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#1
A graphic or parametric EQ is absolutely critical for good tone. The distortion character itself is shaped by the effects and amp, but thats only the start. The next and more complex part comes with fine tweaking the EQ, which makes worlds of difference.

If you look around, its incredible how many people get huge pedal boards and keep GASing for more and more effects, while the real universal solution would be a cheap eq. Most the regular parameters of sound, muddy or crisp, twangy or tinny, smooth or chimey, can all be achieved by a pre-or post-distortion eq unit.
And thats why you should have one. Its the most universal part of equipment, being useful everywhere, and more importantly, usually the only way to get the sound you have in your head.

Thoughts, comments.
#2
They're useful, but I certainly wouldn't say that everyone needs one, or that they're absolutely critical to good tone.
If you know how to tweak your tone in other ways, you probably do not need an EQ.
Personally, I'd rather tweak my rig's components than have to buy and use a pedal to do it for me.

In the studio is a different matter- I'm assuming you mean live, btw.
#5
well an EQ isn't going to totally replace every distortion and tonal pedal out there, but they are certainly important for fine-tuning the tone to exactly what you "hear in your head"
#6
Idea sparked from my thread 1337? haha Right now, I am getting a GREAT sound out of my Mesa F-50, but it would be nice to shape it a little more. Roc, I know you're a techy and like to "get your hands dirty" by getting inside the amps, but don't forget, not all of us can do that, and not all of us want to spend the cash to get mods done.

Right now I am running a BBE Sonic Stomp through my FX Loop, it works well but I know there is more that can be done and I am just looking to slightly add, remove, tweak to get THAT sound. Ya know?

Since I dont have much experience with an EQ in my own rig, but know it's capabilities, I say that it is not necessarily NEEDED in every rig, though it is recommended.
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#7
While we're on topic, If I wanted to experiment with one, which would be a good one to start with?
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#8
A lot of people recommend the MXR 10-band EQ.
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#9
Quote by LaidBack
Roc, I know you're a techy and like to "get your hands dirty" by getting inside the amps, but don't forget, not all of us can do that, and not all of us want to spend the cash to get mods done.

I definitely don't expect that the average UGer would be able to hotrod an amp. What I do know is that anybody with a screwdriver and a soldering iron can learn how to tweak their amp to a very satisfactory degree.
Changing speakers, tubes, pickups/pole pieces/pickup height, bias, and the guitar's tone circuit is incredibly simple. I know amp modding is a very different beast, but that's "extra credit."

I don't have any graphic or parametric EQ anywhere in my rig, which is a bit extreme. Since most amps have an EQ, I think with less tweaking than I do most people could get a similar amount of tone shaping. Of course, that might include an EQ pedal
#10
Yea, I was basically focusing on the hot rodding part. I have done all of that except bias (my amp is fixed bias), change tubes (I like my stock mesas) speaker (again no need) and the tone circuit. The tone circuit I never even thought of doing. I'm gonna shoot you a PM as not to hijack the thread.
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#11
Quote by Roc8995

If you know how to tweak your tone in other ways, you probably do not need an EQ.
Personally, I'd rather tweak my rig's components than have to buy and use a pedal to do it for me.

In the studio is a different matter- I'm assuming you mean live, btw.

Would you mind clarifying on how? The common high and low pass filters surely arent enough for more detailed changes (ie a nasty midrange spike on some frequency or overemphasized 6Khz region).
#12
-The type, manufacturer, and value of the caps in your amp- filter caps, coupling caps, bright cap, tone caps etc.
-Speaker (big one for spikiness)
-cables
-Types of wire used in the amp definitely matters, as anyone with a Hiwatt can attest to
-Tubes
-Bias
-Pickups, pickup height.
-guitar tone cap, pots, circuit
What I'm trying to get at is that absolutely everything in your signal chain has an effect on your tone, and if you know what effect it has, you can tweak anything whatsoever to suit your sound.
If you do things right you shouldn't have big spikes that you need to dial out with an EQ. You don't really see EQs with one of the sliders all the way down and the rest in their usual tightly-grouped pattern. That's why tweaking works- you're almost never looking for a very specific frequency, but rather a general feel around certain frequencies.

For instance, if I want a tighter bass response from my Marshall, I don't say I want more or less of XX frequency. I'd take a look at a bigger output transformer and higher value filter caps, and swap the CGE pots on my strat to CTS, because I know those things affect the nuance of the lower frequencies.

It's not just the volume of frequencies like you control with the EQ, by the way. It's the timbre. IE, an SG has less bass than a les paul, but the bass also sounds very different. It's much tighter and "quicker," especially if you've got an ebony board SG. The difference between those two can't be simulated by cutting bass with the LP or boosting it with the SG.
#13
Quote by Roc8995
-The type, manufacturer, and value of the caps in your amp- filter caps, coupling caps, bright cap, tone caps etc.
-Speaker (big one for spikiness)
-cables
-Types of wire used in the amp definitely matters, as anyone with a Hiwatt can attest to
-Tubes
-Bias
-Pickups, pickup height.
-guitar tone cap, pots, circuit
What I'm trying to get at is that absolutely everything in your signal chain has an effect on your tone, and if you know what effect it has, you can tweak anything whatsoever to suit your sound.
If you do things right you shouldn't have big spikes that you need to dial out with an EQ. You don't really see EQs with one of the sliders all the way down and the rest in their usual tightly-grouped pattern. That's why tweaking works- you're almost never looking for a very specific frequency, but rather a general feel around certain frequencies.

For instance, if I want a tighter bass response from my Marshall, I don't say I want more or less of XX frequency. I'd take a look at a bigger output transformer and higher value filter caps, and swap the CGE pots on my strat to CTS, because I know those things affect the nuance of the lower frequencies.

It's not just the volume of frequencies like you control with the EQ, by the way. It's the timbre. IE, an SG has less bass than a les paul, but the bass also sounds very different. It's much tighter and "quicker," especially if you've got an ebony board SG. The difference between those two can't be simulated by cutting bass with the LP or boosting it with the SG.


I agree with most of your ideas, however the problem is that you can only go so far with them. Fine tuning with an eq obviously always improves the sound, even if only a bit.

The other thing is that an eq is more universal. Instead of fiddling around with the tone cap of a guitar or the output transformer of an amp, you can get the same(or more percise) effect by using a 2 channel eq, with one channel before the preamp or effects and one channel after it.

A single EQ block has much more effect on the sound than any other filtering component, other than possibly the speaker.
#14
That's my point, you can't get the same effect as changing the OT by just using an EQ. If you could we'd all just use keyboard amps with a ton of EQ channels, and modeling amps wouldn't need all that digital processing.
EQs are all fine and good but to me if you really know your rig inside and out you should be able to simplify it so you don't need an EQ. Using one is a good option but just an option. Again, this is about timbre too, which an EQ simply cannot simulate. There's no question about that.

And using an EQ both before and after the preamp seems excessive. Shouldn't your preamp be properly voiced? It's kind of a band-aid solution to a bigger problem, which is apparently that you don't like the sound of your preamp. I'm all for more control over your sound, but you shouldn't need an EQ after every stage in your signal to get a proper tone.
#16
Quote by jessejames1414
While we're on topic, If I wanted to experiment with one, which would be a good one to start with?



prolly get flamed for this but oh well... ive owned both the fisn n chips and the boss eq... personally the fish n chips was better imo... and its cheaper.. run it through the effects loop and your golden.
#18
Quote by Roc8995
That's my point, you can't get the same effect as changing the OT by just using an EQ.

EQs are all fine and good but to me if you really know your rig inside and out you should be able to simplify it so you don't need an EQ. Using one is a good option but just an option. Again, this is about timbre too, which an EQ simply cannot simulate. There's no question about that.

And using an EQ both before and after the preamp seems excessive. Shouldn't your preamp be properly voiced? It's kind of a band-aid solution to a bigger problem, which is apparently that you don't like the sound of your preamp. I'm all for more control over your sound, but you shouldn't need an EQ after every stage in your signal to get a proper tone.



Well pretty much all of the effect a different OT will have is in the frequency response, or could you post sources stating otherwise

As for having an eq before the preamp(well the distorting part of the preamp), its to tune the character of distortion similarly to how different pickups will affect it. Several popular amps also have this feature, including Mesa Marks.

As you said EQs wont change the harmonic content of the sound, and that is the job of the rest of the effects, but the point of the thread is, for the second important part of sound, frequency balance, there is no other method of having as much control over it than an EQ unit. Shaping the frequency response, which is very important to how people perceive the sound, is possible with other methods, but far more crude and confusing.
#19
Quote by mcrfobtai
The fish and chips is pretty good, but the MXR's are the best, and they're not that expensive.


not to steal the thread or anytihng.. but if i happened to upgrade my fish n chips to the 10 band would i notice any real difference?
#20
"absolutely critical" is probably a bit of an exageration. Someone with a good ear can get great tone out of their fingers, instrument's controls, and amp settings. The cardinal tonal sin isn't guitar players not having a dedicated graphic eq, it's leaving the pots on their guitar dime'd 24/7.

But you're right to some extent, there's a reason we bass players have had amps with built in graphic and sometimes parametric eqs for years and years
Last edited by dullsilver_mike at Nov 21, 2008,
#21
Quote by dullsilver_mike
But you're right to some extent, there's a reason we bass players have had amps with built in graphic and sometimes parametric eqs for years and years


pwnt....

hahaha
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#22
An EQ pedal can be helpful on an amp that has a mediocre EQ section.
I, on the other hand am a simplistic. I love when people compliment my tone and the look on their face when I tell them it's just an ISP Decimator and BBE Sonic Stomp. shrugs
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#23
Quote by 1337void
Well pretty much all of the effect a different OT will have is in the frequency response, or could you post sources stating otherwise

An output transformer will effect
Frequency response
Distortion over different frequencies at different volumes
Frequency range
Interaction at varying frequencies and volumes with the power tubes, giving the amp a different response
etc etc.
If you're new to output transformers you might want to check out Randall Aiken's site, he's got a lot of tech info there including some good things on the OT.

Quote by 1337void
Shaping the frequency response, which is very important to how people perceive the sound, is possible with other methods, but far more crude and confusing.

Confusing, yes. Crude, never. Voicing an amp is an elegant and horribly frustrating process.
You see, modding your amp or any other part of the rig changes the timbre of your amp as well as the EQ. Think of it this way: different singers' voices sound different, but it is impossible to EQ them to sound the same, because their anatomy creates a unique timbre. The anatomy of an amp works the same way. It creates a certain timbre that is a lot more than just your guitar signal with emphasis on certain frequencies. That's why modding an amp is called voicing it. It's a lot more than a simple EQ change.

You're also not shaping the frequency response with an EQ. You're changing the frequency levels.

You can't think of a signal as just a set of EQ changes and volume boost. It's oversimplified and simply wrong.
#24
Quote by Roc8995
An output transformer will effect
Frequency response
Distortion over different frequencies at different volumes
Frequency range
Interaction at varying frequencies and volumes with the power tubes, giving the amp a different response
etc etc.
If you're new to output transformers you might want to check out Randall Aiken's site, he's got a lot of tech info there including some good things on the OT.


Confusing, yes. Crude, never. Voicing an amp is an elegant and horribly frustrating process.
You see, modding your amp or any other part of the rig changes the timbre of your amp as well as the EQ. Think of it this way: different singers' voices sound different, but it is impossible to EQ them to sound the same, because their anatomy creates a unique timbre. The anatomy of an amp works the same way. It creates a certain timbre that is a lot more than just your guitar signal with emphasis on certain frequencies. That's why modding an amp is called voicing it. It's a lot more than a simple EQ change.

You're also not shaping the frequency response with an EQ. You're changing the frequency levels.

You can't think of a signal as just a set of EQ changes and volume boost. It's oversimplified and simply wrong.




You're also not shaping the frequency response with an EQ. You're changing the frequency levels

Please explain. They way I understand is that by lowering some frequency levels with an eq, the amount of them decreases and thus the circuit following the EQ effectively becomes less responsive to it.

For most purposes and intents we can consider the OT to be a linear device (how often do people crank their amps which might cause it to saturate? rarely) . In that case it works as a filter(with its leakage capacitance and induction causing the filter sh*t as Aiken talks). I agree that voicing an amp(ie the nonlinear parts of it) is a fun and interesting pastime and EQing cant replace a poor job done with it (ie cant turn a fuzz effect into a metal crunch). But, careful EQing still does amazing things for sound and thus remains a very high priority for any audiophile or obsessive-compulsive guitarist.
#25
^^^^^Don't forget about active eq sections either, they work differently than normal eq's.
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#26
EQ Covers Bass, Mid, Treble, and there is more to sound than that. So EQs don't cover everything you need to have a good tone.
...
#28
Quote by 1337void
I agree with most of your ideas, however the problem is that you can only go so far with them. Fine tuning with an eq obviously always improves the sound, even if only a bit.

The other thing is that an eq is more universal. Instead of fiddling around with the tone cap of a guitar or the output transformer of an amp, you can get the same(or more percise) effect by using a 2 channel eq, with one channel before the preamp or effects and one channel after it.

A single EQ block has much more effect on the sound than any other filtering component, other than possibly the speaker.
By that logic everybody would be using SS amps with EQ pedals and Eminences.
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#29
Quote by 1337void
Please explain. They way I understand is that by lowering some frequency levels with an eq, the amount of them decreases and thus the circuit following the EQ effectively becomes less responsive to it.

The way the circuit responds to certain frequencies affects how they sound. Things like phase shift and gain and harmonic content change the timbre. An EQ does not do those things.
For most purposes and intents we can consider the OT to be a linear device (how often do people crank their amps which might cause it to saturate? rarely)

No, it's not a linear device. Saturation and linearity are two completely different things. It's readily apparent that you have no idea what you're talking about in this regard.
Go change the output transformer in your amp and see what happens. It's way more than an EQ can do.

What you're missing, and continue to miss, is that there's more to tone than frequency levels, which is all an EQ changes. It's like changing the color of a painting- it's a big part, but there's more to art than color.

The output transformer interacts with the power tubes and the speaker. It does so differently at different frequencies. That's the definition of non-linearity. When the frequency of the note changes, the impedance of the speaker is affected, which affects the transformer (since that's its job, to transform impedances) which in turn affects the power tubes in terms of compression and gain and a billion other things besides volume.

Like MrCarrot says, if it was all about EQ and frequency we'd all have gone to SS a long time ago.
#30
Quote by 1337void
A graphic or parametric EQ is absolutely critical for good tone.


I don't agree. Once you introduce an additional EQ into the mix you're going to change the amp's natural sound. An additional EQ can be very helpful if used properly, but it is not necessary.
#32
No way is an EQ a "secret" to a good tone. It's a misused tool employed by idiots with either: bad technique, ****ty gear or a combination of both. I'm a recording Engineer and I wouldn't go near an EQ in my rig in all but rarest of occasions. I'm sure you EQ pedal users think that your tone sounds "bright" or "warm" thanks to that wonderful boss EQ pedal you have, well no, it doesn't, it sounds harsh or muddy and even the best console or hardware EQ cannot fix the irreperable damage you did with the box. Stay away.
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#33
So I have a small tube amp. All it has is a volume control. I really like the noise it makes but I do miss the tweakability of my Cube 30. I also miss reverb. What would you buy first, a reverb pedal or an EQ? And with EQ pedals, what's the difference between a cheap Bheringer (sp) and a not-so-cheap MXR? We have to bear in mind that the amp (an EVJ) only cost £80.
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#34
I dunno, I really like not have an eq now. With my f-30 I thought it didn't have enough mids, so I cranked them on the amps eq and cranked the mids on the EQ in the loop and I still didn't like it. So experimented and fooled around with it for a while to find that I don't really like the amp, that was the problem. It also had too much gain and I fumbled with all sorts of different low gain tubes and such to no avail.

I could've modded the circuitry, but it's a fairly complex amp and I'm not that great with electronics. so I got something that I liked the sound of better and is fairly simple to mod, a Blues Jr.

Out of the box the BJr is a bit boxy sounding, it sounds small and lacks bass, but I already liked it more than the F-30. I did the BillM mod tone mod and I made the bias adjustable. The tone mods increased the bass cap and the mid cap and that made a huge difference, now I have to scoop the mids a little bit, but it all works great. The adjustable bias lets me run the tubes at a more sensible 25-35 ma, as opposed to the stock 45ma, now I can adjust each tube individually and put in unmatched tubes and set the bias a few ma out which makes the amp that much more musical sounding to my ears.

An EQ is nice, but before you buy one (or any pedal for that matter) ask yourself, do I just need to tweak, or do I really just hate my amp?
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#35
I'm expecting a mxr 10 band in a few days =D

That will raise my HUGE pedal board to a total of 3 xD
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#36
Quote by Kevin Saale
An EQ is nice, but before you buy one (or any pedal for that matter) ask yourself, do I just need to tweak, or do I really just hate my amp?


+1. But also, is it possible you just hate your amp/how you sound, because it's your personality coming through in the tone of your guitar, and not that of Mr. Guitar Hero whose tone you idolize? There's that saying, "your own worst critic". Your "horrible" tone may be coveted by others without the mindset or gear you have to do it without trying.

An EQ can help tweak your tone, but I sincerely believe that without a good understanding of picking dynamics, how volume on the amp and guitar affects tone, speakers, string gauge, picks, etc....basically, if you are behind on all the building blocks of playing before you hit a chord, you will not get a good tone if you have an EQ anyway.

Simply put, a good player will have the understanding of how to use (or not use) an EQ to get a good tone.....anyone else will not be helped. There are no essential tone tools, only helpful ones, if that. Sometimes I think we get so hung up on our tone that we forget to worry about playing.
'Cause I have done it before and I will do it some more....
#37
I just wanna say to roc, that it is possible to use an EQ to alter the timbre, but you would have to slow time down and adjust the eq every millisecond or so, to be able to alter the overtones that are created from the guitar :P

But yeah, all stupid jokes aside, EQ helps but isn't god in a box, end of story.
#38
colin

i agree so much that changing things like pots, pickups, caps or tubes is so much more crucial than just using an eq. and the thing about saturation vs. non linearity is so true. especially with a transformer, those things can be just so damn touchy. id might even go so far as to say that no analog component can ever be completly linear over its usable range, but i think ill steer clear of that for now.

suffice to say, id rather work with a ton of other things than grab an eq to do it all. more satisfying and better results in the long run.
#39
I get what you guys are saying and all that. But I just don't know. See, if I wanted a tighter bass response, I wouldn't change the pots on my Strat; I'd wonder what the hell I'm doing with a Strat if I want bass. I'd say 95% of your tone can be had by picking the right amp, the right guitar, tweaking the settings on your amp properly, and using good technique. If you want the other 5%, swap out the transformer or get an EQ pedal, but I'll go with Kevin on this. Most of the time you're spending so much time tweaking the damn thing when really the important thing is to start from the proper base in the first place.
#40
Meh, I think for guitar a three band is sufficient. For three reasons:
1) most of your precise adjustment to get your awesome tone will be lost in the mix
2) the soundguy will probably do his own eqing over yours
3) considering that things sound different in the mix than when alone, as well as from room to room, it is impossible at most or impractical at least to sufficiently tweak your tone while playing for every single room you go in from the place that you're standing (which sounds very different to where the audience is standing).

Fewer bands (that is, eq bands) = increased flexibility, which is more important when you're gigging than getting the perfect sound in your bedroom.

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