Envelope Filter signal strength?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by fakeneckplate'65, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. I've been researching different envelope filters for months & it actually inspired me to put together a proper pedal board. I finally spotted a good enough deal & pulled the trigger on a Xotic Robotalk 2. A few days later I received the pedal & plugged it in.

    It seems it needs a lot of signal in order to get the envelope to open. So much so, my Precision doesn't provide enough, nor does my Stingray & that's with the sensitivity all the way up. It works quite well with my Yamaha DX7 though, which have so much signal, the dip switch needs tweaked to accommodate the signal.

    The only way I can get the envelope to sound it by playing very hard near the bridge, which is two or three times harder than I typically play, or slap the string, which I don't do, have no intention of using that style.

    Is this the nature of ALL envelope filters?
  2. You might try some kind of boost in front of the filter to push it a bit harder. I got a clean boost for this reason but with flatwound strings still couldn't get the filter to really open up the way I wanted. I found putting some kind of overdrive in front of the filter gave it a much richer frequency range to work with and brought it to life for me.
    Blu bro likes this.
  3. I have a TC Electronic Spark that I'm trying as we speak, & it seems to just distort the signal. I'll have to play with it, but, it's rather disheartening. I'll keep tweaking though.

    One of the reasons I've always been opposed to effects is because I like playing bass not playing with effects.
  4. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    Dynamic Filters are probably the most misunderstood pedal. The reason for this is because there are usually two controls that work together to make the sound you want. The Robotalk 2 is no exception, infact there are more than 2.

    Did you read the manual? For this box, make surr you do, there's lots going on. For the firdt bit, you MUST play with the effect to get it going. If you can't set aside 1hr to do this, pack it in and sell it now.

    If you are still with me; once you give it an honest hour, and read the manual you will find that you can play the effect. Notice the difference. Not playing with, just playing.

    So, in the manual you will find settings for the INPUT PAD. Likely it is set for line level, not instrument level. Change those DIP switches inside based on the manual.
    SLO Surfer and Wasnex like this.
  5. I have reviewed the manual pdf online & will put aside time to play with it when I can. I have experimented with the internal dip switches & have set them according to the output of the instrument.
  6. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014

    Likely your light touch is contributing a bit. The volume boost in front is a good suggestion, hopefully the robotalk a and b ch volumes can cut what you add. Playing dynamics is part of playing a filter, so if you have a very dark round sound, a filter will really need a good volume bump. It's a cool result that I use myself.

    Filters like the Moog, Qtron and others usually have a volume boost as part of the signal, which helps, but, yes most need a bit of a kick - especially if you want quack.

    Turn up the resonance, and cut the dry signal to hear the filter move more. As you get the feel a bit more, you can make these more subtle. Try to just get the feel first, then tone second.
    Bo0tsy and fakeneckplate'65 like this.
  7. K-man


    Aug 11, 2009
    Start with the low output dip switches without bass eq dip setting (I found the deep settings too thumpy). The manual is just a guide. With my active bass I use the medium output setting. My sensitivity is usually 1:00ish with my setup.
  8. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    Sounds more faulty or in need of a shop adjustment...low sensitivity is better than too much sensitivity (I've been there often because I love a drive in front of envelope) but no sensitivity is a no go. If you had a Spark DRIVE with the eq-ing, I'd say turn on the mid boost switch- it is always in the wheelhouse of an envelope's audible sweep freq. I use drive at about 10:30 to give some barely audible grit-definition.

    My main envelopes for bass now are an Ibanez Bass synth from the 90s, Ashdown Dr Green's Doctor's Note, new era EH Bassmicro Synth and a FMeron by Iron Ether. On trumpet I use the Maxon, another Ibanez Envelope pedal, or an EH DrQ (an original one from the 70s). They all work for me but getting there took many tries. (except for the Dr.Q, the first, pedals did what they were supposed to back in 1976.)

    I tried the Xotic because they are a quality company, (I used their loop blender pedal) but it wasn't necessary to buy. just meh.
  9. I've tried all settings of the dip switches, volume on bass is all the way up. I'll d!ck with it more later, but, the signal from the bass is not strong enough from my 2011 Fender American Standard Precision bass. I'm going to try my Thunderbird as it has the hottest pickups. My Precision has the second hottest output with my Stingray output being 30-40% less than my Precision.

    I did find the mid setting on the TC Spark did make the filter respond the best so far.
  10. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    nope, some have sensitivity adjustable.
    I've owned three that had it adjustable: MXR, Manta and BassIQ.
    and one that did not (and I put a compressor in front of it): 1-st gen SA BEF.
  11. The Robotalk 2 has a sensitivity adjustment & it's all the way up.
  12. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    ok, more sanity checks:
    1. do you have volume all up on your bass?
    2. try it with tone wide open. maybe you're cutting some frequencies that your filter relies on.
    3. did you try a different envelope filter with your bass (like some MXR in a shop nearby)?
  13. City

    City Supporting Member

    Make sure you don't compress the signal before it gets into the envelope filter. The filter works kinda off the staccato of the note to give that wah...flatten the notes with compression and you wont get the sound you desire. That said, I don't know your setup, just an experience I have had.
  14. JFLbass


    Mar 3, 2010
    I had the Robotalk II for a time. It's a very good sounding pedal, and to my ear and test I did, very similar to the MXR enveloppe Filter, that I prefer. any way, into the Robotalk, there's some switch you can adjust to fix this sensibility issue. Everything is write into the manual.
  15. Double E

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

    Dec 24, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    If the filter won't open up with a Stingray, then something is wrong. Dead battery in your preamp, volume knob turned down, something killing the signal in front of the filter... etc. .

    In fact a Stingray or a Precision both should really have enough pop to hit the front end of the filter and make it open up.

    I am not familiar with the Xotic filter... but if it requires a hotter signal than a Stingray then it is set up wrong, broken or useless.
  16. My Stingray, which sounds fantastic, is the lowest output bass I have. I'm fairly conservative with the eq. The bass is boosted probably 30% & the treble probably 35% or so.

    Interestingly enough, I just tried my envelope through the effects loop of my SWR Strawberry Blonde, & the filter is significantly more responsive. I can actually roll the sensitivity knob from 100% to say 55%.

    I was under the impression sending anything other than "time" based effects was a big no - no?
  17. Yes, there is a dip switch internally that allows three levels of gain depending on the output of your pickups.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2018
  18. JFLbass


    Mar 3, 2010
  19. Hi, yes I'm well aware of the dip switches. It's still doesn't make a difference going through the front of the amp. It does appear to be fine through the effects loop. No idea why.
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