I bought this pedal in an effort to replace my much loved but completely unreliable Electro Harmonix Mini Q-Tron. The Mini Q is not the holy grail of envelope filters to many but it is for me. I've owned a good few - some cheaper, some much more expensive and boutique, but the Q is just right for me. But it just kept going crazy on gigs so it had to be benched.
Based on great experiences I've had with my Carl Martin Optical Compressor I decided to take a chance on their Classic Optical Envelope pedal. I was not disappointed at all. In some ways it is more useable for me than my Mini-Q. It has a tone control to tame the high end spike that can sound a little too harsh at times. Using this means I can drive the sweep harder without it sounding harsher. Another useful feature is the volume control of the effect - something I had modded on several Mini-Q's. It's a necessity on an envelope filter in my opinion, making it more versatile than if it wasn't there. I can set the pedal for a low drive, soft sweep effect, which would normally get lost in a mix, and then use the volume to bring it higher than unity gain. Doing the same thing, only the other way around is great too - extreme drive/sweep and using the volume control to keep it from jumping out too much.
The handling mark of four stars is because it's not the sturdiest of pedals, same as the Compressor. The paint chips almost instantly and most of the washers/knobs need tightened soon enough. These aren't deal breakers and, given the low cost of these pedals, I'm glad that corners were cut on irrelevant things like paint instead of tone and performance quality.
This enelope filter by carl martin is a very flexible piece of gear!..The different "pass filters" provide a wide array of sounds which enable the musician to use it in various contexts appropriatley. I must say that the added footswitch for the modes is a nice addition, making operation and switching between them a breeze!
All the parameters on this unit are very interactive. In fact none is isolated, they all react to each other. Although this might be "filter" heaven for the experienced wah enthusiast, for the novice it might be a bit confusing. That is why I gave it a 4 on sound quality, mainly because you have to expriment a lot in order to get the right sound, but once you do its totally worth it. Whilst experimenting I found some of the settings to be just a bit too harsh for my taste.
If you are experienced using filters, and looking for an addition to your rig which won't break the bank, but sounds good, this is your best bang for the buck!