Review of: Demeter Fuzzy Octavulator
Reviewed by: Gabriel TanakaRating:4On October 14, 2013Last modified:October 6, 2016
I was very intrigued by this pedal from the moment I heard about it. Imagine a fuzz pedal that promises “Hendrix in a box” tones, features both LED and Germanium-flavored fuzz, and has an octave up function. It’s also designed by legendary amp guru, James Demeter, who apparently has a knack for making guitar pedals as well, and is handmade from the finest components available with a master-craftsman’s level of attention to detail. This seems like a pretty serious fuzz of the highest caliber. Is it the best octave fuzz pedal around? We’ll find out in our Demeter Amplification Fuzzy Octavulator review.
Let’s run down the features and get fuzzy.
Tone Pre-Emphasis Circuit gives the distorted sound focus by using an EQ stage to enhance certain frequencies.
Fuzz control knob increases the gain, fuzz, and sustain of the pedal.
Tone control knob adjusts a high-cut filter to make your tone warmer and fatter.
Volume control knob sets the overall output level of the pedal.
Tight/Loose switch switches between light emitting diodes (tight) and germanium diodes (loose) for the distortion generating section. LEDs sound tighter and are louder. Germanium diodes are generally looser with a more classic fuzz sound and less output volume.
Trim Pot sets the gain of the Fuzzy Octavulator’s output amplifier. It is more useful to turn up when using the Loose setting.
True Bypass footswitches for activating the Fuzz and Octave effects. These may be used together or separately.
Powered by 9-Volt batter or 9VDC power adapter with 1/8” inch plug.
Visit Demeter Amplification for more info about the Fuzzy Octavulator.
Sound & Performance:
I went right for the American Strat as per usual when trying out a new fuzz pedal for the first time. I put the Fuzzy Octavulator between my guitar and a flat, clean amp channel set the knobs on the pedal to noon.
I was a bit surprised when I first kicked in the Fuzzy Octavulator. At a 12 o’clock fuzz setting there was just barely a hint of grit in my sound. Playing lightly makes it less apparent, and rolling back your guitar’s volume knob just a tiny bit makes the speck of dirt disappear entirely. The Tight setting is a bit brighter and a little cleaner, while the Loose setting is a little warmer and dirtier. All these fine adjustments are very subtle but greatly influence your tone. I noticed something then.
The Fuzzy Octavulator just so happens to be one of the best clean boost/preamp pedals I’ve ever heard… and it’s a fuzz pedal for crying out loud! I guess this is what you get from a master amp builder who decides to make a fuzz pedal. The great sound of this pedal must be thanks to Demeter’s Tone Pre-Emphasis Circuit which adds focus on your tone before it even hits the gain stage. I spent a while with this pedal keeping the Fuzz knob counterclockwise of noon and using the Tone and Volume controls to dial in some fat clean tones. The Fuzzy Octavulator is the kind of fuzz for you die-hard tone-chasers that can really appreciate the careful attention to sonic detail put into a great boutique pedal.
Once you take the Fuzz knob up to around 2 to 3 o’clock the pedal starts to open up a bit. It still sounds pretty mild here, but it’s great for some tastefully restrained lead playing. The Fuzzy Octavulator sings with clarity and each note cuts through beautifully. This pedal will certainly reward the sensible player with its very musical fuzz tones.
Once you max out the fuzz, the Fuzzy Octavulator transforms. It’s quite a monster of a fuzz really, offering plenty of fuzzed out gain on tap. My only complaint is that I can’t decide whether I like the Tight or Loose setting better as they both sound fantastic and inspire different styles of playing. One thing is certain: the Fuzzy Octavulator is one hell of great fuzz, offering plenty of playability and some of the most diverse tonal characteristics you’ll find in a fuzz pedal. And it’s really amazing how responsive this pedal is, very comparable to the front end of a good valve amplifier.
But we haven’t even touched the Octave function yet. This invites a very pleasing Octavia-like upper octave drone. Notes absolutely sing with violin-like sustain. It’ll certainly do Hendrix and whatever other octave up madness you have in mind. It’s one of the better analog octave up effects I’ve heard, and it happens to be a unique Demeter variation. And be sure to try using the Octave feature on its own for some bell-like, ring-mod-esque tones. If you like bizarre sounds, you’ll dig it.
This is a really great fuzz pedal and certainly isn’t your standard fare. Some of you may have missed out on this gem before reading this review. Amplifier companies have been known to crank out pedals on the side, but few of them do it as well as Demeter Amplification. You definitely need to experience the Fuzzy Octavulator firsthand. Let’s see the final result.