Posts Tagged ‘EQ’

Ibanez GEL Graphic EQ

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015


What is it?
Ibanez GEL Graphic EQ. Made in Japan, 1985.

Graphical equalizer from Ibanez Master series. Mine’s missing two of the slide pot knobs, but otherwise in decent condition. What comes to similar EQs, there is basically two ways to get the job done. First is the oldschool method of using inductors to create tight band-pass filters side by side. And the second, obviously cheaper, method is to use active gyrators to achieve the same results. Soundwise the difference between the two is quite small. Inductors aren’t as stable in changing the peak frequency as gyrators, but that’s about it. One can read about creating graphical EQs from GEOfex’ site. This article pretty much covers every single graphical and parametric EQ ever made.

At first, it seems that the GEL is just rehash of GE9 and predecessor of GE10. This is mostly true. The board design is completely revised in comparison to its 9-series sister and what’s more interesting is the fact that the board design, from layout to traces, is more modern than the most other pedals in the L-series.


All the way neat, but much more clinical than the last batch of acid trip boards we find from most L-series units. Not that this would change anything for the better or worse. It’s just different.


So. Due to linking the GEOfex article, there is not much more i can say about the electronic design. The board decisions are great. There is notable amount of symmetry in place and the work looks very professional. Just what you’d expect from a pedal from the series.

In all. It is pretty standard 7-band graphical equalizer with approx. 15db of cut/boost per frequency range. And what’s the best part…

How does it sound?
Neutral. Adds very little of it’s personal scent or feel to your tone. Exactly like modern equalizers should. Powerful tool in cool package. Although this might suffer from having slightly less personality that your usual Ibanez pedals, there is still nothing wrong with its sound. Good and versatile tool.

To be completely honest, i can’t put my finger on anything that would make this better or worse than any other graphical EQ ever introduced to the public. So, in other words. It’s not special, but it is very good at what it does. From subtle frequency correction to Lo-Fi cuts and all the way to big, massive, clean boost for the desired frequency areas. Not bad.

EHX Graphic Fuzz XO

Monday, April 6th, 2015


What is it?
Electro-Harmonix Graphic Fuzz with variable envelope response, from XO-series. Made in NYC in the late 00’s. Most likely in 2009.

A friend was letting this one go and i just simply couldn’t help myself. Pricing for an used Graphic Fuzz isn’t too cheap, but then again – it definitely isn’t one of your average straight up clones or slight derivatives of something else. The box is big, but there are ten large slide pots for the controls. Reasonable spacing for standard rotary potentiometers would have possibly called for even bigger box. That would also have taken the graphic EQ out of the equation. I took a peek inside once i got my hands on the unit.


I see six dual opamps and no inductors. This means that the EQ section is done with gyrators and in the same manner as found in most modern graphic EQs. Rest of the features are not that simple to see by just looking at the board layout. There is a fuzz that can be switched on and off and there is a “variable envelope response”, which acts almost as a compressor. But not quite. I’d say it functions closer to an envelope generator we find on synthesizers. No, it does not act exactly like those either. Still, the dynamics slide sets the attack of the tone and sustain sets the release.

So the set of features is pretty much a thought that comes from outside of the box. Original idea, but does it carry us far enough?

How does it sound?
Almost but not quite. We are stuck with relatively faceless graphic EQ and a fuzz/overdrive that’s quite close to the one knob Muff Overdrive. Not any version of Big Muff. The one knob Muff. You know, the one that comes in red and green from the nano series. The EQ works well, while it is rather generic. Then agai, no of us might even want a graphic EQ with a personality. It does, however, make the fuzz/overdrive a lot more usable. For the envelope part.. I do not have that many good words about it. It works like nothing else, so it’s hard to wrap your head around it. Versatile, yes. Usable, well, ok. Good? Maybe i wouldn’t go that far. Interesting. That would be a good word to describe the unit.

Nice set of features and these could serve a purpose for those who want something different ™. Wide set of features, but the tones leave me somewhat cold. Not the worst EHX box, though.

Ibanez PPE-1 DCP Parametric EQ

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Ibanez-PPE1-ParaEQWhat is it?
Ibanez PPE1 Parametric EQ from DCP series. Made in japan around1989.

There may be a reason for this series being scarce for those who want them. These may not be as relevant for today’s guitarists as they were back in the 1987, when the line was released. At that time, the digital gadgets were still all the rage and since it was the coolest thing ever, the consumer was bound to pay premium for the new and exciting technology. At the time of the initial launch, this EQ cost the same as two and a half 10-serie graphical EQs. And to be completely honest, the 10-series graphical EQ is way more relevant today than this. Plastic housing being the biggest factor. The DCP serie had six designs in it. The delay and modulation delay may still be the most sought after units in Ibanez back catalog. It’s a rare occasion that these will cheap today. As always, once i had a chance to get one, i did.


As with the most of the designs, the effect itself is all analog. As the bottom board shows, it’s more or less the same style, high quality Maxon board with your average JRC4558s on board. Board mounted jack etc. But. Once we open the whole thing up and check the upper board, that’s where things get quite interesting.


All the controls are handled digitally, while the signal path is taken care by the analog board. Let’s not forget that the unit has memory bank for saving the settings and even more importantly, the is a LCD display. Push buttons may still not be as easy to use as traditional potentiometers, but come on. This is the s*it. The highest technology in all the pedal world in 1989.


Mids are controlled as full parametric and there are separate controls for highs and lows. Making the pedal capable of boosting and cutting desired frequencies in very effective manner. While those digital controls may not be as easy to use, they do offer way higher accuracy. Oh how do i wish this wasn’t plastic…

How does it sound?
Awesome. In a good way, harsh and accurate. The level of boosting when maxed is somewhere in vicinity of the ye oldee Renometer. Blood curling accuracy with very little distortion and none of the mushiness. Where the pedal itself may not be relevant today, the tone sure is. Great, precise controls and extremely good sound that doesn’t feel like it’s coming from a small form plastic thing. Great sounding piece of Maxon design history. If you get a chance, try one out. It will sound different than the package suggests.

Danelectro DJ-14 Fish & Chips 7-Band EQ

Sunday, June 29th, 2014


What is it?
Danelectro DJ-14 Fish & Chips 7-band graphic EQ from Mini-series. Made in china around mid 00’s.

The first thing that comes to mind is the Boss GE-7. Could this be one of those simple redesigns that feel and work like the design that it mimics? Sure does feel and work like it. Yes. This is a very close approximation of your big brand 7-band EQ pedals. Sure enough. Anyone could compose a graphic EQ with little engineering skills through a careful studying. So even if the frequencies are close to any other brand’s design, i would still not call this a complete ripoff.


All SMD boards with unusual battery-in-the-middle box layout. There are other with this arrangement too, but the sideways battery slot is more common for the series.

From playing around with the effects for the time i have, i’ve noticed that biggest use for EQ pedals is when i want to cut out frequencies from the instrument (may that be what ever). For some reason, i’ve never considered using a graphic EQ as a booster. Every single one i have (or had) are more than capable of boosting the desired frequency or frequencies in clean and neat way. This could be a road that needs some exploring. Although there are number of booster designs that are meant for.. Boosting…

How does it sound?
Clear and clean. Cuts and boosts when and where needed. Usability for this unit is very high. Pedal board-wise, the footprint is small and the standard Dano electronic bypass isn’t that horrible either. Good, clean sounding EQ with good range for the controls. This is one of those Dano Minis that should not be overlooked.

Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014


What is it?
Boss GE-7 Equalizer, made in taiwan in may 2002. Otherwise in fair condition, but missing a few slider knobs (which seem to very hard to source as spares).

Schematic is online, courtesy of There are three DIP-8 and two SIP-9 opamps plus a transistor based output buffer that make up the circuit. There’s also standard Boss-style electronic JFET switching. All seven frequency ranges from 200 Hz to 6.4KHz are active filters that are able to boost or cut the desired frequency while keeping other frequencies well in tact. Plus the gain slider sets allover level and offers a reasonable amount of boost for all individual bands.


The board is your standard modern taiwanese specimen. Dull, ground/trace-filled, autorouted touch, which doesn’t raise much feelings. The (a)symmetry is more pleasing than most of the modern designs, but still quite boring.


Didn’t expect to see SIP opamps so this was one quite interesting things about this pedal. But now that i’ve been inside of various Boss boxes, the surprise isn’t that big. Other thing that in reality is interesting is definitely the board fastening. All the sliders have their own board, which is fastened to the main board and the enclosure with a single screw. With these few peculiarities boosting the otherwise low interest, this is not a bad tool to have.

How does it sound?
Loudish. Can be used as a clean boost in addition to frequency tweaking. Versatile 7 band eq. Doesn’t sound like “Wohoo”, but rather like “Yey.” One can definitely use this to pre- or post-eq other pedals ┬áin addition to boosting one’s cleans. And distortions.

Ibanez No.95 Renometer

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Just because i happen to feel like it, here’s another post for today..


What is it?
Ibanez Renometer Model No. 95 EQ/Booster from mid seventies.

Got this unit in a trade some time ago. In very good condition i might add. Plugged it in and had no response. Gladly, the only broken thing was one of the battery snaps. This requires two 9V batteries, as it runs with +9V and -9V, using gorund as vref. Measured current consumption settles round 5mA, so those two batteries should last a long time. Couldn’t believe my ears how loud this thing is. The boost switches work in mouth watering manner – offering even more raw clean boost. While trying out the sliders, i noticed wah-like textures to the sweeps. Opening the box up confirmed it.


The sliders are basically five simplified cry baby wahs that are wired for cut and a boost. The print on the cover has +12/-12dB on it, but i’m having hard time believing that it is just 12dB that this thing adds to the signal. Maybe it is, but it gets multiplied by all the 5 frequency ranges. The photo above shows tha the inductors for lower frequencies are so huge that they are mounted on the “wrong” side of the board. The image below shows the smaller inductors next to the slides.


Didn’t have hard shell battery snaps with long enough leads, so i soldered the new one to the old wires and cleaned it up with heat shrink tubing. As you can see from the board photo, the part count is pretty low. Which made me question what was driving it to offer so much sheer volume…


Just one TI TL082. I heard loud effects with TL family chips, but not this loud. I could be just because of the +/- voltage swing that takes the volume to this level. I do wonder what the empty holes are for…

Oh. Once again, Dirk has a perfect schematic published on his site. His unit seems to run on JRC4558 and it has an dc jack. Neither of which are present in my unit.

How does it sound?
Clean and Loud. If it weren’t for the 5 huge inductors, this one would get cloned immediately and that clone would get a permanent spot on my pedal board. No distortion at all. Just a perfect, super loud EQ booster. Actually. I don’t know of a better sounding one to exist.