Soundtoys FilterFreak


Fat analog sweeps, pounding filter rhythms, big hardware sound – Mac/PC VST, AU, AAX

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Are you searching for smooth, silky, analog filter sweeps? Or are grimy, resonant squelches more your style? Nothing adds character to a track faster than a great filter, and FilterFreak can do it all. From funky envelope follower sounds reminiscent of the classic Mutron, to wide resonant LFO sweeps like the Sherman Filterbank. From timeless wah-wah tones to campy sci-fi sample-and-hold effects.
FilterFreak recreates the classic filters from analog synthesizers, and can apply them to all kinds of instruments. The two versions are either a single filter or two filters that can be run in series or parallel. This makes the filter pretty special, and it contains some cool features for modulation that let you apply these effects in unconventional and highly rhythmic ways.

Let’s start with the FilterFreak1, which is the single filter version. We applied it to a monophonic synth bass line. You can set your frequency, resonance, and filter shapes from the main menu. You can add low-pass, high-pass, band-pass or band notch filters, and you can add poles for additional shaping. There’s another stage with some analog-style saturation that can warm up and smooth out the filtering. FilterFreak2 combines two filters simultaneously. Having a sweeping resonance at two places in the frequency spectrum means you can apply even more unconventional filtering to any signal. If you’d like to have a high-end AND low-end boost modulation in the same track, that alternate with one another, you can do it here pretty easily. They can also be linked to make it them work in unison.

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In Depth

Rhythm and Groove
You can also adjust modulations with a host of controls. You have several options in that department: LFO, envelope follower, an ADSR modulator, and some others. Within those, you can control the amount of modulation for frequency, resonance, level and left/right offset. This allows you to very precisely set your threshold for modulation as well as the amount that the filter changes depending on what is being modulated. This manifests itself in grand phase sweeps, highly chopping rhythmic effects, and some wah-wah envelope filtering that can be applied almost anywhere. Putting this filter on bass guitar, with a modulation mode that has a threshold trigger, allowed it to pop out of the mix in specific spots, adding a Bootsy Collins style of envelope filtering that moves in time with the bass’s dynamic peaks.

We considered the plug-in’s rhythm editor modulation to be its most unique feature. This allows you to modulate your signals in a highly rhythmic, syncopated way.  Once you customize your filter shape, you can set it to move along with your tracks BPM and progress over set number of bars, beats, and measures. With customizable wave shapes and additional presets, an otherwise static synth pad can consistently change throughout the song, adding movement in time with the music. The groove control can offset the rhythm slightly to make it fall in the pocket a bit more than it might otherwise. You could also use the “random” setting for some entirely unpredictable filter sweeps, which we found were still surprisingly musical.  Without a doubt, this plug-in has a ton of range and applications, and you can spend a lot of time experimenting with it and coming up with great effects.

Main Features:

  • Classic recreation of analog filters – originally found on synthesizers – with modern-day extended controls and features
  • Choose from one or two filters in series or parallel
  • Add complex filtering to any part – add phase sweeping to drums or synth, add some extra saturation to a vocal, or add auto-wah type effects to a guitar or bass
  • Create sample-and-hold effects, commonly associated with Sci-Fi alien movies
  • Fatten up your signal with Soundtoys’ classic saturation – up to 8 different types
  • Create complex filter patterns that are synced to the rhythm of your tracks using the revolutionary rhythm editor
  • Design modulator shapes with the LFO shape editor


  • Choose from one or two filters (that can be run in series or parallel):
    • Frequency (Cutoff), Resonance, and Gain controls for each filter, with optional frequency link switch
    • Four filter shapes (low-pass, band-pass, high-pass, and band reject/notch filters)
    • Poles switch controls steepness of filter frequency curve (values of 2, 4, 6, and 8).
  • Input and Output Gain Controls, plus global dry/wet mix control
  • Modulation amount knob controls level of modulation
  • Six modulation modes:
    • Low frequency oscillator (LFO)
    • Envelope follower
    • Random mode sets random values for modulators
    • Step mode combines sample-and-hold effect with envelope follower
    • ADSR mode recreates standard synth envelope generator and adds trigger threshold control
  • Rhythm Mode
    • Controlled by tap tempo or MIDI Sync
    • Choose rhythmic figure, anywhere from 16 bars to a 1/64th note (or dotted or triplet), and sync your filter modulations to that figure
    • Groove control allows you to match your rhythm to the song by going from shuffle to swing feels
    • Rhythm Editor enables complex modulation based upon rhythms entered
  • Additional “Tweak Menu” controls
    • Analog Saturation – up to six saturation styles, from clean to saturated through distorted
    • Modulation controls – frequency, resonance, and gain modulation controls the amount that the modulators affect these parameters
    • Shape Editor, a visual representation of modulator waveform that can be customized
    • These modes contain up to six modulator waveform options as well as smoothing control

Current Version: 5.2.0
Plug-in Formats (both 32 and 64-bit):
• AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, VST, and Audio Units (AU)
Supported Sample Rates:
• Minimum: 44.1 kHz, Maximum: 192 kHz

System Requirements:
• Operating systems: Mac OS X 10.8 or later; Windows 7 or later
• An internet connection is required at the time of activation.
Supported Hosts:
• Pro Tools (10.3.5 or later), Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Logic, Digital Performer
• Click here to view our full list of compatible host applications.
Other Requirements:
• Free account.