In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: April 19, 2021
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An EQ pedal is the perfect way to fine-tune and boost your sound as well as eliminate feedback. It gives you the ability to tweak lows, mids, and highs, so your guitar has a more consistent sound, no matter where you’re playing. If you’re looking for the best EQ pedal for you, you’re in the right place.
To put together this review, we looked at some of the most important EQ pedal features. The number of bands determines just how many frequencies you can adjust. Generally, the more bands there are, the more control you have. We also looked at the interface as far as how the bands are manipulated and whether or not there are any other controls, like gain or volume adjustments. The dimensions and weight always matter when it comes to gear, so you know whether it will fit on your pedalboard and how easy it is to travel with. Finally, we considered warranty information because it’s always important to make sure you’re covered if something goes wrong.
Top 10 EQ Pedals Review 2020
We spent hours researching these products, surfing manufacturer’s sites, scouring blogs from professional musicians and equipment experts, and reviews from the people who use these pedals in their everyday setups. First, you’ll find a table where you can compare all of our picks and see where each really shines. After that are in-depth reviews of each product, followed by a detailed Buying Guide that tells you everything you need to know about finding the best EQ pedal for you.
The Boss EQ-200 Graphic EQ Pedal is our Editor’s Choice. It’s loaded with great features and can take your sound to the next level, whether you’re playing guitar or bass. It would work well with a keyboard, too.
There are 10 bands as well as an overall level control so you can use it as a general boost pedal if necessary. It also features three different frequency range settings, dual EQs, and an insert function so you can plug in additional pedals either pre or post-equalization to change up your sound even more.
This pedal actually uses two 10-band equalizers at the same time and allows you to choose between using them in stereo, parallel, or series. The amount of control you have with this pedal means that you can fine-tune your sound to the room you’re playing in, various instruments, or even different amps.
The memory feature is extremely useful, too. You can fine-tune your sound and save the settings you like so you can come back to them at the push of a button. Use each one for a different genre, location, or even set one up for your bass. For settings you’re not saving, the panel lock feature lets you lock them in place, so there aren’t any accidental changes.
Users don’t have a lot of bad things to say about this pedal though we will point out that it’s significantly more expensive than most of the other options we reviewed. Still, for a professional musician or someone who wants a lot of control, this pedal is a perfect choice.
The MXR® KFK1 Graphic EQ Pedal is another option that’s loaded with features any serious musician will love. It was designed with input from Kerry King, legendary guitarist for Slayer, so you know this is a great pedal for heavy metal, right down to the tattooed styling.
This pedal features dual outputs so you can hook up two amps at the same time or add different pedals and effects to build your own sound. It’s perfect for creating scooped mid-tones and can give you feedback and sustain while also getting more out of your low tones. With 10 sliders, master volume, and gain control, this pedal can help you get just about any sound you want through frequency adjustment.
Because you can do so much with this pedal, it’s a little difficult to learn but, in time, you’ll figure out what to do by playing with different settings. The interface itself is easy to use, which makes finding your sound a bit easier.
As for the build, this is a durable pedal that’s perfect for performing or practicing at home. The illuminated sliders are easy to adjust in any kind of light so you can add crispness and clarity to your sound. This is definitely a good choice for metal but works great with any genre.
A few people commented that this pedal made a lot of noise and static, but this wasn’t a common complaint. Other than that, users were happy with this pedal, and several commented that it was the perfect choice for their metal band.
What are our favorite features?
Designed with Kerry King, the legendary Slayer guitarist
The JOYO Professional Guitar Multi-Effect Pedal is our pick for bass, though it works just as well with guitars. In fact, it’s a great choice for four and five-string bass or a six or seven-string guitar because it covers such a wide range.
This pedal has 10 bands, each with an easy-to-adjust slider that allows you to sculpt the sound of your instrument truly. Each slider features LED illumination so you can make necessary changes even in less-than-ideal lighting conditions or on stage in the middle of a performance. There’s also an independent volume control knob and an LED light around the pedal that can easily be turned off or on. It adds a little extra light which some people really appreciate.
Another great thing about this pedal is that it’s extremely affordable for what you’re getting. Pedals that are comparable in price only offer six or seven bands while others that offer 10 are generally a lot more expensive. The sound this produces is great, too. True bypass helps keep it clear and genuine while you tweak the signal for crystal clear highs bright mids, and deep lows without muddiness.
This pedal does not run on a battery so you will need an external power supply. We have to mention the styling. The housing is made of powder-coated sky blue aluminum, which is not only really durable but also looks endlessly cool as well. It has a bit of a retro feel, though the LED accent lighting adds a futuristic touch. Users didn’t have any substantial complaints about this pedal.
What makes it stand out?
Great for guitars, bass, or synths
Sliders with LED lights
LED lights around the bass
Durable and stylish powder-coated sky blue aluminum housing
The MXR M109S EQ Pedal is an affordable EQ pedal with six bands that allow you to create scooped-mid tones, massive lows, and warms up your sound. This model has also been upgraded to eliminate noise and incorporate true bypass.
The lightweight aluminum housing is durable, so you don’t have to worry about using this pedal for gigs on the road. It’s small and compact, too, which makes it ideal for travel. The simple design is easy to adjust and, although the design is pretty basic and simple, it often exceeds expectations in its performance.
This pedal works best early in the pedal chain, and it is practically silent when set up correctly, which is usually an issue with EQ pedals in this price range. The battery life is pretty impressive as well. Making adjustments is easy and precise, plus the bright LED lights make the sliders easy to see so you can make the changes you need, even in low lighting.
People who use this pedal in their setups don’t seem to have many complaints about it. Most comment that it performs really well for the price. While this is a pretty basic design with only six-bands, it gets the job done well and is super reliable. This is a good choice for someone who wants to invest in a simple EQ pedal that does the basics very well.
Why are we impressed?
Upgraded to eliminate noise
Small, compact size perfect for travel
Lightweight aluminum housing
Sliders feature easy to see LED lights
Users are often impressed with how well it performs
What negatives must you be aware of?
Very few complaints
Should be placed early in the chain for best results
Another great option from MXR is the M108S EQ Pedal. We’re calling this the best eq pedal for acoustic guitar, too. It has 10 EQ sliders so you can make a lot of adjustments to create the perfect sound. Not only does this pedal have true bypass but it also has two outputs so you can run two different signal chains.
This model has been upgraded with noise-reduction circuitry, so it’s practically silent when turning it off or on. With so many bands, it really gives you a lot of versatility, which makes it a good choice across all genres. You can warm up an acoustic guitar or bring punch back to a crowded pedalboard.
The bright red LED lights make it easy to see each slider in any kind of lighting. In fact, some people felt the lights were actually a little too bright and either hurt their eyes or became a distraction. That said, the sliders are responsive and precise, so you get just the settings you’re looking for. Another cool thing about this pedal is that it has gain control a master volume control, so you have even more ways to play with your sound.
The lightweight aluminum housing is perfect for traveling from gig to gig. Not only is it tough, but it also doesn’t add a lot of weight to your gear.
While some of the EQ pedals we looked at perform best while placed early in the chain, this pedal gets great results no matter where you place it – early, in the effects loop, or at the end. There were few complaints about this pedal.
Boss is a well-known brand and does a great job when it comes to creating great sound and effects. The Boss GE-7 EQ Pedal is a really popular EQ pedal that’s reasonably priced. It’s not loaded with features, but the simple design gives you what you need to get the job done. This is a good option if you’re looking for a simple, affordable EQ pedal that performs a little better than you expect it to. It’s not cheap, but it’s definitely a good buy.
This is a seven-band EQ. The sliders are at the top of the pedal plus there’s a master level slider. Each one is easy to adjust with excellent precision. In fact, the design is so intuitive that you can even make adjustments in low light. Since it has so many bands, you have a lot of control and can shape your sound to get it just right. This makes it a good fit for just about any genre.
Boss pedals are known for being tough, and this durable design stands up to wear and tear. It’s actually built like a tank and capable of handling life on the road. Even the jacks are built well.
Some people commented that there’s a bit of signal loss and hiss with high gains, but other users implied that this could be caused by other factors. Some stated that these sounds were less noticeable when the pedal was placed at the beginning of the circuit while others said it could be controlled by strategic use of the sliders. Another complaint was that the tone suffered if the difference between bands was too extreme.
Why is it special?
Precise, easy-to-adjust sliders
Good for any genre
Tough and durable
What are the flaws?
Some people reported a signal loss or hiss with high gains
Tone can suffer from the extreme variance between bands
Our budget pick is the JOYO JF-11 EQ Pedal. This six-band equalizer lets you get more articulation for your highs, boosts your mids, and takes the muddiness out of your lows, so you shape your sound just as you want it. If you’re looking for something cheap to add to your chain or just starting to realize you need an EQ pedal, this is a great one to get you started.
The sliders feature red LED lights so you can make adjustments precisely, even in low light or in dark live settings. Plus, they’re precise and easy to move, so you always get just the sound you’re looking for. Although this EQ pedal is easy on the budget, it still performs well. Musicians use it to effectively increase bass response, lift mids for a warmer sound, or add a clean boost or cut to the overall volume. This pedal has a lightweight, sturdy aluminum alloy case and is powered by a 9V battery or a standard adapter.
A lot of people commented that they were very impressed with how well this best cheap EQ pedal performs. A few people said that there’s a subtle but audible click when the pedal is turned off and on but, overall, it doesn’t add any noise to your pedal chain. Some users also reported that the pedal only lasted a few months, but this was not a common experience.
What do we love it for?
Great for a beginner
Fits in any budget
Sliders feature easy-to-see red LED lights
Can make precise adjustments
Lightweight and sturdy aluminum alloy case
Doesn’t add noise to your chain
What were we disappointed with?
Subtle but audible click when turning the pedal on
The Biyang EQ Pedal features seven bands for just the right amount of cutting and boosting. True bypass keeps your guitar and amp sounding true. This pedal doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it performs well and is exceptionally budget-friendly without being poorly made.
In addition to the seven bands, there is also a level adjustment so you can easily change the overall volume of the pedal. Each slider has a red LED light so you can see what you’re doing, even on a dark stage.
Overall, the Biyang EQ Pedal does a great job of adjusting and improving your sound without losing its essence. It easily cleans it up and makes it less muddy, so your true sound shines through.
This pedal is exceptionally durable. It features sealed, dust-proof metal pots as a stainless-steel metal enclosure and panel. The design is pretty straightforward, and the shiny finish looks great with the rest of your gear. It can be powered using an adaptor or a 9V battery, adding a bit of versatility.
Customers didn’t have a lot of bad things to say about this pedal. At 1.2 pounds, it’s a little on the heavy side, but it’s built like a tank so it can definitely tolerate being taken from one location to the next. The simple styling might also be a turn-off for some people. There are certainly more attractive options available, but that doesn’t have anything to do with how they perform.
Next up is the ammoon ENO EX EQ7 Pedal which was made especially for electric guitars. It has seven bands and true bypass to create a personalized, true sound. There’s also a slider for adjusting the overall output.
All of the other pedals in our review have sliders that move up and down. This one is designed with sliders that move left to right which doesn’t affect the sound at all but might be something you prefer. The display also has an LED light that indicates whether the bypass is off or on, but the sliders themselves do not have lights.
This is a compact design that features an aluminum alloy body that’s extremely durable. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and comes with a small pouch that makes it easy to carry or store. The footprint is really small, so if you prefer a pedal that doesn’t take up too much space, this is a good one to try.
We like the styling of this pedal, too. The cool aqua color adds a nice pop of color, and the horizontal sliders give it an interesting look. This pedal does not use batteries, so you do need an AC adapter. One is not included.
The ENO EX EQ7 Pedal works best when used early in your chain and excels at clean, treble boosts. Some users commented that the switch is pretty loud, but this wasn’t a common complaint.
Next up is the Caline CP-24 EQ Pedal. It’s another exceptionally affordable EQ pedal that has a lot going for it. This is a great choice for guitars and works well with bass and synths, too.
There are 10 bands to play with as well as a master gain control, each with a red LED light so you can make accurate adjustments even in less than ideal lighting conditions. The sliders also click. It’s only slightly audible, but you can feel the movement as you tweak your sound, which also helps with accuracy. It works well in the effects loop and can also be used as a volume attenuator with the amp.
This pedal is very well built. The aluminum alloy case is lightweight and durable and can handle some jostling. That said, the slider knobs are made of plastic and might not be able to handle the same level of stress. It’s a nice size and fits easily into a pedalboard.
Some people who bought this commented that there was no user manual, so they kind of had to wing it. With enough trial and error, it’s pretty easy to figure out what works best. Another thing that was mentioned is that it can be quite noisy, depending on how clean the power supply is. That said, plenty of reviewers also mentioned that they had no issues with excess noise at all. Overall, the plastic sliders might not be the best choice for playing gigs, but this pedal is great for practicing at home if you’re on a tight budget.
What makes it stand out?
Works great with guitars, synths, and bass
Sliders have red LED lights
Slider click with movement
Strong, lightweight aluminum alloy case
Great for practice sessions at home
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Some pedals did not include a manual
Can be noisy
Things to Consider
Using an EQ pedal is one of the best ways to tweak your sound, so it’s just right. Before you shop, it helps to know exactly what to look for. In this buying guide, we hope to give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
Features to consider while choosing an EQ pedal
When choosing an EQ pedal, there are a lot of options to choose from. Each pedal is just a little bit different so it helps to know what features matter so you can compare and choose the right one for you.
Number of bands
Most EQ pedals have between five and 10 bands. Our top picks have between six and 10. The more bands a pedal has, the more control you have over your sound.
Each band represents a certain range of sound. The more divisions there are, the more you can fine-tune adjustments. A simple way to understand the importance of the number of bands is to think about the equalizer your car stereo uses. It likely allows you to adjust treble and bass, or two bands. You can see, then, that an EQ pedal with six bands would have much more control than the simple two bands of your car stereo. A pedal with 10 bands has even more.
A key question, then, is how much control do you need? Some people get a top-of-the-line 10 band EQ pedal and find that it’s a bit much so more control doesn’t always mean it’s a better fit for your style. There isn’t really a right answer to this; it all boils down to personal preference. If you’re an amateur who only ever practices at home, fewer bands may be a better fit. On the other hand, musicians who play multiple instruments in a lot of different venues would probably get a lot of use out of a 10 band EQ pedal.
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to the interface. First, the number of sliders coincides with the number of bands, which makes sense since you use the sliders to adjust the bands. Most of the sliders move vertically, with the exception of the ammoon ENO EX EQ7 Pedal which moves horizontally. This doesn’t have anything to do with how well the pedal performs and is purely personal preference.
Some of these EQ pedals, like the MXR M108S EQ Pedal, have sliders that light up while others, like the Boss GE-7 EQ Pedal, do not. For someone who will need to make adjustments to the sliders in dark lighting or during a performance, having a slider with LEDs makes things so much easier because you can see exactly what adjustments you’re making. If you need even more light, the JOYO Professional Guitar Multi-Effect Pedal also has an accent light around the pedal.
A few of our picks allow for other adjustments, too. The Boss EQ-200 Graphic EQ Pedal lets you adjust level control, save settings to memory, choose between three frequencies, and lock the panel settings in place. It also has a graphic depiction of the frequency, so you get a visual depiction of how your adjustments change the sound.
Other Features to Consider
A lot of the products we chose are pretty basic. We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with that, sometimes all you need is basic setup to get just the sound you want. But some of these pedals do offer some nice extras.
Our number one pick has a memory function which comes in handy if you play multiple venues or use different guitars. Instead of tweaking the setting each time you swap one guitar out for another, you can just choose a different saved profile at the push of a button.
Some of these pedals also have multiple output jacks so you can hook them up to two amps or add an addition pedal to create an even more personalized sound.
Features like master volume or gain control are great, too, because they give you a little extra control over your sound without having to make changes to the bands.
These pedals range in size depending on how many bands they have. Obviously, pedals with 10 bands are larger than those with 6 but even among the pedals with the same number of bands; there’s some variation. The JOYO JF-11 EQ Pedal, for example, has six bands and measures 4.7 × 2.5 × 1.5 inches and the 10-band MXR® KFK1 Graphic EQ Pedal measures 9.2 × 4.3 × 2.7 inches. The Caline CP-24 EQ Pedal, which also has 10 bands, measures only 5.6 × 4.8 × 2 inches.
Dimensions do not affect performance at all, but they do impact convenience quite a bit. If you’re looking for a pedal to fit into your pedalboard, pay close attention to dimensions.
If you think you can’t afford a decent EQ pedal, you’re in luck. These products really run the gambit with prices anywhere from around $40 to around $250. We’re not going to tell you that a $40 EQ pedal performs as well as a $250 model, but you can find a decent one at an affordable price.
The warranties on these products vary quite a bit. A lot of them are covered for a year, but there are others, like the Biyang EQ Pedal, that are only covered for 30 days. The best coverage that we found is 5 years.
Basically, an EQ pedal allows you to manipulate with what makes up the sound. Each slider allows you to change the space that the various notes and frequencies occupy to shape how your ear hears the sound. What makes them so effective and necessary is that they can make small, subtle changes that can make a big difference in sound quality. Your guitar feeds a signal into the pedal, the pedal processes the signal according to your specifications, then feeds it to another pedal or an amp.
The first thing you should do, especially if you’re playing with a full band, is turn off the low tones with frequencies below 80 to 100Hz. Notes this low can often rumble and sound muddy plus you don’t really need them if you’re playing with a bass guitar or drums. Next, hit the opposite, the high end. Figure out where your sound starts to be a bit nasally then cut those frequencies, too. Work on the low tones, particularly between 100 and 300 Hz, by tweaking them until they sound clear without being muddy. Then, add a boost to the high end, between 2 to 5kHz, just to give it a little punch. Once you get the highs and lows worked out, work on the mids, trying to make them as balanced as you can. Using an EQ pedal with an acoustic guitar is just like using it with any other guitar. The best way to approach it is through trial and error.
The key thing to remember when playing solo is that you’re not trying to fit into a mix of other instruments. You’re trying to make yourself sound as good as possible. This does change things a bit. You’ll still want to cut the lows and highs where they start sounding bad but leave room for more low tones since you won’t have a bass playing along with you. Boost the mids for a rounder, thicker sound but be careful to avoid any hiss or noise.
Our top pick is the Boss EQ-200 Graphic EQ Pedal. Boss is one of the most trusted brands in the industry, and this pedal is loaded with features. With 10 bands, level control, three frequency settings, and the ability to store four different settings, this pedal is a top-of-the-line pick that’s a great pick for professional musicians.
Next is the MXR® KFK1 Graphic EQ Pedal, designed with Kerry King, lead guitarist for Slayer. With dual outputs, 10 sliders, master volume, and gain control, there isn’t much this pedal can’t do. The durable tattoo-style case is durable and definitely has a metal look.
Finally, we recommend the JOYO Professional Guitar Multi-Effect Pedal. It has true bypass, 10 bands, and independent volume control as well as an LED accent light that can be easily turned off and on. It’s an affordable, stylish choice that performs well.