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What are the Best Sounding Analog Filters?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author What are the Best Sounding Analog Filters?
Which ones are your favorites and why?
My rig has three (3) 24dB/octave ladder filters. I love them because I'm an old guy who aurally imprinted heavily on Moog's original modular synthesizers back in the late 1960s – early 1970s. To me, that's what a synthesizer should sound like. Running 3 oscillators with square waves through a ladder filter and some reverb still gives me goosebumps.

At the moment my rig also has two (2) non-ladder 12dB/octave VCFs (one Dotcom state-variable, which is a wonderfully flexible and great-sounding filter) as well as the Grove Audio clone of the PolyMoog resonant filter. Plus, I have a third VCF and a Dotcom fixed filter bank that my rig simply doesn't have room for at the moment.

I love filters, and like having lots of choices when creating or shaping a sound. thumbs up
My filter collection comprises (in no particular order)

AJH Minimod Transister Ladder VCF
TipTop Z2040 Filter
Mutable Instruments Ripples Filter
Doepfer A-102 Diode Filter
Doepfer A-101-2 Low Pass Gate (which you can use it as a straight 12db low pass filter too)

They are all low pass designs, though the MI one has a bandpass output.

The Minimod VCF is a gem, not least because it includes a 3 input mixer section. It sounds like a good mini moog series D filter, and behaves in the same way.

The Z2040 and MI Ripples filter have certain similarities - as you turn resonance up on both there is a compensation circuit that maintains the low frequency content. Also, both have VCA's so could be the last component in a single path. However their sonic character is quite different. For me the Z2040 has a Sequential "Prophet" vibe to it, while the MI one more of a "Roland" sound.

An honourable mention also to the Doepfer A-102 diode filter. This was the least expensive, but delivers the most unpredictable results. The relation between cutoff frequency and resonance appears to be ...err.. non-linear! A great wee filter.

A point not often appreciated with Doepfer kit is that the build quality is pretty good. I have had 35 - odd Doepfer modules over the years and not encountered a single fault. Also, you don't get wobbly pots on Doepfer modules.
Rex Coil 7
I took a Dot Com Q107 State Variable filter and a Dot Com Q150 Transistor Ladder filter and combined them into one complex mutli-filter. Flipping a toggle switch the two filters may be placed in series or parallel. Flipping another toggle switch will reverse the two filters' order when they are in series. I'm quite pleased.
I have a lot of filters. Like WAY too many, possibly. Some favorites -

MOTM 440, the original classic. This is a gem, the secret sauce, the LPF filter that (almost) always sounds great. It's got a world of sound options, just by manipulating the res control. Note that newer version have changed the resonance range, and it's a bit harder to hit the sweet spots. I have the original 5U version, but keep meaning to get a euro version.

Dr. Sketch n Etch's Korgasmatron III - I have a 5U DIY version. I also have a euro Morgasmatron (Intellijel) which is essentially the same thing. This thing sounds great, and has so many tricks up it's various sleeves it's hard to keep track of.

Jurgen Haible Variable Slope Filter/Phaser. This one has some really special tricks that really sound unique. And it's mostly unobtanium, which adds to its mojo. Although Random*Source has the pcbs.

Make Noise QPAS - this is another secret sauce filter, and in stereo! It has just tons of sweet spots, and is full of wonderful little bells and whistles.

MOTM 410 Triple Resonant Filter - one of the various spins on the polymoog resonator section. A bit more subtle than many of them, but still really nice, will wake up your otherwise boring signals.

Honorable Mention: Blue Lantern Asteroid Operator VCF - this is just a SVF, but with more whizbang addons than can be considered proper. Don't use it, you probably can't figure out what half of it does anyway. I'm constantly having to refer to the docs on this one whenever I try to use it.
I don't have any filters yet. What about the Mankato Filter? That's grabbed my attention in demo vids.
I like my own filter designs, of course (Leapfrog and Coiler), but not counting those, probably my favourite is the Erica Polivoks. Very expressive sound, almost like an acoustic instrument.
Blue Lantern sour filter - Grungy AF

Intellijel Korgasmatron mk1 - Sounds great, dual functionality and lots of modulation inputs.
Blue Lantern Space Moth V3 - like the Korgasmatron, but with a lot more character with it's charm output. nanners
Don't wiggle it! You'll make it angry. (hides)

Synthrotek DIRT Filter.

”Best Sounding” is very objective, btw. wink
Idunno wrote:
I don't have any filters yet. What about the Mankato Filter? That's grabbed my attention in demo vids.

I like mine. LPF with four simultaneous slope outputs. It also oscillates with octal phase outputs, LFO or audio. Plus it can be a slew limiter.
Can't beat a vintage 904A
Doepfer A-106-6 XP Filter (tons of simultaneous outputs)

Doepfer A-127 VC Triple Resonance Filter (I do many different things with this: phaser-ish sounds, complex resonant percussion, wind, etc)
I use a Doepfer A-124 Wasp filter, a Pittsburgh filter, and a Studio Electronics SEM which I didn't like a lot at first, but it's now my favorite, I had to learn to use the 1v/oct input on it to really get great results, before that I thought it to be a little bland.

I've owned a Korg MS-20, and I'm thinking I'd like to try out one of those Korg type dual filters... or a Rossum Morpheus... or a ladder filter... or a...

Really I'm pretty happy with my filters, but that whole "the grass is greener" thing gets to me once and a while....
My go-to filter is the dotcom Q150 Transistor Ladder Filter. It's moog-y enough for me, but at the same time more versatile than a classic moog filter (slope switch, dual inputs with attenuators, three CV inputs). You can overdrive it quite a bit by running the same signal into both inputs, or you can change its response by feeding it back to itself. And it just sounds so good in the default configuration.

On the other hand, my most exciting filter is definitely the Megaohm Delta VCF. Not only it sounds great and can be overdriven nicely, but it can also get so crazy with the internal feedback paths.
Rex Coil 7
lisa wrote:
...”Best Sounding” is very objective, btw. wink
Roger that! Ask 100 people and you'll probably get at least 80 different answers.
Tony Algood's COTA VCF. For making music.
I have only a small eurorack system currently so my lone filter is a Doepfer Diode Low Pass (A-102). I really like it and I'm happy with my choice so it will encourage me to get other flavours of filter to try. I was going to go Wasp and changed my mind at the last minute.

I have since been enjoying researching which other synths use diode filters and discovered it was developed to get around having to pay patent royalties to Robert Moog for his very similar transistor-based design. Threat of legal action is the mother of invention!
I really like the Corsynth OTA Lowpass Filter - based on the Jupiter8 / Juno60 - it just sounds amazing. And the new MKII version has both 24 and 6db outs plus gain compensation when upping the resonance.
saint gillis
The filters cloned by Yusynth, Minimmog and Steiner, very different and must-have. EMS diode is also cool.
Yes Powder
Metasonix R54! Pretty much anything I send through it comes out sounding better. Sometimes I don't even feed it CV, and use it as a parametric resonator to give some bass and body to sounds that are otherwise lacking.
The Wasp filter also gets a vote from me. It's unique on its own, and sprinkling a little chorus on the output kicks it up to 11.
I also really like the sound of The Harvestman/IME Bionic Lester mk 1 and 2, but own neither yet.
I have these, Order of preference:

Makenoise QMMG
Cwejman MMF 6
Thomas White Dual LPG
Manhattan Analoge SVVCF
umma gumma
BTByrd wrote:

that was a great demo! thx for posting
291 bandpass. cos vactrols.
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