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BOSS Guitar Pedal Overview: Dynamics/Filter

Guitarists have used pedals to alter their sound for decades. And the range of options has grown tremendously. You can buy many different kinds, whether you're a beginner or an advanced player. Every guitarist has different needs and tastes. That's why BOSS offers a variety of stompboxes in the market!

They use pedals to add effects to their guitar sound. Also, to control how it sounds during live performances. Whether to alter their music’s dynamics or distort and modulate sounds.

Musicians are no strangers to pedals. All the top players in the world use these effects pedals. These give them a professional-sounding guitar tone. They are easy to install and you can place them in any setup you prefer.

There are a lot of pedals on the market but there are some you can't live without.

BOSS CS-1 with other stompboxes laid in a studio platform

What Are Dynamics Stompboxes?

Dynamics has two focus points: minimizing volume surges and also maximizing volume.

You can use these pedals to help you manage volume fluctuations. They're different because they either affect your volume or keep the volume consistent. They are also great for leveling out an unbalanced sound. Or, balancing out sections of songs that are too high or still.

Dynamics stompboxes are useful for many musicians, but guitarists experience the most benefit. Dynamics effects work well with a guitar. These pedals can help to alter the volume. Also, they help tame volume variations in a song that has both louder and quieter sections. 

A great example of this would be when you’re playing along to a particular riff and then you have to back off of your guitar because it’s getting lost in the mix. But, if you use distortion, your riff will still stand out. Even though the volume of the song is louder than before.

Why You Should Get A BOSS Dynamics Stompboxes

If you are a musician who wants more dynamic effects in your music, then BOSSguitar pedal are perfect for you. BOSS is one of the leading brands because they release top-notch products. Stompbox pedals are small devices that help guitarists produce specific sounds and effects. 

Taming volume variations can be one of the biggest problems guitarists face. There are different factors that can affect your volume. Being able to get a consistent sound is very helpful during live shows when you want to maintain a good level. Dynamic effects pedals are also good for leveling out the volumes in songs with both louder and quieter sections.

Dynamic effects pedals are a very important part of the modern guitar player’s signal chain. Without these pedals, your guitar amplifier would become a jumbled mess. These devices offer an instant solution for guitar players. To those who like to play songs with various volumes.

How Dynamic Effects Pedals Works

Dynamic effects, when used appropriately, can improve the listening experience. It is important to understand how to use dynamics so you don't make your listeners feel seasick.

The effect of the dynamics could be confusing for starters. Part of this confusion is because most people don't realize that they have dynamic effects on their sound. 

There is this problem that arises when you turn your dynamics effect on or off. When the effect is on, your music doesn't sound right — it sounds as if it is lacking something. When the effect is off (or not set up correctly), everything else is right, but there's something wrong with the bass.

It may be difficult to identify what is being changed when using these pedals. But the dynamic effects have a direct impact on the best parts of your audio. This allows you to hear more of what you love about it.

Any good keyboard player knows the importance of dynamics. Tap too hard on the volume pedal, and you’re going to cause feedback and have a tough time getting control of your mix. Keep it to light touches. Then you can turn the sound into a lush, watery texture that can be as powerful as any synth pad or lead synth.

Let’s hear from Sandy as he plays using one of the best-selling dynamic stompboxes from BOSS, CP-1X Compressor.

Elements of Dynamics Stompboxes

There are several terms that could describe dynamics effects. “Dynamic”, “Expression”, “Gain”, and “Fader” are among the most common. These all describe similar features, but there are differences in these effects. Some pedals use two of these words to describe two different control parameters on the same physical pedal.

Let's start by having a look at what we can find in the different types of pedals.

1. The Threshold

The "threshold" setting is one of the most important and the “master” control for any dynamic effects. The threshold level is where the function of a processor begins to affect audio. Think of it as the point at which your sound wave "crosses a line" to become a different waveform.

2. The attack

The attack is the amount of time it takes for the effect to reach the maximum gain reduction after increasing from the threshold. This means how quickly or slowly the sound dies away once you remove your palm or foot from the string. You can measure an attack in milliseconds.

3. The Ratio

The ratio of an effect is the rate at which it attenuates or increases the volume. It is how much it attenuates the sound. Also, a term used when dealing with dynamic effects, like compressors. It is invaluable to understand ratio if you are using dynamics effects creatively. Ratios can range from 1:1 (no effect) to infinite. 

Once you've created a contrast between quiet and loud passages, you might want to apply a compressor to bring up the quiet parts. You can do this as slowly as possible. Because if you raise levels too much, you might ruin the balance of volume that already existed.

4. The Release

Here you have the release time, in milliseconds, that the effects use to recover from a note and stop the effect. This only comes into play if the effect is still engaged after it has been “uncrossed” by the threshold. In real use, you don't have to worry about this setting much at all. 

If you notice noise when playing some consecutive notes, then increase this value (towards infinity) until it stops.

What Are The Types of Dynamics Stompboxes?

Most of the pedals on the market today are dynamic in nature. When you first start, it can be difficult to know what the differences are between them and which one is right for you. 

Different pedals do different things. It's important to choose your pedal based on what you want to achieve.

1. Compressor Stompboxes

This pedal is a type of dynamics effect that process variations in signal volume. They attenuate loud signals and amplify softer signals when it's reactivated by the stompbox. These pedals are elements in the tone of a guitarist. They are often used no matter what genre or music you play. You cannot understate their effects because they are always there. They work around the background to make sounds come together.

Sometimes these pedals are also called volume pedals or gain pedals. They make the soft parts louder and the loud parts softer. This can be useful if you're playing country and folk music. Also, if you don't want to blast the audience with your notes.

Compressors will decrease the dynamic range of an audio signal. They make the quieter notes louder while leaving the most audible notes alone. 

2. Volume Stompboxes

Of all the effects pedals out there, volume pedals are one of the most basic ones. It is not possible to generate volume swells with a guitar straight into an amplifier. But, a guitar player can set up a volume pedal that they can control using their feet.

Let's say that you've plugged in your guitar and realize that the volume knob on your amp is turned almost up. To keep the sound at a reasonable level, you have to adjust the volume control on your guitar. This can take some time, especially if you're used to adjusting it quickly and without interruption during a solo. That's when volume pedals also called “volume swells” arrive. They allow you to work around this technicality through simple mechanics.

A volume pedal does exactly what it sounds like — controls the output volume of your signal. They’re essential for any guitarist. You can use them for simulating movements. Such as fading in or out, swelling, or controlling dynamics.

3. Boost Stompboxes

They use the term “boost” as a reference to a general class of effects pedals. It's used to refer to a signal gain-type volume boost. But not the same thing as a signal overdrive (gain boost) or clean boost.

Boost pedals are very simple effects pedals. They call them "boost" pedals because that is what they do. They boost your guitar signal without any other effects. A boost pedal's only purpose is to increase the volume of your guitar. They also make sure your tone isn't affected. 

When looking for a boost pedal, you should always play with it on an already-overdriven amp. Make sure you hear a difference in tone, otherwise, there is no point in using it.

They can help if you need to cut through the mix in a band situation. They're almost the direct opposite of distortion pedals, in which you decrease the volume and tone of your guitar.

BOSS Dynamics Stompboxes

TOP BOSS Dynamics Stompbox: CS-3 Compression Sustainer

Product image of BOSS CS-3 Compression Sustainer

No matter how good your technique is, your sound still needs some tweaking to get that perfect tone. While other pedals focus on dynamic distortion, BOSS designed the CS-3 Compression Sustainer to give guitarists and bass players smooth sustain. The CS-3 helps you tame dynamic peaks while adding natural sounding gain.

It features onboard Level, Tone, Attack, and Sustain controls for precise tonal shaping. Low-noise design helps your signal stay clean even at high volume levels. This pedal is perfect for guitarists doing live performances or recording projects.

What Are Filter Stompboxes?

Filter stompboxes are distinctive electronic devices. They produce their unique sounds when you press down on the pedal. Their job is to modify tone as opposed to other effects which usually just change volume or pitch. 

There are different types depending on what you want to achieve with your sound. But, they all achieve this through decimating the original signal, filtering it, and finally resynthesizing it before outputting the signal to your amp.

These pedals allow your guitar to create a range of interesting, unique, and quirky sounds. The pedals are usually called all-pass filters. Because they pass all the sound frequencies through them without damaging the quality of the original guitar signal.

Why You Should Get A BOSS Filter Stompboxes

Filters are effects that change the frequency spectrum of a sound. These stompboxes are very versatile devices that allow you to change the tone of your guitar. However, they're famous for their use in funk and psychedelic rock.

How Do Filter Stompboxes Works?

So how does a filter stompbox work? Well, the simplest way to describe it is to say that it creates new frequencies. In a regular low-frequency equalizer, this pedal will boost frequencies or cut (adjust) them. Then there's an added extra signal to this adjustment.

The most basic of filter pedals has either a high pass, band pass, or low pass filter. A high-pass filter allows only frequencies above a certain point to be heard. While low-pass lets through everything below the threshold and a bandpass allows frequencies a certain range (higher or lower) to be heard. You can also get creative with other filter types. Such as harmonic, reverse, comb, and notch filters (amongst others). 

To better understand how filter effects pedals work, let’s hear Joe Robinson as he features the BOSS PW-3 Pedal Wah.

Kinds of Filter Stompboxes

1. Low-pass filters

The simple definition of a Low-Pass Filter (LPF) is the passing of higher frequencies while cutting out lower frequencies. This kind of filter first appeared in sound hardware applications on recorders. And on other analog samplers to limit the bandwidth for a particular instrument or voice. 

There are many reasons why you might want to make use of them. As musicians, we can tailor LPFs to our desired results.

2. Band-pass filters

A band-pass filter is a large surface over which you expand your amplitude. For example, if you double your amplitude, it will sweep up to twice the size of the original frequency range. It is a frequency-selective circuit that passes frequencies roughly within a specific range.

3. High-pass filters

High-pass filters are useful when you want to cut unwanted low frequencies from an audio signal. A high-pass filter cuts off higher frequencies above their cutoff frequency while attenuating lower frequencies below their cutoff point.

4. Band-reject filters

A band-reject filter is a notch filter that blocks certain frequencies within the frequency spectrum. They are often used in synthesizers. They remove high-frequency noise or low-frequency rumble from the signal. It results in cleaner and more pleasant sounds to listen to.

What Are The Types Of Filter Stompboxes?

Filter pedals are some of the most common and most used guitar effects in the world. They alter the frequency output of the audio signal between your guitar and amp. 

Not sure where to start? Here are the filter categories you will encounter.

1. Wah Effects Pedals

Wah pedals are also called filter pedals. They allow the musician to shape certain frequencies to thicken. Or, thin out certain other frequencies. A wah pedal is different from a standard guitar pedal. This pedal has an adjustable frequency control knob. It allows the guitarist to draw attention to different frequencies.

Wah pedals are simple in principle but tricky to get right — especially when you’re starting. The best wah pedal kills two birds with one stone. It alters the tonal response of your guitar, while at the same time acting as a modulation source. In other words, it creates some weird and wonderful sounds completely by itself.

These are common effects in rock and metal music. Instead of affecting the volume of your guitar signal, wah pedals alter the spatial relationship between your playing dynamics and a sound wave.

2. Auto-Wah or Envelope Effects Pedals

You can describe envelope filtering as a sort of dynamic effect. Envelope filters are controlled by the amplitudes of their input signals. This modulates the filter frequency and other parameters. This gives the effect a preview of what is to come before it happens.

If a wah's rate and sweep speed can be modified with an envelope, the range of expression possibilities for your musical device will be broadened substantially. Envelope filters are usually characterized by low-pass (high resonance) filtering. It has the ability to modulate its frequency cutoffs. With fast sweeping or slow detuning through envelope generators. The sweeping or detuning can occur in real-time or at audio speed. While the filter type remains unchanged. 

3. Talk Box Effects Pedals

The talk box is a very old effect. Featured before in the early days of rock and roll during the recording of the guitar sound with a single microphone. The earliest electric guitar amplifiers, yet, did not have an input gain knob to increase or decrease their volume. You had to play the guitar louder or softer than normal. 

If you've ever been to a rock concert, you have seen the popular talk box effects pedals. The term "talk box" was coined by guitarist Eddie Van Halen. They used it to describe any instrument or sound processor. That allows a musician to use their voice as an alternative source of sound generation.

These are an effect that adds vocal-like sounds to a guitar, bass, and other instruments. They vary in their sound from very simple and subtle to over-the-top. You can apply this effect live or on tape, and do not need a large amount of room space or amplification. You can also use these effects pedals with other types of recording equipment. As well as with home recorders or portable devices.

BOSS Filter Stompboxes:

TOP BOSS Filter Stompboxes: EQ-200 Graphic Equalizer

Product image of EQ-200 Graphic Equalizer

The EQ-200 is a great multi-purpose pedal for shaping your tone. It is a helpful thing to have on your pedal board in the studio or at home. With all the features and versatility, this pedal can be a very handy tool for shaping your sound. 

The graphic display not only shows the EQ curve in real-time. But, it also allows the selection of the desired band center frequency with a single knob. You can change the band centers and save for each of the 10 bands, providing tremendous flexibility.

 BOSS Dynamics and Filter Stompboxes

Do you remember your favorite Matchbox Car and how you wished for the engine to be a bit faster? Or the wheels to turn a little faster? These are positive examples of dynamics effects pedals. Dynamic effects pedals are also called level-changing pedals. Because they help make more consistent volume throughout your song or performance. Some guitar players might also use dynamic effects devices as volume boosters. 

Let’s now get into filter effects pedals. When you play the guitar, it's mostly how that big fat sound comes out of your guitar. But what about those subtle nuances and tones between the notes? Those are where filter effects come into play. Filter pedals make it possible to create distorted, lo-fi sounds from clean, amplified signals.

Get both the dynamics and filter effects with the BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah.

Top BOSS Dynamics/Filter Stompboxes: AW-3 Dynamic Wah

Product image of BOSS AW-3 Dynamic Wah

Auto-wah effects have been popular on guitar for decades. These effects provide a sweeping boost. Or, cut that sounds like the guitarists are talking (or singing) through their instruments. Getting the right wah sound can take some time. Luckily, BOSS has created the AW-3 Dynamic Wah pedal to make your sound instantly classic.

BOSS' new pedal, the AW-3 Dynamic Wah, is unique in that when its Humanizer mode is engaged. It can generate effects known as “vocal formants” (those are the sounds you hear in your head when you talk). This is the first compact wah pedal to include this technology, which BOSS calls “Humanizer.”

 BOSS Dynamics and Filter Stompboxes: Conclusion

Nothing's worse than getting to a chorus or solo only to discover your tone is too quiet. Or, being unable to bring your guitar up over the vocals.

Filter and dynamic pedals are both highly specialized pedal types that can really enhance your tone. Filter pedals allow you to sculpt the characteristics of your sound and dynamic pedals allow you to create volume changes for a more consistent tone throughout your performance.

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