Equalizer Pedals vs Preamp pedals.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Two-Spirit, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. I'm thinking maybe a MXR Preamp pedal may be more useful to me than a 7 band. I'm interested in boosting mids. Any opinions?
  2. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Tech 21 Q/Strip would get my vote. Amazingly musical EQ.
    imtheslime likes this.
  3. GMC

    GMC Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    I like a preamp / semi parametric at the beginning of my chain and a graphic EQ on the end or in the amp FX loop
  4. Fiset

    Fiset I do a good impression of myself

    Jan 13, 2007
    New York
    Why not both? I use a programmable EQ first in my chain and preamp nearly last (I've recently switched to having my comp dead last). In terms of settings I cut low-mids and boost high-mids on the preamp and have four presets on the EQ (two of which boost various mids, one mid-scoop and one flat) so I can vary depending on the room I'm playing in. Works really well for me...YMMV and all that....
  5. BassAndReeds


    Oct 7, 2016
    3 band parametric EQ pedal all the way.

    I suspect a preamp pedal is just a pre-voiced EQ anyhow. Why not control it yourself?

    (I could be wrong, but it’s my current opinion and I’m sticking to it, for now)
    Blille likes this.
  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    In regards to gain: The intent of a preamp is to boost your signal level, the intent of an EQ is unity gain. I use an MXR KFK near the end of my signal chain. The more bands available in a graphic, the more precise you can be with tone sculpting. For even more precision you need fully parametric EQ which gives you continuous control over frequency center, bandwidth, and boost/cut. The Empress ParaEQ is a great pedal but note it is semi-parametric as the bandwidth is not continuously variable. ParaEq

    Here's a three band fully parametric Utility Parametric EQ
  7. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    I have a WMD Utility EQ. It is amazing at pinpointing the nasty peaks and spikes, and taming them.
    wmmj, Wasnex and Two-Spirit like this.
  8. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    What about the MXR m108s?

    - 10 band eq
    - 18 volts
    - Gain and volume controls

    Isn’t that essentially a graphic eq AND preamp all in one?

    MXR M108S Ten Band EQ Pedal
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  9. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    Depends on what you're looking to do.

    The full featured preamps such as Tech21's Q-strip and Ampeg's SCR-DI or Classic Preamp will boost your signal and do a whole lot more. Both of these will let you fine tune your mids. The Q- Strip gives you more granular control over the mids. And the included HPF/LPF can be a major plus for live use. It's a powerful tool to have in your kit.

    Equalizers vary in features. My favorite graphic EQ is SA's Programmable Graphic EQ. All the goodness of a standard EQ plus it stores up to four presets.

    For supper granular control there's always a parametric EQ. I've got the Broughton Audio Parametric EQ. It can do pretty much everything. But a parametric is a little impractical for live use unless you'r using it as a set&forget device. But it's fairly expensive getting one just for that.
    gscroggin likes this.
  10. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    Negative. It is a graphic EQ. You can tell because it has fixed frequencies that are boosted or cut rather than user-selectable frequencies that you would find on a parametric. I suppose you could use it without a preamp, assuming your gain settings are adequate.

    If you really want to do it right though, combine an EQ with a dedicated preamp - you'll get the added EQ flexibility matched to a dedicated tone profile of your choosing.
    MaglorOnBass likes this.
  11. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    I edited my post to graphic just a minute before your reply. :p

    I use the RC bass booster pedal, and am looking for more tone shaping.

    But when I saw that the MXR m108s had gain and volume control it made me wonder if I could phase out the booster pedal. (I play a passive bass and use a combo amp.)
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  12. Lonnybass


    Jul 19, 2000
    San Diego
    Endorsing Artist: Pedulla Basses
    A graphic will definitely give you more tone shaping. A parametric will give you surgical precision. I have both on my board...the graphic adds just a bit of 500 Hz for articulation in a busy mix. The parametric allows me to notch out unpleasant peaks and spikes with absolute precision.

    If you've never used a parametric, you should try one out - once you get the hang of how they work, they're invaluable. Set a very narrow Q (width of the boost or cut) and then crank the level all the way up. Then slowly spin the frequency selection knob...sooner or later you're going to dial up a setting that sounds completely horrible, boxy, nasally, harsh. Reliably. :)

    Then back off the level setting to pull out that terrible frequency spike, and your sound will improve dramatically and instantly.

    This is the beauty of the parametric - all sorts of pinpoint precision.

    Romain909 likes this.
  13. qersty


    Aug 15, 2012
    Is your amp good? If you just wanna bump your mids amp you have an amp you really like I see no reason getting a preamp. I personally do not like graphic EQs except for very few applications but I think a good parametric EQ is advantageous in most "ordinary" applications such as boosting frequencies.

    I personally use a broughton audio parametric, I chose it over WMD's offering as it has narrower selection of frequencies for the bands so that I could get more precise
    PawleeP likes this.
  14. MaglorOnBass


    Jan 23, 2018
    I have a GK MB112ii. I play in church and it is plenty loud. But we are trying to line up bigger gigs. I like that the MXR M180s has two outputs and would let me run two combo amps.

    I play a Lakland DJ5.

    I already have the RC booster pedal which makes my passive bass have similar gain to an active bass.

    My main complaint about tone is that my low B string is noticeably louder than the other strings. I have played with pickup position/hight and I can alter my technique to correct the problem to a large extent. And I have tried compression, which also largely corrects the problem. I’m just wondering if having a graphic EQ would allow me to just cut the lowest frequencies to mellow out that B string a little.

    And if I like the MXR M180s, would I still need a dedicated booster pedal?
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  15. mbell75


    May 23, 2016
    I have an amp I really like and I just got a SansAmp Bass Driver V2 today, its a huge improvement. It beefs up both my bass and amp big time and sounds great, even at lower volumes. Switch the pedal off and its just not the same. A good preamp pedal takes your bass and your amp to the next level IMO.
    PawleeP likes this.
  16. Zbysek


    Mar 23, 2017
    Czech Republic
    Yes. I, too, often boost mids. I prefer (semi)parametric EQ for that.

    You can consider MXR M81. Another great option would be BMC from E.W.S.

    Bass Mid Control 2|E.W.S.
  17. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    The MXR M-81 preamp pedal is very neutral no baked in tone and very versatile.
    waveman and Zbysek like this.
  18. Cunkybunkfarts


    Jan 29, 2019
    Tone sculpting is such a personal thing and there are a million ways to do it. I was using the Boss Bass EQ for a while, but found I didn't need all that much control. These days, my tone comes from putting all my amp (Ampeg Portaflex 500) settings at 5 (bass, mid, treble) with the compression at 4 and the gain at 6, using the EQD Westwood as my initial tone sculptor in the chain (boost at 6, gain at 3, slight boost to the bass frequency), and the MXR Bass Compressor (set very lightly to keep some frequencies evened out) at the very end of my chain to tie it all together. I am loving how this sounds, although it does seem like some people here prefer to be able to pinpoint things a little more accurately. I do try to keep most of my tone sculpting in my board though, as I don't always play through my own amp at gigs.
  19. JohnArnson


    May 28, 2019
    If your only purpose is to boost your mids you are probably best off with a parametric equalizer of some sort, that will let you set both the center frequency, how wide and steep a curve around that center frequency you want to be effected by your adjustments and of course how much you want to boost or cut that frequency area.

    A super cheap solution on that could be the Artec Parametric EQ.

    Personally I use a very basic tube preamp without any EQ controls and an 8 band graphic equalizer after that for very minor adjustments, slightly boosted lows from 100Hz and below, lower mids at 260Hz, mids at 500Hz and 800Hz and a slight cut on the frequencies above 5Khz (often, but not always, a graphic equalizer's lowest and highest adjustable frequency bands act more as respectively a HPF and LPF).

    Graphic equalizers are very pinpointing kind of equalizers, with a very narrow (and steep) Q (width and angle of curve of effected frequency area around the center frequency) around the center frequencies, and in my experience, using a graphic equalizer mainly as tone shaping device, anything but minor adjustments has a tendency to make your tone sound very unnatural, because, in the nature of the narrow and steep Q of the adjustable center frequencies, you will get some sudden narrow spikes and dips in your overall tone frequency wise, and the more you boost or cut the higher the angle of that curve will get (steep), narrowing it down even more.

    A parametric equalizer on the other hand will allow you to adjust a much wider area of frequencies at once, and generally, in my experience, when used mainly a tone shaping device, result in a much more natural sounding tone, even when boosted or cut quite a bit, unlike graphic equalizers, that are better at pinpointing very specific wanted or unwanted frequencies that then can be boosted or cut out.

    In other words a parametric equalizer will allow you to boost your mids as a whole, instead of just certain specific frequencies, as would be the case if a graphic equalizer was used.

    Read above to see why I think you got that backwards.

    As I see it a parametric equalizer is better for shaping your general basic tone, whereas a graphic equalizer is for precision work dialing in an out very specific frequencies.

    You got a high frequency hiss at a specific frequency or a too booming dominant low frequency that bothers you, cut it out with a graphic equalizer, want to boost your mids or highs, or whatever, in general, use a parametric equalizer.

    Exactly why the equalizers featured on most preamp pedals are semi parametric equalizers.

    Unless I horribly misunderstood equalizer terminology (your post does make me in doubt), which is totally possible as I am nowhere near an expert on the topic, and in that case I excuse for misinformation.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
    PawleeP likes this.
  20. Equalizers graphic or parametric are pure tools for tone shaping.
    Preamps have a certain characteristic usually associated with an amplifier type of company and tone controls, sometimes that includes an equalizer but generally speaking it will be a tone stack also characteristic to that amplifier.