Gear Review #8 – Vintage DOD FX25 Envelope Filter

Pedal Overview

In a return to pedal reviews (complete with a youtube video) I thought we best take a look at my first ever pedal. Whilst many pedals have come and gone from the collection, my DOD FX25 will always remain thanks to it sheer musicality. Unlike many guitarists whose maiden voyage into the world of pedals is a ‘dirt box’ (overdrive, distortion or fuzz) or the predictable wah pedal, thanks to a £5 second-hand purchase mine was an envelope filter. Envelope filters produce an almost wah like tone but the sweep is controlled by the dynamic of the note and it’s decay.

The DOD FX25 has 2 idiot proof controls, sensitivity and range. The sensitivity controls how the dynamic point in which the pedals opens the sweep, allowing you to set the pedal for different pick-up and signal volumes. Set low you need to seriously attack the strings to get a decent ‘quack’ out, at full it almost acts as a filter to signal giving a thin brittle tone to every note. The range controls how extreme the sweep is, less is more in most cases as it gives a slight filter to the note, increase this to get a brilliantly unstable analogue decay that flickers the filter.

As most vintage DOD pedal the pedal casing feels sturdy but the foot switch is a little sticky and commonly break with heavy use and the battery compartment is a little flimsy on this series so watch out for that. Mine has survived thus far. The buffer tends to suck some highs out of the signal so I’d recommend a true-bypass looper for stage use.

Sound

I absolutely love the sound of this pedal (warning; non-standardized re appropriation of adjectives inbound). It is a wonderfully squelchy, quacky pedal and full of warmth and the analogue nature make the sweep less predictable then its digital counterparts. With gain it gives an almost wah like tone but with an aggressive high frequency pop that cuts through the gain and dies, lots of fun. I prefer to use this sound in small doses, and so will your band. Whilst I could spend hours playing funk, rock and blues licks with this sound it can be a little abrasive of more extreme settings with a band.

Here’s is a video with me jamming out with some settings. The guitars is a Squier Jagmaster (w/Seymour Duncan pick-ups) and the amp a Yamaha THR1o recording via USB. No post production, enjoy!

For examples of these sounds check it out full Sonic Vibes band cover of ‘Ain’t Nobody’ by Chaka Khan in the playlist panel to the right or on soundcloud here:

Conclusion

The DOD FX25 has served me well and seen off other envelope filters and auto-wahs from BOSS, EHX and Danelectro over the years. The sound is very warm and musical, and the controls are straightforward enough that finding a great usable sound is easy (the tone is easily 9/10 for me personally). The price for these vintage pedals is still fairly low so provided you don’t need lots of parameters for adjustment this pedal is perfect. The fact that it works on both electric and bass guitars well is always a plus. I know that Flea used this model for a period, especially when he recorded his tuition VHS back in the day. My biggest criticisms, which extend to all of the American made DOD effects of this series, are the flimsy footswitch, highly loseable battery cover and poor buffers (a 5/10 for construction based on current market pricepoint).

Pros – Warm, musical analogue envelope tones that work with gain on both electric and bass signals.

Cons – Flimsy footswitch and poor buffered bypass. You’ll need a bypass pedal for everyday use.

Anyone else a fan of envelope filters?  Or vintage DOD pedals? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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