Are you trying to find the missing ingredient to unlocking your ultimate guitar tone? An EQ pedal can be an excellent effect to add to your signal chain. These pedals allow a guitarist to shape their guitar’s tone with pinpoint accuracy. We’ll take a look a the best EQ pedals for metal so you can see which one might be right for unlocking your bombastic tones.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your clean tone see our How to Get a Good Clean Guitar Tone post.
What is an EQ Pedal?
A guitar signal typically has a frequency range of 80 to 1200 Hz. EQ pedals usually consist of a graphic interface of bandpass filter sliders that adjust specific parameters within this frequency range. If you are looking for the most control over these parameters, you will likely want a pedal with many sliders. You can usually find EQ pedals in the following formats:
- 3-band EQ (offering basic controls for Treble, Mid, and Bass)
- 5-band EQ
- 7-band EQ
- 10-band EQ (offering the most control over EQ)
For more information about EQ pedals read our What Does an EQ Pedal Do, and How Does it Work? post.
Why Would You Want an EQ Pedal for Metal?
There are a variety of reasons you would want to use an EQ pedal for metal tones.
- You can shape your tone as desired.
- When placed after a distortion pedal, an EQ pedal effectively allows you to shape the tonal structure of your distortion.
- An EQ pedal can provide a clean boost if needed.
Overview of the Best EQ Pedals for Metal
Here are some of the best EQ pedals available on the market, ideal for metal guitarists. These EQ pedals can make great utility pedals, allowing you to shape your tone until your heart is content.
To give an overview, the MXR M108S Ten Band EQ is perhaps the best EQ pedal available while still being relatively affordable.
The Boss GE-7 is an EQ pedal that packs the most value per cost and with years of road-worn reputation.
Those on a strict budget will find the Caline USA CP-24 to be a fully functional 10-band EQ pedal at a fraction of the cost of some of the other pedals on this list.
Those with no budgetary concerns will find the Fishman Platinum Pro EQ/DI Analog Preamp pedal a fully immersive pedal that has multi-functionality beyond standard EQ controls.
If you’re a beginner looking for their first EQ pedal, the EX EQ7 is a great contender, packing a wealth of EQ control in a small form factor while remaining relatively wallet-friendly for any budget.
Read on to learn more about these excellent EQ pedals in greater detail. By the end of the article, you will have a grasp of the functionality of each of these pedals, which can help you make an informed buying decision in a market flooded with many great options for EQ pedals.
MXR M108S Ten Band EQ – Best Overall EQ Pedal for Metal
The MXR108S Ten Band EQ is one of the very best EQ pedals available on the market for guitarists. As the name implies, the pedal features 10 bandpass adjustment sliders for complete tonal control. The pedal has adjustment parameters for a frequency range of 31.25 to 16,000 Hz.
The pedal also features up to 12 decibels of boost or cut, which can be great for compensating specific frequencies in your tone. Volume and gain sliders provide extra boost/cut functionality.
The MXR 108S is a durable pedal constructed in a sturdy aluminum housing. The pedal is true bypass and requires an 18-volt DC power supply (which is included). Stereo output is also available as the pedal offers 2 output signals.
- 10 bandpass filters plus sliders for volume and gain gives you complete control over tonal frequencies
- Relatively affordable
- 12 decibels of boost or cut
- Stereo output if needed
- 18-volt DC power supply means that your pedalboard power supply will need to have accommodation beyond standard 9-volt power if not using provided power supply
Boss GE-7 – Best Value EQ Pedal for Metal
- 7 bandpass sliders
- 15 decibels of boost or cut
- BOSS reliability
The Boss GE-7 EQ pedal has a longstanding reputation for being a reliable EQ pedal that offers excellent tonal flexibility. The pedal also has an excellent reputation for responding well with distortion pedals, ideal for metal guitarists.
This 7-band EQ covers a frequency range of 100 to 6400 Hz. Each bandpass slider has up to 15 decibels of boost or cut available and a master-level slider to control the overall output of the pedal.
The Boss GE-7 is relatively easy to use and is built into the classic Boss pedal form factor that nearly all their pedals use. A standard 9-volt DC power supply or battery is needed to power the pedal.
- 15 decibels of boost or cut with each of the 7 bandpass sliders
- Easy and straightforward to use
- Longstanding reputation
- Relatively affordable
- It will not offer the range of adjustment seen on a 10-band EQ pedal.
Caline USA CP-24 – Best Budget EQ for Metal
If you’re on a tight budget but still looking for a fully comprehensive EQ pedal, the Caline USA CP-24 is an excellent option. This straightforward EQ pedal offers much of the same effect as some higher-end EQ pedals at a serious fraction of the price.
The Caline USA CP-24 is a 10-band EQ pedal with adjustments in a frequency range of 31.25 to 16,000 Hz. 12 decibels of boost or cut are also available on each bandpass slider. A gain slider adjusts the overall volume.
This EQ pedal is constructed in durable aluminum housing and features a unique vintage-looking design that is sure to be eye-popping on any pedalboard. The CP-24 has true bypass and is powered by a standard 9-volt DC power supply.
- 10-band EQ that is extremely wallet-friendy
- Attractive vintage design and color scheme
- Durable aluminum housing
- No battery-powered functionality
Fishman Platinum Pro EQ/DI Analog Preamp – Best Premium/High End
If you have no budgetary concerns and are looking for the absolute best tonal frequency control, the Fishman Platinum Pro EQ/DI Analog Preamp is about the best that money can buy. This pedal has multiple functionalities beyond standard EQ control.
This pedal features a 5-band EQ with knob controls over bass, mids, treble, a low-frequency adjustment, and the overall tonal frequency. Compensate for feedback with the notch knob.
This Fishman pedal also has a control for brilliance, which adjusts the overall brightness of the tone. A compressor knob also adds compression to the guitar’s tone.
In addition to this, a volume knob controls the overall volume of the guitar signal passing through the pedal. A selector switch is provided for easy switching between guitar and bass, allowing you to easily use the pedal for any instrument you may decide to play.
If this wasn’t enough, the Fishman Platinum Pro EQ/DI Analog Preamp features a built-in tuner with a digital graphic interface to show the tuning status of each string. The pedal has two separate footswitch controls, one for the tuner and one for turning on the pedal’s EQ section.
- Multi-use EQ pedal that has complete control capabilities over EQ ranges
- Built-in tuner and compression capabilities
- It can easily be used for guitar and bass
- It might be overkill for some guitarists
EX EQ7 – Best Metal EQ Pedal for Beginners
What makes a pedal the best for beginners? The right pedal is easy to use, offers excellent functionality, and is wallet-friendly. The EX EQ7 fits this specification nicely and would be a great addition to any pedalboard, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player.
The EX EQ7 is a 7-band EQ pedal with an effective frequency range of 63 to 5,000 Hz. This pedal will effectively cover most of the broad spectrum of frequency ranges of the guitar.
15 decibels of boost or cut are available for each frequency band. Level control is also provided on the pedal for overall volume coming from the EQ7. A standard 9-volt DC power supply powers the pedal.
To top it off, the EX EQ7 features a miniature-sized form factor that can save space on a crowded pedalboard. This space-saving feature is a welcome feature, as many of the EQ pedals on this list tend to be either slightly larger or nearly triple the size of this pedal.
- 7-band EQ in a space-saving mini-sized footprint
- Straightforward and easy to use
- Easy on any budget
- Some may prefer to have control on frequency ranges below 60 Hz
Boss EQ-200 – Best Metal EQ with Modern Features
If you’re a guitarist who frequently plays in the same rooms, each room having different ideal EQ settings, the Boss EQ-200 is one of the best EQ pedals you can buy.
The Boss EQ-200 effectively has 2 x 10-band EQ frequency interfaces, allowing for complete tonal control over the guitar signal, with adjustments for a frequency range of 30 to 12,800 Hz. A level slider controls overall volume. Set up to 15 decibels of boost or cut with each slider.
Each of the two different 10-band EQ interfaces runs simultaneously in series, parallel, and stereo configurations. Stereo input and output jacks are provided.
In addition to the standard bandpass sliders, as seen on many other EQ pedals, the Boss EQ-200 features a digital graphic interface that shows the EQ curve of the setting being used.
One of the most attractive things about the Boss EQ-200 is its memory capabilities, allowing you to store up to 4 different EQ parameter settings.
Storing presets is ideal for those who frequently play in rooms with different resonant frequencies, as it allows you to recall your preferred EQ settings.
Presets are also helpful if you use multiple guitars live and use different EQ settings for each guitar.
The pedal also protects against settings movement by using a panel lock, ensuring that your sliders stay locked in place.
The Boss EQ-200 is a true bypass pedal with buffered switching and is powered by a 9-volt DC power supply. The pedal also features USB connectivity to connect to a computer and update the pedal’s firmware.
- Memory functions allow the guitarist to recall favorite EQ settings
- Panel-lock for protection against accidental movement of settings
- Two different 10-band EQ’s that can be run in multiple different configurations
- It might be overkill for some guitarists
- Not very budget-friendly
An EQ pedal certainly won’t be a pedal that will turn heads in astonishment because of the unique tone that comes from the pedal. Instead, these pedals are often used in an on-all-the-time manner and are happy to be used in the background. Regardless, these highly capable guitar pedals should not be overlooked, especially if you have tonal issues that you can’t quite figure out.
EQ pedals can be a lifesaver by allowing you to shape the tonal characteristics of your guitar tone and will enable you to shape the sound of your distortion by placing the pedal after the distortion section of your pedalboard. Because of this, metal guitarists especially will find a great use for these utility pedals.
Those with no budgetary concerns will find the Fishman Platinum Pro EQ/DI Analog Preamp a multi-use EQ pedal that can provide effects beyond traditional EQ.
Similarly, the Boss EQ-200 is an excellent option for those looking for an EQ pedal with multiple configuration possibilities coupled with memory-based settings.
It is essential to try these pedals out firsthand to see and hear the difference each of these EQ pedals can make for your guitar tone. Musical (and tonal) taste is a subjective matter entirely different from person to person. Many music shops will allow a guitarist to bring their gear in to try out pedals, ultimately providing the best example of how a pedal may respond to the rest of their equipment.