Empress Para EQ w/Boost


New member
Now for the Empress Para EQ

For the TL;DR types: Well built, great sound, nearly complete control over changes. No MIDI, no presets, set-and-forget sorta thing, no power supply included. Good for some people, not for me so I'm returning it.

Just like with the Empress SD, this is an impressive unit in and of itself. I didn't mention this with the SD, but Empress really knows how to build their shit - the unit feels solid, the knobs have a very smooth and linear feel, the switches have an authoritative 'click' when switched, and the feeling of plugging a cable into the jacks make you confident that a connection is securely made. There are a total of 7 knobs, 4 mini-switches and one button.

For those uninformed, there are some differences that should be noted between a parametric eq and a graphic eq. Both are great for shaping your sound, but a parametric eq gives you greater control over your sound. With a graphic eq, you're limited by the manufacturer's preset frequencies, the range of frequencies (if it's not full range) and the Q (that is, the curvature) of each frequency - you can't dictate how 'wide' you want your changes to vary and how they taper off. A parametric EQ typically covers the full audible range and allow you to hone in the frequencies you want to affect.

The button is to activate or bypass the eq. The knob in the upper right is a boost (which, in my experience also slightly compresses the signal) and gives you up to 30dB of boost. One of the mini-switches is an input pad, selectable between 0, -6dB and -12dB.

The eq controls themselves are pretty extensive and I'd be hard-pressed to find them limiting in anyway. You have a knob for the gain and frequency and a switch for the Q of each eq section - low, mid and high. Each gain knob has a range of -15dB to +15db (with noon being '0'). The low frequency ranges from 35Hz to 500Hz; mid ranges from 250Hz to 5kHz; and the low ranges from 1kHz to 20kHz. The Q miniswitches are the same for low, mid and high: regular Q, thin Q and wide Q.

Now considering this is my first experience with an external eq (parametric eq or otherwise when it comes to guitars), I found it both fun and frustrating. It's an awesome pedal in that it sounds great and only slightly changes the original signal with everything at noon and the boost and input pad at '0'. It's frustrating in that the full range and overall control give you a ton to mess with and it can take some time really honing in on what you want to change about your sound. The changes you can make are impressive - you really can shape your sound all you want, and the result is high-quality.

My complaints: it's not MIDI capable (of course), it didn't come with a power supply (surprising considering the cost), and you can't change settings on the fly.

Sadly, I'll be returning this. I was really impressed with vid and clip demoes I'd checked out, but unfortunately, this isn't for me. I'm already really happy with my sound as is, so adding another element for me to mess with that takes a while to dial in what I have in mind isn't something I necessarily want to deal with. I can really see this being useful for someone that is having noise problems, wants to affect only one channel, wants to use this as a supplementary channel, or to use as outboard gear for a mix or master, etc. None of those apply to me, so back it goes. Fun to mess with, but not enough so that I want to keep it.