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Boost or EQ pedal?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by FP777, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. Boost

  2. EQ

  3. Carrots

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. FP777


    Jun 1, 2016
    New England
    This sounds like a silly question, but which of these pedals are preferable for giving a "boost" to your signal chain? Not to push an amp into overdrive, but to give your bass more presence occasionally.

    And which of each would you recommend?
    Zbysek and Zooberwerx like this.
  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    If you want your tone to be the same, but louder (like turning the Volume knob on your amp) then you probably want a "boost" pedal.

    On the other hand, if you want your tone to change, emphasizing certain frequencies (like using the bass/mid/treble knobs on your amp) then you probably want an "EQ" pedal.

    What kind of amp are you currently using? Can you get a tone you like, using just the controls on your amp? Or is something missing, you are looking for something "extra" that your amp can't do? Does your band use a sound guy and PA for gigs, or are you trying to mix the sound yourselves, from stage with your amps? Do you want the audience to hear the effects of the pedal, too, or is it just for your own monitoring purposes, so you can hear yourself better on stage?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
    equill, jdh3000 and FP777 like this.
  3. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Many EQ pedals can be used as a boost only.

    Used a GEB7 for years as a clean boost for guitar solos in a blues trio. Worked awesome.

    My 2 cents.
  4. crapusername


    Sep 26, 2005
    North Kent.UK
    endorsing artist: Dean guitars, Marshall , Rotosound strings
    Also worth noting that many ‘boost’ pedals have some sort of eq as well.
    I’ve tried many many boosts just to find the right one- it’s going to be as hard as finding the right drive or envelope filter ( although maybe not so pricey! )
    Zbysek and FP777 like this.
  5. FP777


    Jun 1, 2016
    New England
    There are certain parts of certain songs where the bass needs to be more prominent; not necessarily for a solo, but its role shifts. That's where I'm torn between if it's a volume increase I'm looking for or slight change of EQ. The amp I use for rehearsals is an Ampeg B100R set flat with the mids switch on. Live, in the past we had a sound guy with PA support, so I would usually go with a DI. In the past, I've messed with different overdrives, delays, etc. but this project is much more stripped down. I think it may benefit the audience to hear the effect. We're not sure when we'll play live again though - we're mostly in the writing and rehearsing stages. I think if shows were to start happening again, I may invest in another amp in case venues we used to play have shut down and we need to support ourselves.
    Mushroo likes this.
  6. FP777


    Jun 1, 2016
    New England
    I was looking at GEB7's this morning. If you had one again, why wouldn't you recommend one?
  7. FP777


    Jun 1, 2016
    New England
    That's good to know! I used to have an EP booster for my guitar. It was cool, but I didn't use it as much as I thought I would, so I sold it. Never really messed with it on bass. I'm wondering if a boost with tone shaping is "better" than an EQ with a boost function?
    crapusername likes this.
  8. crapusername


    Sep 26, 2005
    North Kent.UK
    endorsing artist: Dean guitars, Marshall , Rotosound strings
    It’s a difficult thing- some prefer either way.
    I have a variety of both to hand- dependant on the application really. Largely I prefer knobs to sliders- easier to prevent movement in transit
    FP777 likes this.
  9. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Sounds to me like maybe you want a pedal that has both volume and EQ function?

    Two pedals that are relatively inexpensive and generally seem to get great reviews, are the Joyo American Sound and the TC Electronic Spark Booster (the full-size version with bass/treble controls). Both of those offer some mild overdrive or can be run clean.

    Boss GEB7 is also a good suggestion and will give you more "surgical" control of the EQ.

    You said you've used different overdrives before. What about your favorite overdrive, with the Gain turned down low?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
  10. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
  11. EQs are great for this. I used a couple of graphic EQs as tone-shaping boosts for a while - the Joyo graphic and the Boss GE-7. They worked fine. I wouldn't recommend the build quality of the Joyo if you're planning on taking it to shows and stepping on it a lot, the sliders are a bit fragile and the back plate is weak. The Boss has a separate overall volume slider, which is cool for your application. I liked the EQ points on those better than some other pedals (like the GEB-7 or the 10 band MXR). Currently I'm using a Wampler EQuator, which is semi-parametric. I've used it as a clean boost and a tone shaper on dirty and clean tones for both bass and guitar and I couldn't be happier.
    FP777 likes this.
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I think you'd be better-served by a pedal capable of both. A boost function is useful but to achieve the desired presence you may want to re-think your EQ curve. For example, you may need to attenuate or normalize the lows while emphasizing a mid-forward voicing. Two programmable pedals that come to mind are the BDDI and VT...both are quite reasonable on the secondhand market.

    Zbysek, Frunobulax and FP777 like this.
  13. jdh3000


    May 16, 2016
    Two different things. Whike you can use an eq pesal as a boost, there are more affordable alternatives that most eqs.
    The TC Spark Mini is a great transparent boist with lots of headroom.

    If you want to change the none up to make it stick out, loke say you were going to slap or hust some stand out of the mix lead, an eq would be what you'd want.

    I use both because sometimes I want to change my tone fir a song but without boost, then other times I want boost(like going from slow country ballads to hard rock. I play with a light touch and only dig in for effect, so running a high volume for the appropriate genre works gor me.
    crapusername, Zbysek and FP777 like this.
  14. darwin-bass

    darwin-bass Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    If the bass is supposed to be prominent shouldn't the band agree and leave space for that? I think using boost for solos works best for e-gtr. Other instruments just sound out of place if there is a noticeable shift in volume.

    I have an MXR M81 that I use with my fretless to get the bridge pickup to be the same volume as the neck pickup (very slight volume boost) and to add some lows to thicken the tone. But that is on for the whole song and then off for the next song when I switch back to neck pickup.

    I've tried the Tech21 and Empress EQs but am back to the MXR - I think I like the others better but I got the MXR cheap and it does the job.
  15. Get an Orange two stroke. Parametric eq and a clean 12 db boost in one. Cheers.
    crapusername and FP777 like this.
  16. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Progressively Louder and Funkier Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Central Pa
    I always keep a trusty Boss bass EQ in my kit bag. I’ve had it forever - and even used it on a gig last night. Been thinking of picking up a new one for my other kit bag. I used to have another one - lol - can’t remember if I lost it or gave it away.
    FP777 likes this.
  17. Koshchei


    Mar 17, 2019
    Peterborough, ON
    The Boss PQ-3B is an awesome 3 band semi-parametric EQ with +/-18db boost and cut. They're starting to get pricey, but are incredibly flexible.
    FP777 likes this.
  18. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    If you're using the word "presence" as most of us would, that implies a tonal shift. That means you're looking for an eq pedal. The one I'd recommend is MXR's 6 band silver one - works really well, it's really quiet (many eq pedals add a considerable amount of noise), and it's relatively cheap.
    FP777 likes this.
  19. Your question forks both functions: a boost is a full-spectrum (all the frequencies). This is what a “clean” boost does.

    Then you mention presence. This is often a description/knob that imparts a boost to just certain frequencies, usually far upper-mids and lower high end frequencies. That would require an EQ.

    An EQ set flat can be used as a broad-spectrum boost. While this means EQs are more flexible, I think clean boosts are better suited to full-spectrum boosting. Not only are they usually less costly, for the most part the signal quality will a tiny bit better than an EQ, and they’ll usually have more gain on tap, which provides a different kind of flexibility.

    So OP what do you want- a boost in volume, or a boost in presence? I personally prefer using a clean boost and a volume pedal, and I use the EQ on my bass for EQ alone, not for volume.
    Alivefor5 likes this.
  20. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    If you want to increase your signal a Boost is what you need. Clean Boost. Something like this. This Bramofon has a buffer switch and simple, control. Can't mess it up. If you have a pedal board that drops your signal or if you have effects that add noise when the level is too high this is a helpful tool.
    FP777 likes this.

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