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9 of the Best Envelope Filter Pedals for Your Consideration

3Leaf AudioDeath By AudioDwarfcraftEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahModulationMojo Hand FXPigtronixSubdecay EffectsWMD Devices+-
2017AfBlg9FilterPedals700

NOTE - newer update : [here]

 

I have already covered off some of the simpler Envelope Filter pedals in my piece on Wah / Auto Wah pedals. All of those featured here are somehwat more feature-rich and add different flavours into the mix like fuzz, phasing and oscillation. I tend to me more aligned to the more compact pedals - so most of these are a little large for my needs, my Boss MD-500 has some superb filter options too and really supplies me with most of the envelope filter functions I need - I also have backup from my Dr Scientist BitQuest.

 

In terms of those listed, the only one I would really seriously consider acquiring would be the superb Subdecay Prometheus DLX. There’s 3 proper big box pedals here - the Q-Tron+, Envelope Phaser EP2 and Protostar, while the Interstellar Orbiter, Evil Filter and Happiness Filter all have sizeable enclosures. If you want the best mix of features and form factor, it would seem that you should likely go for the Wonderlove Deluxe, Wonder Filter or Prometheus DLX - I also actually have a soft spot for the Happiness Filter.

 

As stated, each has something different to offer, several of these have overdrive or gain textures and several have oscillators to - for more warble and vibrato. There should be something here for everyone.

 

Pedals are listed alphabetically by brand:


3Leaf Audio Wonderlove Deluxe - £250

This one is for all you funk fans - with lots of options to accentuate and mix up your groove: 7 dials - Sensitivity | Attack | Decay | Tone | Blend | Resonance | Boost, 4 on/off toggles - Range, Sweep, Band, Buffer, and a 2nd footswitch which toggles between envelope and expression pedal control. This pedal certainly crams features into its medium sized enclosure.


Death by Audio Evil Filter - £369

Evil Filter is a combination of Octave Fuzz and Envelope / Resonant filter. For the Fuzz you can select level and whether square or sine wave, you also have a footswitch to toggle the fuzz on/off. For Filter you have 4 dials - Frequency | Output | Waveform | Resonance - with High/Normal Resonance toggle. This delivers some really gnarly and sinister 70's funk fuzz tones - a touch specialist perhaps but really good.


Dwarfcraft Devices Happiness Filter - £259

If 'Knobs' features you, you know you're quirky cool and this Envelope Filter has a really impressive range of tones - with so many different ways to modulate the filtering. The pedal features 7 dials - Frequency | Resonance | Depth | Master | Rate | Shape | Speed, State toggle - High/Band/Low Pass, and Scramble toggle (Sample & Hold). The above Knobs video is the perfect introduction.


EarthQuaker Devices Interstellar Orbiter - £205

A dual resonant filter with individual Intensity | Resonance | Mix dials for A + B filters and master control dials for Rate | Direct | Frequency. This pedal gives you somewhat spacey phasey sounds with some lovely warble as you turn up the Rate dial. It's a cool pedal for sure, but quite larger really for what it delivers in my opinion.


Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron+ - £159

One of the best-loved envelope filters, and as used by John Mayer on many occasion. Has a 4-mode dial - Low/Band/High Pass and Mix. then separate Response | Range | Peak | Gain | Boost dials and a Sweep Up/Down toggle. Gives you all the funk you need, and has been the industry standard big-box filter pedal for a while. It's not as specialist as some of these others, but covers off all the obvious areas well.


Mojo Hand FX Wonder Filter - £229

Another funk-focused pedals - well demoed for various bass modes above. It features a 5-mode Dial - Notch Filter | High Pass | Band Pass | Low Pass | No Filter, then Boost | Gain | Attack | Mix | Peak (Resonance) - and Low/High Range and Down/Up Drive toggles. The cool thing about this pedal is that you can select 'No Filter' mode and just use it as a boost - with our without gain.


Pigtronix Envelope Phaser EP2 - £269

I've already mentioned this hybrid pedal before - which combines the best of phasing and filtering in a single workstation. In truth it is rather more a phase shifter than a filter pedal, but that phasing can be controlled by Envelope, LFO or a blend of the two. You have a series of 5 dials and five toggles which allow you to sculpt the texture of the phasing, smooth it out, make it more staccato, invert, accentuate and ramp up the resonance. You also have a variety of pedal controls to impact filter trigger, sweep and speed. It's quite different to the other pedals featured here and gives you something pretty cool and unique.


Subdecay Prometheus DLX - £249

Most of the pedals featured here are kind of large, this for me therefore is the best compromise therefore of form and function in the most compact - medium size enclosure. You have 4 smaller dials - Warp | Frequency | Depth | Resonance, two large 11 position mode dials - one for Wave Shape and one for Mode, then a 3-way toggle for Low/Band/High Pass. There is also a second footswitch for Tap-tempo and Sample/Hold. If I was in the market for any of these - this would be my go-to!


WMD Protostar - £329

I've featured this pedal before in my '16 Weird and Wonderful Guitar Noise Pedals' piece - this is likely the most full-featured of the filter workstations with a whole plethora of tone-sculpting abilities by way of a 9 socket CV Patch Bay, 9 Dials - Attack | Threshold | Envelope Amount | Resonance | Frequency | LFO Rate | LFO Amount | Compression | Dry/Wet, built-in LFO, 4 filter modes - Notch Down | High Pass | Band Pass | Low Pass. Dennis Kayzer gives you another superb demo of the kind of sounds this pedal is capable of - probably my favourite of the big boxes on show here.


Final Thoughts

As stated in the intro, I have a couple of pedals which do plenty of filtering effects already, so I'm not immediately looking for another addition. I think if you're proper serious about filters, then the Protostar is about as good as it gets - nothing else has the same degree of tweakability - especially with all those CV patch bays. For my own taste I think I favour the Subdecay Prometheus DLX and the Dwarfcraft Happiness Filter - those two would be my most likely acquisition as and when, and if it happens!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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