best eq pedals

Sound equalization is probably one of the hardest things to control and probably what is best depending on things like room size, type of music, audience, etc.

Equalization basically means how the final sound is going to be “outputted” to the amplifier and into the persons ears, even though there can be dozens of different ranges, the three main ranges are the lows, mids, and highs, what are each actually when you hit a chord including all the six strings?

  • Lows (or low frequency) is basically all the low part of the sound, in the case of the guitar it would be the notes that are being heard by the last two strings (The A and the low E), whenever the lows are pull up the guitar is going to sound more like a bass and it will lose a little bit of "color" if you will.
  • Mids (Or middle frequency) is the middle part of the sound, on the guitar, it would be the sound that comes out from the third and fourth string (D and G strings) and pumping the mids up is going to result in a very steady and "box" sound.
  • Highs (Or high frequency) are the highest sounds on the guitar, following the example it would be the sounds that happen after you strung the first and second string (High E and B)
adjusting the pedal

If you are playing an acoustic guitar, you have no way of altering the sound of each string; the result will be the strength on how you impact the strings and the note that is pressed at the time.

However, if you are using an electric guitar (or equipment), you can alter these frequencies so that you can choose which kind of sound you want to emphasize and which you don’t.

Something very interesting is considering a chord like one sound or like the sum of let’s say in the example six.

Does this mean that the EQ does not work if I am hitting only one string?

No, it does not, even though you may be hitting the first string (high E) changing the equalization will result in a different final sound, all these are actually very interesting.

QUICK RUNDOWN

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MXR 10 Band Graphic EQ w/ 18V power supply

MXR 10 Band Graphic EQ w/ 18V power supply

4.9 / 5

Joyo JF-11 6 Band EQ Guitar Pedal

Joyo JF-11 6 Band EQ Guitar Pedal

4.5 / 5

Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal

Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal

4.7 / 5

Empress ParaEq with Boost

Empress ParaEq with Boost

4.6 / 5

Best Guitar EQ Pedals

Have in mind that when you choose the mic position on your guitar, you can also equalize the sound, however, sometimes, musicians like an extra EQ that is, of course, a pedal so that they can turn it on and off whenever they like.

Also, it is very comfortable to have an EQ pedal to use as a booster for parts in which you want the sound to be increased, however, have in mind that in the end if you put the treble sounds very high it may be a bit annoying for whoever is listening to you.

Don’t be afraid if this kind of pedals looks harder to use, they are not, let me explain very shortly how they work.

They have two main parts, the on/ off switch, which is the big switch button usually at the lower part, with this button you can turn on and off the equalizer pedal.

Then depending on the model, all of them have little sticks or knobs that usually have either a number or some letters like LF (Low frequency), MF (Medium frequency), HF (High frequency). The higher you put that frequency the most it will be a boost.

For example, if you want a flat, steady sound you will want your lows and mids to be higher than your highs, but, if you want a guitar that is edgy and needs to be heard then you may want to keep your lows low, your mids low or middle range and to pump your highs more.

Therefore there are not so many things to explain when reviewing an EQ pedal.

Let’s see which are the most sold EQ pedals out there and tell you what you should expect from them.


1. MXR 10 Band Graphic EQ w/ 18V power supply

MXR 10 Band Graphic EQ w/ 18V power supply

The MXR EQ pedal is a great pedal, even though it has no true bypass feature, I can assure you that MXR always makes nice pedals which high-quality sound that will not affect your final sound when they are off.

This pedal is a ten band EQ which means that besides controlling the general volume and gain (First and last little stick) you can control (boost or turn off) 10 frequencies.

The more left they are on the pedal, the more control of the low frequencies you will get, on the other side (the right side) you will control and boost the high frequencies of your sound.

In the middle you can see that your boost can go from -12 to +12, this is something it should call your mind.

Why can I go below 0 to negative gains?

Simple, sometimes you not only want to get very low sounds but sometimes you want almost to make it disappear. Still, have in mind that even if you set the control to -12, it is impossible to suppress that frequency completely. 

One of the things to have in mind and that I find a little bit annoying is that the input and output 1/4" jacks are on the top of the pedal instead of your usual left and right side, have this in mind when you are making your pedalboard, you may need some extra space. 

Finally, this pedal comes with an 18 V power supply. Being 18 V proves to you that it is a very active pedal and that you will feel the difference in your final sound whenever you are turning it on or off.

things we liked

  • Great quality overall
  • 10 EQ-bands plus main volume and gain

THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • The jacks on the top are a bit annoying when connecting the pedal to your sound chain
  • No LED light to know if the pedal is on or off

2. Joyo JF-11 6 Band EQ Guitar Pedal

Joyo JF-11 6 Band EQ Guitar Pedal

The Joyo 6-Band EQ is a great pedal even though you may think otherwise just because it is smaller or cheaper than the others. It includes as the name says six different bands to EQ.

Like all the EQ pedals you have two main parts, at the bottom the classic on and off switch and on the top the bands for you to control.

One of the things to criticized of this pedal is that you have no reference whatsoever of the actual DB (Decibels) levels you are controlling, so in the end, you must infer it with your ears more than your eyes.

They do say on the manual that it has 18 DB of range, but you have no information it this is -9/+9 range or -6/+12 range (Which I think it probably is, still, guessing is not that fun, right?)

The input and output jacks are on the right and a left panel which makes the connection process much more comfortable, also it is quite a small pedal for an EQ pedal (They are usually bigger than this).

When it comes to power supply, you will need a DC 9 V power supply that it is not included with neutral in the middle.

Regarding the size, I said that it is comfortable as it is very small. However the sticks are so little that forget to change some of the EQ sticks while you are playing by just bending over, you will need some extra time and lots of lights not to change the different EQ stick.

Still, I would always recommend an EQ pedal, and this is for sure a nice one to have as a first timer, then eventually you can move to a different one.

things we liked

  • Good size
  • Good quality overall

THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • No LED light for on or off indicator
  • For sure it has no true bypass
  • No information on which decibels you can affect

3. Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal

Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal

As you may probably know if you have been reading my reviews, I always have a great thing to say about all of Boss's pedals, and this is of course no different.

What I like in general about Boss's pedals is that they have great quality, are easy to use, great result and yet they are not so expensive as other high-end pedals.

The GE-7 Boss EQ pedal has two main parts as well, at the bottom the main on and off switch and on the top, you can control the different EQ bands with7 different channels plus a main level stick.

To be honest, I think that even if I have magnifying glasses or even a telescope I have a hard time reading the actual frequencies names that are on the top of each stick, I think Boss tried to keep the size and looks of this pedal, however I think they should have gone for something a little bit bigger this time.

The size makes no sense and also it is very hard to have precision when the stick goes literally from nowhere to nowhere.

On the plus side, they did include an "Overgain- LED light" which will turn on automatically whenever the gain of your signal is too much.

This comes very in handy as sometimes depending on your settings and configurations you may push the sound too hard, and it is nice to have an indicator which is not an awful sound coming out of the amplifier.

things we liked

  • Awesome quality
  • Overgain LED light

THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • The sticks are so small that they are very hard to move around
  • It should be a little bit bigger, so it is more comfortable at the end

4. Empress ParaEq with Boost

Empress ParaEq with Boost

Probably one of the best EQ pedals out there, the Empress ParaEq with boost has it all. It is an EQ Pedal, it has so many boost features, it has on/ off LED lights, plus an extremely detailed control of your sound.

Let’s check it one by one:

  • Main EQ function, the ParaEq is a great EQ pedal that will allow you to control your sound from edge to edge
  • On / Off LED lights for both on and off feature and the boost function, this means that by just looking at it you can know if the pedal is working plus if you have active or not the boost mode
  • Detailed control of your sound: You have six knobs to control the gain and power of each of the three frequencies (Low, medium and high)
  • Extra boost stick (top) for each frequency
  • Plus, a master gain knob to control the boost part of the equalizer

This pedal may be a little bit big, but it must be, you need all the room for all the features if you want a nice EQ pedal.

On the right side, you will find the 1/4" jack for the input plus an additional on/ off stick, on the left side you will find the output jack plus the power supply entrance.

This pedal, of course, has true bypass capability which when not being used (Why wouldn’t you be using it) it assures you that it does not mess with your sound at all.

things we liked

  • Six knobs for LF, MD, and HF plus one stick per frequency
  • Main gain knob
  • True bypass
  • Booster capability

THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE

  • No cons

EQ Pedals - Buyer’s Guide

Question / Pedal

MXR 10 Band Graphic EQ w / 18V power supply

Joyo JF-11 6 Band EQ Guitar Pedal

Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal

Empress ParaEq with Boost

Ideal for:

They are all great EQ pedal to have an extra layer of control of your sound

Things to have in mind:

You have no way of knowing if the EQ pedal is on or off as it has no LED indicator light

It is a great and powerful EQ, however even though you should be allowed to control 18 DB you have no way of knowing where they are

It is a great pedal but also the "sticks" parts are so small that makes it almost impossible to change them rapidly without messing everything up

Just worry about playing, with these pedal you have nothing to have in mind. Great quality, easy to use, and true bypass feature

The biggest advantage:

Having ten bands plus a master volume and gain stick makes the features of the pedal very wide

It is a very small yet effective EQ pedal

The overgain LED light indicator will tell you if your sound chain is too much

You will have one of the best EQ pedals on the planet at the tip of your foot

Any cons?

It should come with an on/ off indicator light

In general, it is not the best EQ pedal out there, but it will get the job done

The control panel is very small

No cons

When to move on to the next EQ pedal?

You can have this pedal for a long time; it has great quality, you shouldn’t worry about when to change it.

This would be the only pedal on this review that if eventually, you have the opportunity to change it to a better one I would, having a mid-quality EQ pedal without true bypass affects a lot of your sound in bad ways

Great pedal overall, you may want to change it for a pedal that has more room on the sticks/knob part so that it is easier for you to change the settings from time to time without going crazy

I think you will never change your EQ pedal again

Conclusion

Having an EQ pedal is something I would highly recommend, however, if you are on a budget I may spend my money on a good distortion/ overdrive or delay pedal, as in those you need good quality.

If you are going for the EQ pedal (I hope you will), all of the options we gave you are very good, if you can try to get the Empress pedal as it has not only true bypass but also it works great as a sound booster.

Both the MXR and the Boss pedals are two "you can’t go wrong options" as both of them will get the job done and have great quality on their craftsmanship, if I have to choose in between the two of them I would actually go for the MXR, and you know how big fan of Boss’s pedals I am, so I must really mean it.

Finally, the Joyo Pedal is not a bad choice, it may be a bit cheaper than the others, but this difference is mainly because it has only six bands to control. Still this great pedal has great quality and true bypass feature.

As usual, please let us know if there is anything you think we may have missed and we will be more than happy to review it.

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