A small analog stereo EQ

For a more affordable take on the EQ for 500 Series, have you looked into the Kush Electra EQ’s at all? There’s also a reasonable for the money stereo rack mounted version, but I think the 500 Series ones are the better deal. For the money they are hard to beat, next on my to buy list for my studio.

Also, if I remember right, Bugbrand was making a PEQ box recently? They make fantastic stuff, and a stereo pair would be reasonably affordable and space considerate.

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or, on the “more affordable 500 series” tip, the elysia xfilter ? used prices are fairly realistic …

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Does it really need to be analog? The BossEQ is probably your best bet for price/size/features. A stereo analog EQ is usually double the size of its single channel equivalent.

Analog pedal EQs can be a bit noisy and not really intended for line level, and I don’t think there’s a stereo one out there. But in terms of doubling pedals, you have some parametric options that take up less space than the Empress. There’s the Revival Electric Metric, the WMD Utility Parametric EQ, or the Wampler Equator.

In terms of desktop-sized outboard, the Golden Age Project EQ73 is probably your best bet for size/price/quality. Single-channel though, but you could get two and stack them (one is only a bit pricier than a pedal, around $300USD new).

In terms of 500 series, the dbx 530 I think is the cheapest single-channel EQ. Two of those in a Lindell 503 or Radial Cube chassis would be pretty portable, cost less than $800 depending on the chassis.


Thank you all for the great recommendations. Reading up on all the things you mentioned. I really appreciate it.

While I would find something simple and pedal sized better for live use, a 500 solution might be useful in the studio as well and not just a live thing. Decisions …

I definitely prefer analog. While the Boss seems really useful, I am trying to get away from digital option if possible. At the moment I use a K-Mix for live EQing. It is ok, but it is just that, there’s no character or life. I know it works for many people but it just isn’t my thing. The simple EQs and my A&H studio mixer are so much nicer to my ears even though they are nothing special at all.

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I can understand that, even if live I’ve always felt benefits were hidden/diminished.

But it’s always been my hope that FMR would come out with a simple stereo Really Nice EQ in the RNC format, alas they never have.


To shed a little light on why you might feel you prefer analogue EQs, especially those in your A&H: their EQs are actually extremely carefully tuned and use really musical curves and well chosen frequencies and slopes. That’s one big reason why they sound better - I have no idea if the K-Mix EQ slopes, centre frequencies, and Q are well chosen - or maybe they just don’t gel for you. That’s going to be the first probable reason why you prefer the A&H EQs - they’ve got a great reputation for being “musical” by virtue of their design (to wit: their digital EQs also sound fantastic - just ask anyone with a Qu-SB, Qu-Pac, or Qu-24 around here).

Their EQs are actually a selling point of their consoles - I wouldn’t call them nothing special by any means!

A big screed on EQ, phase response, and why digital gets stuck with a bad rap

Any EQ is an EQ: it’s not whether it’s digital or analogue that makes it musical, warm, better, etc. It’s how well it’s designed and implemented - there are ghastly analogue EQs and stunning digital ones, etc.

Another reason people often hear differences they associate negatively with digital EQ is that of phase response - not all digital EQs are designed with much attention paid to the phase response of the EQ, though most of the really good ones are designed with the same attention that good analogue EQs are, and sound equally as fantastic. The phase response matters for two big reasons and a host of lesser:

  1. When an EQ is only partially applied to a signal, it will alter the phase of even the portion of the signal that it is not affecting (e.g. your cut at 10kHz is actually changing the phase of the signal at 100Hz too), this can, through comb filtering, alter the harmonic content of the mix as a whole.

  2. When the EQ makes a large change to a very narrow range of frequencies (high-Q) the phase necessarily and radically changes in that narrow section - which can alter even those local frequency’s responses relative to each other in a surprisingly wide range around the notch or boost. This also changes the audible harmonic relationships in the mix.

By carefully choosing EQ implementations which either reduce the total phase change (so-called “minimum phase” designs - though they are not all equally “musical”) or reduce the *change in the phase change" (so-called “linear phase” designs - most if not all of these are digital for technical reasons) you can reduce the negative aspects of phase response while emphasizing (hopefully) positive ones. This is a choice left up to the designer of the EQ, and is one of the reasons why some EQs are legendary and countless others are only ordinary.

Now, I’m not a golden eared audiophile, and I’m not an EQ connoisseur either, but one of the things I have noticed is that EQs which have a pleasing phase response, are chosen with more gentle slopes (lower Q) and have well-placed centre frequencies (if they aren’t parametric) tend to sound fantastic no matter what implementation they come in. You’ll notice this FAR more than whether it’s analogue or digital.

Sound on Sound has a great explanation of most of this at https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/whats-frequency if you want to go deeper but still keep it at mostly layman’s terms…

Another thing to think about: analogue gear almost always comes with side effects to the sound - think of the harmonics of tube amplifiers, or the way that saturation distortion in the gain stages of a preamp lends character to a sound - it might be good character, or bad (that’s up to you to decide!) but it’s unavoidable. Digital stuff tends to lack those side effects - clipping and other utilization/design faults notwithstanding - that make digital gear sound “lifeless”, “sterile”, “lacking warmth” etc. What you’re hearing is the transformation of your audio without the expected side effects you’ve come to be used to from the analogue gear. This is a HUGE part of why digital emulations of analogue hardware exist: because those side effects are considered an essential part of the gear’s sound and they are HARD to replicate digitally - they take additional effort, computation, and analysis to identify and create whereas with the analogue circuitry they just show up - often to the designer’s chagrin and despite their great efforts! :slight_smile:

So, while I’m entirely with you that some, especially well done analogue EQs sound astoundingly good, almost like an audio enhancer in their own way (because, quite literally, their side effects are doing precisely that), I’m not down with the idea that digital is inherently worse, less musical, defective, deficient, or even remotely incapable of replicating the same experience. In fact we can do more (and, if you ask a mastering engineer, sometimes much better) with digital EQs than we can with analogue, by nature of the limited circuit choices we have in the analogue/time domain versus the algorithmic tricks we can pull in the frequency domain. Again, neither is actually better, they’re both tools. But they must be considered on the merits of an EQ, not by whether the underlying technology is numeric.


Oh, thank you for all the info.

Yeah I found heat pretty good for this purpose…


I think the most interesting thing about this thread is learning how few options there are.

Has anyone mentioned the SSL SiX? It has two switchable EQ, shelf and bell. It’s a bit overdoing it for your cause but you could use it to replace your summing mixer.


True. When I bought the summing mixer, I didn’t even look for that extensively for EQ options as I just assumed there would be plenty. But obviously I was wrong :slight_smile:

The SSL sure is cool but initially I was thinking about something a lot smaller and cheaper. More like a trusted little helper than some high-end studio gear. But we all know how these things end.


if you did find just and EQ I would be weary of not having a dedicated gain out, level meter, and headphone monitoring for those times when the sound person is slacking or to figure out where the issue is. 500 would be the place to go for just an EQ.

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This is not so small, so not super good for live use, but I’m fairly certain you’ll love the sound @boboter. I have mine back in Athens and I do miss it. Hainbach gave me the hint to get one years ago and I’m super happy that I heeded his advice.

In fact I used it to write the music for this small video my brother made. All sounds are a from a Korg SV-1 piano, through the Vermona EQ.



Oh, I am very sure I would love. But not for the planned purpose :slight_smile:

Very cool music.

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To be honest I think your best bet would be to consolidate the mixing and EQ sections and get a small analog console that does both. I know that’s a tricky subject, and we’ve discussed this a bit, but I think you’ll find more options in that section than looking for a standalone EQ. That being said, have you considered that old half-rack Boss micro rack series?

I’m fairly certain the series contained both a graphic EQ and a parametric one. Not sure if those were stereo, but they’re small and I do think they’re analog. Worth the investigation!

As always, good luck my friend.


Doesn’t seem to be stereo unfortunately (https://reverb.com/p/boss-rpq-10-micro-rack-series-preamp-slash-parametric-eq) but that being said, maybe look into the half-rack options out there. There’s bound to be something that fits your needs.

My personal favourite is the Bugbrand PEQ which is mono but … damn, it’s just perfect. I have two for live purposes.

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I would never use a pedal eq. They tend to lack headroom. Graphic eqs are fiddly and best used on sculpting individual tracks or guitars.

Your best bet for something that will just work is an A&H mixer.
Step up from that would be racked Neotek strips.

For more colored sound, 2 Capi BT50s or their other eqs (sounds like vintage API and a lot cheaper, DIY kits), Heritage Audio Elite (Neve 1073 circuit adapted to cheaper manufacturing methods), or above mentioned Kush Audio would sound best in a portable solution - having sweepable mids without being clinical.

Or just gig with a Curve Bender, Siemens W295bs, or two Neve Shelford channels lol.