The world of Eurorack modules can be daunting and expensive, and with so many filter modules to choose from, it can be a challenge to pick the ideal module for a given Eurorack system.
In this article, we'll go through the best options for choosing one or more filter modules to enhance your Eurorack system.
The top 11 best Eurorack filter modules are:
- Supercritical Neutron Flux
- Joranalogue Filter 8
- Doepfer A-124 Wasp Filter
- Bastl Instruments Ikarie
- Mutable Instruments Blades
- Mutable Instruments Ripples
- System80 860 MK2
- Erica Synths Fusion VCF3
- Intellijel Polaris
- Make Noise QPAS
- Xaoc Devices Belgrad
Each of these makes for a superb Eurorack filter choice. In this article, we'll discuss why that is.
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Supercritical Neutron Flux
Supercritical put together an amazing unit with the Supercritical Neutron Flux (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit). It can do everything you expect from an analog filter and then some. Moreover, this module can outperform most of the competition, taking up only 12HP of space.
The first thing you need to know about this module is that it has an analog heart and a digital brain. This means that it features an analog core that you can control digitally. Thus, you get the best of both worlds combined in one unit. Furthermore, the fact that you have digital control over the analog core means that you can take the filtering effects available into unknown sonic territory and come up with sounds you hadn't heard anywhere else before.
Speaking of cores and sounds, the dual analog cores living inside this unit allow you to run them in stereo. Otherwise, you can use them chained as an 8-pole mono filter creating something close to an LPG-like extra-steep slope.
Finally, creating two user banks and performing firmware updates via audio allows even further control for the user. It gives you the freedom to recall something great you've achieved after hours of moving knobs and pushing buttons.
Joranalogue Filter 8
The Joranalogue Filter 8 (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is another super-capable 12HP filter that can fit in most Eurorack cases. The biggest difference with the Neutron Flux is that it offers no digital control; it is a cutting-edge analog voltage-controlled filter with a revolutionary resonant feedback circuitry.
This circuitry works by increasing the resonance; the unit allows all outputs to resonate at the same frequency as the filter. Thus, you get zero frequency loss, especially in the low register. Moreover, if you set the resonance level high, you get self-oscillation, transforming the unit into an 8-phase sine wave VCO (Voltage Controlled Oscillator).
Also, since the Filter 8 allows simultaneous linear and exponential frequency modulation, you can get anything from classic FM tones to extra-wild, chaotic modulation. Finally, the hold feature works great to freeze the output voltages (under gate control or manually).
If you are looking for an amazing, all-analog, superb-sounding filter to fit in a 12HP and you have the budget for the Filter 8, you can never go wrong adding it to your current setup. You can see it in action in this video and this video.
Doepfer A-124 Wasp Filter
It is difficult not to be fooled by this unit's small size. The Doepfer A-124 Wasp Filter (link to check the price at Sweetwater) takes up only 8HP but is capable of bringing some great dirty, distorted tones to any mix.
It is based on a 70s synthesizer known as “The EDP Wasp” for having a black and yellow built-in case. This module uses that design and then abuses the digital inverters with operational amplifiers. As a result, you get all sorts of dirty effects and distortions.
Furthermore, the unit is equipped with a handy band-pass output to fine-tune exactly what you want to get from it. In the same vein, the low/notch/high pass combined output with a dedicated control knob defines the relationship between low and high pass signals minutely. For example, if you set the knob to either side, you get low or high pass predominance but leaving it in the middle, you get a notch filter. Finally, this module doesn't feature any self-oscillation in opposition to what the rest of the A-100 system offers.
If you have reduced space and budget and want to add a very capable filter to the mix, you should check this module out before buying anything else. You can see it in action in this demo video or watch this basics video.
Doepfer is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
Bastl Instruments Ikarie
This stereo dual-peak filter is rather unique in many aspects. Like the WASP above, the Bastl Instruments Ikarie (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) only takes up 8HP of Eurorack space and delivers way more than that.
For starters, it can continuously transition between high and low pass with the twist of a simple knob. But that's just the 2-D aspect because you can also use the built-in envelope filter to follow the incoming audio signal. This way, you'll reach a wider animation of the signal, transforming your sound into a 3-D experience.
In the same vein, the two parallel filter cores can work in sync creating a stereo image, working individually to create sweeping, beautiful stereo effects, or chained together to create a powerful 24dB filter.
In the case you need a piercing, throaty resonance sound, you can also use the mono output and transform the module into a dual peak filter. Finally, with the internal VCA, optional overdrive, and CV control over resonance and panning, there are very few things you can't do with this module. See it in action in this video (full feature rundown) and this video (for tips and tricks).
Mutable Instruments Blades
The Mutable Instruments Blades (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is an utterly-powerful 18HP dual multi-mode filter. It features a crystal-clean 12dB octave multi-mode filter that can self-oscillate across the audio range without losing a notch of its clarity. Besides, it also features a CV-controlled overdrive circuit that offers wave folding capabilities.
But that is not what sets Blades apart from the rest but the possibility of blending in as much of each side as you want. This possibility of blending in with the twist of a knob (or controlling it via CV) allows for infinite in-between positions and, virtually, an infinite array of new sounds for your productions.
This is because the filter response is continuous, allowing for nuances and spectral colouring, perfect to use on anything. Finally, the dual crossfader circuit means that you can route the two filters going from single to series to parallel smoothly and seamlessly.
Mutable Instruments is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
Mutable Instruments Ripples
This is the 2020 version of a classic. The original gained its impeccable reputation for sounding larger-than-life, occupying a mere 8HP on your system. In this sense, most purists considered it the most elegant choice when it came to small footprint filter modules.
In essence, the Mutable Instruments Ripples (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) offers two signal paths:
- One going through a drive control (offering generous amounts of distortion or simply enhancing gain levels)
- Another crystal-clear path retaining the character of the original audio signal
Besides the signal paths, the unit offers three modes (low, high, and band-pass) and is capable of self-oscillating in all modes. Moreover, it can produce an ultra-clean sine wave when plugging into the low-pass output. In this sense, what is a great enhancement by Mutable Instruments is that you get no loudness drop as you move the resonance knob up. This comes with a subtle coloration that can be compared to 80s Japanese classics, emulating that liquid resonance.
System80 860 MK2
For those who love the amazing Roland Jupiter-6 from 1980 (especially its multi-mode filter), the System80 860 MK2 (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) Eurorack module is a treasure. Indeed, occupying only 10HP of space, this updated version of the JOVE Filter is the closest you can get to that classic Jupiter-6 analog polysynth sound in Eurorack size.
System80 set out on an adventure to create a module so powerful and small that it can replace not only the JOVE but also the 860 MK1. For that to happen, they enhanced the design, improved the interiors, and also included some new features responding to popular demand.
For example, this module comes equipped with memory recall for the filter mode, internal voltage references, a quad OTA filter core, a steel black cover, and a (fully-attenuated) 2-input audio mixer. Finally, you can choose between four modes: 12dB low-pass, 24dB low-pass, high-pass, and band-pass.
If you are searching for an utterly-capable filter taking up a small space and with the ability to recall your favourite sounds, this is a must-check before you buy. Here's a video of it in action in its natural habitat and a no-talking video showing its sounds.
Erica Synths Fusion VCF3
The menacing look of the Erica Synths Fusion VCF3 (link to check the price at Sweetwater) module would make Darth Vader proud, but that's not all that's menacing about this powerful Eurorack module. Indeed, the combination of vactrols and vacuum tubes provides distinct layers of soft filtering that can go from subtle to mayhem and everywhere in between.
Besides power, another great asset in this Fusion VCF3 is the versatility it is capable of. Undeniably, the buffer multiple and the independent audio mixer are great command centers to unleash this unit's powers. Moreover, a CV recorder allows you to record potentiometer movement paving the path toward advanced modulation patterns.
Finally, this all-analog design is ready to transform your rig. The only caveat about it is that, because of the vactrol lag, the maximum modulation frequency is 10Hz. That being said, if you are searching for power and versatility beyond imagination and love the warmth vacuum tubes imprint on the sound, this is the perfect module for you.
Erica Synths is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
In contrast to the dark power unleashed above, this unit proposes buttery, liquid, and lush filtering with refinement and elegance. Still, the Intellijel Polaris (link to check the price at Sweetwater) is a 27-option (divided into 5 categories) super-capable filter that can change any setup.
To begin with, this is a David Dixon design built in the same line as Atlantis or Dr. Octature filters. In other words, very powerful 4-stage cascaded OTA filters with a plethora of options at hand. These sounds can be routed through the unit's LP, HP, and BP outputs. Moreover, the unit also features a fully-customizable MULTI output to convey the 27 modes through.
But not everything coming from the Polaris is nice and buttery; you can also add some drive to the signal, and, with the asymmetric multi-distortion circuit engaged, you can go full-on aggression. Finally, combining the AP phaser mode with FM can easily achieve a lush and rich phaser effect.
Intellijel is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
Make Noise QPAS
Tony Rolando, a former Moog employee, found a sound he loved while calibrating Voyagers. He kept it in his ears for years until he found the correct vessel to convey it to the world: the Make Noise QPAS (link to check the price at Sweetwater).
The QPAS is a quad-core unit working as a Quad Peak Animation System (hence, QPAS) combining the animation of several peaks in the same channel with the auditory enveloping of stereo-spaced peaks. This allows the peaks to interact almost as if they were dancing around each other.
All four cores are identical and managed by a control system that is powerful enough to push them through a stereo multi-peak operation. Yet, it is also simple enough to avoid system domination; rather, it encourages system integration.
Taking up a hefty 18HP, this unit is powerful enough to take care of all filtering endeavours you might need. Thus, it is a must to check it before buying. You can watch this video or this video for an in-depth rundown of features.
Make Noise is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
Xaoc Devices Belgrad
The Xaoc Devices Belgrad (link to check the price at Perfect Circuit) is Xaoc Devices' first take on an all-analog VCF. As you would expect from a brand like Xaoc Devices, some surprises and unique features are added to a classic design.
To begin with, the unit fulfills the category of a traditional voltage-controlled filter in the context of subtractive synthesis. That being said, the 10 distinct frequency responses make it easier than ever to find a multitude of timbral options and a safe path to music exploration. This is because of the outcome of the interaction between the dual resonant peaks.
Adding to that, the nonlinear feedback and cross-modulation, adjustable overdrive for the input, the voltage control over the balance of the resonance and the peaks, and a wide tuning range (going from 4 Hz to 28 kHz) make this an utterly powerful yet fully flexible unit suitable for any rig. Finally, the low-noise audio path is welcome, especially in extreme settings.
Xaoc Devices is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Eurorack Module Synth Brands In The World.
Building your Eurorack system can be overwhelming. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Eurorack Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next Eurorack purchases.