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Whats an Envelope Filter?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Nightsblood, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. I hear alot folks on here rave about their envelope filters, but I cant seem to find an explanation on what they do to your sound. Help a brother out!
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    A filter rolls off part of the frequencies you can hear. They are usually labeled in the opposite way, though, by saying which frequencies they will allow to "pass" (not roll off). So a high-pass filter rolls off the low freqs, etc. A "band pass" rolls off both highs and lows, and allows a chunk in the middle to pass through.

    The "envelope" of your sound is how loud it is over a period of time (like playing one note, for instance). If you pluck a string, you get a loud sound at first, which drops off and fades out over some seconds.

    An envelope filter listens to the volume envelope of your sound, and opens or closes the filter in an amount proportional to the envelope. It's like a filter knob that works automatically by responding to the sound you feed into it.

    All the various brands of envelope filters use different circuits to get this effect, so they sound different from each other. Even the "best" ones are not perfect for every player's tastes.

    What it "sounds like" is Bootsy Collins or a 1970's porn soundtrack: chew-wacka-chew-wacka-bow-wow...
  3. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Check out the "sounds" page at www.ebs.bass.se. The BassIQ is an envelope filter.