It’s no secret that these days you have effects pedals for just about anything. Some are more practical than others, but generally all of them contribute to creating a richer and more pleasing tone.
One of the effects pedals that adds a lot of versatility to your tone are the EQ pedals. This is where a decent amount of guitar players get confused.
You have some EQ controls on your guitar, as well as your amp, so why would you need a dedicated EQ pedal?
The answer to this question is simple. An EQ pedal gives you another layer of tone management, which can’t be achieved using the controls you have on your guitar or amp. EQ pedals are not only great when you want to ‘scoop mids’ which appears to be the most common misconception.
They bring a whole variety of tone adjustments which give you, the guitarist, a lot more fidelity at the end of the day. The topic of this review is going to be a very decent EQ pedal. It goes by the name of MXR Six Band EQ, and it packs a mean punch.
Not all EQ pedals are created equal
As a company, MXR is an already established name. They offer a whole range of different effects pedals which are generally liked by the community. Their EQ pedals, like this Six Band, bring a very traditional approach in a modern package.
Not all EQ pedals are created equal, and this one is definitely in the upper end of the list.
One of the main benefits of this MXR’s pedal is its clean layout supported by a very broad performance potential. Whichever application you have in mind for it, as long as it’s in the scope of what an EQ should be able to do, will give you great results.
When they designed this pedal, MXR kept things pretty conservative and simple. The pedal comes in a heavy duty metal enclosure which is more than capable of taking the abuse of constant stage use.
It’s an all black design with white details which gives it a very vintage aesthetic. On the top panel of the MXR Six Band EQ, you will find a standard set of feel sliders. There are six of them, hence the name Six Band EQ. Each slider correlates with a certain frequency, which range from 100Hz to 3.2kHz
Sliders themselves have built in LED lights that allow you to use this pedal even in conditions where there is not enough light around to see the levels clearly. Underneath the the main control cluster, you will find a standard stomp switch which offers true bypass.
On the performance side of the equation, things get very interesting. MXR Six Band EQ is often times praised for its rugged approach to tone equalizing. The frequencies chosen by MXR offer a great balance tone control and ease of use. Overall, this pedal is capable of giving you 18dB of tone boost, as well as 18dB of attenuation. That’s a serious range for a rather affordable effects pedal.
The quality of tone MXR Six Band EQ offers is decent to say the least. When you cut on a certain part of the frequency range, the remaining signal sounds very natural and organic. One of the most popular applications for this specific pedal is to boost the low end. It really adds a whole layer of width to the bass side of the business, given that you’ve set everything else properly.
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to EQ pedals is their effect on the tone when all of the sliders are set to neutral. Some models will change the nature of your tone even when you’ve made no adjustments to the EQ. That is definitely not the case with MXR Six Band EQ. As a matter of fact, majority of guitarists prefer this model over MXR’s 10 band EQ.
Being so versatile, its great for those who want to have some extra boost during solo sections, as well as those who need wrangle their mids. One thing to notice is that MXR Six Band EQ performs differently depending on your gear setup.
With that in mind, it might take some effort to figure out what is the best way to use it with your specific configuration.
What we like
What MXR managed to create with the Six Band EQ is a very practical and capable pedal that offers raw performance. There are no unnecessary features, nothing that is trying to give this pedal multi-purpose role. It’s an EQ in the most basic sense of the term. With that said, the price to performance ratio is exceptional. For a reasonable amount of money you get a pedal that is truly a great tool.
What we don’t like
There is honestly not much, if anything, we can name as a flaw on MXR Six Band EQ. The pedal does that it’s meant to do, and it does it well. It might be a bit tricky to figure out depending on your gear setup, but that hardly a flaw by any standards.
Deciding whether or not you need an EQ pedal, and then which one to get, is a very case specific task. Sometimes these pedals will add a whole new dimension to your sound, while other times they will actually take away some tonal quality.
Figuring this out is something you need to do on your own. With that said, we feel that MXR’s Six Band EQ uses an approach more manufacturers should look up to.
They have managed to deliver a great pedal at a reasonable cost, which is also packed with potential. Whether you’re looking for raw signal cut/boost, or a way to refine your tone, this pedal does it all.
The conservative feel slider cluster is still the most practical way to adjust EQ. Some will find it to be too old school, but generally we like that vintage aesthetic and type of control.