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Al Krow

If you could only choose one filter pedal

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I'm on the look out for a really good filter pedal to put into the chain after my octaver to get a rich deep synth octave sound (which is a key end goal) but also something that I can have some tonal fun experimenting with down the line.

I've done a bit of research and picked a few brains (see CameronJ's really helpful summary below), but I'd be really interested to get your thoughts on the options out there and why they work for you? I found the "if you could only choose one octave pedal" very useful indeed (and I ended up getting a COG T16), so I thought it would be good to have something similar for filter pedals on the forum.

[color=#282828][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]There's also a choice between analogue and digital, with typically a greater authenticity of bass tone from analogue set against that the versatility of a really good digital pedal. [/font][/color]

My shortlist (and new prices from Andertons) at the moment is:

Source Audio Manta - digital (£148)
MXR M82 - analogue (£145)

...and possibly the:
Aguilar Filter Twin - analogue (£216)

The first two allow you to blend in a clean signal whereas with Aggie, which seems to also be well liked in terms of delivering a "more lush" sound but in typical Aggie fashion is not cheap(!), has a blend just between the two filters (which could be a limiting factor for me if the octave down signal is the incoming "clean").

[color=#0000cd][b]Comparative Filter Pedal Review[/b][/color] by our fast becoming resident Octave and Filter Meister - [color=#0000cd]CameronJ[/color]

[color=#0000cd][i]Wonderlove Deluxe[/i][/color]
[color=#0000cd][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]I found the Wonderlove Deluxe very useful as far as signal chain routing since it has an effects loop through which which you can insert any pedal of your choice AND an independently switchable expression pedal input. These things, I thought, would make the Wonderlove Dlx unbeatable on my board. For my tastes though, I just found that I didn't particularly love its inherent tone. There are a ton of knobs and switches on board which I thought would deliver a massive array of sounds but I found myself wondering (no pun intended) what some of the knobs actually did as turning them to their extreme clockwise/anti-clockwise positions yielded more subtle differences than I expected. The settings I ended up with were basically a mixture of knobs at absolute minimum and absolute maximum - and even then it was, in my opinion, a reasonably polite sound.[/font][/color]

[color=#0000cd][i]Source Audio Manta[/i]
[font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]The Manta is just a chameleon. It'll do so much. And every parameter you tweak produces clearly audible results! That alone made it more useful to me than the Wonderlove. There's quite a lot of potential for creating mad tones but more "normal" filter sounds are perfectly possible, contrary to what some folk seem to may believe. It was my first ever filter pedal but I don't know if I'd necessarily recommend it as everyone's first, simply because of how many options there are at your fingertips. I bought mine used though and it came with quite a nice "normal" filter tone saved on the left footswitch which I kept because I was a little afraid of losing it since I was slightly daunted by the interface[/font][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif] so I used the second preset slot to experiment and learn on, which was cool. [/font][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]The Manta's extreme tweakability, along with its inbuilt dirt and modulation options outgunned the analog effects loop and expression input on the Wonderlove Dlx for me. But if I was a more "traditional" player I'd probably say the opposite![/font][/color]

[color=#0000cd][i]Other options (in particular the Aggie Filter Twin and Fwonkbeta)[/i][/color]
[color=#0000CD][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]I didn't even keep the Wonderlove Dlx long enough to apply Velcro to the bottom of it! Meanwhile, my very recently acquired Emma Electronic Okto Nøjs and Way Huge Pork Loin have received the Velcro treatment just this very evening. Keepers.[/font][/color]

[color=#0000CD][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]To be honest I'm still learning how to dial filter pedals in. There are so many parameters which all interact with one another and it definitely takes a while to get to grips with what, for example, "resonance" and "q" mean in terms of the effect they have on the sound. On a basic level though, I just turn knobs and if it sounds good then it is good. With that in mind I was able to get more lush sounds from my Aggy Filter Twin and subsequently my Fwonkbeta, both of which have less than half the number of knobs and switches than the Wonderlove Dlx.[/font][/color]

[color=#0000CD][font=helvetica, arial, sans-serif]All filters will do different things in terms of how they retain/reduce the low end or high end of your signal. For example, the Filter Twin and Fwonkbeta are both low pass filters but i find the Filter Twin to be a nice medium between sounding round and thick, with a reasonable degree of high end retention which helps with articulation when the effect is used in isolation on your dry bass tone. Meanwhile, the Fwonkbeta retains (and in fact boosts) the low end much more whilst cutting some of the highs, which is why I prefer it in my chain after octaves and dirt as it keeps the booty thick but controls some of the harshness of my drive pedals, leaving me with a well balanced bass synth tone.[/font][/color]

Edited by Al Krow

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I've gigged a few and my personal favourite is the MXR.
Whether it's what you need.....don't know, but it sounds perfect to my ears (and for my needs).

Si

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I should add that the Filter Twin compared to the MXR could be seen as more "polite" sounding. On the MXR you can definitely get more of a punch/snap which at certain settings can really pound your speakers with its massive volume spikes.

Filter Twin - warmer, smoother
MXR - brighter, peakier

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[quote name='CameronJ' timestamp='1505648244' post='3373303']
I should add that the Filter Twin compared to the MXR could be seen as more "polite" sounding. On the MXR you can definitely get more of a punch/snap which at certain settings can really pound your speakers with its massive volume spikes.

Filter Twin - warmer, smoother
MXR - brighter, peakier
[/quote]

Sounds like a perfect time to have a compressor (or limiter) in the chain (probably after the filter pedal) then to protect the cabs against volume spikes?

Was this just an issue on the MXR or have you found it on other filters as well? I'm guessing probably not an issue on the more "polite" Aggie FT

Edited by Al Krow

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Al Krow the Threadstarter, The Prodigy should change their lyrics....

So my experience

MXR does the business from Chilli Peppers to funkadelic Herbie Hancock and is a well made pedal.

Manta - is nuts, very synth dubstep, getbthe hot hand out, it's very good fun and does the other things as mentioned.

Aggie - not played but listened, I think it sounds awesome and very easy to dial in and probably out the 3 mentioned the easisest to dial in install and also change in the fly if needs be.

I sold the MXR, but only because I wasn't using aside from noodling at home and I can use the Manta for that on one save d channel and the Hot Hand on another, I can use it out if I wish also.

It's a difficult one AK, nothing will be wrong, nothing will be fully right. As I know what you play in your bands I am leaning towards the Aggie (you know I have not played it, but listened and taken on board CDJ comments) which I think will sit nicely, but also will give you enough funk for home tinkering.
If you want to go wild you can Borrow my Manta any time as you know

Also defo compression after envelope

Edited by Cuzzie

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[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1505649298' post='3373312']


Sounds like a perfect time to have a compressor (or limiter) in the chain (probably after the filter pedal) then to protect the cabs against volume spikes?

Was this just an issue on the MXR or have you found it on other filters as well? I'm guessing probably not an issue on the more "polite" Aggie FT
[/quote]

It can be a problem on pretty much any analogue filter pedal to be honest. My Fwonkbeta can put out huge peaks, especially with the "Fwonk" knob turned up. I've just found the Filter Twin to be one of the most well behaved filters I've come across in this regard. A compressor will definitely help.

Edited by CameronJ

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It's worth bearing in mind which pedals are band pass, which are low pass and which do both.

I love the MXR but it only does band pass. Luckily it has a dry knob, otherwise it'd be pretty useless. If you're looking at bandpass filters, make sure they have either a blend or dry knob. When using lowpass this is less of an issue and I usually run LP fully wet anyway.

The Q-tron is good too. It has LP, BP and HP but also has a MIX setting which is bandpass mixed with dry (though you can't set the level of mix).

The Q-balls Enigma is also pretty damn good. It does most (if not all) of the stuff the Q-Tron does but has a few more knobs to tweak. It also has a built-in distortion channel which yields some dirty synth tones.

Check out the Proton, Fwonkbeta, Moogerfooger MF-101, Emma Discumbobulator, Keeley Neutrino, Mu-Tron III (and its variants) if you can find one.

I'm still working my way through a bunch of envelope filters.

Edited by Quatschmacher

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[quote name='Cuzzie' timestamp='1505650850' post='3373330']
Al Krow the Threadstarter, The Prodigy should change their lyrics....
[/quote]

Lol! Well I'm privileged to have your landmark 500th BC post on this thread and looking forward to the loan of your Manta (I'm guessing your pedal rental rates are less than £30 a month)?

[quote name='Quatschmacher' timestamp='1505652440' post='3373345']
It's worth bearing in mind which pedals are band pass, which are low pass and which do both. I love the MXR but it only does band pass. Luckily it has a dry knob, otherwise it'd be pretty useless. If you're looking at bandpass filters, make sure they have either a blend or dry knob. When using lowpass this is less of an issue and I usually run LP fully wet anyway.
[/quote]

Yup you're not alone in NOT being a fan of "band pass only" i.e. without dry blend and I know Cameron much prefers his low pass filters.

So MXR is band pass, whereas SA Manta, Aggie FT (and 3 Leaf Proton) are all all low pass? Or am I simplifying things too much here?!

Edited by Al Krow

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Yes, as far as I'm aware the Filter Twin and Proton are lowpass filters. Not sure on the others.

I seem to prefer lowpass too for slurpy goodness but the MXR makes some very satisfyingly quacky noises too.

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[quote name='Al Krow' timestamp='1505653610' post='3373354']
So MXR is band pass, whereas SA Manta, Aggie FT (and 3 Leaf Proton) are all all low pass? Or am I simplifying things too much here?!
[/quote]

As a general rule assume that, if bass players use it, it's running in low pass. The MXR is a fairly uncommon exception to that rule.

Some are switchable low/band pass which gives you the choice.

Edited by CameronJ

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A heavily modified DOD FX25. Doesn't really help you in your search, but I love mine!

LPF is definitely better (IMHO) for bass. Band Pass can be useful too, but for most 'serious' filter use (not just monkeying about at home) it's LPF every time.

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[quote name='paul_5' timestamp='1505671321' post='3373475']
LPF is definitely better (IMHO) for bass. Band Pass can be useful too, but for most 'serious' filter use (not just monkeying about at home) it's LPF every time.
[/quote]

Cheers for those further responses guys.

Ok a bit of a "newbie" Q, but I suspect it's one that other folk may be pleased that I've raised :)
(i) Why are Low Pass Filters (LPFs) so much better than Band Pass? and, if so
(ii) how come MXR decided to go down the Band Pass route but seem to have such a big hit with their M82? (Or is the fact that there are so many M82s coming up for sale telling us that the opposite is true once folk have actually tried them out?)

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Because the MXR has a clean blend, it helps retain all of your low end, which is what a LPF would typically do. Agreed, a band-pass with no clean blend would be a bit pants.

To be fair, the MXR can do a lot more than 'quacky sounds', they're the sounds I really dislike from envelope filters actually, that whole generic slap funk filter sound. I use it to get nice slow and low vowel sounds.

Si

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I haven't had any experience of the MXR. I have used the MF101 and leaf proton and wonder love with great results. The Proton doing pretty much the 101s job in a tiny package.
money no object the GlouGlouFX filters are ridiculously good and the tone is sublime.

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[quote name='Sibob' timestamp='1505675891' post='3373522']
Because the MXR has a clean blend, it helps retain all of your low end, which is what a LPF would typically do. Agreed, a band-pass with no clean blend would be a bit pants.

To be fair, the MXR can do a lot more than 'quacky sounds', they're the sounds I really dislike from envelope filters actually, that whole generic slap funk filter sound. I use it to get nice slow and low vowel sounds.

Si
[/quote]

Simon has nailed it here.

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So a quick comparison of the Aguilar FT ("A") and MXR M82 ("M") from review of YouTube clips and comments above.

Filter type:
A - LPF / no dry blend
M - Band Pass + dry blend

Price new (Andertons):
A - £216
M - £145

Features:
A - two filters: up filter and reverse sweep, both always on with ability blend the two; control over the "velocity" (only) of each filter; threshold control; no pedal volume control
M - single up filter (no reverse sweep). More shaping of up filter than the Aggie, with control over decay (width) and Q (intensity); sensitivity (threshold) control; fx (volume) control

[u]Summary[/u]
Both seem like capable and easy to get to grips with filters (unlike the SA Manta which will have a steeper learning curve!);
The MXR deals with the limitation of being a band pass filter by allowing a clean blend (which I actually quite like - it allows the full range of clean signal to be included, which methinks is going to be more of the clean than a LPF by itself would permit) and gives slightly more tone shaping for its single up filter;
The Aguilar lacks a volume control for the fx. My two "sources" who own the pedal both tell me there is a slight boost to output volume when the fx is engaged (which apparently can be adjusted from within the pedal?) But can get around that pretty easily, if needed, by dialling back the volume a touch on your bass. Provides an additional reverse sweep filter (a nice plus) and greater overall tone sculpting by blending up and reverse sweep.
Both have sensitivity / threshold controls.
The Aggie is significantly more expensive new!

Edited by Al Krow

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I've already PMd Al on the matter but for anyone else who's in doubt, the Filter Twin has no volume drop when engaged and if anything slightly boosts your signal. Worry not!

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Lol! I don't need to with both of you as BC buddies do I?! (I'll just be getting one in typical Al Krow boring style).

Face it, your combined stock of pedals easily exceeds [i]any[/i] London store, so you should get your heads together and start loaning out your surplus stock and even charge a reasonable fee! :)

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Lol! Wot no bread? Let 'em eat cake!

Besides, you're lending me the Manta. Which is a completely insane pedal. I'll therefore no doubt secretly enjoy and it will become my ultimate pedal board guilty pleasure :)

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