Good Free Envelope Filter Vst

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Filters have become some of the more familiar tools in the studio these days, due in large part to their ubiquitous use in dance music.

Even if you aren’t especially fond of resonant sweeps and acid basslines however, there are still many good reasons to stockpile a handful of filter plug-ins.

So in this article we’ll take a look at some of the best free filter VST and AU plugins you can use to get your feet wet.

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Introduction

On this page, you will find a list of over 70 high-quality free Vst plugins you can download and use for free in your various Daw Software. Welcome and enjoy your stay here! Note: These plugins are randomly listed, no best of best among the Vst plugins, just sort and check the one you would find useful below. This list has been categorised. So, let’s dive in. Here are our Top 10 Free VST Plugins of 2019. These definitely sets the standard of how good and thought-out a free VST can be. Our collection features some newer and some older. But with all great classics, they hold the test of time. Dexed (by Digital Suburban).

About Filters

Filters are actually similar to equalizers, in that they cut or boost certain frequencies of sound. The now-familiar swooshing “wow-wow” sound heard on thousands of dance tracks is typically the result of cranking the resonance and sweeping the cutoff frequency, either by hand, via ADSR envelope control, LFOs, or automation.

There are more utilitarian applications for filters as well. Steep high-cut filters can tighten up the low-end of a mix by eliminating sub-bass frequencies that eat up headroom and cause bottom-end flab. Low-cut filters for their part can reduce harshness in the high-end.

Many producers agree that analog filters produce the warmest, most vibrant, and most satisfying sounds. But filter plug-ins have come a long way since the advent of the earliest software effects. Some of them can even replicate analog circuitry to an astoundingly accurate degree.

As you will see from these free filter plug-ins, you can get those wonderful swirling and wooshy sounds right on your computer.

Best of all, you can do so without having to cough up the cash for an expensive analog device.

Free Filter Plugins

The List

Plugin Roundup

Stillwell Audio’s Oligarc Filter is a midi-controllable plug-in emulation of the ladder filter design found in classic Moog analog synthesizers.

The same filter utilized in the company’s own Olga virtual analog synthesizer and Oligarc effects suite, the standalone Oligarc Filter has pretty much all the tonal and response qualities of vintage designs.

Like classic analog filters, the Oligarc Filter is non-linear in its response and performance, which lends a bit of desirable instability and loads of character.

And like the filter employed in the Minimoog, it gives off more than just a hint of unpredictability and danger in its sound.

In deference to those with more fragile sensibilities, the Oligarc Filter comes with a soft-clipping limiter that helps keep things from getting too out of control.

Nevertheless, this is one filter for which the word “restraint” doesn’t apply. This is apparent by its readiness to go into self-oscillation with no apparent resonance limit.

TAL’s Filter 2 is a much less rambunctious filter, although it’s perfectly capable of tiptoeing dangerously close to the edge of aural assault. It syncs quite nicely with your host DAW’s tempo, enabling you to produce rhythmic filter effects and wobbling modulations that would be right at home in your next dubstep track.

Those that have used TAL’s excellent NoiseMaker virtual analog synthesizer plug-in will recognize the wide array of filters in the Filter 2. From multiple flavors of low-pass and high-pass to band-pass and notch, they’re all here in all their 4x oversampled glory.

Like all respectable filter plug-ins, the Filter 2 can be pushed into saturation, in this case, by cranking the input control. You can also modulate the panning or volume level of an incoming signal, so this filter can do triple-duty as a tremolo or gate effects device.

Tekit Audio 8kut 2 is an eight-band frequency cutter plug-in that isn’t quite like your typical filter plug-in. Intended specifically for DJs and live performers, it probably isn’t the first plug-in that most would think of when looking for a studio mix tool. Nevertheless, its ability to cut frequencies via eight pads could make for some interesting sonic experiments.

8kut 2 provides control over the bass, mids, high mid, and treble ranges. Although it is a fairly simple plug-in, the assortment of presets that it comes with gives you a good idea of the vast range of sounds possible.

The biggest strength of 8kut 2 is its ability to cut frequency bands via the eight pads, all of which can be mapped to a MIDI controller. Even though you might prefer a more “traditional” filter plug-in for most other tasks, the 8kut 2 could be very useful as an idea generator.

Now in its second version, Brainworx’s bx_cleansweep is a duo of high and low-pass filters that are better suited to subtle tone shaping than dancefloor-friendly filter freak-outs. Designed to filter out excessive low- and high-end, it draws inspiration from the onboard filters found in classic studio mixing consoles.

You could say that the bx_cleansweep is the odd one out in this roundup, which is mainly populated by more resonant and sweep-y filter plug-ins. Nevertheless, its ability to tighten up the bottom end and eliminate top-end brittleness makes it a useful addition to any plug-in collection.

Furthermore, Brainworx’s Anti-Crush technology gives it a very musically pleasing sound that will find a welcome place in your productions.

Top Pick

For the familiar filter sweeps and resonant effects that have become indelible parts of the dance music lexicon, the Oligarc Filter is the one to beat. Thick, chunky, and satisfying, it still isn’t quite a Moog filter…but it does come close.

The TAL Filter 2 is no slouch either. With the ability to modulate the filter cutoff, the volume, and the pan, it definitely has a bit of an advantage in the rhythmic department.

As for the 8kut 2, you could very well use this as an idea generator, even if you have no plans of playing out. And if you need a quick and simple mix-assist tool that sounds great and is easy to use, you could do a lot worse than the bx_cleansweep.

The envelope filter pedal came to the fore in the early 80’s, though they’d existed since the 70’s, and provided a disco-funk tone to guitarists who were exploring more creative effects than ever before.

Prolific artists such as Jerry Garcia popularized the tone which still holds its place as one of the coolest modifications for guitarists today.

Popular modern guitarists such as John Frusciante in The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and John Greenwood from Radiohead use envelope filters as part of their FX rig. They offer a great alternative to wah-wah pedals, to which they’re often compared and confused.

Contents

  • Top 4 Best Envelope Filters:
  • Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Envelope Filters
  • Conclusion: What’s the Best Envelope Filter?

Top 4 Best Envelope Filters:

ImageModelPrice
EarthQuaker Devices Envelope Filter Effects Pedal
(Editor's Choice)
Pigtronix EP2 Envelope Phaser Guitar Effects Pedal
Electro-Harmonix Riddle: Q-Balls Pedal
Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron Plus Pedal

EarthQuaker Devices Envelope Filter Effects Pedal (Editor’s Choice)

Cheaper, simpler, fatter, gutsier. This pedal is the product of EarthQuaker’s long-standing involvement in forging new tones for guitarists. There’s a personalized feel to this pedal; they’re hand made in Ohio.

Features

  • Switch to index through Up, Down, and Sample & Hold
  • Range knob: In Up/Down modes, it controls the width of the selected envelope and the sensitivity to input dynamics. In Sample & Hold, it controls the speed of envelope changes.
  • Filter knob: Fade between high-pass and low-pass frequencies.
  • Resonance knob controls the amount of filter feedback, adding more resonance.
  • True Bypass

With fewer knobs, it still provides a tremendous palette of funky sounds which go low and gutsy in the sample & hold modes to really bring out a circuit-y character full of characterful liveliness.

You can crank the knobs down in down mode to get a gurgling fatness and of course, achieve the Garcia gleam with satisfying filtering FX.

It’s great that you can cross-fade between the different filter types rather than needing to choose one or the other. This is a unique control for this pedal and separates it nicely as a typical EarthQuaker odd-ball.

Pigtronix EP2 Envelope Phaser

This is a seriously feature-packed envelope pedal. Its large housing requires a DC power supply and is colored to mirror its funky internals. It’s suitable for guitar and bass and supplies da funk in ample helpings.

Features

  • LFO modulation with speed, depth, and center
  • Intelligent envelope response
  • Combines LFO and envelope signals
  • Envelope up or down settings
  • Side-chain trigger for beat sync and triggering with external source
  • Invert switch for + or – phase
  • Compact aluminum chassis
  • True bypass switching
  • Assignable resonance kill switch
  • Expression pedal inputs for Sweep and Speed
  • Pigtronix 18V DC power supply included

This pedal creates everything from space-age soundscapes laser FX to deep, funky and weighty tones which get your taste buds going. It has unique settings such as the ‘Staccato’ setting which enables filtering suitable for fast picking and tighter control.

You have manual control over filter sweeps and the speed. The LFO resonance can be smoothed for tighter low-end control. If you’re looking for a monstrous box for all manner of radical filtered FX then the Pigtronix has been developed for many years and is sure to satisfy.

The things that set this apart is its side-chain input which allows you to take an input from another source, say a drum machine, and use it to control the dynamics of your effected sound. You can achieve cool syncopated effects using these controls.

Good Free Envelope Filter Vst Plugins

The LFO features will work very well on bass guitars and allow you to build some truly electronic tones which transform your bass in a 21st-century sub-cannon.

Electro-Harmonix Riddle: Q-Balls for Guitar Envelope Filter

A step down in complexity and price, but not in performance, the Electro-Harmonix Q-Balls has a tailored frequency response for guitar, complete with toggle-able analog distortion.

With all the controls you’d expect to control your filtering, START, STOP, ATTACK, DECAY, Q, MODE, SENSITIVITY and BLEND, you can customize any number of cool FX and apply them with optional expression pedals. The engineering in this pedal is excellent and it features analog circuitry for a true-to-vintage sound.

Features

  • 80 Hz to 5 kHz frequency response tailored for guitar
  • Switch selectable analog distortion designed for guitar
  • Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass filter select
  • Separate Dry and Effect outputs
  • 9.6VDC 200mA power supply included

Once you’ve got it set up, dialing in sounds will bring you no end of satisfaction. As a made for guitar model, this pedal brings out the best in tone from your equipment.

It’s a simple pedal but the diversity of envelope filters are easily tapped into and it’s not necessary to have an exceptionally complicated pedal in order to achieve a desirable tone. It’s got a great analog quality that gives it some attitude that other pedals don’t bring to the table.

Electro-Harmonix Q-Tron Plus XO Envelope Follower Pedal

This is a proper funk box which has earned its place as a ubiquitous envelope pedal with all the attitude you could squeeze into its simple UI. It has your 3 main filter modes; low-pass, hi-pass and band-pass as well as a mix mode which blends band passed signal with unprocessed signal.

Speed, decay, intensity and response controls top off its fully controllable envelope filter FX. It has a boost switch which fattens up the signal considerably pre-filter. The hi/lo range knob allows you to select vowel-like gurgles and smooth, deep filter FX in the low position or high, bird-like overtones in the high position.

It provides a full range of frequency responses so is suitable for guitar and bass.

Good Free Envelope Filter Vst Download

Features

  • Switchable boost control adds gain to your signal before the filter
  • Selectable up/down filter sweep direction
  • 4 filter modes including lowpass, bandpass, highpass, and mix (bandpass blended with your dry signal)

The pedal reportedly responds very kindly to your dynamics and allows you to tap into a plethora of envelope filter fx and wah-wahs which will keep your tone fresh for as long as you like.

It’s got a ‘proper’ envelope filter sound that is simple to dial in, providing that familiar funk which will get you smiling when you realise what you’ve been missing!

Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Envelope Filters

Free Envelope Filter Vst

Most envelope filters are easy to use and don’t overwhelm with a number of controls there are. However, overall they are some of the more confusing guitar effects on offer and many will stay clear of them because of their complex looks.

The truth is though, that the controls are creative and easy to mess about with for all sorts of effects, from the recognizable to the damn right mashed up!

Don’t be scared! There are many possibilities out there for manipulating guitar sounds and envelope pedals are a great way of gaining great musical results.

Difference between Envelope Filter and Wah-Wah Pedal

The difference between the two is simply that a wah-wah pedal is operated by a pedal. It governs how the filter is applied to the input through foot operation. An envelope filter, however, is mostly set and forget – you dial in your settings and the dynamics of your playing control the dynamics of the filter, instead of a pedal.

Filter

Some envelope filters do have foot switches though for turning them on and off, but the application of the FX is still always governed by your playing and not the on/off switch. Envelope filters are more directly glued to your dynamics than wah-wahs.

All filter pedals more or less use this process to apply their color to your tone – they take the amplitude of the note and apply effects proportional to this so you get a dynamic, manipulative sound that techno-colours your tone back to the 80’s disco. Funky!

Envelope filters are based on some simple mechanics:

Filters

They firstly filter the input. In envelope filter pedals there are 3 main types of filter:

  1. High-pass which cuts low frequencies and allows highs through
  2. Low-pass which cuts high frequencies and allows lows through
  3. Band-pass which allows a midsection of frequencies through, cutting highs and lows

Envelopes

An envelope is a small section of sound. So in the context of envelope filters, this is a pluck, or striking of a note which creates a clear waveform, almost a small enveloped package, which contains a voltage which can be processed.

Good Free Envelope Filter Vst Plugin

On an envelope filter pedal, the attack and decay settings control how quickly these envelopes are created from your inputs.

Processing

We can then take these enveloped ‘bits’ of sound and process them using various controls. You can control the resonance of certain frequencies, adding bias into some frequencies to fatten them up.

You can sweep the enveloped sounds up and down, down will suit bass guitars to fatten them up into a subby, spacey, suction sound. Up will add flickering highs into your guitar tone to give it a funky glimmer.

Good Free Envelope Filter Vst Box

With envelope pedals, bassists and guitarists alike can achieve all sorts of choppy, percussive, smooth or penetrating FX, with sweeps, phasing effects and more complicated LFO’s for filtering madness! Below are 4 of the best envelope filters for guitars, with some that work for bass too.

Conclusion: What’s the Best Envelope Filter?

There are tonnes of options when it comes to envelope filtering. However, they don’t need to be precisely sifted through and set-up to gain cool, musical sounds that can brighten up your palette considerably.

Any of these pedals will satisfy a need for creative FX in your tone. So, it depends whether you want to side with the more complex pedals or the simpler ones in order to gain your desired effects. The decision is as always, yours.

The Electro-Harmonix pedals have a more recognizable, familiar tone which ties in with 80’s funk records, the EarthQuaker provides quirks with simplicity and easily changeable knobs, and the Pigtronix provides full-board manipulation!

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