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pantsoptional's picture
May 2004
11 years ago

filters before or after distorion and boosts? curious if anyone's got any words of wisdom.

in my mind i've usually thought that filters, like wah or lo-pass etc, should go before distortion-type devices, but then i remembered checking out a MOOG display somewhere that had the Ring Mod in front of the phaser and low-pass filter... and it sounded a-ok. i've also always used phasers AFTER distortion, but maybe i should try to flop them (?). a low-pass sounds good after a square wave, why not put one in line after a RAT, right? i'm also thinking: i want to hit any synth-like processor or pitch/octave pedals with a strong signal, so should a gain pedal go in front for best results? it seems most pedals like that work best when there's few (if anything) in front of them, but maybe there's a better logic to it that i'm missing.

anyway, any thoughts are appreciated...

pantsoptional's picture
May 2004
11 years ago

no one?

wren_2's picture
Central VA
Feb 2004
2 years ago

Having never found an inexpensive phaser that I liked the sound of, I can't help you with that one. As to the rest:

I put wahs, filters, and octave/pitchshifting effects before my dirt boxes. For some reason, most people don't like putting wahs before distortion, but I do. I put filters before dirt boxes because they respond better that way; if you put them after the dirt boxes, the signal running through them is much stronger and more constant, so they have less of a chance to affect the tone due to a lack of dynamics. And octave/pitchshifting effects don't benefit from a strong signal; they benefit from a pure, noise-free, uncluttered signal. This is why when I use my Whammy, it's always the first thing in the chain (unless I'm using it as a feedback loop, but that's a completely different story). For awhile, I tried putting filters before the Whammy, and it just didn't work out; there really wasn't that much of a difference in sound, and it threw the tracking off. It did sound better, though, and if there weren't tracking issues, I'd definitely put the filter before the Whammy.

Well, that was quite the long, incoherent ramble :). Hope it made sense.

Very old stage rig

Mourn not the dead
that in the cool earth lie...
But rather mourn the apathetic throng
the cowed and the meek
Who see the world's great anguish
and its wrong and dare not speak.
- Ralph Chaplin

"All good people are asleep and dreaming..."

monkeyspunky's picture
London, UK
Dec 2002
5 years ago

filter always before

phase always after for me personally

however, whilst i don't like wah pedals, if i did use one it would go after distortion

Wampler Clean Buffer
EHX HOG (True Bypass Loop)
Line 6 FM4 Filter Modeller
Lovetone Meatball
MXR Distortion + (1977 - True Bypass Mod)
PROCO RAT 2 (Keeley)
Radial Tonebone Hot British
Lovetone Big Cheese
Zvex Mastotron
Zvex Super Duper 2 in 1
Hilton Volume Pedal (to Boss TU2)
True Bypass Strip
Boss CE2 (1978 MIJ)
MXR Carbon Copy
Boss DD3
EHX 2880
Line 6 DL4
Boss DD-20
Eventide Timefactor
Boss RV3


CompadreAlto's picture
Missouri = Kansas With Hills
Nov 2004
8 years ago

Just mix and match and whichever sound best keep it that way.

Personally I put my filters (Synth Wah and Adrenalinn) after my distortion but I like to turn the knobs on my distortion all the way up and sculpt the feedback with the filters.

Right now my phaser is before my distortion and I hate it, but It's the only place I can put it right now because Small Stones are tone suckers and If I put anything after my Big Muff in front of my amp it's an even bigger tone sucker. But phase usually does sound better after distortion.

I Like to go scree scree boop

Mine go before distortion especially my wah. That is a must before distortion for me anyway. Then i put other filters after e.g. envelope.

ThinPaperWings's picture
May 2003
6 years ago

Usually I like wah before distortion. Phase after distortion. If I'm doing a sample and hold filter with peaks that are too high, (or envelope with bottoms too low) I might put a dirt box after it to smooth out the extremes and give it more focus.

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