You are currently viewing Review of FilterShaper XL plugin by Cableguys

Review of FilterShaper XL plugin by Cableguys


Cableguys have released FilterShaper XL, a reboot of their dedicated dual filter plugin FilterShaper 3. Designed for deep and complex modulation possibilities, improvements include even better filters, multistage drive, a modernized interface, Cableguys’ latest LFO editing system, and more.

“The movement you can get is insane, but the real star of the show is how great these filters sound – owning a few analog synths, I’m incredibly picky with filters. The distortion is also amazing!”
– John Nathaniel, Producer/Mixer/Composer (OneRepublic, Shawn Mendes, Gwen Stefani)

FilterShaper XL takes you on a journey into unconventional sound design with 20 colorful filter types, 60 LFOs and 50 Envelope Followers. Draw your own modulation shapes in seconds with Cableguys’ easy LFO editing. Apply subtle nuances or giant wobbles, stepped rhythms or silky smooth sweeps.
Turn synths into twisted rhythmic mutations that leap from the speakers. Transform basslines into bubbling, pulsing patterns. Morph drums into exciting filtered rhythms and modular-style FX. Go from classic vintage warmth to audio-rate modulation and screaming self-oscillation – all with an amazingly analogue sound.

FilterShaper XL is priced at €79 / $79 with an introductory price of €49 / $49 and is free for owners of Filter Shaper 3.

Buy now (affiliate link)

You can also try a free demo version.  Note that the demo is fully functional and has no time limit, but you can only use one instance per song and you can’t save your settings.


User interface for Filtershaper XL

The GUI is clean and well laid out, if you’ve used other Cableguys’ products it will feel familiar.  

The two filters are shown at the top of the display separated by routing and mixing controls with modulation options underneath.

The two filters are identical in terms of controls, types and modulation options and can be routed in series or parallel.

There are 5 types which can be clean or warm (analogue Sallen-Key) style filters which activate the drive control.  There are also 3 roll-off shapes.

FilterShaper XL filter types

The routing and mixing options between the two filters contains the global bypass, serial or parallel routing, pan,volume and dry/wet mix control.

Filtershaper XL has a powerful system for designing and editing LFO waveforms.  It uses a system of nodes which can be freely adjusted to create curves, slopes, peaks, cuts etc.  You can also draw them freehand with a pen.  There are also a number of presets that can be used as is or edited.  You can create anything from simple to extremely complex.

You can also apply dynamic control through the use of envelope followers.

Modulation options are extensive.  The cut-off, resonance, volume and pan controls of each filter can be modulated by one or two LFOs and/or envelope filter.

The master volume and pan each have a pair of LFOs and/or envelope follower.

And then the modulation amount and speed of each per-filter and master LFOs can be modulated by its own LFO and/or envelope follower.

You access the modulation options via the tab under the control and can switch between LFO1 and LFO2 or display the two LFOs together.

A really cool feature is the visualisation of all the modulation that is happening,  Firstly you have direct visual feedback from animated controls and there’s also an oscilloscope in the LFO wave editor that shows the input signal as a waveform and the modulation signal over time as a trace.

FilterShaper XL comes with an extensive number of presets. These are a great way to start using FilterShaper XL and get an idea of how to use the various modulation options.  There are a number of excellent and usable presets or they can equally be used as a starting point for experimentation.

Here’s a few examples of applying presets to different sounds – vocals, bass and drums.  These are loops with no external effects applied so that you can hear what Filtershaper XL is doing.


FilterShaper XL is a brilliant tool that is extremely powerful.  It can do everything from movement, rhythms, sweeps, rises and falls to glitches.  It can provide simple or incredibly complex modulation and is a superb creative tool.

I’ve used it extensively on the two tracks embedded at the top of this post, particularly on vocals, synth and basslines to add rhythm and movement.