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Envelope Filters: EBS/Moog/3Leaf/MXR/EHX

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Alex1984, May 11, 2010.

  1. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    Has anyone ever done a comprehensive review for envelope filters like Bongomania's compressor reviews?

    The Micro Q-tron has succeeded in whetting my appetite, but I think it's cutting out too much low end, and a little too peaky for me.

    I've had prior experiences with EBS pedals before, and I'm pretty pleased, so I'm leaning towards the BassIQ, but my bass teacher highly recommends the Moog, and there's also been rave reviews for the Enigma, M82 and Groove Reg. I'm really confused now.

    Does anyone have sound clips of these or know where to find them?

    To give more info: I'm not much of an effects guy, I like a light-effect, but the main thing would be to preserve the original character of the bass. A blend would be nice, but not necessary if the pedal can preserve the original sound while being able to provide a snappy, funky tone.
  2. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Given what you're looking for - a filter that lets your original tone through without much coloration - I think you'd be best off with the Groove Regulator or EMMA DiscomBOBulator.

    Both are milder filters that sound good in a mix and add a funkyness without being over the top or having huge volume spikes.

    The tradeoff obviously is that you don't get a super wet, squelchy filter but that doesn't sound like what you're looking for.

    As a side note, I wouldn't recommend the Moog as a straight ahead filter. It certainly can do that, but it's huge, expensive, has bad bypass and is somewhat limited as a filter. It absolutely rules as a component of an electronica style synth setup or for fixed cutoff dub tones, but there are better options for what you want IMO.

    You could also look at something like the Chunk 00Funk. It's capable of a lot wilder sounds than the EMMA or 3Leaf but with the Squelch and Smoothness dialed back it can cop similar tones as the Groove Regulator.
  3. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    Filters are so varied and taylored to appeal to different users. Its hard to pick just one. I own three different filters right now and long for more. I have gone through a fair number of them trying to find a certain tone.

    So the original Qtron is my idea of a fabulous wet squelchy filter. It has issues that are a pain to deal with such as its large size, volume spike and 24v power requirements. The Micro Qtron which I had briefly was nowhere even close to the original big box version. I would not recommend it at all. I really liked the Mini Qtron but they are still large and hard to find.

    I also own a Groove Regulator. It really is a fantastic pedal. Very organic sounding, small, no volume spike or dip and simple to use. Its not as wet and drippy as my old Qtron but its so useable.

    I also own an Xotic Robotalk II which is a serious machine. Its less organic and more synthy sounding then the Groove Regulator but it works so well live and cuts through the mix like crazy.

    The new MXR is totally calling my name as is the new Aquilar filter. Best thing is to try a bunch of them and see what you like. I found the EBS pedal way too subtle for my tastes.
  4. carrasaurus


    Oct 8, 2009
    Just curious - what do you have all the knobs and switches on your qtron set to? I have trouble getting it as moist as I'd like, it always seems to get lost in the mix. The band is loud, but I know I should still be able to hear the effect. I also have a bassballs but it isn't as thick and beefy. I sometimes end up using them both together.
  5. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I have the MXR and so far I love it! I've tried the Q-tron before and it got a little more wild than what I was looking for. I'd really like to A/B the MXR and 3leaf but I'm more than happy with the MXR. Gets nice and wet and can get some spikes depending how you set it but can be tamed very easily. Controls seem to be very responsive to the smallest movement.
  6. I you want a more subtle filter that retains your original bass sound, the 3Leaf Groove Regulator and WMD Fatman are great choices. Personally, I'd stay away from the Moog because of it's power requirements, funky bypass, size and cost (new anyway). They are different filters but one might get give you what you're after.

    The WMD is wetter, synthier, and a bit easier to get a sweet tone out of while the 3Leaf is a bit more subtle, funkier, and has a wider sweep. They both have some serious tone and are worth a look.

    I will say that the MXR is a TOTALLY different filter from everything I've tried so far, sonically. With the blend control you can control how much of your dry signal is there but really it's more of a general bass knob because it really alters the original tone of your bass. It's perfect if the Q-tron is "too much" and the 3Leaf or WMD "aren't enough". I dig it a bunch and say it's worth a shot

    MXR Clips:
  7. newbold


    Sep 21, 2008
    Pigtronix Envelope Phaser: EP-1 or EP-2.

    Surely snappier than a filter. LFO phaser too! Win Win!
  8. good question/suggestion about a comprehensive filter review site, like bongo's compressor reviews and grgryx's bassfuzz.com. These are such valuable resources for all us bottom feeders and it would be great to have one for filters.

    Maybe there are some other essential effect-types that could do with comprehensive review resources. Any suggestions?
  9. billphreets


    Oct 1, 2009
  10. My standard advice for anyone struggling with a filter is to turn your sensitivity or gain knob all the way down and add it in until you get the sound you want. If that doesn't work then turn your bass volume knob down to see if you can get the ton that way. It took me a while to learn that turning it up doesn't equal 'more effect' with filters.

    Bassballs has trimpots inside that can make it more beefier. I modded one to have the trimpots on the outside and here is a clip I made while tweaking the three knobs.
  11. DiscoFreq


    Jun 13, 2005
    Effectsdatabase started as a site about envelope filters only :D

    I never did real reviews, only a list of scores for the envelope filters I have myself (I still have to add several models: Z.Cat, Tweaktronix, PUE,...):

    One of the plans for the site is to add sound/video samples...
  12. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    I think I mostly agree with your scoring on the pedals I've tried. Nice one.
  13. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002
    I bet filters are harder to objectively evaluate than compressors....
  14. DiscoFreq


    Jun 13, 2005
    That could be true for the sound, but not for features, range and response

    Though even for the sound there are some things you can easily compare:
    fat vs not fat
    filter type & range: if it cuts off too much of the low end the score for bass is bad...

    That's not an envelope filter but I didn't know that brand yet, so thanks! :D
  15. Albibass


    Nov 11, 2007
    I'm using the Micro Qtron and am very happy with it.
    Had the mini once and bought the Micro a while back.
    I don't have any problems with it like some people say here.
    On the other hand, I'm using a special set-up for my pedals.
    I've got a Markbass LMK head, that has 2 channels.
    My pedals are in the effects-loop of the A-channel, so I'm able to activate my B-channel for extra bass.
    That way I can use the both the BP an HP setting, without any loose of lows or hi peaks and still have a terrific sound.
    Way better then the BassIQ I tried...
  16. Alex1984


    Jan 16, 2010
    I suppose if I had a side chain effects loop, that could work.
  17. OhulahanBass


    Nov 6, 2008
    Boulder CO
    I currently have the Groove Regulator, MXR M82 and Mutron (what the qtron wish's it was).

    The GR is great at subtle filter effect and lets your original bass tone comes through, it has terrific tone. However, I find it gets lost in the live mix. It is (out of the three); the most versatile and can get a verity of tones, though it can’t get a Mutron or M82/440 tone.

    The MXR M82 isn't versatile in the sound it out puts but is very versatile in controlling its output...the most versatile output control I've seen in a filter. It gives you Dry and FX level knobs so you get to so you get to decide how subtle you want it, I imagine you’d dial it real subtle for personal use and dial the effect in more for band use. Plus you get a decay to control how quick the sweep is and a Q to control how much and a sensitivity to control how responsive its. It is however the same or extremely similar sweep every time and a bit of a one hit wonder, a great one hit wonder though! So good if it had other tones you wouldn’t use them IMO.

    The Mutron is simply the greatest effect I've plugged into but I don't think it is in the scoop of your search. The Qtron or Qballs is as close as you can get without breaking $200. However, reducing the “peak” (high freq volume) on the Mutron gives a subtle but wonderful effect that still cuts through IMO, where dialing down the Q on my late Micro Qtron made it disappear.

    I’m not impressed with the bass IQ but have seen the Meter’s bassist funk it like nobody’s business!
  18. I have qtron plus older version and a Mojo Hand Tonefactor Analaogue Filter 442 Red. The Mojohand is awesome, not over the top but just funky enough with useful settings over the entire range of its knobs. The qtron plus takes some tweaking
  19. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I've been a die hard Menatone MailBomb user for a little over 3 years, (the original model, not the current one), and the new MXR bass env filter has completely knocked me out. My MailBomb is now for sale. The MXR seems to be capable of a much wider range of sounds, from subtle to almost over the top. Love the "blend" feature, as well. Definately should be at the top of your list.

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