Beetronics Zzombee Filtremulator: What is it?
What is the Beetronics Zzombee Filtremulator indeed? A ‘filtremulator’ is definitely a new one on us, a compact guitar effects pedal that has some familiar sounds – auto-wah, LFO, filters (randomised and otherwise), tremolo, octave, overdrive and fuzz – and some unfamiliar, such as Swells and Cross Tremolo.
All these are controlled via three dials, a trio of toggle switches, two footswitches, and perhaps a little serendipity, too. The footswitches control Ramp/Rate and bypass. There is also the option to connect an external expression pedal or tap-tempo switch.
You know those pedals that identify themselves as a far-out choice to shake up an all-too-sedate pedalboard? The Zzombee Filtremulator fits the bill to a tee. This is something different, something eccentric, and as such, it is quite possibly the artistic tool you have been looking for but just didn’t know it yet.
The amount of sounds on offer is both tantalising and intimidating but helps is at hand via a positively Tolstoy-esque manual, and a little digital housekeeping that allows the pedal to store five presets onboard.
That said, bewilderment is going to be part of the learning process, with some truly outré sounds as your reward for auditioning a crazy ‘Filtremulator’ in the first place.
The Zzombee Filtremulator takes your signal and splits it into two paths, each running in parallel, with the Bee path passing your dry electric guitar signal through its drive and fuzz, and Parasite a monophonic low octave. Choose from a trio of modulated filter modes (Ramp, LFO and Mad), modulated amplitude modes, and stand well back.
Beetronics Zzombee Filtremulator: Performance and verdict
The Zzombee Filtremulator might be totally gonzo but if you’ve played through any of Beetronics’ inventive fuzz effects you will have an idea of the sort of sonic anarchy at play. The manual is long and life is short, so the best approach is just to dive straight in, turn your amp up loud, and embrace the chaos. Or go check out the helpful 10-minute video manual.
First off, you select Filter or Amplitude modes via a three-way toggle that either applies the filter to your guitar’s signal, or to the octave (Parasite) signal with a middle position disengaging the Filter and selecting Amplitude mode.
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Dial the Parasite dial fully counterclockwise and you’ve got the Bee side of the pedal offering all kinds of cool auto-wah filter sounds, fuzz, tremolo, and a mélange of the weird and the wonderful before even thinking about engaging the low-octave radicalism of the Parasite knob.
Bringing the filter into play can give you some nice analogue synth sounds to work with, which can then get mega weird in Mad mode the LFO. Cross Tremolo is worthy of note; that is a particularly weird effect that oscillates between the root note and low octave. Indeed, much of the sounds you get here you won’t get anywhere else.
The controls and their various secondary modes (each affects the Bee and Parasite paths a little differently) will make sense soon enough, and offer a lot of control over your sound, and if you make use of the expression pedal input to ramp the filter, or to use a tap tempo switch for the tremolo, the Zzombee Filtremulator can become a powerful effect for performance.
The sounds might be off the wall but sometimes that is what you need. There are occasions when you’ll want the random filter sounds of the Mad mode. And just as you were thinking that all envelope filter pedals sound the same, along comes something such as this to combine filters with drive and fuzz and a low octave and all this craziness.
Dial in more of the Parasite’s low octave to dive down the rabbit hole of ever-more synth-like sounds, remembering of course that when you are going off-road with such signal processing that clean picking yields maximum results, and an open mind is invaluable.
MusicRadar verdict. Combining analogue filter, tremolo, drive, fuzz, low octave and more, using some onboard digital managerialism to shepherd the far-out sounds onto its five presets, the Zzombee Filtremulator is a pedal like no other and one that the adventurists would be advised to check out ASAP.
Beetronics Zzombee Filtremulator: The web says
"This is one very busy bee. It’s capable of a range of powerful conventional tones, but its main function could be as your pedalboard’s wildcard with its staggering array of off-the-wall effects, perhaps making an instant impact using the Momentary switch to bring things in and out. We might need a sit-down."
Beetronics Zzombee Filtremulator: Hands-on demos
Beetronics Zzombee Filtremulator: Specifications
- ORIGIN: USA
- TYPE: Filtremulator pedal
- FEATURES: True Bypass
- CONTROLS: Parasite, Depth, Bee, Mode switch, Buzz Level switch, Filter Router switch, Presets switch, Ramp/Rate footswitch, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V DC adaptor
(not supplied) 100mA
- DIMENSIONS: 58 (w) x 102 (d) x 46mm (h)
- CONTACT: Beetronics