MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter Review
If you are a bass player, there are a few core effects that will most likely be at the heart of your pedalboard; a fuzz/distortion, an octaver, a compressor and, an envelope filter...the essential effect for that classic 70s funk sound!
Firstly, what is an envelope filter? Well, as opposed to an auto-wah (these often get confused with each other), an envelope filter will react to the dynamics of your playing, changing the tone of your bass based on how hard you play. An auto-wah, on the other hand, works at a rate based on a set speed/timing. Personally, I prefer envelope filters as they can range from a subtle effect to a more in your face sound, all dependant on how you play, making for a more dynamic effect.
The MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter, since its release, has been a hugely popular model and it's easy to see why. Starting out with the classic MXR rugged aluminium housing and finished in a sparkling purple finish its looks set the tone for a lot of bass funk goodness! As for powering the pedal, you can run off a standard 9v battery or use a standard (centre pin negative) power supply. The M82 also features true bypass, allowing your signal and tone to flow through the pedal unaffected when the effect is off.
The top two controls are for Dry and FX, and these are essential. With these two settings you can set the perfect balance between how much of the dry signal of your bass is mixed with the FX coming from the filter, hugely important for keeping your low-end intact when you kick in the effect. Some filter pedals don't have this dry/wet option, which can really inhibit your fundamental bass tone.
Below the top two controls are DECAY, Q and SENS. The Decay knob controls the filter's stop frequency, whilst the Q knob controls the intensity, and the all-important SENS control sets the sensitivity of the filter's effect to your attack - you may find for lower output (passive) basses, you may need to push this quite high. For my general use, once I had found my sound and adjusted the sensitivity to suit my bass and playing, it was very much a set and forget setup.
As for its sound, well, if classic 70s funk filter sounds are what you want, then this delivers. It produces a very "wet" filter sound, but equally can be tamed for more subtle tones. It works great when playing with fingers or a pick and really quacks when slapping. I would argue that some other filter pedals can sound a little more refined, but for me, the filter tone of the M82 wins out! One small negative, it only has a filter up sound, as opposed to some pedals which give you a more tonally versatile up and down filter.
In addition, people quite often think that an envelope filter is a "funk only" effect, but try mixing one with a fuzz or distortion pedal, an octave and maybe and some compression, you have access to some great synth-like tones too!
Having tried and experimented with many envelope filters over the years, I have found the MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter to be a superb option. It delivers "that" filter sound we all know and love, is rugged, nice and compact, and looks the part too (flares not included!).
SOUND - 5/5
VERSATILITY - 3/5
VALUE FOR MONEY - 4/5
OVERALL - 4/5