a good envelope filter for active basses

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by drewphishes, May 9, 2018.

  1. drewphishes

    drewphishes Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2017
    my mxr bass envelope filter seems great on my passive basses, but when I plug in my active, I cant get the same effect.

    to that note, what are some that play nice with an active pre amp
  2. dannybuoy


    Aug 3, 2005
    MXR Bass Envelope Filter, I typically run the sensitivity control in the 3 o'clock region, giving you loads of headroom to turn it down with a louder bass. It's also the best I've ever tried when it comes to slap, if you're into that.

    On the other hand, the Discumbobulator is pretty much the opposite. I run the sensitivity at 8-9 o'clock so would be unable to cope with having a louder bass!
  3. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Most good envelope filters on the market today have a wide enough sensitivity range to accommodate both low output and high output basses (and generally that's more the issue than passive vs active I find) and sound good.

    The Iron Ether Xerograph, 3Leaf Proton or Wonderlove, MuFx MicroTron III, and Aguilar Filter Twin are a few that I've had in the last year or two that worked fine with all my basses. And when I had the MXR I was able to dial it in for all of my basses too.

    But if you've got a super hot bass that is blowing out the MXR one suggestion I'd give is the Mr. Black Fwonkbeta. It actually was a struggle to use with my lower output basses (I had to use a boost pedal to really get it to open with one of my basses) but it handled my higher output ones like a champ. Not super versatile but it has a great sound.
  4. Double E

    Double E I ain't got no time to play... Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I use the MXR BEF with my active basses one has a J-Retro and the other a Mike Pope. Usually have to dial the sensitivity way back and it works pretty good. What, if anything are you running in front of the filter?
  5. drewphishes

    drewphishes Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2017
    its an alembic epic
    Before it in the chain I have a tuner and the mxr octave deluxe
    usually dont run the two together, my sensitivity is up full and clean is at like 11 oclock
  6. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I have a love for two these days.

    Iron Ether Xerograph Deluxe

    Broughton JoshWah

    Both high-quality high/adjustability versions of envelope filters. I have both on my board and use them for different things. The Xerograph can get really crazy and has extremes of parameter adjustability. It has 2/4 pole, fast/slow, Up-down, it allows you to dial in the top end and the bottom end of the sweeps. It's resonance control goes from zero to full oscillation. It can also use an expression pedal to sweep the filter and can be used as a straight filter or envelope. This one can go to outer space and do some really crazy sounds or you can dial it back. It has individual controls for filter volume and clean volume. I loved this right out of the box for weirdness but it took longer for me to get 'traditional' out of it, though once I figured it out, it sounded fantastic.

    The Broughton is super sweet and easy to dial in. I find it works great active or passive and with any pickup settings. I like this one best for straight up rock or funk envelope sounds rather than my Xerograph which I feed a lot of junk to. Rather than controls for top and bottom, it has a knob that's the overall filter width. It has a really lovely gain control and while it works totally clean you can add tasteful amounts of grit all the way up to overdrive. Another nice feature is that it has a knob for speed, so you can sweep and dial that in rather than just an f/s switch. I fell in love with this pedal within 10 minutes of having it on my board.

    I have a Proton as well (V1). This is a boutique take on the Mutron circuit and really works about the same. I found that I had a harder time dialing in what I wanted with it, although it sounds good in the scope of 'traditional classic envelope'.
  7. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    IMHO, the problem is more likely related to frequency contour than level. Are you running the tone controls flat or boosting some bass or mids. Also, you need plenty of highs and upper mids for the effect to be apparent.

    For linear operation of the effect across the range of the instrument, you need a relatively flat frequency response. If you are boosting the active tone controls or the bass has a built in hump in its frequency response, this will impact the operation of the filter. The filter will open easily for boosted frequencies, but you may have to dig in for frequencies that are dipped. Some variation in technique is normal to get consistent results out of a given envelope filter.
    drewphishes likes this.
  8. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    I've found a nice active/passive switch on your bass makes this a bit easier. Although the JoshWah seems to love it even when I have EQ running. The other thing I've tried is having a small GEQ on my board in front of the filter then spend some time dialing in whatever frequencies are lacking in your 'standard' playing EQ.
    Wasnex likes this.
  9. I had the same problem a while ago and people here gave me some really good advice.
    EF are very sensitive to the frequencies and the input level. Start playing with the EQ on your pre-amp and the volume you send to it.
    You could use a compressor before the filter so you don't have to change the settings on the bass. I don't, it took me some fine tuning but I find the spot were the EF sound like it should.
    I haven't tried the MXR I have Moog low pass filter but I think you won't have problems finding the sweet spot
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