Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #126068  by cmc64
 Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:50 pm
The time has come - I need to send my Mu-Tron III out to Lingenberg Sound for a bit of work. The power switch is failing and while it still sounds very good the caps are old and should be replaced. As it will be gone for approximately a month and I can't imagine going without it for that long I have been looking into other envelope filters. I have always wanted a backup for it in case of emergency and for bedroom playing so I don't have to tear my rig apart so this gives me an excuse to buy a new toy. I know the smart move is to just pick up another Mu-III but at the moment I don't have the cash. So......

After extensive listening to samples (youtube videos only tell you so much - they are limited in audio quality as well as the how the player, guitar, pickups, amp, etc... influences the sound) I think the 3Leaf Audio Proton sounds pretty close, but there are so many, and so many variables. I have never played through the bulk of these pedals so I have no idea how they actually perform in terms of response/sensitivity to pick attack and so forth. There are so many great E.F's available, vintage and modern - so if anyone out there has some firsthand experience with a particular pedal (good or bad) please chime in - I would like to make as informed a decision a impossible before pulling the trigger.

FWIW, I did have own a Qtron+ some time ago and I did not like it at all. Nothing wrong with it; it just wasn't for me.
 #126069  by Adam Deckard
 Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:24 pm
I have an old qtron+ one of the big ones i got from Hogan and its fun but just nowhere near a muIII. The envelope just doesnt stay open as long as they good ones do. The proton is your best bet IMO. You will probably hear the same from those who have played through one however I have not but technique and other gesr aside the proton is the closest thing I have heard.
 #126074  by TRG
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:18 am
I've had a HAZ Mu which sounded Ok, a Proton which sounded better, but to my ears the original QTRON that I have sounds the best. Not sure if there's a difference gut wise, but I have the orgininal QTRON with the silver enclosure...not the newer black ones or the Qtron+.
 #126077  by joethepainter
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:30 am
I have an early proton #183 that I got from a fellow rukinder that has a delay chip mod (which I believe is now standard in current models), and an early model silver big box q-tron, and I like the q-tron better, Jerry-tone wise. It's really whompy and funky. However, the proton tracks much better and is way more articulate on faster passages. I found the old q-tron on Phiily CL for 100 bucks years ago, it had an 8th st. Music price tag on the old wooden box, and that place has been out of business for years, so it's gotta be at least a mid-90's model. The drive and boost switches are real touchy, and honestly, it's not on my main board, the proton is. I've tried the q-tron+ and didn't like it. So, for me, it's a compromise. Although I dig the old q-tron tone-wise, I find the proton to be more than adequate's probably a lot easier to find, as well. Hope this helps...

Peace, Joe
 #126078  by Poor Peter
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:21 am
I came across a video on youtube not long ago of Bob demoing a envelope/ phaser made by pigtronix. He was playing Estimated on it. Although I never heard him actually nail the tone, he admitted that he liked it and needed to play with it some more. Maybe someone has some expierence with one of these.
 #126082  by rugger
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:40 am
I have a Proton similar to what joethepainter mentioned--early serial, #200 maybe, with the mod to lengthen the envelope. I did buy the new model...just because, not that I didn't like the one I had. I can't say I spent any time trying to compare the two, so I honestly couldn't tell you which one is "better." Anyways, if your interested I would sell it for $135 shipped and pp'd.

john in san diego
 #126083  by gr8fullfred
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:45 am
The Qtron seems like a good choice. It is what Barry Sless uses.

Good enough for Barry, good enough for me.

I also like the Boss FT-2, I realize that I am the only one who likes it, but it is a pretty good cheap little EF. Like Trey said, "it is more important to know how to use your equipment, than it is to have good equipment".
 #126084  by schmidtz
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:52 am
I have a thing for envelope filters, (but that's healthy, right guys?!) so I've tried most of them and the best thing I've found so far is the "MeatSphere" from the nice fellas over on

I've been through the old big box Qtron+, but I didn't like the size and 24v power supply, so I moved to an old Ibanez AF-9, but the envelope didn't stay open long enough for my taste, so I built the MeatSphere and WOWZA(!) it can do absolutely everything (perhaps too much...).

Another board I've heard good things about is the Nautilus from madbean... that's next on my bench.

Here are some shots of my MeatSphere build:



As you can probably tell, there are no knobs on the top row... I ordered the wrong size.
I did perform the Color pot mod by tying two lugs together... it made a world of difference.
If you have a few hours and want a really good filter, I would give this a shot. I would say the parts are about $100 total.
 #126085  by Tennessee Jedi
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:55 am
Right now I am using a original Q-Tron and like it fine ..... think it cost $100 used
I was using a Mini (or is it Micro? ) Q-Tron and thought it did a great job also .... they are like $ 90.00 new
If I had a MU and needed a backup I would get the micro Q
 #126089  by jackevorkian
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:15 pm
I had a Proton that I thought sounded almost identical to my Mutron. I sold it since it seemed very redundant to have both. The Jacques Trinity looks interesting. Based on internet sound clips, I've always thought the Maxon also sounded really good.
 #126091  by myoung6923
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 12:58 pm
I have a regular Q Tron as well as a Q Tron+ and I definitely like the regular Q Tron much better than the plus.

Here's a clip with the regular Q Tron

 #126101  by waldo041
 Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:36 pm
Thanks for the info and video on the Meat Sphere! I know what my next project is gonna be!

Any chance you could pm or post me the part numbers you used for your build?