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Another Envelope Thread

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by DavePlaysBass, Feb 17, 2006.


  1. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    I started with an old Dunlop Wah. I ordered a DOD FX 25. Sent it back for the MXR Bass Auto Q.

    I like the Bass Auto Q for some finger style playing. It maintians a fat bottom and has a level control. However, it has no sensitivity control and I am not sure it really is an attack responsive filter. Works fine for finger style stuff that's not too fast but it does not track fast playing or slapping the way I think it should (if at all).

    So long short of it, I like the Bass Auto Q but I want an attack senstive envelope filter that has the treble bite of my Dunlop Wah but without the huge sucking bottom loss. Here's my chart at this point:

    [​IMG]

    The EBS on paper looks like it lacks tweakability on the Q and filter range side. I get the impression it is too behaved for the high Q sound I have in my head.

    The Maxon does not have an attack time adjustment. I am not sure attack time is a high priortiy for tweaking. I played an Ibanez AF-9 for 5 minutes one time and really dug it (no idea what setting it was on). But then the guitar player took it from me. It seems like the volume swells could be contained with a compressor after the filter and if the level gets higher, a tweak on the bass's volume. I think a slight boost with the AF-9 engaged could be a good thing if using it for fills. How much volume swell do you get? I suspect it is worse when the peak gets set at the higher settings.

    The Emma reviews are mostly good. I get the impression it is not all that dirty sounding. I could order the Maxon AF-9 and the Emma from MF and get a 45 day trial and send one back.

    Then there is the mysterious Ashdown fx enevlope filter. It is priced at a point that makes you think it will not be all that great ($130 at Music123). Anyone know the scoop on these things. Looking at the knobs, I wonder if they ripped off the older optical sensing stuff that's used in the Maxon and tuned if for a bass and added a level control. That might be worth waiting a couple of months for.

    Where have I gone wrong in my assumptions?

    Thanks,

    Dave
     
  2. zombywoof5050

    zombywoof5050

    Dec 20, 2001
    I sent back the Maxon AF-9 because I didn't like the volume jump when turning it on, and it had annoying volume jumps while operating at some settings.

    I sent back the MXR M188 Bass Auto Q because I didn't care for the sound.

    I kept the Emma DiscumBOBulator....balanced volume levels between on & off, no annoying volume jumps during operation, and very good sounding.

    But everybody's different, so keep us updated with your progress and good luck to you.
     
  3. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    Do you recall what setting where giving you the most trouble? I have an EBS head with a variable compressor as part of the preamp input stage. If the Ashdown envelope was not on the horizon, I would probably just buy and try the Maxon. I was told my a vendor that they should be around April 15th.

    Do you get a thick tone from the Emma? One of the things I like about the Auto Q, is the instant fattening of the high tones. I get the impression the Emma is better for humbuckers because it is not as fat sounding.

    Dave
     
  4. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I tried the Ashdown EF and felt that it was pretty decent(it did mantain it's thickness,even when me and bassist Randy Coven performed together,it didn't get lost in the performance)It also allowed for a nice watery flow as well and it seemed to be versatile and for the money I think it might be a winner for Ashdown.
     
  5. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    Thanks guys for the feedback on the Ashdown and the Maxon. I think I may wait for the Ashdown to hit the scene. I did find a schematic for what I believe is the Maxon AF-9. I believe it may be the same concept as the Ashdown given the knob tweaks. I have sent an email to Ashdown asking them in their EF is based on opto resistors.

    http://www.geofex.com/PCB_layouts/Layouts/neutronpub.pdf

    After reading thru this, it would not be hard ( just time consuming) to wire up my own AF-9 and add a level control to it.

    I may buy the Maxon, Ashdown, and Emma and give them a 45 day trial. I should probably throw the BassIQ in there as well. But I would have to sell it used if it were not the chosen one.

    Dave
     
  6. zombywoof5050

    zombywoof5050

    Dec 20, 2001
    Sorry, I don't quite recall which settings on the Maxon were giving me the most trouble, but I'm pretty sure it was on the bassier settings. What would happen is the filter would open up and give the wah like sound and then if I let the note ring out long enough to decay and let the filer to close back up again, I would then get this loud bassy jump in volume right there (or something like that, I may not be remembering exactly).

    About the Emma, I'm not sure what you mean by thick. I haven't really strived for those 'dub' sounds like people say you can get with the DOD FX25, so if that's what you mean then I'm not sure. It sounds thick enough for my taste, but I'm not sure what you're after.
     
  7. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    When I engage the MXR Auto Q, I feel like a get a sustain and overdrive thing that enhance single note lines on the middle to higher frets. There is definitely a sustain and upper harmonic thing going on. And I boost the output level a bit and it can feel like a guitar player hitting his solo boost stage. Using the Bass Auto Q, I have been able to find some really simple lines that just are fun to play and sound great (to me at least). And for the most part, the guys I jam with dig it as well.

    I talked with a guitar player who has the Emma and the Ibanez. He likes the Emma with his Les Pauls and the Ibanez with the strats. All in all, he prefers the Ibanez and does not notice any volume swells (but he is not using the bassier settings).

    Dave
     
  8. I've been burning up the 45 day trial periods as well on envelope filters. My experience is similar to zombywoof5050. I also believe with filters, performance depends allot on the bas being used. My comments are based on using a passive Fender jazz with these filters.

    Maxon AF-9: Very well made & true bypass. I experienced volume jumps too, plus the resolution on the controls were limited. I believe this filter unit could stand a little hotter signal than my bass puts out to get the full effect - sent it back.

    MXR M-188 Auto Q: Well made. Variable rate, but not touch sensitve...bottom line is not my thing - sent it back.

    Emma Discombobulator: I agree with everything Zombywoof5050 said above - balanced volume levels on & off, no jumps...etc. Also I did not experience the any appreciable amount of low end loss as reported by others on this forum. Sounds very good. But, IMO, the construction of this pedal doesn't justify the cost. Pot metal case with poor fit & finish, board mounted jacks of less than top notch quality. There must be a better choice for long-term durability for a stomp box than the toggle switch that was used, and I felt the stomp switch could have been better too. The bottom is covered in a soft foam rubber insted of rubber feet or hard rubber. The overall construction vibe leaves something to be desired. Please bear in mind that these criticisms are strictly IMO, and only come up because this pedal sells for $190.00. Performance wise, it sounds good. Not good enough to keep for this price though - sent it back.

    FWIW, consider that I will only use an envelope filter for about 3 songs out of 60.

    I'm really want to try the new Ashdown filter. Does anyone know of any online dealers who have it in stock yet?
     
  9. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass

    Mar 31, 2004
    CO
    After reviewing what I believe are the AF-9 schematics, the volume jump makes sense. The senstivitiy and the overall gain of the pedal are the same knob. On top of that the sensitivity at the highest setting does not seem to do as much sweeping as some would like. This would be more noticable with a passive instrument. Hopefully the Ashdown guys have made some improvements to the sensitivity / overall volume adjustments assuming they are using a Mutron III as their starting point. I may need to get out my soldering iron.

    Dave