Filters hold dominion over a strange, quacky place in my heart. I grew up in a town inundated with DeadHeads and funky jam bands who wielded the traditional wah-like expression of the effect an awful lot, and now I can only associate that tone with its ubiquity in the realm of funk. Not that that makes the filter guilty of anything negative in my book; I love funk. Its just that I came of age hearing filters as often as I heard overdrive. Its tough to picture it in any other context, so I very rarely do, but the envelope filter isn’t something to pigeonhole as its uses and pleasing effects are wide-spanning.
If you’re here, chances are pretty good that you’ve heard of EarthQuaker Devices. They’re easily among the upper echelons of the most sought-after effects builders in the world. EarthQuaker has built their name on a legacy of never-disappointing, always-innovative releases at price points that the average Joe can justify while looking their kids in the eyes. They’ve swarmed the market with their take on everything from germanium fuzz to analog guitar synths and everything in between; nobody’s complaining, so they must be doing something right.
The EQD Spatial Delivery is another unique take on something awesome that was maybe a little bit overdue for a good ‘Quaking. It’s a voltage controlled Envelope Filter meaning that the effect is activated and made more or less extreme by the level of voltage (or volume) run through it. Sometimes it’s an autowah, sometimes it’s the auditory interpretation of a Commodore 64’s thoughts.
- Voice Switch to index through Up, Down, and Sample & Hold
- Range knob: In Up/Down modes, this controls the width of the envelope, and its sensitivity to pick attack. In Sample & Hold, it controls the speed of the voltage changes.
- Filter knob: Crossfades between high-pass and low-pass frequencies, allowing for fine-tuning capabilities.
- Resonance knob: Controls the amount of filter feedback in the signal.
- True Bypass
- Soft-Touch Switch
- Small footprint
- Hand-made bit by damn bit in silver studded Akron, Ohio
Sound & Performance:
There’s a certain je ne sais quois about EarthQuaker’s simple visual design choices that makes the user question even his own looks. I know it’s silly; It’s a box for God’s sake. But here I am, wondering if the Spatial Delivery would look better in my jeans than I do. It sports a tall, svelte metal enclosure with a sexy sparkle white finish similar to the finish on EarthQuaker’s Dunes and Pallisades, accentuated by a peachy orange geometric screenprint. The knobs are pretty standard, but the soft-touch switch and lightning-bright LED give it that tactile boutique feel we’ve all come to expect from EQD. Jamie Stillman, President of EQD and all-around badass is a self-acknowledged fan of the patriarchal Maestro FSH-1, but don’t expect a Maestro clone from the Spatial Delivery; EQD designed this baby from toe to tip with Jamie himself handling DSP programming duties for this pedal’s smooth digital filtering.
EarthQuaker recommends placing the Spatial Delivery first in the chain behind overdrive. This is to allow the harmonics of the filter to clip some frequencies more than others for a more intense effect. I actually liked it after as well, as it added a more obvious wah to a dirty signal; play to your heart’s content.
With all of the parameters set at noon, the UP voicing is one of two things you think of when you hear the words “envelope filter.” In this instance, the Spatial Delivery gives a filter sweep up, making for a whistly, resonant autowah. With everything at noon you can expect the classic autowah tone. If that’s what you’re shooting for, that base is covered, but the true beauty of this pedal is how finely you can adjust the parameters to achieve a wide range of sounds. The Resonance knob controls the thickness of a veneer of harmonic overtones added to the signal that thins as the volume fades; I had a ton of fun swelling down my volume knob with this parameter turned up all the way to achieve long, filtered oscillations.
SAMPLE & HOLD
Unlike the Up and Down voices, the Sample & Hold is controlled by random levels of voltage shot through its circuitry, and the Range knob is repurposed to function as the rate control for the random voltages. Like the Up and Down voices, though, it evokes a nostalgic love of 70’s cult movie soundtracks. The random voltage spikes serve to arpeggiate your signal in jumpy harmonic bursts. Run this through some fuzz and the Spatial Delivery now simulates the death of a circuit frying in the haze of a nuclear meltdown.
Bootzilla’s Back! The down filter is the other funky thing you think about when you hear the words “envelope filter.” It’s a filter sweep down that instantly transports you to a discotheque with its synthy, percussive tone. Its important to back off the low-pass end of the Filter knob here; if you go all in, the sweep will sound like music from the inside of a stomach. Otherwise, the whole range of parameters offers something fat and pleasing to the ears and soul.
The EarthQuaker Devices Spatial Delivery gives you more filtering flexibility and sonic mojo than most pedals its size. The inclusion of the filter knob as opposed to a static Low/Band/High pass voice switch adds a level of control to this box that its contemporaries just can’t match. I had a lot more fun playing with the Spatial Delivery than I thought I would, and it added the oomph to parts of songs I had been working on that I otherwise might have gotten rid of entirely. It would’ve been nice if EarthQuaker had included some kind of exp tap tempo for the Sample & Hold, but it does what you’ll need it to do. Pick it up!
That concludes our review of the EarthQuaker Spatial Delivery. Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out our list of the best EarthQuaker Devices pedals!