A tunable, coherence-free, high-resolution microwave photonic bandpass filter, which is compatible to be inserted in a conventional fiber optic link, is presented. It is based on using two cross gain modulation based wavelength converters in a recursive loop. The double cross gain modulation technique solves the semiconductor optical amplifier facet reflection problem in the conventional recursive structure; hence the new microwave photonic signal processor has no coherent interference and no phase-induced intensity noise. It allows arbitrary narrow-linewidth telecommunication-type lasers to be used while enabling stable filter operation to be realized. The filter passband frequency can be tuned by using a wavelength tunable laser and a wavelength dependent time delay component. Experimental results demonstrate robust high-resolution bandpass filter operation with narrow-linewidth sources, no phase-induced intensity noise and a high signal-to-noise ratio performance. Tunable coherence-free operation of the high-resolution bandpass filter is also demonstrated. © 2012 Optical Society of America.