Build Quality:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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Source Audio SA170 Programmable EQ


  • Very easy to use
  • Quality clean boost
  • Noise-free
  • Versatile


  • Not all settings are easily understandable
  • Changing presets might be inconvenient during performances

Why would anyone need an EQ anyway? The majority of the stompboxes and amplifiers have their own tone-shaping options, right? So why bother with investing in a separate device? The answer to these questions is very simple: dedicated equalizers provide you with way more control than you would ever think of. They are powerful tools that can modify specific frequencies and allow you to target them with accuracy. There are devices out there that are dedicated to this effect, but there are those that combine different things and give you even more versatility.

A badass EQ on its own is capable of creating diverse sonic options for you, imagine what a bit more sophisticated device can do. Today I am going to introduce to you Source Audio SA170 Programmable EQ, which is an extremely innovative pedal. The brand itself is renowned for its creativity and always strives to deliver the best performance with newer touches. I will discuss the reasons why this thing works below, but for now, I will just say that it will become a true asset for your sound. Let’s dive in and see what features, controls, and sounds the SA170 Programmable EQ pedal can offer.


To create an idea of what we are dealing with here, let me say that Source Audio SA170 Programmable EQ could easily be used as a definition of versatility. What I mean is that it offers an extensive set of various features that will help you in the process of shaping your sound to perfection. It offers up to -/+ 18dB range in the frequency bands. It has 7 basic bands for your guitar and an additional 8th (with 62Hz) for your bass. The latter can be accessed with the help of the Octave Extend Function.

This way you can utilize the same pedal for your guitars and basses, which is an amazing feature. SA170 Programmable EQ is a graphic equalizer, meaning that it is equipped with LEDs that indicate the frequencies. This bad boy has a hybrid of digital and analog paths and circuitries. It utilizes high-quality DSP with 56-bit and 24-bit converters. This allows you to save the presets i.e. capture your favorite settings and recall them anytime you want. There is a space for 4 presets, which are more than enough for the use of this pedal. They can be recalled one after another with the help of the Auto-Scroll function.

Additionally, SA170 Programmable EQ offers up to +12dB of boost that can strengthen your signal in a matter of seconds. It has Universal Bypass, so you have the ability to switch between True Hardwire and Buffered bypasses. This beast of a unit has a MIDI input that lets you connect it to the MIDI device. Last but not least, SA170 Programmable EQ can be powered with either a 9V battery or a power supply. That was a mouthful, ha? Add to that its durability and you will see a pedal that will be hard to beat.


From everything we have discussed, you might have gotten the impression that this pedal would be difficult to adjust. However, that is not the case here. The control section is surprisingly simple, comprised of just a couple of switches. The star of the show here is a graphic EQ display with LEDs that indicate center frequencies and everything around them with vertical lines. Other than that, everything is a child’s play. Let’s see!

Just below the display, you will notice two small buttons (‘Arrows’) that allow you to choose the desired frequencies. With these two, it is rather easy to select higher or lower frequencies. In the center of the pedal, you will see a big Encoder that will allow you to modify the level of each frequency with 1dB steps. Select Button will scroll through the saved presets and illuminate the corresponding LED in order to display which one is selected. Save allows you to remember any edits made to the current presets and recall them later.

There is also an Output encoder which is equipped with LED as well. It will illuminate brighter as you increase the settings and display what volume of the overall output is selected. All these settings can be saved in presets without any problems. SA170 Programmable EQ also gives you the ability to enter Backpage Parameters and change the properties even more precisely (the manual explains in depth how to do that).

Source Audio SA170 Sound

All the features we mentioned have probably set a really high bar for the SA170 Programmable EQ. Now we all have certain assumptions about its sonic possibilities and will be disappointed if those expectations are not met. But luckily, this pedal does sound fantastic. Its tone is pristinely clear and it does not add any artificial color to your sound. The quality of its digital signal processor is displayed through the noiseless operation. You will not hear any hiss or hum as you engage the pedal. SA170 Programmable EQ can be utilized solely as an equalizer, however, it is capable of creating some cool effects as well.

As you enter the Auto Scroll mode, all four presets are played continuously, and depending on the speed, you can create some tremolo-like results. In the EQ part, this unit detects your frequencies quite nicely and responds to them accurately. And that is probably the most useful thing on this device (otherwise it would not make any sense). SA170 Programmable EQ is an extremely useful pedal with some cool sounds and features hidden in the enclosure.


In the end all I can say is that Source Audio SA170 Programmable EQ is a wonderful piece of equipment. There are only two downsides here: Backpage Parameters can be a bit difficult to figure out and the preset changing layout is not the best for live performances. But these are just minor flaws that can be easily avoided with the proper attitude. Take your time, learn what this pedal can do and how and you will be fine. Good luck!

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