chord, the pedals will have issues.
There is another useful feature of modern analog octaver effects. This is the “tracking” feature. It refers to the ability of this effect to recognize the note being played and to create the octave of the same note. Analog octaver pedals are the logical choice if one is looking for a simple octave down or up sound. The analog pedals are still used today since they introduce certain colour and vibe to the sound which is still known as “analog sound”.
Digital Octave Effects
On the other side, we have digital octaver effects. These are considerably more equipped with options for altering the sound input. One of the most prominent features of these digital effects is that they are not limited just to one octave down. It is quite common to find an effect that delivers octave up and octave down. With digital octaver effects, one of the analog models limitations is solved with the ability to switch over from monophonic to polyphonic mode. It allows playing more than one note at the time.
When it comes to digital models they are simply more superior in term of “tracking” features and in this way more reliable than the older analog models. Some of the digital version of the aforementioned effects even come with drive mode`s which add distortion to the signal. To be honest the digital option of this effects can take the starting effect to a whole different level regarding features and abilities.
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