The Filter: Clothing for your music

Sometime in early 2002, after spending nearly a year working in discotecs I began to wonder just what exactly that effect was which I was hearing on so many current dance productions. You know the effect -- the one that seems to place a screen between the listener and the song. You know it. I'm sure you know it... You can hear it in the intros of Kylie Minogue's "Love at First Sight", Modjo's "Lady", and Daft Punk's "Around the World". You hear the tune alright, but it sounds like its being played in the next room and you're getting a peep of it as some of its sound waves escape and come sweeping through the wall to you. Yes, now you know what I'm talking about! I am talking about an analog filter.

Hooked on the filter sound I decided I wanted one in my home. After much research I ordered a device called the Resonator from Frostwave Analog in Australia. The four resonance control knobs make it extremely easy to use. You, the user, decide how much of the signal's low and/or high frequencies may "pass" by. In other words, you get to design the barrier which goes between song and listener. A turn of one knob and that barrier can be made thicker, thinner, or removed entirely.

But what exactly is it about filtering that enhances a song so much? My bandmate phrased it best, by saying that it's like "putting clothes on the song". It creates a mystique. You see the outline and you suspect there is a great tune hiding underneath. You want to undress it! You are flashed bits and pieces of the tune, and then finally when the clothes come off: WOW!

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