The 5 Best Envelope Filter Pedals
Envelope filter pedals are a great type of guitar pedal that brings in a wah effect that reacts to your playing style. An envelope filter pedal filters out specific frequency ranges of the sound to add or remove high and low frequencies.
This reacts to your playing dynamics and therefore should be placed towards the top of your signal chain.
They act like a kind of bridge between classic rock genres and electronic/pop music. Funky guitarists were first to use this effect but soon after, it became a common thing in many other, not-so-traditional styles.
The 5 Best Envelope Filter Pedals – Our Pick
1. Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron+ Envelope Filter Pedal
When it comes to filter pedals, an average funky player will most likely search no more, as we are talking about a quintessential filter pedal that has been evolving for decades.
The newest version practically packs two effects into a single unit. As you may presume, we are talking about the famous Q-Tron pedal, which now gets help from a new envelope filter unit, which brings a completely new dimension to the sound.
In terms of controls, you will find a lot of knobs on this unit and that means there’s plenty of room for experiments. Of course, you can choose between typical filter modes (Highpass, Bandpass and Lowpass), while you can also manipulate with the Attack sensitivity, Response and few other things that can drastically change the sound that comes out from your amp.
Another amazing feature is the FX loop, so you can put some additional effect between the preamp section and filter. As you may presume, this opens a whole new dimension of sound possibilities.
Although this pedal is primarily designed for funky players, it can also be a fantastic tool for anyone who is looking for a pedal that can fill the gap between classic guitar sound and electronical genres.
2. Fender Pour Over Envelope Filter Pedal
Though you probably won’t save too much money, this pedal is actually a pretty amazing value and that’s the reason why we’ve decided to pick it as the best affordable choice.
This pedal is part of Fender’s new lineup of stompboxes, which started a couple of years ago. In this case, we are talking about a classic envelop filter pedal, which brings an additional dose of versatility, thanks to the plethora of knobs you can find on it.
Of course, you can find typical controls for a filter pedal, there are also several knobs that allow you to enter a whole new spectrum of sound colors.
Furthermore, Fender engineers have also put overdrive into this pedal, so you can spice up your tone with loads of rich harmonics.
The pedal sounds great and also feels extremely rugged. Like other Fender pedals, this one is also built like a tank, so there is no doubt it would serve you for years.
3. EarthQuaker Devices Spatial Delivery V2 Envelope Filter Pedal
Spatial Delivery V2 may look small but it’s an extremely powerful envelope filter pedal, which offers an impressive range of tonal options. It is a digital unit but it doesn’t lack any sound quality.
On the other side, it offers an amazing level of versatility and a wide range of tones. Besides typical controls, it also has a couple of aces up its sleeve.
First of all, you can notice that the pedal features a rather simplistic layout. It comes with typical envelope filter controls. Of course, there is a toggle switch that lets you choose between three familiar modes (Lowpass, Bandpass, and Highpass). Furthermore, there is the Filter knob, which lets you go through a wide spectrum of each mode. With the Range knob, you can easily control dynamics. In other words, this means how sensitively the pedal will react to your pick attacks.
Finally, there is the Resonance knob, so you can control the amount of effect you want.
All these controls are quite typical for a pedal of this type but this EarthQuaker pedal has one interesting and very useful trump. The footswitch operates in two ways, so if you just tap, you may count on a typical latching operation.
If you hold the switch, you may count on the momentary operation, so you can be in full control of your sound anytime.
4. Keeley Neutrino V2 Envelope Filter Pedal
You may like this pedal or not, but you must appreciate the interesting design approach of Keely Neutrino designers. The catch with this pedal is that it comes with an interesting combination of analog circuit and special opto-couplers that were typical for vintage units.
The pedal offers a pretty amazing tonal range, as you can choose between three familiar modes, two sweep directions and more.
The overall layout of this pedal looks pretty typical. You can find a couple of knobs and switches, but each one comes with a specially assigned task. Things are pretty simple and dialing great tones is pretty easy with this unit.
The first knob you will see is a Gain control, which lets you control the input level. The Peak knob is far more interesting, controls the actual effect, so you can go from super deep to super warm to super bright tones. Also, you can find the Direction switch from the side, which completely changes the character of the pedal.
The pedal features true bypass and it is completely manufacturer in the USA. The power source is sold separately.
5. Xotic Robotalk 2 Dual Filter Pedal
The Robotalk 2 is a powerful unit, which practically packs two pedals into a single housing. Still, we are talking about the same effect, but with completely different characters. So, we are actually talking about two channels of the same unit.
Of course, the character of these channels is completely different. On one side, Channel A is pretty aggressive and loud, which makes it perfect for single notes and lead tones. On the other, Channel B suppresses the mids and it’s cleaner, which makes it more appropriate for chord work and similar things.
The best thing about this pedal, though, is the fact that each channel comes with completely separate controls, including the volume. Moreover, they are identical, so you may count on Volume, Sensitivity, Decay, and Resonance knobs on each side.
Also, there is the Direct Volume knob, which lets you control the volume amounts of both dry and processed signals, which means you can always be in perfect control. Speaking of the control, the pedal features a true bypass and keeps your original tone absolutely preserved.
More about Envelope Filter Pedals
These days, envelope filter pedals are also used by many bass players, so you can find pedals designed specifically for 4- or 6-string players. In this article, we will stick with envelope filter pedals for guitar players.
Many like to call these units auto-wah pedals because they really have a lot of things in common with classic wah pedals. They have that recognizable peak that moves across the frequency range but auto-wah is just one type of a filter pedal.
These days, envelope filters offer a whole spectrum of sounds that are based on low-frequency oscillator (LFO).
In common language, this type of sound is often called bubble sound, though some modern variations can go in a completely different way compared to traditional funk sound colors.
Those would be some of our first choices when it comes to envelop filter pedals and as you can see, they are pretty different in many ways, whether it comes to sound character or functionality. Still, it’s hard to go wrong with any of them.
Of course, some of them are rather straightforward and put the focus on classic funky tones. On the other side, some of them offer a much wider tonal range and leave plenty of room for further experiments.
It’s all about your preferences and what you want from this effect.
Also, keep in mind that this is just our choice and that there are many other envelope filter pedals you can check and see if they could work for you.