The EQ pedal is an interesting subject. It is rarely mentioned in the same breath of importance as reverb or overdrive or other effects, but it is probably far more important in getting your sound as you want it.
It controls everything that passes through it. Yet players sometimes do not attach to it the importance it deserves. More about that later.
The EQ is an essential tool and should not be overlooked. And, it ought to be a permanent fixture on the board of any musician but especially guitarists and bassists.
Let’s have a look at what is currently available and find the best EQ pedal for you…
Top 10 Best EQ Pedals of 2023
1 Empress Paraeq With Boost
The Empress ParaEQ is an impressive piece of kit. It not only acts as an EQ but also gives you an extra 30dB of boost. It has a lot of potential for shaping your sound but with that, will necessarily come a range of controls.
When you first look at this pedal, it might scare you a bit — two rows of control knobs and a row of four switches. There are also on/off push button switches for boost and bypass. It all looks a little daunting.
In the middle row of controls, there is a three-band EQ and also the control for the boost. In the bottom row, there are controls for high, mid and low gain. The switches are for a specific band of the EQ and allow a choice of the width of the Q you desire.
The big asset of this pedal is that you can control the output levels at every stage of the process, thus really being able to define a sound. Added to that the range of tones at your disposal and you have a lot of possibilities at your fingertips.
It is incredibly versatile as a pedal and has a high-frequency range.
The results you achieve with this pedal will surprise you, but there, of course, comes a downside. It is going to take some work and time to get to grips with what it is capable of. Make no mistake; this is a quality pedal that gives options other EQ pedals do not offer, but you will have to work at it.
Price-wise it does not come cheap, but then real quality rarely does. If you recognize and feel you need all this pedal offers, then it isn’t expensive.
It is well made and built to last.
2 Earthquaker Devices Tone Job V2 EQ And Boost Guitar Effects Pedal
Earthquaker Devices is a specialized pedal company that is keen to allow musicians to develop and define their own unique sound. They have a range of pedals dedicated to this ideal, and this EQ and boost have the same philosophy.
They give you the tools it’s up to you to use them.
The EQ and boost pedal will begin to shape your sound before the notes even hit the amp. It is an equalizer but also acts as a booster to produce a powerful tone.
It has a 3-band EQ up to +/- 20dB using treble mid and bass controls. The controls are sensitive and operate well within their areas of responsibility — Treble at 2kHz and up and bass at 500Hz and down.
This gives you total control of the sound at the bottom and top end with the mid operating from a 1kHz center. The boost is operated from the level control which will give you an increase in the volume of up to five times the input.
Tone shaping options onboard are exceptional…
This manufacturer does come up with excellent effects pedals, and this EQ/Booster is no different. The tone shaping options onboard are exceptional and offer a wide range of tonal possibilities.
These options will work admirably well at the beginning of your pedalboard chain where it will just shape the tone of the instrument you are using or as the end, where you could adjust the overall sound.
Lots of sound possibilities on offer doesn’t mean the pedal has to be complicated and this one isn’t. Three simple EQ controls and a boost and that is all you have to worry about.
Like many of these pedals with quality sound options, you will have to spend a little time familiarizing yourself with its operation. But once that is achieved it will do the job.
Easy to set up and easy to adjust. It is priced in mid-range. It is well made, rugged and sturdy and will take a lot of usage.
3 MXR M108S Ten Band EQ Guitar Effects Pedal
MXR is well-known for producing quality pedals and in this EQ offering they have given the opportunity to control your tone to an exceptional level. This ten band EQ with slider controls will provide you with total control over the sound of your guitar or bass guitar. There are a further two sliders for volume and gain.
The sliders for EQ with their selected frequencies operate to +/-12dB boost or cut range which will allow you to fine tune any sound the way you want it. And, there are dual outputs enabling you to feed the signal into separate amplifiers.
The advantage of having ten frequency sliders is that you can boost just the sections you want giving you complete control and freedom to create the sound you want where you want it. And with the volume and gain precisely how loud you want.
The ultimate tone…
For those players who recognize that the tone of your sound is rarely created, by the tone controls on your instrument, this pedal is a significant piece of kit on your pedalboard. The options are many and varied and with ten separate frequency options to adjust the perfect sound is in there somewhere.
Once again it will take a little time and effort to get to know its operation and what it can give you, but as a superior EQ, it is a must to be considered. Of course, it won’t suit everyone, and in many cases, the guitar sound you want is already there.
It is well made and a sturdy pedal as it would have to be and comes with its own power supply. Price range is set towards the lower end of the middle, so it represents good value.
It has true bypass.
4 MXR KFK1 Kerry King Signature 10-Band Graphic EQ
As an extension to the sound options of MXR’s M108 EQ pedal, the manufacturer has joined forces with Slayer guitarist Kerry King to produce this model.
This pedal takes the original design and sound capabilities of the 108 and adds some further options.
Still with its 10-band equalizer and all that offers but this pedal will work two amps simultaneously courtesy of its two outputs. It will in effect allow you to run parallel settings at the same time.
Bad boy brother…
You might want to adjust the tone settings while also using the boost and other settings to create a pile of thrash distortion. If the 108 is your friend from down the road who likes to help out, this is his bad boy brother.
They might look similar, the controls being exactly the same, but they are coming at you with different ideas. This is an angry pedal, and everything about it says metal. Don’t overlook the possibilities though that are buried within. It has all the same features as the 108 but adds some real dirt.
Now, if you use that sound, this pedal is going to impress you. If you are not as ‘metal’ as maybe you think you are it will scare the life out of you. You can tone it down a little but then what’s the point. This pedal is designed really for one purpose, so there’s little point in not utilizing it.
Many products and pedals come on the scene making claims about a variety of options on what they can produce. This pedal does produce it. Get too close, and it will bite.
It is built with the same solid frame as the 108 and is therefore very rugged. And, judging by what sounds this can produce we suspect it might need to be.
5 Boss GE-7 7-Band EQ Pedal
If there is an effects pedal to be reviewed, you can safely bet that Boss will be in there somewhere. The GE-7, 7-band EQ is their offering.
Traditional Boss design and style are the first things you notice. It has a 7 band control panel operated by slider controls. Made to suit the needs of the guitarist, they enable you to set up your sound as you want it, or even to take out some frequencies.
Settings can be tailored to suit specific tones of course but also certain volume levels where it can be set up to give the guitar a boost for a solo or even increase the volume and have a slight change in tone. It will operate at a +/- 15dB level.
With seven channels and that level of dB change, it is possible to get sweeping sounds from this pedal.
Like everything Boss, it is a quality product, but most importantly it is easy to use.
Off and On is operated by the legendary Boss stomp pedal that takes more than its fair share of use and something is comforting about the rugged, yet well-known design of their products.
They seem to have been quite adventurous with this pedal for a company renowned for simplicity and having the seven channels of EQ is something you might not normally expect from them. It is easy to use and has that familiar Boss feel of being practical and not overdoing things just for the sake of it.
Price wise it is not expensive and offers excellent value for money.
If you are looking for a basic EQ with some quality, then this is worth consideration.
Operates from a 9v battery.
6 Danelectro DJ-14C Fish & Chips 7 Band EQ Mini Effects Pedal
Danelectro is very good at producing pedals at the premium end of the market. They might be at the lower end price wise but the quality they produce is often very good, and this pedal is a good example of that.
Quite where the ‘Fish and Chips’ in the title hails from, we have no idea but notwithstanding, they have produced what may be the smallest EQ pedal on the market.
It is basic in its design and operation and has seven slider EQ controls giving you a lot of control over the sound. Boost the lows or highs, increase the mids or just drop something out. It’s all possible with this little pedal.
Very easy to use…
In addition to the slider controls it has a level of control to cut or increase the boost and an off/on switch. The very simple layout means very easy to use.
Cost wise it is very cheap, and in trying to make it as cost effective as possible, it has been manufactured from plastic. This means of course that some care will need to be taken with its operation and you cannot go stomping around on it too often.
That said, it is simple and efficient and offers basic control over the EQ of your instrument which is all some players will require.
Don’t be put off by the price tag and just assume it will be cheap, it is a good pedal that will do its job and operates just as well as some pedals that are far more expensive.
It is worth some consideration, and at the price, you can hardly go wrong.
Operates on a 9v battery.
Now, we’re off to find some salt and vinegar, fish and chips are just not the same without it…
7 Behringer EQ700 Ultimate 7-Band Graphic Equalizer
Behringer is one of the companies committed to producing quality effects at a competitive price. Over the years they have produced some great pedals that have rivaled the ‘big boys’ for quality.
This EQ from Behringer isn’t necessarily going to rattle any cages at the top of the league, but it does show that a quality pedal can be produced at a budget price.
The EQ controls have seven sliders that control the range with a very efficient =/-15dB per band. The frequencies range from 100Hz to 6.4kHz giving you enough room for some real control of the sound.
Let your solo’s cut through the mix…
Principally built for guitars this pedal will allow set up to let your solo’s cut through the mix. It will also enable you to eradicate feedback form any acoustic instruments that are played through it.
For the outlay, it’s a decent enough pedal, as they say, you get what you pay for, and there are things that could be improved on with it.
What is presented here is a pedal that will do its job if treated carefully. It is made of plastic and so will not take unkind use and certainly needs to be handled with care. But maybe that should be a lesson we all learn.
This pedal will not suit some who see Behringer as only a cheap version of the real thing, but this pedal is better than that. The adage that it can only be good if it is expensive is cutting your own throat. It is basic, but it does its job. It hasn’t got too many bells and whistles, but some don’t want them anyway.
For the price, it is a good buy.
Powered by a 9v battery.
8 Joyo JF-11 6 Band EQ Guitar Pedal
Joyo is another manufacturer who is very capable of producing a quality pedal effect at a very competitive price. Their JF-11 EQ pedal is a good example. It gives you a 6 band EQ from 100Hz to 3,2MHz with a range of +/-18dB.
That will give you a lot of options in shaping your sound the way you want it. It is simply laid out and easy to use and includes a red LED for each band making adjustments in a dark environment easier. It is a very well made and sturdy pedal being made from aluminum and so will take a few knocks.
The slider controls are accurate and quite rigid and do not slide unnecessarily. It isn’t the best EQ unit you will find, but it might be the best for its price. It is basic and simple, but it does its job very well and carries no hiss or unwanted noise as some do.
Don’t pay a fortune for what you need…
This is another case of not letting the price of the product fool you. Sometimes you don’t have to pay a fortune to get what you need. Of course, if you push it too hard, then you might get a little background noise, but that is to be expected unless you are using a pedal six or seven times the price.
This is a good pedal and gives you all the control you need for a realistic price that won’t break the bank.
If a simple EQ pedal is all you need, then this one is worth looking at.
Operates on a 9v battery.
9 Caline USA, CP-24 10-Band EQ Equalizer Guitar Effects Pedal
This Caline pedal attempts to open up even more sound options than some of its competitors. It is physically larger than most and is going to take up some pedalboard space, but it may be thought acceptable given the extra bands it offers.
Extra bands on an EQ should mean more options for sound shaping and more control over what is going on. This pedal has 10 bands of EQ plus a gain. And, all controls are sliders giving you ease of use. With so many bands to work with you should really be able to create the sound you are looking for.
Fine-tune your low-end…
It is purported to be an EQ for guitar, but with the bands going below 100Hz it seems to be in the range of fine-tuning bass guitar sounds as well. It is well built from aluminum so will take a few knocks, but the slider controls are plastic so a little care will be needed.
This is another pedal that is firmly aimed at the premium market with the idea of creating as much quality as possible at the lowest possible price. With that in mind, it works very well and does its job with a minimum of fuss.
This is, after all, a 10 band EQ and when compared with other products with that amount of bands to work with the price makes it an attractive proposition. It may not perform as well as some other pedals that have more onboard options which will cost much more, but it will give you the basics to work with.
If you are looking for a 10 band EQ and want a budget version, then this pedal is worth a close look.
It operates from a 9v battery.
10 Source Audio SA170 Programmable EQ
It is always interesting to review the latest technology from Source Audio or as we know them as music’s answer to NASA. It never ceases to amaze us the amount of tech built-in to their pedals and just what can be achieved with them. One thing is for certain it will be like no other EQ pedal on the market.
MIDI controllable, this pedal takes controlling your EQ to the next level and offers you four pre-programmed EQ settings you can call up. It operates over 7 EQ bands and has a frequency range of +/-18dB, giving you a lot of room for change,
You can set up the desired sound you want your settings can be saved in one of the four programmable preset channels. These can be pulled up quite easily by using the foot pedal.
As a tone builder for guitar it is excellent, but what about a bass guitar?
No problem, it gives you an octave extension offering an extra EQ band at 62Hz.
There is no doubt this is an exceptional EQ pedal. We could spend a long time listing its technical abilities but, suffice to say, for an EQ pedal there is very little else like it around.
It is compact and with a rugged aluminum build will take the knocks, and the illuminated digital LED’s are not just to make it look like it’s arrived from another planet.
One thing about this pedal that is very surprising is the cost. Despite all the tech and options onboard it is not the most expensive. But, like most Source Audio pedals it is going to take some working out how to get the best from it.
If you are willing to spend the time, then you will have an exceptional tool to work with.
Operates on a 9v battery or a separate power supply.
Getting Your Tone Just Right
In our introduction, we talked about the seeming lack of importance given to the EQ pedal. So much emphasis on reverb, chorus, overdrive, and distortion but often very little about EQ. Yet EQ, more than any other pedal, can shape the sound of your instrument.
We often see guitar players come to the studio and spend hours EQ-ing to try and get their sound exactly as they want it and when asked what pedal they use on stage, they say they don’t have one.
As an effect, it is vital whether placed before the chain just to get the instrument right or placed at the end to EQ the whole sound. It is a must-have for anyone who cares about their tone, and it will do much more than the tones on your amp could ever give you.
We have reviewed some of the options, and they were all impressive in their own way, but it does come down to one basic question.
What Do You Want Your EQ Pedal To Do?
The answer to that is of course to control your sound but do you want it plain and simple but with some real quality and made by manufacturers with a track record? There are some of those in the review.
Maybe you want a pedal that is a premium range EQ, but that will do the very basic things, but do them well. From what we looked at you have a choice in that area.
Or maybe you really want to go for it and have a pedal with a stunning capability to shape and build your sound beyond what you thought you might be able to achieve.
There are further considerations, do you want it to act as a boost to the volume and by how much, because they will do that quite comfortably as well.
Do You Want Total Control Over Your Sound?
Assuming that you are not using the services of a sound engineer at live gigs who is going to adjust your tones and sounds no matter what you do, then the answer is of course. There is only one pedal that will control that to a full extent, encompassing all the frequencies and that is an EQ pedal.
It is a vital addition to any effects board.
What Is The Best EQ Pedal For You?
We have tried to give you reviews of the top models in a variety of price ranges and operational levels.
It is down to you to choose what is the best EQ pedal for you.