Shelves vs Blades

A quick question for anyone who has both Shelves and Blades… how do they compare pros and cons?

For context I have a full setup so I am strictly one in one out these days. They are both 18hp.

I have Shelves and have mixed success with it. I think this is predominantly because I find it hard to picture in my mind how the four bands interact due to the serial routing. ie: you can cut all the high frequencies with the top filter and then any of the filters can reintroduce the high frequencies. This for me is what I love and struggle with. I love the individual outs from the two middle filters. Love how you can get phaser-y sounds. Love it as a way to split up frequency bands and distribute them in different ways. Struggle with the lack of onboard attenuation (as I find it hard to keep track of what’s going where!).

I have patched up some filters in lowpass and highpass through a cross-fader to somewhat replicate that function on Blades and I do like the result.

I’d be interested to hear how people use the three outs in interesting ways and how people are utilising the Routing under CV.

Any thoughts?

I love and use both all the time. For me the differences are conceptual - since Shelves is laid out as and emulates a standard mix console EQ with the delicious addition of CV control, I most often use it in a patch as I would use console EQ - treating a “whole sound” with precise controls. For me this is why I’ve never been bothered by gain within the module, because it works exactly as I’m used to with a console. The fact that we can pick off specific outputs of the middle bands of the EQ is just a wonderful bonus, but I really think of this module as a single EQ, rather than a fancy filter.

Blades however, is an incredibly rich dual filter, with built-in clever mixer/crossfader for the main output; it’s simple to get a single source into the two filters, and simple to get interesting combinations of the filter outputs on the three outputs to send down the line for different processing. Not to mention that Blades is a multi-mode filter, not to mention the addition of the waveshaping on the inputs (under CV control!). I also use Blades to manipulate CVs, since the signal path is DC-coupled.

To me there are no cons for either of these modules. Shelves is a console EQ under voltage control - a simple, brilliant idea I was surprised I had not seen in modular before. It produces perhaps more “refined” or “controlled” or subtle effects, but is fantastic for sculpting feedback chains because of this subtlety.

Blades is two mutlimode filters with added mixing and waveshaping. These filters get much more dramatic results and the routing makes it very, very flexible.

I’ll finish with the flavor analogy: Shelves: delicate and refined and subtle with aromatics; Blades, bold and spicy with fragrances that hit your nose before your taste buds! Both are wonderful! Sadly the ONLY answer has to be: you need both! :upside_down_face:


Yep, @ksparling has said it really well (unfortunately as it doesn’t really help you choose).

If I was FORCED I’d probably choose Blades just because it’s twice as much in/out but I know for a fact I’d really miss being able to draw out certain textures and frequencies from things that I do with Shelves. The ability to really precisely focus in on certain elements or areas of a mix/voice/particularly sample is unmatched.


Thankyou for the well considered replies. I am leaning towards a reshuffle/cull which would accommodate both! Lingering questions still remain:

I rarely have resonance past 10 o’clock (sound rarely appeals to me), so the nuances of a lot of filters are wasted on me. What attracts me (and features that are different from my current setup) is the vc overdrive, the vc crossfading and the vc routing. To any one with Blades are these features that get used a lot in practice or do you just use Blades as two pretty standard low pass filters?

@abortivechronicles I use those features all the time - they are like bonus modules built right in to Blades.

One thing I will say about Blades and resonance, which you probably already know, is that both the filters in Blades resonate fully into self-oscillation, which means if you are not using them as filters in a patch, they are available as two additional sine wave oscillators for you, and since the phase of the filter in oscillation can be modulated by the MODE CV input, you can create wonderful FM-style metallic tones.

Finally, I absolutely do not “only use Blades as two pretty standard low pass filters”, as that would be missing so much of the potential of the module; even just modulating the filter mode creates great results, and all the variation between low pass, band pass and high pass are things you really need to explore!

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I had similar difficulty with Shelves, often finding it confusing. I’m used to fancy graphical EQ plugins like CraveDSP CraveEQ or Toneboosters EQ4, and was imagining Shelves would give me similar boost and cuts under CV control just like that. But it doesn’t quite work that way :slight_smile:

I love Blades though. I find the routing control interesting to change the balance a little bit when I’d otherwise use the two filters serially – to change the slope, have a second peak, use the second filter’s drive section to add distortion after the first filter, etc.

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I find myself using blades mostly as a west coast voice: resonant sine 1 into wave folder and filter 2. My only regret is the 10v CV range for Freq and waveshape, which makes it quite tricky to accomplish a full spectrum modulation with most modulation source being 5 to 8 v


Do you find your self predominately using unipolar or bipolar cv to modulate Frequency and Waveshape?

+/- 5v (ie: 10v peak to peak) is pretty common in bipolar LFO’s and some random sources.

Depending on the effect, but my main mod sources is two stages modules. They can only hit 8v.
This filter is awesome, it has the ability to use the wavshaper as a vca that goes from 0db to folded or distorted waves… But you need 10v to go from min to max.
Same with the filter, you don’t really need a vca if the knob is set to zero, as it cuts all sound, but you will need a 10v envelope to open it full. It appears it can be arranged by replacing a resistor… Maybe when warranty is over :laughing: