Travis Carlton's Lowpass Filter
I've been listening to the Larry Carlton trio for a while now, and I've been loving the envelope filter Travis (the bass player) uses.
(bass solo around the 5 minute mark)
I was wondering if anyone knows what kind of settings he uses on (what looks like) his Moog MF-101 Lowpass filter, since that's probably the most awesome envelope filter sound I've heard on a bass.
Thanks in advance!
I wouldn't discount the full range warmth and fidelity of his rig either. Those Helborg preamps seem pretty awesome to me. Oh and the amazing playing, that never hurts, does it?
That does look and sound like a MF-101.
Do you have one already, or are considering buying one? It should not be too hard to
duplicate that effect.
Also, it sounds like there might be a compressor after the filter. Some notes seem to be
pushing the filter open more without the extra volume that would normally accompany
that. The envelope from the louder notes produces a higher cutoff frequency and the
compressor levels out the note volume. So playing harder produces a brighter note, rather
than a louder note.
I have one on order, due here during next week. I can give you some initial settings to
start working with after it arrives.
Yeah you can see whats almost definitely a moog pedal that he's fiddling with in the video.
I am thinking of buying one.
So, what you're saying is, the compressor makes it so notes that are played harder produce a brighter sound?
Not exactly. You will get a brighter sound if you play harder with or without the compressor.
Also I am using "brighter" to describe any upward sweep of the filter, both lowpass and with
resonance added. Resonance produces more of a "wah" effect.
The signal amplitude is translated into a voltage envelope that follows the amplitude (volume)
of the note. This envelope then controls the filter cutoff frequency. So notes, which typically
have fast attacks, will push the cutoff frequency upward rapidly. Then the note might decay
slowly if allowed to sustain, and the filter cutoff will also fall slowly. Or the note might decay
fast if dampened or muted, and the filter cutoff would then also fall rapidly.
If you ever used a wahwah pedal, it would be somewhat similar to rocking the pedal forward and
back with each note played. Sweeping upward at the beginning of the note and downward as
the note dies out. With the wahwah, you control the resonant sweep separately from the notes.
For example as you play higher up the neck you usually rock the pedal forward more, so the
filter sweeps throught the range of the higher notes.
One problem with a MF-101 type filter is that the cutoff is controlled by the amplitude (volume)
of the note, but not by the pitch of the note. So if you want higher notes to have a similar filter
effect, you have to play them harder. But you may not want the extra volume that was needed
to get that extra filter increase. That's where a compressor would help.
Or you might want varying amounts of filter on a small range of notes without affecting the note
volume. Again a compressor would help.
In many cases though, it should be sensitive enough to give you the filter control with only small
changes in volume. No compressor would be needed. Much of the sound in the video is due to
the way it is played. He is playing the filter as much as he is playing the notes.
One big advantage of the resonant low pass filter over a wahwah, is that the low end or bottom
is preserved. The classic wahwah loses the bottom end when the resonant peak is swept upward.
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