- Learn about what envelope filters do
- Discover the range of sounds they produce
- Find the envelope filter pedal that’s best for you
Envelope filter pedals have been a black sheep of the overall guitar pedal family. If you don’t fully understand what they do, you might think they’re only for the funkiest of bass players or guitarists that only play triad chords on the treble strings!
So how was this list of the best envelope filter pedals narrowed down? For starters…there aren’t all that many to choose from. This means that their general quality is much higher. Additional features and forward-thinking controls also played a part.
What are the Best Envelope Filter Pedals?
Envelope filters are tricky effects. They’re a bit esoteric, but you’d be surprised how many of your favorite artists across many genres use them. So how did we narrow down our favorites?
The best offer unique ways to shape the filtering, additional equalization, effects loops, and anything that can push this classic effect forward. Now some don’t try to reinvent the wheel, nor should they.
So whether you’re into Slipknot or Stevie Wonder…without further adieu, here are the best envelope filter pedals. Let’s get funky!
- Source Audio Spectrum Intelligent Filter (Our Pick)
- MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter (Best Value)
- Mu-Tron Micro-Tron IV (Best Premium)
- Mojo Hand Wonder Filter (Most Unique)
- Xotic Robotalk 2 (Most Versatile)
- EarthQuaker Devices Spatial Delivery V2
- Keeley Neutrino V2
- Fender Pour Over
- Aguilar Filter Twin
- Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron+
- BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah
1. Source Audio Spectrum Intelligent Filter (Our Pick)
Source Audio poured their extensive filter design expertise into the Spectrum Intelligent Filter, an incredibly powerful stereo filter pedal that delivers stunning envelope sounds to your guitar or bass rig.
If you’re not familiar with Source Audio, you should be! Along with companies like Strymon, they are reimagining what effects pedals can do, and this is a front-runner for the best envelope filter for guitar.
- Six unique presets
- Multiple controls to shape your sound
- Powerful digital processing and MIDI integration
Where do we even start here? It has a host of modern and vintage envelope filter sounds that range from octaves to synths.
Four knobs can set the eight control parameters, and you can switch between them with the ALT control. Even more sound options are available through Source Audio’s Neuro editor.
It has MIDI control, stereo I/O, switchable buffered or true bypass, and an input jack for an external expression pedal or tap tempo.
Seriously. Check this thing out.
MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter (Best Value)
The MXR Bass Envelope Filter gives you classic analog envelope filter sounds in a pedalboard-friendly pedal. You can dial in the perfect amount of filtering thanks to Dry and Effect controls - very helpful for preserving the low end.
Another option designed specifically to handle low-end thunder is the M82 from
- Analog filtering
- Keeps low end intact with Effect and Dry blend knobs
- Fits any budget
It’s a small footprint, affordable, and with the control scheme designed for bass frequencies, you won’t have to sacrifice any low end. The power supply circuitry of the M82 can withstand over-voltage or polarity discrepancies, and bypass mode retains your tone with true-bypass switching.
3. Mu-Tron Micro-Tron IV (Best Premium)
The new Micro-Tron IV is based upon the award winning Micro-Tron III and improves it with our very own MU Opto-Mod technology. Furthermore, you can send envelope Control Voltage to other units such as the Phasor III and Bi-Phase pedals.
Let’s take a look at one of the most renowned envelope filter families of all time – the Mu-Tron.
- The new iteration of the beloved Mu-Tron III
- Sounds great on multiple instruments
- MU Opto-Mod circuit design and CV input
The Micro-Tron IV builds on the beloved Mu-Tron III design. It’s pretty simple to dial in. You get Level, Peak, and Gain controls with a duo of switches over Mode and Range. It’s got instrument I/O and CV I/O for an increased level of detail over routing.
It’s not widely available, but the quality of sound it can produce is legendary and worth the extra effort to hunt one down.
4. Mojo Hand Wonder Filter (Most Unique)
The Little Wonder has classic envelope filter sounds for any rig that needs a little quack to it. Very responsive to your playing dynamics, and easy to dial in, but versatile enough to satisfy guitars, basses, and keyboards alike.
Mojo Hand FX isn’t extremely well-known, and that’s a shame. The Wonder Filter provides a unique perspective on filtering and is versatile enough to be a contender for the best envelope filter for guitar.
- Boost and Gain controls give you the ideal signal level
- Five filter types
- Filtering can be disengaged and pedal can be used as a preamp only
What’s not to love about five very different types of filters…or the fact that it can be used as a preamp?!
It’s got onboard drive and boost and adjustable Attack and Peak. It’s hand-built, entirely analog, and sounds great on any instrument.
Earthquaker Devices Spatial Delivery V2
The EarthQuaker Devices Spatial Delivery V2 pedal is a voltage-controlled envelope filter that utilizes both momentary and latching switching for a higher level of control.
EQD is one of the cooler pedal manufacturers around. Their take on the envelope filter effect is simple but powerful.
- Envelope filter is voltage-controlled
- Latching and momentary switching
- Three filter modes
The Spatial Delivery operates on a voltage control and a unique switching mechanism. With a sweep through the low, band, and high-pass filters, it uniquely responds to the nuances of your playing.
It has three controls over Range and Filter, while Resonance acts as a wet/dry blend of sorts. There are three different modes available via a 3-way switch, and the on/off switch is a Flexi, meaning you can use it in latching or momentary operation in real-time.
6. Keeley Neutrino V2
Robert Keeley likens his Neutrino V2 to having "Jerry Garcia in a bottle." The secret lies in the Neutrino V2's 100% analog circuitry paired with hand-selected opto-couplers, which are of an even higher grade than you'll find in a mint vintage original.
Just as good on bass as on guitars, the Neutrino gives you filter, auto-wah, and more in an easy-to-use design.
- Responds to playing dynamics
- Octo-coupler design is a unique approach
- Three different filter types
Using a unique design approach, Keeley built the Neutrino on an analog octo-coupler idea. It’s incredibly responsive to playing dynamics, as any envelope filter should be.
There are three filter types for low, band, and high-pass. Gain and Peak controls let you dial it in, and a Range switch emphasizes which frequencies the sound focuses on. And if you feel a volume drop when engaged, there is an output volume compensation.
7. Fender Pour Over
Thanks to its built-in drive circuit, the Fender Pour Over envelope filter pedal offers much more sonic versatility than a standard autowah effect. The Pour Over pedal responds expressively to your playing dynamics, with your choice of lowpass, bandpass, or highpass filter modes.
Considering the range of controls it offers, Fender’s Pour Over is a versatile and affordable choice.
- Great range of controls
- Perfectly priced so that any level of player can afford it
- Built-in overdrive circuit
Fender’s newer line of effects pedals is pretty great. This model is responsive and offers some unique extras.
The control set is massive with knobs for Tone, Gain, Frequency, Q (bandwidth), Effect Level, and Drive for adding some crunch. Your sound can be further tailored with three switches that engage distortion, set the focus of the filter, and whether the octaves go up or down.
All this comes in an affordable and well-built design that can take no shortage of abuse if you play live.
8. Aguilar Filter Twin
The Aguilar Filter Twin dual-envelope filter bass pedal is the pedal that will get it done! Loaded with a pair of identical filters that sweep in opposite directions, Filter Twin easily conjures the classic '70s sound that made the decade so distinct.
Aguilar makes some stellar bass guitar gear. The Filter Twin is a fantastic bass envelope filter pedal.
- Twin filters with simultaneous sweep
- Blend control for customizing how they interact
- Can still pass signal if the battery dies
While not overly complex, the Aguilar filter Twin offers some very cool ideas. For starters, the dual filters sweep simultaneously and can be blended to taste.
The Threshold control adjusts sensitivity, and there are Velocity knobs for each filter. It might not be as forward-thinking as some other options on this list, but what it does, it does damn well.
9. Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron+
In addition to the original Q-Tron's great features and sound, the Q-Tron+ gives you an effects loop that lets you put an additional effect between the Q-Tron+'s preamp and filter section without changing the envelope drive.
EHX has been a pioneer of envelope filter effects for quite some time. Just one of the entries in the line, the Q-Tron+ is their most full-featured.
- The effects loop allows it to fit anywhere in the signal chain
- Robust control set
- Clipping indicator LED
The Q-Tron+ adds an effects loop and some additional controls. The loop lets you place other pedals between its preamp and filtering sections without affecting the envelope itself. Pretty nifty!
It has four modes – a useful Response control, Range, Peak, Gain, and Boost knobs. A switch lets you select a fast or slower response.
The funky filtering it does is active, and it runs at 24V for additional headroom.
BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah
The BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah guitar effects pedal gives you all the wah you need! It's not just for guitarists - the AW-3 is Dynamic Wah, like two pedals in one, with dedicated inputs for both guitar AND bass.
Every “best of [insert category]” guitar pedal list will have at least one entry from
- Individual guitar and bass inputs
- External control over tap tempo or expression with pedal
- Fixed and automatic wah options
With a duo of inputs, the AW-3 is great for guitar and/or bass. You can select between auto or fixed wah and even turn it into a full-fledged wah with an optional expression pedal.
But the coolest feature is the “humanizer” function. With controls over two “vowels”, you can dial in the sensitivity of the effect or how pronounced the vowels are through the Manual knob. You dial it in by A-E-I-O-U!
Sad there isn’t a Y, but English is a tricky language.
11. Xotic Robotalk 2 (Most Versatile)
Sporting two individual envelope filter channels, each channel is independently voiced. Blend each channel together for additional tone or use the internal dip switch to customize your sounds appropriately.
Xotic makes some very respectable products. The Robotalk calls itself the “ultimate envelope filter”. But is it?
- Two separate and independent filter channels
- Switchable pad for active or passive pickup input
- Insane amount of sonic control
If you’re not looking for something adventurous in an envelope filter pedal, the Robotalk is not for you. There’s nothing hit-it-and-quit-it about it. Each channel has an independent Footswitch, Sensitivity, Decay, Resonance, and Channel volume controls. The dry blend is universal.
Robotalk 2 is not for people who want to stomp on their envelope filter now and then. It’s for guitar players who want it to be a living and breathing element of their signal chain.
Is an auto-wah an envelope filter?
It’s a type of envelope filter. Check out our post on the different types of guitar pedals for more info.
Where does the envelope filter go in chain?
As usual, it’s totally up to you. Typically, filtering effects work best toward the beginning of the signal chain, but there are no hard rules. If you’re unsure where to start, check out Guitar Pedal Order: How To Arrange Guitar Pedals (Diagram & Guide).
What does a bass envelope filter do?
The concept is the same as one designed for guitar. The primary difference would be the circuit is customized to handle low-end frequencies better, and the controls give additional options that bassists need to keep their sound.
What envelope filter does John Mayer use?
John Mayer is an avid fan of pedals. While he might change things out from time to time. He’s most commonly tied to the Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron+.