Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Ashdown Type 23 Review

Ashdown Type 23 Review

Forget space-cadet sounds. This road-tough envelope filter is all about dialing fat funkiness with minimal hassle.


Recorded direct into Avid Mbox into Logic X using Sandberg T5..
Clip 1 - Low filter engaged
Clip 2 - High filter engaged.
Clip 3 - Both filters engaged.
 

Ratings

Pros:
Excellent build. Simple design. Practical sounds.

Cons:
No blend control. Big footprint.

Street:
$299

Ashdown Type 23
ashdownmusic.com


Tones:


Ease of Use:


Build/Design:


Value:
 

Over the last 20 years or so, Ashdown has carved out a nice niche in the bass universe with amps that have become fast favorites with some pretty high-profile rock bassists. When first introduced, the company’s ABM amplifier series proved Ashdown had the skill and R&D to create products that sounded like nothing else on the market at the time. Knowing what the company has been and continues to be capable of, I was excited to check out a recent addition to Ashdown’s ever-growing pedal line: a new envelope filter called the Type 23.

Brick House
There’s no getting around it: This pedal is heavy and big. Even more striking, initially, is that the only things on the almost 1 1/2-pound pedal’s face are a knob, a toggle, and a footswitch. The vintage nerd in me nodded and smiled while feeling the pedal’s weight and gazing at its simplicity.

The 3-position rocker switch selects the filter frequency: high, low, or a mix of both. The rotary control manages the filter’s sensitivity. There’s also a switch on the bottom of the pedal that lets you further tailor the chosen filter-oscillation frequency. With just a few options to manipulate the tone, however, one can’t help but be curious how many varieties of funk the pedal is actually capable of putting out.

From Swish to Swosh
What was evident after only 30 seconds of playing is that the Type 23 has no intention of being a traditional envelope filter. When the sensitivity is set all the way down, a typical filter pedal only lets a sub signal through—barelyenough to discern any kind of pitch. The Type 23 is not like that. Not at all. Instead, it has a very midrange-forward, nasal-y-ish personality across all the settings, which allows the pedal to stand its own sonic ground, even with numerous other instruments surrounding it.

“When the sensitivity is set all the way down, a typical filter pedal only lets a sub signal through—barelyenough to discern any kind of pitch. The Type 23 is not like that. Not at all.”

With the filter frequency switch on the low setting and the sensitivity control at noon, the filter produces a clear, punchy tone with strong fundamentals from the still-present clean tone. The most prevalent sound is a loud swishthat surrounds the note and lands like a small, high-pitched UFO after cutting the note off. If you want less of it, simply dial the sensitivity back to 9 o’clock, where a very vocal, almost talk-box-like tone occurs.

Setting the frequency switch to high and returning the sensitivity control to noon, a lower-voiced tone makes an entrance, with an extra-aggressive midrange normally only achievable through use of distortion.

The pedal does a great job of maintaining fundamental lows when engaged, and I found that the middle position (when used with a direct signal on a separate channel) provides a subtle but perfect amount of funkiness to sit comfortably with other instruments in the mix for an entire song—not just as an effect to turn on, say, for a solo. This gives it tremendous potential as a tool in the studio.

The Verdict
Instead of an envelope filter with a ton of spaced-out-sounding effects one may never use, Ashdown’s Type 23 presents us with a few very usable ones. The extremely simple layout makes for lightning-fast tweakability, and the old-school solidity in the build department makes for a good, modern replacement for those of us who have had to rely on more fragile vintage filters on tour. If you’re willing to sacrifice a chunk of pedalboard real estate, the Type 23 is a strong candidate for a funky new occupant.

On her new record with her trio, Molly Miller executes a live-feeling work of structural harmony that mirrors her busy life.

Photo by Anna Azarov

The accomplished guitarist and teacher’s new record, like her lifestyle, is taut and exciting—no more, and certainly no less, than is needed.

Molly Miller, a self-described “high-energy person,” is fully charged by the crack of dawn. When Ischeduled our interview, she opted for the very first slot available—8:30 a.m.—just before her 10 a.m. tennis match!

Read MoreShow less

John Mayall in the late ’80s, in a promo shot for his Island Records years. During his carreer, he also recorded for the Decca (with the early Bluesbreakers lineups), Polydor, ABC, DJM, Silvertone, Eagle, and Forty Below labels.

He was dubbed “the father of British blues,” but Mayall’s influence was worldwide, and he nurtured some of the finest guitarists in the genre, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Harvey Mandel, Coco Montoya, and Walter Trout. Mayall died at his California home on Monday, at age 90.

John Mayall’s career spanned nearly 70 years, but it only took his first four albums to cement his legendary status. With his initial releases with his band the Bluesbreakers—1966’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton; ’67’s A Hard Road, with Peter Green on guitar; plus the same year’s Crusade, which showcased Mick Taylor—and his solo debut The Blues Alone, also from 1967, Mayall introduced an international audience of young white fans to the decidedly Black and decidedly American genre called blues. In the subsequent decades, he maintained an active touring and recording schedule until March 26, 2022, when he played his last gig at age 87. It was reported that he died peacefully, on Monday, in his California home, at 90.

Read MoreShow less

Featuring enhanced amp models, a built-in creative looper, AI-powered tone exploration, and smart jam features.

Read MoreShow less

Donner andThird Man Hardware’s $99, three-in-one analog distortion, phaser, and delay honors Jack White’s budget gear roots.

Compact. Light. Fun. Dirt cheap. Many cool sounds that make this pedal a viable option for traveling pros.

Phaser level control not much use below 1 o’clock. Repeats are bright for an analog delay. Greater range of low-gain sounds would be nice.

$99

Donner X Third Man Triple Threat
thirdmanrecords.com

3.5
4.5
4.5
5

A huge part of the early White Stripes mystique, sound, ethos, and identity was tied to guitars and amps that, at the time, you could luck into for cheap at a garage sale. These days, it’s harder to score a Crestwood Astral II, or Silvertone Twin Twelve with a part-time job in the ice cream shop. Back in the late ’90s, though, they were a source of raw, nasty sounds for less than a new, more generic guitar or amp.

Read MoreShow less