Best Bass Guitar Envelope Filters – Reviews & Recommendations

Best Bass Guitar Envelope Filters – Reviews & Recommendations –> Since they were first introduced to musicians in the early 1970’s, envelope filters have been a staple on bass player pedal boards. They are synonymous with funky – they allow us to get that wet, “bow wow”, funk sound we crave oh so much! Throughout the last several decades they’ve been used by accomplished bassists to produce some of the funkiest, best-sounding bass lines ever.

Here are a few songs that feature bass lines funkified with envelope filters…

Color by Ojus De Brujo
Little L by Jamiroquai

Best Bass Guitar Envelope Filters – Reviews & Recommendations

Sir Psycho Sexy – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Isolated Bass & Drums Track
Steppin’ In It by Herbie Hancock

FUNKAY STUFF FO SHO!

There are a lot of choices when deciding on which envelope filter is best for you. Your choice will of course depend on personal preferences. But to help you decide, we’ve provided a few recommendations based on on the following criteria:

Top Rated with Excellent Reviews

All of these envelope filters have received great reviews and the highest level of positive ratings from trusted resources such as:

  • Bass Player Forums – Reviews of envelope filters found in the leading forums for bass guitar players such as TalkBass and BassChat. Unbiased, straight-forward reviews from actual real bass players. No BS. Just a lot of bass players providing their honest opinions.
  • Video Reviews of bass envelope filters on sites such as YouTube. Reviews from respected bass players that provided their honest opinions of these pedals – and clips of them using the filters showing us how they sounded.
  • Customer Reviews – Unbiased reviews from sites such as Amazon, Reverb, and Ebay – We avoided those that tended to look like product marketing.
  • Personal Experience – The publishers of Bass Player Center have personal experience using these effects pedals – all of which we highly recommend for other bassists.

Made for Bass

All of the envelope filters we recommend are made to be used specifically for bass. They are designed to enhance the lower frequencies emitted by an electric bass guitar. All of the controls (sweep/peak, decay, Q, sensitivity, etc.) are geared towards enhancing bass signals in order to emit fatter, warmer, thumping, “bassier” sounds. You can’t get these sounds by using envelope filters not specifically designed for bass. Furthermore, using an envelope filter designed for higher frequency instruments (like guitar) can lead to unwanted, harsh, “ice pick”, type sounds – that can also pose the risk of speaker damage. Simply put, all of the pedals we recommend are designed to work with your bass to produce the type of sounds you desire from an envelope filter.

Envelope Filters Only

All of the pedals we recommend produce envelope filters effects only – they don’t produce any other effects (although the QBalls does include distortion). There are a lot of great bass pedals that can produce a wide range of great sounding effects – it was hard not to list pedals like SourceAudio’s C4 or Spectrum. But the gripes that you consistently hear about these types of pedals are that they are too complicated. Bassists have a hard time quickly and/or easily dialing in the desired envelope effect. They find themselves working around other effects they simply don’t want (or that impede the sound of the desired filter effect). Furthermore the complexity & wide range of features included with other pedals also means they come with a heftier price tag. Simply put, all of the pedals we recommend are easy to use to get a great sounding envelope filter effect…and they are relatively affordable!

Below is our list of the recommended best bass guitar envelope filters – displayed in alphabetical order:

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Aguilar Filter Twin Dual Bass Envelope Filter

Aguilar Filter Twin Dual Bass Envelope Filter Review

Description & Features

The Filter Twin gets its name from a design that uses two filters to produce effects. One filter controls “up” frequencies, the other controls “down” frequencies. This allows the Twin Filter to produce a wide range of sounds – from 1970’s funk sounds, to completely new and original filter tones. It’s also known for producing tones that have warmer, more organic, vocal qualities. Bassists applaud the Twin Filters ability to be used in live gigging situations. It’s a dependable envelope filter that does what it’s supposed to do without producing any unexpected sounds or noises. It also features a “Gig-Saver Bypass” which allows your bass signal to pass through the pedal even if the battery dies.

Controls & Basic Specs

  • BLEND Knob – Pans between the up and down filters
  • THRESHOLD Knob – Controls the sensitivity of the unit to different input levels
  • VELOCITY UP Knob – Controls the speed of the up filter
  • VELOCITY DOWN Knob – Controls the speed of the down filter
  • Foot Switch – Toggles between Engage and Bypass
  • Bypass – True Bypass
  • Signal/System – Analog
  • Power – 9V Battery or Universal Power supply adapter
  • Gig-Saver Bypass – Signal can still pass even if your battery dies

Fwonkbeta Purple Funk Generator

Fwonkbeta Purple Funk Generator Bass Envelope Filter Pedal

Description & Features

“Funkier than nine pounds of shaving powder” is how the designers of this pedal describe the Fwonkbeta Purple Funk Generator. This pedal is known for its ability to produce serious low-end thump when desired – and it can get loud! Bassists love its ability to emulate those 1970’s funk sounds produced by vintage envelope filters. It’s been described as a newer version of the original “Mu-Tron III” – with more clarity, a true bypass, and a much friendlier price tag. The Fwonkbeta is designed and 100% handmade in Portland, Oregon by the “Mr. Black” pedal company. It can be used with both bass and guitar.

Controls & Basic Specs

  • “Stroke” Knob – Controls Sensitivity (attack) Level
  • “Fwonk” Knob – Controls Low-End (effect) Level
  • “Juice” Knob – Controls High-End (top/peak/volume) Level
  • Foot Switch – Toggles Effect On/Bypass
  • Bypass – True Bypass
  • Signal/System – Digital
  • Power – 9V Battery or 9V adapter

Electro-Harmonix Enigma Qballs Bass Envelope Filter

Electro-Harmonix Enigma Qballs Bass Envelope Filter

The Enigma Qballs Bass Envelope Filter is one of the most popular and widely-used bass envelope filters. It’s a powerful pedal finely tuned to handle bass frequency response. Bassists love its ability to produce the widest possible range of sounds. It’s fully customizable and can produce the precise tones and sounds that you desire. Bassists who enjoy working with complex effects configuration will appreciate the QBalls. It also includes a distortion switch that can be engaged to dial in various levels of “crunch” and “growl”. An optional expression pedal can be plugged in to control the filter sweep with your foot.

Did You Know?…The Enigma QBalls can trace its lineage to the creators of the very first envelope filter. During the early 1970’s Mike Beigel helped design the original envelope filter – the Mutron III. In 1995 Beigel lent his expertise to the Electro-Harmonix company to help design the Q-Tron envelope filter – an updated version of the Mutron III. In the mid-2000’s Electro-Harmonix created the QBalls Enigma based in part on the design of the Q-Tron.

  • BLEND Knob – Controls the output mix of the dry and effected signal
  • MODE Knob – Rotary knob to select between the 3 modes – LP (low pass), BP (band pass), and HP (high pass).
  • ATTACK Knob – Controls how quickly the filter will sweep from the frequencies set by the START and STOP knobs
  • DECAY Knob – Controls the sensitivity level of the circuit when falling from the STOP setting to the START setting
  • START Knob – Sets the frequency where the sweep starts
  • STOP Knob – Sets the frequency that the filter sweeps to
  • Q Knob – Controls the resonance (level) of the Q (effects)
  • SENSITIVITY Knob – Controls the input sensitivity level
  • BYPASS Switch – Engages or disengages (bypasses) the effect.
  • DISTORTION Switch – Engages the analog distortion circuitry
  • Optional Expression Pedal – Can be used for manual control of the filter
  • Bypass – True Bypass
  • Signal/Circuitry – Analog
  • Power – Power Adapter Only – provided (cannot be powered with batteries)

MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter

MXR M82 Best Bass Guitar Envelope Filter

Description & Features

The MXR M82 is one of the most popular and top-selling bass envelope filters of all time. Bassists love its separate Dry and FX controls that adjust the amount of effect produced – while blending in as much or little of your Clean/Dry bass sound. The M82 is also blends well with other pedals. It’s often the choice of bassists who want to use an envelope filter in combination with other effects – like fuzz, distortion, octave, etc. It features crisp-sounding all-analog circuitry, and a true bypass that allows for a clean signal and tone to flow through the pedal – unaffected when it’s turned off. The M82 is a simple and easy-to-use pedal made of durable, rugged aluminum housing. To top it off, its purple sparkle finish just plain looks funky!

Controls & Basic Specs

  • DRY Knob – Controls volume of unaffected signal
  • FX Knob – Controls volume of envelope filter signal
  • DECAY Knob – Sets envelope filter’s decay stop frequency
  • Q Knob – Controls intensity of effect
  • SENS. Knob – Adjusts the sensitivity of envelope filter to your attack
  • FOOTSWITCH – Toggles effect On/Bypass
  • Bypass – True Bypass
  • Signal/Circuitry – Analog
  • Power – 9V Battery or 9V adapter

Thanks for checking out our “Best Bass Guitar Envelope Filters – Reviews & Recommendations”. We hope we’ve provided some value info and insight to help you with deciding which one is best for you! Be sure to take a look at reviews and other recommendations on our Bass Guitar Gear & Equipment – Main Page

Best Bass Guitar Envelope Filters - Reviews & Recommendations

Best Bass Guitar Envelope Filters – Reviews & Recommendations