Featured Eventide Octavox by joe_04_04
Formats: AU, VST, AAX Mac/Win
Price: 199 USD
Demo: 30 day trial/demo iLok license
The Scope: Eventide’s Octavox is a tap delay style plugin that incorporates pitch-shifting abilities into each tap. The combination allows for some interesting compositional effects and also allows for fun experimentation of more abnormal effects as well.
Sound Quality - 5/5: Every user knows that pitch shifting can only go so far without sounding entirely artificial. That seems to be a general given in modern pitch-shifting processors, but if one knows how far to take it in order to keep the results realistic, then they are in good shape. The same law applies to Octavox. Exercising good judgement on how far to pitch the audio will always result in a cleaner, more realistic result. Of course, you may not always want to obtain realistic effects when pitching, sometimes, you want to step into the realm of far-out effects, I.E. for “psychedelic” and “trippy” effects. Octavox is also quite good as getting into this territory as well. With extreme shifts occurring on each tap and high feedback settings, things can become interesting fast. The great thing about this tool is it can be approached from either an entirely theoretical perspective, using the musical notation and staff, for creating interesting harmonies and delayed arpeggios, or it can be approached from a non-musical standpoint with no theoretical background knowledge at all to create more traditional style delays. User presets can be a pretty good starting point and a place to look when trying to find how creative this tool can get.
Ease of Use - 5/5: The user interface of Octavox is very straight-forward and intuitive. Its laid out in the classical “tap” delay style, but adds both the bass and treble staff lines that allow you to lock your pitches to a grid of intervals in any key of your choice. You are also able to pitch shift each tap, in between intervals,based on cents, from -2,400 to 2,400 cents, so you have near infinite range in between pitches that you can use as well. It is very easy to set up Octavox and takes only a few minutes to get just about any desired effect one can imagine, though experimenting with it for longer periods is definitely recommended. as it can do much more than just what one can create in their own mind. As mentioned, it is very easy to set up: You select the key of your song, select the scale you are wanting to use, then set your tap delays up to each desired interval. From there, you can either choose to add rhythmic delay by adjusting each tap, left to right, across the musical staff or not, if you are just wanting to create some harmonies without delays. You can also choose its stereo position and volume via their respective slides. Octavox can be used to create complex and “trippy” delayed effects, but I’ve been using it more traditionally, as its harmony engine, when used with the Pitch Tracking feature (more on this later), is pretty awesome. All in all, Octavox is in no way difficult to use, it deserves a 5 out of 5 here.
Features - 5/5: Octavox has plenty of features to play around with to get some interesting results, so it makes more sense to point out the best and most interesting features that it has to offer. Personally, my favorite feature of Octavox is its Pitch Tracking abilities. With pitch tracking off, each pitched tap is static and stays the same distance away from the original track/melody, in terms of interval relation. This means that setting up the plugin like a harmonizer on a melodic vocal part and setting one tap to a 3rd and one to a 5th won’t entirely work, as the taps will always stay the same semitone distance away from the source, allowing the pitched taps to go outside of the key. With pitch tracking enabled, the plugin will read the incoming pitch, figure out where it is within a scale, and the pitched tap delays will dynamically adjust to maintain the harmony relation within that key. With percussive and non-melodic instruments, pitch tracking can be turned off, as the harmony relation isn’t important, but with melodic instruments, I think it is important to have it on. The pitch tracking feature is extremely handy. Another nifty feature is the Randomize function, which slightly alters the pitch of the tap delays, resulting in a chorus effect. This can be useful for placing a tap at unison, with no delay, to pseudo-double a source, such as a vocal, or just adding variation to the the taps that are being delayed.
Bang for Buck - 4/5: At 199 MSRP, Octavox doesn’t seem to be too outlandish in its pricing, but with the plugin market slowly moving towards the budget-conscious crowd, catering more and more to the common home studio producer, it may be seen as a bit high. There are tons of great options in the sub 100 dollar price range these days, as opposed to five or six years ago when there were almost no options in this range, which is why a point was docked. Outside of this, I believe Octavox offers the user some great flexibility that justifies the price to an extent. The demo period is extremely gracious, in comparison to other companies, which gives the user plenty of time to fully evaluate whether or not the price is suitable for their tastes.
Verdict: Octavox is an extremely enjoyable tool to use when looking for something to inject creativity into your workflow. It can be used as a simple tap delay, for complex rhythmic effects, or as a pitch-mangling effects box. Its pitch-tracking ability allows it to be entirely useful for maintaining the dynamically changing pitch intervals that occur in a melodies, which helps it to stand out amongst the crowd of multi-voice pitch shifters that only statically adjust the pitches away from the source. My favorite application for Octavox is on the lead vocal track, as it can quickly change a mono vocal into a massive stereo vocal. By taking two taps, pitch-shifting them either a few cents in opposite directions, pan them fully left and right, and delaying them both by a very short time (100 milliseconds or less) to create a classic slap-back delay effect, a lackluster mono vocal will begin to seep into the outer bounds of the stereo field, inducing a three dimensional-like quality. This is a fairly simple example of how Octavox can be used, as it’s capable of much more complex effects, such as creating arpeggiated delay sequences. Overall, I think Octavox is a bit of an instant gratification tool that can spruce up stale sources in creative ways.