Gear Review: All-Pedals Macrodose

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

I’m super picky about envelope filter pedals and have struggled over the years to find the perfect marriage between vintage sound and modern features, responsiveness, and reliability.

The All-Pedals Macrodose takes envelope filtering to the extreme with everything from classic envelope filter tones to really cool synth LFO’s and beyond. This powerful filter pedal is the result of a collaboration between All-Pedals in Kentucky and Subdecay, who manufactured the legendary Prometheus Deluxe, which provided the initial platform for the Macrodose. Primary new features include clean signal blend and output volume level control, which are essential in an envelope pedal.

You have your traditional high pass, bandpass, and low pass choices and the depth knob adjusts the input sensitivity for the filter. Warp controls the intensity of the pulse with clockwise being more intense and throbby. 

As always with filter pedals, the frequency and resonance are highly interactive but they are particularly well-tuned in the Macrodose and have great range. There are a plethora of shape options in the Macrodose, much more than you normally see in an analog filter pedal (some digital models may have more in deep menu dives but this really stands out for complexity and comprehensive combinations). The nine basic shapes are analog envelope (forward and reverse), step (tap tempo based on 7 LFO shapes), trigger LFO (tap to trigger one LFO cycle), manual LFO, warp LFO (tap tempo LFO speed with wave shape warp), pixelated envelope (sample/hold envelope control), envelope trigger, envelope-> LFO (envelope drives LFO speed, fixed sensitivity) and envelope-> LFO (envelope drives LFO speed, variable sensitivity) so there’s a lot to work with.

Everything from the classic envelope filter sounds, a la Jerry Garcia, are available using the upwards direction setting so when you hit hard it’s going to sound brighter and you can switch to the low pass setting to get a beautiful low end sound like a classic Mutron. If you want a low growl with a little pulse, choose low pass, put the freq around 11 o’clock, and tune the resonance to taste. You won’t lose your low end and will still have a proper quack.  Where things really get interesting are the special envelope settings clockwise right in the shape section where you get the sample and hold, combined waveforms, and finally up or down special. It is a magnificently voiced envelope filter pedal and I don’t say that lightly.  It’s extremely vocal and highly musical which should lend to a multitude of new ideas and directions. Sure you’ve got your Zappa and Flaming Lips sounds but I found the most intriguing avenues were the unexpected directions experimenting took me to.  Not to mention that it’s one of the most amazing-looking pedals I’ve ever got my hands on.  The artwork is incredible and very evocative.

If you’re already a fan of envelope filter pedals or use them fairly regularly you owe it to yourself to check out the All-Pedals Macrodose. It’s really far and above any filter pedal I’ve tried. It’s so deep, the options are too great to cover in a short review. But have a look at the manual online and watch a demo or two.  At $325 street price directly from All-Pedals, you could spend a lot more and get a lot less with other filter pedals. 

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