If you are a novice in the world of equalization, you might not know what the big deal is about parametric EQs. In simple words, they deliver interminable control over your frequency range. They allow you to modify all the different parameters of your tone and, thus, shape the bands according to your liking. The good thing about this is that such devices go deep and alter your sound from within, contrary to the standard equalizers that you might come across on amplifiers or other musical apparatuses. This way you can target the desired impurity without your tone changing its character, volume or definition. That is why parametric equalizers are preferred by professionals and sonic geeks. Today we are going to talk about one of the best representatives of that family. Empress Effects, a growing company, has come out with a real beast of EQs and has basically shoved every single thing in its circuitry. The name of this fella is ParaEq and this article will review it based on three basic components: features, controls and sound. Without further ado, let’s begin our journey and find out together all the great things this pedal can do!
Your mind might blow up if you sit down and start thinking about all the features of Empress Effects ParaEq. This might seem like an exaggeration, but you will quickly see that it isn’t once you pull it out of the box and take a look at the surface. Man, this thing is scary! But trust me, it is all worth it. The design of this wonderful piece of equipment is quite fancy, as it is colored with bright blue and topped with silver knobs, toggles and footswitches. More importantly, it has a True Bypass that guarantees maximum transparency and the absence of tone suction. This baby offers up to +30dB of boost with a dedicated footswitch, making this process extremely easy and convenient. You have the ability to add or cut +/- 15dB of gain on each frequency band, which leaves you with endless possibilities when it comes to intensifying your sound. ParaEq also enables you to modify the Q of all three bands and set the center frequency, which is the precision we all have been longing for. And there is more. This pedal has all analog signal path, keeping your sound warm and organic. It has an immense headroom – you can mess around with an internal switch and power it with 9V, 12V or 18V supplies. The enclosure is made out of Die Cast Aluminum, which means it will not break apart no matter how hard you abuse it. Crazy staff! It is true that ParaEq falls in the more expensive category, but considering all the features it offers, we cannot really complain.
Moving on to the control section of Empress Effects ParaEq. We have so much to talk about I don’t even know where to start (just kidding, I do know perfectly well). The full control I mentioned in the introduction is what you get on the surface of this extensive pedal. It truly allows you to nail each frequency band and not only – you can also modify their Q (do not panic, I will explain what the hell this means in a sec). This unit might seem a bit complicated for some, but there is nothing difficult about its controls. I will discuss them all below.
There are four toggles on the top part of the pedal: Low Q, Mid Q and Hi Q and Input Pad. The first three have three different modes of operation: Wide Q, Middle Q and Narrow Q. This means that these toggles modify the range of the equalizer – wide will affect broad frequencies around the center point, middle will only change some, while narrow will modify very small range. This way you can choose which frequencies you want to alter more precisely. The fourth toggle (Input Pad) allows you to lower the input signal in order to avoid distortion. It has three options 0, -6 and -12 that you can select out depending on the gain of your instrument. Then we have three knobs (Lf, Mf, Hf) that allows you to select the center frequency around which you can boost or cut in Low, Middle and High bands, respectively. Below we have Low Gain, Mid Gain and High Gain that enable you to boost or cut specific frequencies. Stay with me, we are almost done. We have one knob left – Boost lets you change the amount of boost added to your signal. Finally, we have two footswitches – the first one triggers Boost, while the second one bypasses the pedal.
Empress ParaEq Sound
By now you should already have an idea of the sonic possibilities Empress Effects ParaEq can offer. To start with the basics, this fella is absolutely transparent. It treats your frequencies as if it were a surgeon who has to cut out a festered organ in order to improve the overall health. That is how this pedal operates. Its precision is truly ethereal and the results of such accuracy will definitely blow your mind. The quality of sound is amazing, as well, nothing sounds impure or distorted or simply like a crap. The ability to change the Q, select the center frequency and add gain to those specific parameters allows you to thicken and sweeten your tone in the most beautiful way. No matter how sophisticated the EQ section of your amp is – I am sure it still does not offer as much control as this one. Once it mounts itself on your pedalboard, you will not let go off it, I am 100% sure. This baby is freakin’ powerful!
It would be so hard to guess my final verdict! Yes, you are right, I absolutely adore this pedal. Even though it is a bit expensive and quite an investment, it is worth it. It takes quite some time to learn how to treat all those controls, but once you do that, you will unleash the true potential of the unit. Empress Effects ParaEq can emit every color of your tone and it could not get any better. Good luck!
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