The FLAMMA FS08 is a polyphonic octave pedal that can produce up to 4 separated pitch-shifted signals. In this review, I’ll give you a thorough look at whether you might want one on your pedalboard.
Learn all about octave pedals and other pitch-based effects in my Guitar Effects Course here.
FLAMMA FS08 Octave Pedal Features
Here are the main features of the FS08 Octave Pedal:
- Mono input/output
- -2, -1, +1, +2 octave pitch shifting with individual control knobs
- Dry volume knob
- 7 preset slots to save custom settings
- External Power Supply Only (not included)
- 300 mA power draw (9V)
- Dimensions: 70 x 121 x 51 mm
FLAMMA FS08 Octave Pedal Ease of Use
Most octave pedals are simple to use because they only give you one or two knobs to dial in the effect level. The FS08 is a bit more complicated because you’re able to control up to five separate signals at the same time.
But once you get used to the idea that each knob is a separate volume knob for each possible signal, it’s quite easy to use.
For example, take a look at the above photo and think about what the knob positions mean.
This example shows that the -2 octave is set to about 4/10 volume, the -1 octave is set to 9/10, the dry signal is set to 10/10, the +1 octave to 3/10, and the +2 octave set to 0/10.
So you can expect to hear a multi-layered effect that’s heavy on the low end with some slight higher-end pitch shifting.
If you buy this pedal, start by turning everything but the dry knob to zero, then experiment with raising each individual knob to get used to how each signal sounds. This is what I did to get used to the pedal and it only took a minute to feel confident with dialing in different octave effects.
Saving and using presets is simple with the FS08. You can cycle through the 7 preset slots by pressing the middle button. The LED strip will change to highlight which preset slot you’re using.
If you want to save a preset to a slot, move to that slot by pressing the button, adjust the knobs to the position you want to save, then hold down the button to save it. If you turn a knob after saving, the LED will blink to let you know that the current changes are unsaved.
A quick glance at the above photo tells you that I’m using preset 5. Because the preset LED isn’t blinking it means that I’m using that preset and no changes have been made.
The presets that come loaded on the FS08 are fine, but I quickly replaced them with my own versions. That way I know that preset 1 has a simple dry/-1oct effect, preset 2 has a simple dry/+1oct effect, preset 3 has an organ-like effect, etc.
Overall, the FLAMMA FS08 Octave Pedal is easy to use. There are easier octave pedals out there, but they aren’t as flexible as the FS08. Being able to save your own presets is easy and very useful when you’re dealing with up to five separate signals.
FLAMMA FS08 Octave Pedal Sound Quality
There are three things to keep in mind when assessing an octave pedal:
- Tracking and latency of the pitch-shifted signals
- Quality of the pitch-shifted signals
- Ability to balance the wet/dry signals
I’ll share some audio clips so you can hear the different pitch effects possible on the FS08. I’ve kept the clips simple using only clean and drive guitar tones so you can listen carefully to the quality of the pitch-shifted effects as well as the latency.
Another point worth keeping in mind when using pitch-based effects (as explained in my Guitar Effects Course) is that these pedals work best when given a dry signal to work with.
That means you get the best quality effect when you have the octave pedal close to the start of your signal chain. If you have the octave pedal after other effects such as distortion or modulation, the pitch tracking may not work very well.
All of these audio clips were recorded with my guitar plugged straight into the FS08, then the FS08 plugged into my AXE I/O ONE audio interface (link to review). The guitar amp tones were produced by the plugin TONEX (link to review).
Here’s a clean guitar tone with a -1 oct and dry mix:
You can hear how the tracking of the -1 octave is fast enough that the latency isn’t noticeable while playing. The -1 octave works extremely well with monophonic (single notes) playing as well as polyphonic (chords).
Here’s a clean guitar tone with a +1 oct and dry mix:
Listen closely to the first few notes and you can hear how minimal the latency is with the +1 octave signal. There were a few times while jamming that I did notice some slight latency, but most of the time the tracking was spot on.
Here’s a clean guitar tone with a -2 oct and dry mix:
There is obvious latency when using the -2 octave effect. This type of latency is unavoidable even for high-end pitch pedals as shifting the signal down two full octaves is a big change in pitch.
I still found plenty of times where I enjoyed using the -2 octave effect, but it’s not as useable as the -1 octave for general playing.
If you like the idea of coming up with thick ambient soundscapes, try combining the -2 octave effect with other effects such as reverb, delay, or modulation.
Here’s a clean guitar tone with a +2 oct and dry mix:
As you can hear in the above clip, there’s obvious latency between the dry signal and the +2 octave signal. It’s not as bad as the -2 octave effect, but still noticeable while playing.
I switched from a bridge pickup to a neck pickup halfway through the above clip so you can hear how it doesn’t negatively impact the pitch shifting. The tracking and latency felt the same with any pickups I used.
I found that using a combination of the +1 and +2 octaves helped reduce how obvious the latency was with the +2 octave effect.
Here’s a clean guitar tone with -2, -1, dry, +1, +2 oct signals mixed evenly together:
Combining multiple octave effects can produce lush organ-like tones that are a lot of fun to play with. Keep in mind that this clip just uses a clean guitar tone, so you can really dive into experimental effects when you combine the FS08 with other effect pedals.
Here’s a drive guitar tone with a -1 oct and dry mix:
The -1 octave effect brings out a thick fuzz-like grit that I didn’t expect. I set a 50/50 mix between the -1 octave and the dry signal to make the octave effect obvious, but I found that turning the -1 oct mix down slightly produced far better results.
What I like about this octave pedal is how easy it is to dial in the perfect levels for each individual signal. Slightly raising the dry signal or lowering the pitch-shifted signal can completely change the overall balance and quality of the effect you hear.
Here’s a drive guitar tone with a +1 oct and dry mix:
This clip is another good example of what I mean by needing to tweak the levels for best results. This is another 50/50 balance between wet and dry signals and you can hear how overpowering the pitch-shifted signal can be.
There are a lot of fuzz/octave combination pedals that include a +1 octave because it works so well with fuzz distortion. Slightly lowering the mix of the +1 octave made this effect subtle enough that I can see myself using it quite often.
I found myself spending quite a lot of time just jamming with the +1 octave effect and the near-zero latency made it very useable.
Here’s a drive guitar tone with a +2 oct and dry mix:
As mentioned earlier, the latency is quite obvious with the +2 octave effect. This clip shows how you can make that latency work for you in interesting ways. I quite like how it sort of sounds like a delay effect. Combining the +1 and +2 octaves with a low mix level is a great way of experimenting with this.
Here’s a drive guitar tone with a -2 oct and dry mix:
Combining a -2 octave effect with distortion is always going to end up with mushy and warbly sounds. The low E you hear in the above clip has been shifted two octaves down, so the pitch you hear is lower than a standard 4-string bass.
I found it useful when I wanted to play around with dark and messy ambient sounds, but the best results were from when I dialed the wet mix down close to zero.
Here’s a drive guitar tone with -2, -1, dry, +1, +2 oct signals mixed evenly together:
Tweaking the levels will help improve the overall balance, but this clip shows how all of the pitch-shifted signals can be used together with a drive tone and produce useful sounds.
Overall Impressions of the FLAMMA FS08 Octave Pedal
Overall, the FLAMMA FS08 Octave Pedal is a fantastic pitch-shifting pedal that gives you plenty of options for octave effects.
Being able to individually dial in four separate pitch-shifted signals as well as the dry signal gives you more than enough flexibility for any octave-based effects.
Having seven preset slots makes this a useful pedal for live performances as you can easily toggle between different presets to match your songs.
While the latency of the -2 and +2 octaves is quite noticeable, they’re still very useable – especially when you dial in the levels right and combine them with the -1 and +1 octaves.
Keep in mind that the FS08 required 300mA of current, which is higher than many guitar pedal power supplies. Make sure the power supply you use can provide enough current or you may run into unexpected issues.
When you consider that popular alternatives for octave pedals usually cost almost double, it makes it easy for me to recommend the FS08.
How to Get the Most Out of the FLAMMA FS08 Octave Pedal
Here are a few things you can do to get the most out of the FLAMMA FS08 or any other effects pedal:
Check out my Guitar Effects Course
I created my Guitar Effects Course to help guitarists learn to identify effects by ear, learn the differences between similar-sounding effects (eg: phaser vs flanger), and learn how to use effects in combination in a rig.
Pitch-based effects such as octave pedals are covered in the course and compared against “smart” pitch-based harmonizers.
If you want to get the most out of any pedal you buy, you might want to learn more about the effect in my course.
Listen to Songs Using Octave Pedals
Hearing how different guitarists use octave pedals can give you ideas on how to use your octave pedal.
Here are some well-known songs that feature an octave pedal:
- Super Colossal by Joe Satriani
- Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix
- Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet
- Fool in the Rain by Led Zeppelin
- Money for Nothing by Dire Straits
- Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes (used a Whammy pedal, but an octave pedal works just fine with dry turned to zero)
Bassists also regularly use octave pedals and Hysteria by Muse is a great example of one in action.
Have a listen to these songs and see if you can replicate the effect with your own rig (or get close enough).
Check out these Useful Guides
Here are a few useful guides worth reading:
- How to Make Your Guitar Sound Like a Bass
- How to Power Your Guitar Pedals
- How to Daisy Chain Guitar Pedals
As the FS08 requires an external power supply, I recommend reading the two above guides on powering your pedals to see what options you have.