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Best graphic equalizer 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated November 1, 2018
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Norman RyanI’m Willow Norman Ryan. My friends call me “stone” and it just kind of stuck. I spent 28 hours researching and testing 20 different types of graphic equalizer and found that material, variety of sizes, and style were most important.

Just read here for my top 3 recommendations. Why are these 3 graphic equalizer on top of my list? Well read on… In this section we provide our readers with a comparison table of our top picks. Scroll past the table for a closer look at each of the 3 best graphic equalizer in our review section.

Best graphic equalizer of 2018

I’ve based my selection methodology on customer feedback, the size, functionality, and budget to meet various demands. Simply review and buy them.

You must have heard that the best graphic equalizer should allow you to save money, right? Sure, but that’s not the only reason you should consider getting one. I make the search easier for you, by reviewing the best graphic equalizer on the market.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Product
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Style
5 points
4 points
5 points
Materials
5 points
4 points
4 points
Durability
5 points
5 points
4 points
Value
4 points
5 points
4 points
Awards 1
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How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the graphic equalizer by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.

 

 

№1 – BEHRINGER ULTRAGRAPH PRO FBQ1502HD

 
BEHRINGER ULTRAGRAPH PRO FBQ1502HD

Pros
Professional 15-band stereo graphic equalizer for live and studio applications
Revolutionary FBQ Feedback Detection system instantly reveals critical frequencies and can also be used as audio analyzer
Ultra-low noise 4580 operational amplifiers for highest signal integrity
Cons
Not found yet.
 
Total:
4.8

Why did this graphic equalizer win the first place?

I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.

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Style
5

5star

Materials
5

5star

Durability
5

5star

Value
4

4star

 

 

№2 – Rockville REQ42-B Black 19″ Rack Mount 2 x 21 Band Equalizer w/Spectrum Analyzer

 
Rockville REQ42-B Black 19

Pros
Rockville REQ42-B Black 19″ Rack Mount 2 x 21 Band Equalizer w/Spectrum Analyzer. 19″ Rack Mountable.
Dual Channel 21+21 Band Graphic Equalizer (total of 42 bands). Blue LED on each Equalizer Slide Control.
RCA stereo input: DVD/Tape/Tuner/Aux-MP3 with Front Panel Selector Switch. RCA Stereo Record Output.
Cons
A little on the heavy side.
Limited official sellers leave room for fakes.
 
Total:
4.5

Why did this graphic equalizer come in second place?

I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice.

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Style
4

4star

Materials
4

4star

Durability
5

5star

Value
5

5star

 

 

№3 – BEHRINGER MINIFBQ FBQ800

 
BEHRINGER MINIFBQ FBQ800

Pros
Ultra-compact 9.5″ graphic equalizer for studio and stage applications
Revolutionary FBQ Feedback Detection system instantly reveals critical frequencies and can also be used as Audio Analyzer
Additional Low-cut filter removes unwanted frequencies, e. g. floor rumble
Cons
The large size.
Pretty costly.
 
Total:
4.3

Why did this graphic equalizer take third place?

It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.

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Style
5

5star

Materials
4

4star

Durability
4

4star

Value
4

4star

 

 

graphic equalizer Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy graphic equalizer, right? No!

What to look for in an EQ pedal

Tweakability (number of bands): You’ll see EQs often separated into the number of “bands” you can tweak. This is essentially the number of more-or-less even vertical slices that the spectrum is split up into. The more bands you have, the more tweakable the EQ is. The equalizer pedals we recommend in this guide start at bands (low mid and high), and go up to as many as One is not better than the other. It comes down to personal preference and how much fine tuned control you think you need.

Ease of use (knobs vs sliders): Some EQ pedals for guitar have knobs to adjust the frequencies, and some have sliders. The more controls there are, typically the smaller the spacing between them. If the spacing gets very small, it can be more difficult to dial in the right settings precisely (this could be a problem if you have a crowded pedalboard, or you play in dimly lit venues, or your fingers are large).

Size of the pedal: The physical size of a pedal is a consideration when shopping for most guitar pedals, but it’s particularly important with an EQ pedal. You might not care about pedals with more “active usage” like distortion or delay. However, it’s possible that you set your EQ pedal to a single setting and let it stay like that for the duration of your playing. In that case, you might want the pedal to be smaller to save precious room on your pedalboard.

Noise/hiss: Some pedals you leave on all the time, some not. As you might leave your EQ pedal on throughout your playing sessions, we’ll need to make sure to pick one that doesn’t introduce any extra noise or hum into your signal chain.

Behringer Ultragraph Pro FBQ1502HD

Last up, the Behringer Ultragraph Pro FBQ1502HD was designed to take the traditional technological standards associated with classic analogue equalizers and bring them up to new 21st century standards. Boasting the brand’s proprietary FBQ Feedback Detection System and industry-leading 4580 dual operational amplifiers, the FBQ1502HD is a state-of-the-art piece of precision German engineering that’s simply unbeatable for this kind of price. Which is just £99, in case you were wondering.

Forward

Boss Dynamic Wah Guitar and Bass Wah Effects Pedal with Humanizer – Choose between a standard wah effect or use the Humanizer mode to incorporate vowel sounds that resemble a human voice. It features a dedicated bass input.

The wah wah pedal was introduced in the Now, almost half a century later, Electro-Harmonix has solved many of its inherent problems by creating a gorgeous wah with absolutely no moving parts and the sweetest tone.

Choosing the Right Connection

There are many different ways that you can connect a device to a Bluetooth speaker, but not all Bluetooth speakers offer all options. In general, they will all allow you to connect via Bluetooth, but not all of them allow you to connect to older devices using an Aux-in port. This article explains in detail the different types of connection options you can expect to find in Bluetooth speakers.

Choosing the Right Power Source

It’s important to keep in mind that not all Bluetooth speakers are truly portable. Some of them rely on AC power to keep them running so you can’t really take them to the beach. In this article we examine the pros and cons of purchasing a Bluetooth speaker that runs on AC power versus one that runs on battery power.

A Speaker to Withstand a Little Water

When purchasing a Bluetooth speaker it’s a good idea to look for one that can withstand some exposure to water. When you’re looking at speakers you’ll want to pay close attention to whether the speaker is water resistant or waterproof, as there’s a large difference between the two. If you click on this link you’ll find an in-depth explanation of the rating system that designates if a speaker is water resistant or waterproof.

Choosing between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Bluetooth speakers are not the only types of home audio equipment that offer wireless capability. Another common type of wireless speaker is a Wi-Fi speaker. In this article we examine the pros and cons of both types of speakers in order to help you decide which option is better for you.

The speaker position isn’t ideal for landscape play

Enable MaxxAudio and your tunes are given a bit of a boost, with beefier bass the main component in play.

It provides enhancement across the board as standard, and you can jump into the graphic equalizer to fine-tune your playback further – there are a range of preset options, or if you know exactly what you want you can tinker with it freestyle.

The results are noticeable, but they’re not quite as rich as the BoomSound technology found on the HTC One M9, while the down-facing speaker is no match for HTC’s dual front-facing offering.

Crank the volume up too high on the OnePlus and the internal speaker will start to distort your tunes –you’re much better off using headphones.

You can even set sound profiles for different types of playback, with music being joined by movies and gaming, enabling you to create three different setups for the three activities.

To switch between preset profiles hit the volume rocker during playback, and you’ll see a bar at the top of the screen enabling you to jump between them.

Google’s Play Music app comes pre-installed on the OnePlus 2, giving you access to the search giant’s own music streaming subscription service as well as a player for all your own songs stored on the handset or in the cloud.

With some serious power under the hood, the OnePlus can handle pretty much any game you throw at it. The graphically-intensive Real Racing and power-zapping Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff load quickly and run smoothly on the handset.

I found the OnePlus to be a strong on-the-go gaming machine, with the large display providing a lot of real estate for onscreen controls as well as the action – although my hand tended to cover the speaker during landscape play.

The even weighting of the device makes it comfortable to hold for extended gaming sessions, although you will feel it start to heat up after particularly long periods of play; it doesn’t get to excessive levels, but you’ll probably want to put it down and let it cool off.

With the growth of services like Spotify

Read More  and the increasing popularity of podcasts

The JVC KW V830BT Double Din Bluetooth is one of the best car stereo receivers from JVC that comes with an inbuilt Bluetooth technology for audio streaming and hands free talking. The hands-free profile will allow you to connect to several mobile phones which are compatible.

Its video/audio remote control profile will make it possible for you to access functions of remote control which are basic such as pause and play through the Bluetooth. Also, the advanced audio distribution profile of the car stereo receiver will allow you to access high-quality audio streaming from an audio device.

Pioneer SPH DA120 Capacitive Touchscreen

For hands free calling and video streaming, it uses the built-in Bluetooth. And for display, it has a 6.inch capacitive touchscreen display. The built-in audio setting makes your music listening experience including a 1band EQ that has a slope adjustment supported with a FLAC, and pre outs file support.

It simplifies through the combination of all the information you need at your fingertips. You will be able to get easy access to information which is personalized needed while you are on the move including news, calendar, maps, and, media.

Pioneer AVH-290BT Multimedia Receiver Bluetooth

When you purchase the Pioneer Multimedia Bluetooth DVD Receiver, you will be able to have the privilege of answering calls by use of just one button. On top of that, you will have the advantage of being able to access any media that is on a smartphone with the attached Bluetooth, wirelessly.

The screen at 6.inches, enables you to have a good time as it is user-friendly and at the same time, you have the advantage of being able to change the display color to your liking.

Pioneer AVHX3800BHS Receiver Bluetooth AppRadio

With the Pioneer AVH X3800 BHS double DIN Reciever with a 6.inches touchscreen with Bluetooth features a responsive, intuitive and powerful NEX user interface which comes with a dual Bluetooth connection to allow for two phones to be connected at the same time.

It has a home screen shortcuts customization and a 1background, splash screen displays. Its resolution is at WVGA 800 by 480 and a signal to noise ratio of 91dBA.

JVC KENWOOD

Boss Audio systems have been in the shops since 198It is a brand which since then, has been specializing in manufacturing brands which I could say, might be eye-catching and quality and that is why they have been able to compete favorably with other brands.

They are known for producing products for the water, the road, and off the road. Most if not all their products that I have been able to use come with warranties and I could say that they are fairly priced if I compare their prices to the quality of the brands.

It has branches all over the world thus making it easy to access its car audio and video products. In total, it has over 400 audio/video products for cars which are sold in over 130 countries.

Whatever fits your ride could be gotten from Pioneer. You could configure your audio sound that fits your pockets regarding price, functionality, and sound that can entertain you according to your test.

You can have a variety of them to pick from as there are varies series that some users claim could be the best. But to find out, you can try it for yourself.

According to those who have used it, they claim that it offers a different experience on the go. Their mobile entertainment technology has been modified year in year out, and reading about it on the internet makes one have this feeling that, their sleek looking MP1516BT single-DIN CD/MPcould compete well with other double din head units in the market.

Most of its audio products are claimed to have strong features which can allow the user to enjoy the music from external media devices. Some of its users have regarded the built-in Bluetooth system in its products as an added advantage.

JVC Kenwood is a big brand that spread their services to almost all countries in the world. The brand is also known to produce car audio components. The brand is the leading car streo head unit manufacturers in the world. Their car head unit are known to offer a user-friendly experience and produce high-quality sound.

JVC Kenwood products are made of high advance technology that boosts ease of use and performance. Most of their clients have given positive reviews about their products and customer services. Getting a product from this brand means getting a good quality product for your car. The company has been in existence on the market for more than 30 years.

Double Din Car Stereos

The dimension of a single DIN car stereo measures – 1/inches in width and – 1/inches in height. Some cars come with this type of stereos, which is standard for them and if you have this, then it can be impossible for you to upgrade to a double DIN car stereo.

What you need to know about the din is that it doesn’t mean that a double din head is better than a single din head unit. The only main difference comes regarding display, and if that is what is your worry and yet you have a single DIN which cannot display, there are several modern single din head units which have a flip out or retractable widescreen touch display. So before you decide that you need a double DIN car stereo, it is important to remember that your personal preferences matter a lot.

It is another common type of car stereo which is standard worldwide. It is a bit wide and high as compared to the single DIN car stereos.

It has a built-in screen touch display, which varies in size: from 3.inches or as large as inches. You can be lucky if you have a vehicle which is equipped with a double din stereo due to the flexibility to replace or upgrade it with an aftermarket double DIN stereo.

It is also possible to downgrade, but which is not recommended and it can only be done using a mounting bracket kit. If you downgrade it to a single din, it can mean that it can make you remain with the space of your dashboard which you can use as a storage compartment or even be used as an additional compartment like a graphic equalizer.

Pre-Amp Outputs

If you are to get state of the art speaker systems for your car, it is important that you pay close attention to pre-amp outputs. It refers to the amount of signal which you are going to receive before it becomes amplified.

Your listening experience can go to a notch higher with an increase in the outputs as it enables you to be able to customize it to your liking. How does it work? Well, you can hook up to three amplifiers to your head unit, which can then enable you to adjust the sound as you please.

Power

If you love a stereo that sounds powerful, then you are better off going for a head unit which is strong. The more the power the double din head unit produces, the better you can enjoy the overall output. It is important to put into consideration the RMS and peak of different models that you explore the shops.  The peak power is the capability of your stereo to go up in short bursts, but in case you decide to sustain this type of system for longer periods at a high level, it can burst the speakers. You are better off going for an RMS as it can regulate energy for your stereo for a longer period.

For you to purchase, it is advisable that you don’t judge your double din head unit by its peak power rather, by the RMS.

Theft Protection

Thieves find car stereos to be an easy target for their praying hands as it is easy to sell on the street as compared to the entire car with the risk of being caught is low. To ensure that after spending cash to purchase your desired stereo nobody doesn’t come to steal it, you need to install a theft protection.

When leaving the car, take off the face of the head unit and keep it in a different location like the glove box, under the seat, trunk or anywhere you deem safe. It is unlikely that a thief can have to break into your vehicle to access your car stereo because it is not worth the trouble.

Good Display

Thus, it can give you various options to set it up with multiple changing colors. You can have the option of changing color theme or only in some areas of the display. There are models which can change colors in tune with the beat of the song being played in improving your driving experience.

Get a head unit, which has a bright display which might light up too much at night, forcing you to adjust it, but during the day, it can help you to read it when it is sunny. If the display is dim, it can become hard to read on very bright days, which can be inconvenient.

App Control

It is a feature which is present in the latest double DIN head unit. It is an App which allows you to control your phone through the head unit, thus, no need for you to look at the phone.

It is an awesome feature as it can be able to allow you to access the contacts on the phone and other features including radio internet.

Ease Of Installation

Before you choose a double DIN head unit, you should look out for one that is easy to install. There are some manufacturers who are considerate and have come up with gadgets which are easy to install. If you are going to do the installation on your own, it is important that you get a model which has a harness which can enable separation of wires which makes them easier to connect.

Handsfree Operation

A quality head unit can be used as a handsfree device making it possible for you to receive and make calls by connecting your phone to it via Bluetooth.

Your caller can be able to hear you on the other end through an inbuilt microphone or the microphone on the phone, and you can be able to hear them through the speakers.

Other Media Connection

You could have an option of getting a double DIN head unit that could enable you to use devices such as AUX jacks and USB ports. With those above, the upgrade could enable you to older MPplayers, charge your phone and other devices.

How To Remove A Double Din Head Unit From Your Car

If you have an outdated double Din and You are thinking of replacing it with an ultramodern one, then there is an easier way of doing it. And because I did remove mine last week, the step by step is still fresh in my head I can reproduce it here so that it can be of help to you.

Step 1: 

First, the faceplate has to be removed. My stereo has a button placed at one corner, and I just pushed the faceplate forward.

If you model is different from mine, it might be one that all you need to do is to grab the faceplate and pull it off. After you remove the faceplate, keep it safe.

Step 3

After the trim, you should be able to locate the Key Holes. After removing the trim, it is easy to see the Key Holes which are on either side of the stereo. You need to insert the key s in the holes until they click in place. Once that is done, you need to get hold of the keys and pull the stereo out of the dashboard.

Step 4

The last thing is to remove the wires which are easy because at this point, you can see the back of the stereo and all you need to do is to unplug it. Before you do this, make sure that the car’s battery is off. All the wires should be unplugged from the back of the stereo to take it out completely.

How I Test My Double Din Radio Without A Car

You can touch the red, black and the yellow to an av battery and it will light up and act as a normal double din radio in a car. If it has extra features like USB, GPS, you will need a battery that is over volts.

It won’t be necessary to make a new set of a steering wheel just because you have installed a double din head unit. You can only need an adapter to make the new stereo to connect automatically.

For the USB connection, you can have to access your phone functions through the stereo, thus make it easier to use. For an auxiliary cord, you can have to play the audio and music from the jack of your phone’s headphone thus making the quality to depend on the phone.

The work of an antenna is to get hold of the radio waves, and anything that makes it be pulled down inside the car could make it your car stereo not to work well especially the AM/FM part of it. And all you will need to make it work correctly is to pull it back if you find it pulled in and this will automatically improve the reception.

It is also important to note that, any time you go to a car wash, make sure you check out the antenna as the attendant might pull it in and forget to pull it out and thus, affect the reception. If you have an aerial antenna that can be pulled in and out at will, and your reception has been poor of late, it would be worth checking the antenna and make sure that it is in its rightful position.

Audyssey’s standard auto-setup microphone.

For best results, the microphone should be placed on a tripod in the main seating location, away from any surfaces, and you should step out of the room while the system is running.

For best results, the microphone from your A/V receiver should be placed on a tripod.

First, in most cases, you should have all speakers set to “small”, not “large.” When set to large, a speaker plays all frequencies, even low bass that is usually best reserved for your subwoofer(s). If you don’t have a subwoofer, or if your speaker has a built in subwoofer, then you can use the large setting for the main front left/right channels.

The next thing to check on is the crossover; this is the point at which low-frequencies are redirected to your subwoofer instead of your other speakers.  80 Hz is a commonly recommended crossover setting because this is the generally accepted point at which it becomes difficult for humans to localize a sound.  However, it takes a big driver, or lots of smaller drivers, to produce big bass.  If your speakers are not able to reproduce frequencies down to 80Hz at the listening level, you may need to raise the frequency at which the crossover operates.

The crossover adjustment screen in an Onkyo A/V receiver.

Your crossover should be set no lower than the lowest manufacturers’ rated speaker response at +/- 3dB.  You can find this in your users’ manual or on the manufacturers’ website. If you can’t find this specification anywhere, you can guesstimate based on the diameter of the largest driver in your speaker.  For a 6” or larger driver, use 80Hz.  For 4-6”, use 100-120Hz, and for smaller than 4”, use 150-200Hz.

One note:  the distance of your powered subwoofer may have been identified by your automatic setup as being further away than it physically is.  This is to compensate for what’s called phase matching with your other speakers.  Even if the physical distance is closer than the setup microphone identified, it is not advisable to change the subwoofer distance unless something really doesn’t sound right.

You will also want the volume level of your individual speakers to be equal.  A number of things can make one speaker louder than another.  It might be designed to be more sensitive, which means it will play louder than a speaker with lower sensitivity when both speakers are fed the same amount of voltage.  Also, placing a speaker in a corner or near a wall can make some frequencies louder, as can placing a speaker closer to a listener.

SPL meters are invaluable tools for the A/V enthusiast.

Whether you determine your levels with the auto-setup, or by hand, write down your initial settings before making any changes.  This way, you can experiment and still be able to go back to your original settings if you don’t like the results.  Writing down settings will also save you frustration if a guest or child accidentally changes your settings.  In fact, some receivers offer the option of “locking” the settings menu to prevent such a disaster.

Lastly, different speaker models, or the same speaker model at different positions in the room, may have a different tonal response.  By applying equalization to individual speakers, you can make them sound more similar to one another, helping them to blend together.  Just be careful not to get carried away with your EQ.  It’s easy to boost certain frequencies which may sound good on some material, but not others. Also, it’s possible to damage drivers if too much gain is added to certain frequencies. When it comes to EQ, auto or manual, trust your ears.  Listen to familiar material while switching the EQ on and off.  If you don’t like the results, leave it off.

First – You might notice that your receiver has different sound modes, called DSPs, possibly labeled “music” or “movie”; these can drastically alter the sound of your system and should be used wisely. You might even have a night listening mode. Every receiver is different, so read through your manual to see what differences DSPs are offered and what they do.

Second – most new receivers have a “power on” volume you can set, so every time you turn on the receiver, it is at the same volume level. This means that you never have to worry about turning on your system and get blown out of your house.

Third – Have a read through your manual to become familiar with the receiver. Often times, there are settings buried in the menu that can dramatically affect sound quality, but you need to read the manual to find out what they are.

Read about what DSP modes your A/V receiver offers in its manual.

Connected to its calibrated condenser microphone, and supplying its own pink-noise signal to the system, the 14/10’s RTA can be used to measure and display the audio system’s frequency response in the listening room. Then if you push the appropriate buttons, the device will automatically equalize the system for the flattest possible amplitude response, and show the resulting EQ curve on the display. Because pink noise has continually varying level in each octave, each eventually averaging out to flat, it takes upward of 30 seconds for the computer to ascertain exactly what the RTA is reading and to equalize for it. The RTA auto-ranges over a fairly wide range in normal use; that is, it adjusts its sensitivity to the signal level so that the display is always more or less vertically centered. For auto EQ, though, the device requires that the pink-noise signal be above a certain threshold. There’s a volume control for the pink-noise signal, and if this is not set high enough, a red light next to the Average button will flash on and off for a few seconds after you depress the button. If the level is adequate, the red light stays lit until the auto EQ is completed.

The RTA or the auto-equalization function can work on either channel or in both simultaneously, and once you have the EQ curve you want, you can assign it to any one of numbered front-panel buttons for later recall. Another button restores the equalizer to flat response, but all stored curves remain in its memory, even when it is turned off or unplugged from the wall outlet. A lithium battery preserves the stored data during power-off periods, for up to a claimed seven years.

There is no advantage to doing the system EQ manually. The automatic EQ gives the same results in a fraction of the time, and sets the level properly as well. (Manual EQ usually results in the equalizer sounding much softer or louder than the straight-through signal.) Also, pay attention to the fact that one mike position will not give you an accurate assessment of what’s going on response-wise. You must take several EQ runs, from different mike positions near where your ears will be, then average them; the more different mike positions you use, the better the EQ will be.

For program EQ, you must rely on your ears, because music never has a flat frequency response. But you don’t necessarily have to do it for every record that needs it. Apart from storing different curves for averaging, the curve-storage registers and callout buttons have another very useful function: They can eliminate, most of the time, the necessity for laboriously resetting the EQ manually for different recordings. Each time you encounter a recording that needs correction, do it by ear (starting with the system-EQ curve if you choose) and store the result in one of the vacant memories. Then, next time a bad recording comes along, you can try each stored curve before manually doing another and storing it. There are memories, and plus your start-up button No.should be enough for just about any recorded response aberration. You can even copy a curve from one memory into another, by calling it up into the equalizer from one and then storing it in the other. This way, you can “organize” your curves so that the low-numbered buttons are for, say, low-boost curves and the high-numbered buttons are for high-cut curves. This will avoid having to punch all nine before you find something approximating what you need. You can then tweak that one if necessary, but you’re not obliged to store it if it’s similar to another that will be used more often.

Glossary

As a performing musician you want a PA system that can deliver your sound with clarity and definition. But with so many different pieces of equipment designed for different live performance needs, it can be difficult to know just what it is you should be looking for.

Certainly, there are a lot of variables to consider when choosing a PA. For instance, you’ll need to think about the size of your audience, where your performances will be, how portable you need your system to be and how much money you can invest.

This guide will help walk you through these and other important considerations to help you find the gear that’s right for you, whether you’re buying your first PA system or looking to add equipment to your existing system.

PA Systems in a Nutshell

Different PA equipment will have different capabilities, features, and designs associated with each of these functions. Your specific needs will determine what you want out of each.

Prepackaged PA Systems

If you don’t want to get too deeply into the nuts and bolts of PA equipment, you might want to consider one of our complete, live sound PA system packages that include everything you need to get up and running. If you’re new to PA gear, these systems can help you avoid the problems that can arise from mismatched PA components. And by purchasing bundled gear, you can save a lot of money.

Musician’s Friend carries prepackaged systems from great brands like Yamaha, Fender, Behringer, JBL, Peavey, Mackie, Kustom, and many more—all at the best prices you’ll find anywhere—guaranteed.

The Yamaha EMX5016CF / S115V PA Package with Monitors offers a complete live-sound performance solution with carefully matched components for plug ‘n’ play simplicity.

Musician’s Friend offers hundreds of live sound packages to match a wide range of performance needs and budgets.

All-in-one Modular PA Systems

For solo acts, duos and other smaller groups that play in venues lacking a built-in PA, a modular tower system can be a clean, simple way to get heard with a minimum of fuss. These systems typically house a speaker array, mixer and power amp in a single, column-like structure that breaks down for easy transport. Because the components have been optimized to work with each other and the speaker arrays are designed to generate high-quality, room-filling sound, these systems offer an affordable, portable option to standard PAs.

The JBL EON ONE Linear-Array PA System is an excellent example, delivering robust sound that’s highly intelligible. JBL engineers have created an array that serves up pro-quality sound to every corner of the room. A 10” bass-reflex subwoofer adds the kind of bottom end that can sometimes be a weak spot in similar systems. With its Bluetooth streaming capability, you have the option of going wireless—a great feature for active musicians, instructors, and other presenters who roam the stage or room. The 6-band mixer is simple to use and lets you easily connect all your gear. A parametric EQ section helps you dial in your sound with independent channel volume controls, a master volume and an onboard reverb.

The JBL EON ONE is so portable you can carry the entire PA with a single hand, then set it up in seconds.

With its great sound dispersion. the JBL EON ONE is at home in all kinds of settings.

Other modular PAs to consider include the Bose LCompact System with its two inputs, it’s a solid choice for singer-songwriters. The 800-watt Harbinger MuV MLS800 Line Array PA System houses a 3-channel mixer plus HF drivers and an 8” LF driver for convincing sound in smaller venues. For bigger gigs, multiple units can be daisy-chained.

PA Power Amplifiers

One of the most important questions when it comes to PA systems is “How much power do I need?” This is a consideration when purchasing a power amp for the system.The power amp’s job is to boost the low-level signals coming from the mixer and broadcast them through the speakers. How much power it produces is measured in watts. And you want to make sure you’ve got enough wattage to fill the venue without compromising the sound quality.

Exactly how many watts you need hinges on a number of variables. The most obvious of these is the performance location (room size, indoor/outdoor, acoustics). However, there are additional factors that complicate the issue. For instance, there is the efficiency of the speakers (i.e., how much sound the speakers produce per watt of power). There also is the concept of headroom (how much power it takes to handle peaks without distorting) and the desired volume level of the music.

Using speakers with average sensitivity, a rock band playing in a medium-sized club will need around 1,500 watts total power at a minimum, whereas a pop or jazz group might need between 250-750 watts. For simple folk music in the same venue, that requirement can come down to as little as 60 watts. Keep in mind though that these power estimates are generalizations; difficult performance spaces and music with a lot of dynamics can require considerably more power. As we note below, factoring in plenty of headroom will help ensure great sound when you’re performing in a challenging environment.

The very portable Crown XLS100Power Amplifier delivers 350 watts of clean power at ohms and offers extensive user controls including onboard DSP.

It’s important to buy an amp with plenty of power to drive your speakers plus enough headroom to prevent distortion. When shopping for speakers, you’ll see that they have a power rating, measured in watts. As a general rule, you will probably want an amp with twice the wattage of your speaker’s rated power handling to ensure a clean, undistorted signal gets to them. We will discuss this further when we cover PA speakers and their power requirements.

Keep in mind that a stereo power amp provides two channels, each able to drive its own speaker load. So if your amp provides 500 watts per channel, a pair of speakers rated for 250 watts would be a good fit. Note that the rated output for stereo power amps is usually given on a per-channel basis. A rating of “2x450W” indicates that the amp generates up to 450 watts into each of its stereo channels.

Getting to know the mixer

Learning to use a mixer might initially look like a daunting task, with all the buttons, knobs, and faders. But keep in mind that every channel has the same controls. Once you learn how to control one channel, you’ll know how to control every channel.

Compression and limiting

A compressor as the name suggests compresses the overall dynamics of the audio signal limiting the amount of variation between the loudest and softest sounds.It smooths your sound and protects gear by helping to avoid damage caused by clipping—a speaker-destroying phenomenon resulting from overdriving the amplifier into distortion. Well designed compressors not only prevent signal distortion, but add pleasing sustain to your sound.

The dbx 166xs has both compressor and limiter functions to smooth out live sound by producing tighter mixes and fattening up drum sounds.

A similar tool, the limiter keeps your speakers and ears from getting blown out by limiting the peaks in the music. A limiter allows compression to occur only above a set threshold, and the compression ratio can be very high. This prevents clipping, distortion, and other related problems.

Other common processors

Sonic enhancers such as the BBE Sonic Maximizer give your sound more presence by delaying the low frequencies relative to the higher ones, removing subtle inaccuracies in timing to preserve the sonic characteristics of live instruments.

The BBE 382i Stereo Sonic Maximizer enhances high- and low-frequency to help clarify and add punch to your sound.

There are many other processors that offer a huge selection of sound-shaping options to meet all your effects needs. Browse the huge selection of signal processors at Musician’s Friend.

PA Speakers

Once your mixer, signal processing gear, and power amp have shaped your audio signals, it’s your speakers’ job to turn those signals back into physical sound waves. Speakers reinterpret the signal by using the voltage from the amplifier to move their cones back and forth, producing the sound waves that reach the audience’s ears.

Maybe it goes without saying, but speakers play a critical role in delivering quality sound to an audience, and it’s an area where quality gear can make a real difference.

As is true for the power amp, the size of the venue you play will help you decide on the power handling (wattage) and size of the speakers needed. For example, smaller gigs, conferences, and lectures may require about 350-500 watts, while club bands, garage bands, and mobile DJs may need 500-1,000 watts, or even more, depending on the venues they perform in.

Weighing in at a hefty 10lb. each, this pair of Yamaha C215V speaker cabinets have dual 15” woofers and compression drivers mounted on horns to handle high frequencies. Best used in permanent installations, they handle up to 1,000 watts of continuous power.

PA Monitor Speakers

Musicians need to be able to hear themselves and other performers clearly to sound their best, which is why stage monitors are essential. While floor monitors can cause feedback and increase the risk of hearing damage, they are preferred over in-ear monitors by many performers because they are easier to use. These usually wedge-shaped speakers allow performers to hear themselves and play better because of it.

The popular Yamaha A12M Floor Monitor has a a 12” woofer, 1” high-frequency horn, and handles 300 watts of continuous power.

Microphones

Almost every PA system will need mics. With so many types to choose from, you may want to consult the Musician’s Friend Microphone Buying Guide to get familiar with the basics.

There are two major microphone types: dynamic and condenser. Dynamic mics are durable, reliable, and made for onstage use. For vocals you will likely want one similar to the legendary Shure SM58.

The Shure SM5is among the most popular onstage dynamic mics thanks to its bulletproof construction, excellent audio performance, and its versatility in capturing everything from vocals to guitar cabinets.

Condenser mics are made to capture more subtleties, handle high sound pressure levels (SPLs) and capture fast transients. They are usually used for recording, but can also be perfect for live sound. They’re often positioned above drum kits to capture the sound of cymbals. Condenser mics require phantom power, so you will need to ensure that your mixer includes sufficient phantom-powered inputs.

The Blue enCORE 300 Condenser Vocal Mic is designed for highly detailed reproduction of the voice and is built to withstand hand-held use onstage.

To minimize feedback, you also will want a mic that is unidirectional (as opposed to omnidirectional) for vocals and instruments. Unidirectional mics are available with cardioid, supercardioid, and hypercardioid pickup patterns. Cardioid mics are ideal for live sound situations because of their wide, forgiving pattern.

If you decide to use condenser mics in your system, they usually require phantom power, which means the power needed to run the mic must be delivered from another source, usually the mixer or a mic preamp, through the mic cable, or from a separate standalone phantom power device. If you buy a phantom-powered mic, make sure you have a power source available.

Other PA essentials

We highly recommend getting a cable tester. If your system isn’t working correctly, a cable tester can save you hours of troubleshooting. We also recommend that once you find the defective cable, you immediately throw it away rather than putting it in a box to be accidentally used again someday, only to find that it (still) doesn’t work.

You may also want a dB meter; many venues require that you don’t exceed a certain volume level, and a dB meter will let you accurately monitor your volume.

Browse the complete selection of cable testers and dB meters at Musician’s Friend.

If your PA system is not being installed, you’ll need some heavy-duty cases or bags to transport your gear. Well built, durable cases are essential to protect your valuable equipment.

Speaker stands and brackets are another must-have accessory. Make sure to get sturdy, reliable nonskid stands that are strong enough to hold your gear securely. Check out the individual adjustability of each stand and make sure it will get your gear into an optimal position. Read specs to ensure the stands are rated to handle the weight of your speaker cabinets.

Microphone stands are also an essential accessory for most PA rigs. You’ll find a broad range of mic stands designed to position mics for vocalists, instruments, and speaker cabinets. Choose designs with stable bases/tripods that will resist being easily knocked over during performance. Mic stands with adjustable booms allow more flexible placement.

Church Sound Systems

The next component is the Amplifier. These are selected mostly by power and name brand for reliability. The amplifiers should match the speakers in the power rating. Additional power is acceptable but never less. These can and should be located near the speakers and not necessarily near the soundboard. The closer they are to the speakers, the shorter the speaker wires can be and less power is lost due to long speaker wires.

Effects Processors

Chorus can be used to make a choir sound fuller, or add depth to an acoustic guitar.

Delay can be used as an effect to make something sound farther away or in a larger space. It can also be used to tame time delays in very long rooms.

Monitor Speaker

Monitor speakers are used to provide sound to the performers and speaker. Monitors come in a variety of sizes. The larger the monitor, the fuller the sound. The smaller monitors can be less conspicuous on stage. In-ear monitors are the least conspicuous. An example of a basic monitor would be a singer who needs to hear their voice and needs to hear the music they are singing with. A floor monitor that the singer stands in front of is a good choice. The size will depend on the need of a good full sound balanced with costs.

Microphone Tips

The microphone is the first device to capture the source material into the sound system. Using quality microphones makes a very positive difference to the over all system. Vocal microphones should have built in wind screens. Wind screens are not needed for instrument microphones. Pulpit microphones are great for a permanently mounted microphone. They have a very small profile and a huge sound. Choir microphones are similar to pulpit microphones but hang from the ceiling over the choir. Wireless microphone come in hand held and lavaliere types. A minister may want to use a lavaliere wireless so they can be free to move around. These also work well with drama members. A hand held wireless microphone works well soloist, guest singers, or events where the mic needs to be passed around.

MICROPHONES for INSTRUMENTS

Obviously microphones are used for speakers and singers but they are also used for certain instruments. Instruments that may require a microphone include acoustic guitars, guitar amps, piano, drums etc. When you mic an instrument, the position of the microphone will make a big difference. It is usually trial and error to find the best microphone position. In general, positioning the microphone as close as possible to the source is best. The closer the microphone is to the source, the better capture of the source and the better noise rejection of nearby sound sources. Placing the microphone too close to a really loud source could cause distortion. If the source is loud enough to do this, it may not need a mic or the microphone can be placed farther away.

WHEN TO MIC AN INSTRUMENT

Another technique being used is to add an instrument into the sound system to make is quieter. For example, say the electric guitar player tends to play too loud, you can have him or her face their amp to the back of the stage with a microphone on it. This way, the amplifier acts as their monitor and the sound system can put the proper amount of guitar into the mix out front.

The drums can be isolated acoustically with clear plastic dividers and adding microphones behind the plastic allows the sound person to bring just the right amount of drum volume into the mix. This also accounts for the growing popularity of electronic drums, which make no sound outside its electronic outputs connected to speakers.

EFFECTS

Each channel has an effects send control (Some have more than one) which allow you to send an amount of each channel to the effects processor. For example, a singers voice may be enhanced by adding a touch of reverb. An acoustic guitar can be enhanced by adding a little chorus. If you have two sends per channel, you could have different effects on each send. Keep in mind that effects are easily over used and not always needed. An example might be when a singer finishes singing and begins to speak, the effects should be muted or greatly reduced. Most effect processors have stereo outputs. Many sound operators like to run the output of the effect to unused channels. This way you have the benefit of tone controls and the ability to send effects to the monitors.

Amplifier Tips

Amplifiers are an essential part of the system. They determine to overall power of the system. The basic specification of an amplifier is the power rating. This rating is usually listed per channel at a certain load (ohms) with a rating in watts. An example is 200 watts RMS per Channel into ohms. A more precise rating would be 200 watts RMS at.1% HD both channels driven into ohms 20hz to 20Khz. This means the amplifier is being tested with both channels running which is the way you will be using it. Also, the.1% Harmonic Distortion means the amp is providing this amount of power at a low distortion level throughout the entire hearing range. The amp should also give a power rating at ohms. This rating should be about 50% higher than the ohm rating. In this example, the ohm rating should be 300 watts.

Single speakers are commonly rated at ohms. If you connect two ohm speakers to one channel of an amplifier, the load changes to ohms. (Parallel resistance divides) So in the above amplifier example, a single speaker would be driven with 200 watts, while two would be driven with 150 watts each. Some amps can certainly go lower than ohms and some even have ratings at ohms. I personally think not going lower than ohms is a good idea. This means not connecting more than two ohm speakers per channel. This may require more amplifiers in the system but it also means not pushing the amps too hard and having the benefit of redundant amp channels.

Effect Processor Tips

Reverb is a series of reflections made from the walls, ceiling, floor, and other hard surfaces in a room. The larger the room, the longer reverb times you will realize. If you clap your hands one time in a room and then listen for how long the reflections lasts, this is the reverb time. A small room may have.to 1.seconds. A very large room may have upwards to seconds.

If your room has plenty of natural reverb, you may not need any additional reverb from an effects processor. If on the other hand, if you have little natural reverb, then additional reverb may give you a deeper dimension to your sound.

Reverb is also useful in the vocal monitors. Singers tend to sing in a more inspired fashion if they hear themselves with some reverb on their voice.

Chorus effects are used to widen or thicken a sound. Chorus effects shift the pitch of the source in a regular repeating fashion. Some processors will use their stereo outputs to create a stereo sound from a mono source. So chorus may be used to make a mono source sound stereo.

Delay is an effect that simply delays a signal by an adjustable amount. You could even have each output of the processor have a different amount of delay. There is a ping pong delay that bounces back and forth between the outputs. Delay would normally be considered a special effect. An effect that might be used on certain songs or maybe certain instruments on certain songs. This effect is very obvious and can be easily over-used.

Delay can also be used as a tool to help tame long buildings. For example, the sound reaching the rear of a long building will be delayed slightly from the sound leaving the stage. If you placed reinforcement speakers in the rear of the church the sound in those speakers would sound like they were ahead of the sound from the stage causing a delayed effect. By using a delay processor, you could apply an equal amount of delay into the rear speakers that matches the delay from the stage. This way, the sound from the speakers will not sound out of sync with the sound from the stage.

EFFECT RETURNS

The sound board has inputs labeled as effect returns. Usually you would connect the output of the effect processor into the effect returns. Then, with the return effect volume controls, you can adjust the volume of the effects into the mix. However, many sound professionals prefer to use unused channels as effect returns, rather than the ones provided. This is because with the regular channels, you have all the extra controls such as tone, aux sends, panning, buss assignments etc. An example would be the tone controls. You can adjust the tone of the effects separately from the source. You can also send effects to the monitors by simply adjusting the aux sends on the effects return channels.

DUAL EFFECTS

Monitors are speakers used on stage for the performers. Ideally, each performer might have his or her own monitor. In reality, this would be a lot of speakers and some sharing is usually employed.

Monitors help the performers hear themselves and each other. Setting up a good monitor system can be harder than setting up the mains. In designing a monitor system you must decide how many monitors you will use and how many monitor mixes will be needed. Each separate mix will need a separate EQ and amp. Different mixes refers to having different material in different speakers.

For example, the singers may want primarily to hear themselves and a little guitar or keyboard. There will be plenty of drums and bass right on the stage and may not be necessary to put those into the monitors. The guitar player will want plenty of guitar and maybe keyboards plus vocals. These are different mixes that can be realized by how many aux sends your board has.

I have worked with three monitor mixes. We had a vocal mix. We had a different vocal mix. And we had a vocal plus instruments mix. Understand that the more mixes you have, the more complicated it is to run the monitors. There is certainly a good argument for keeping it simple. Still, two mixes is more flexible than one.

Main Speakers

A typical setup for PA speakers is two speakers placed up high for good coverage, placing them in front of the most forward microphone to reduce feedback. They are usually located one on each side of the stage or hanging from the ceiling in the center. Recently trends are to hang them in the center. This way, you can run your system in stereo and still have the proper mix no matter where you sit.

Many who upgraded from older mixers were impressed with the Europower PMP4000, stating that it really improved and simplified much of the soundman’s work. Clarity and overall sound quality received a lot of commendations, even those that rated it poorly for other reasons cannot help but praise the sound. From karaoke to band gigs, many have put this mixer to good use without many problems.

The most notable complaint about this mixer is that the marketing material, and some online stores, specify the peak power rating of 800W per channel. This led to some users finding the actual program power to be underwhelming, specifically, those that wanted to use the PMP4000 on medium and bigger sized venues.

Built-in Effects

From small acoustic groups to full-on bands with miked drums, many reviewers found the XR1220 more than satisfactory. Users have reported using it for clubs and churches, and some even use it for their studios, which is a testimony to its overall sound quality and control. Also note worthy is how many customer reviews praised the mixer’s intuitiveness, stating that it is very easy to setup and configure, and that they had it running in no time.

The ratings for this mixer would’ve been higher if not for some negative scores due to shipping issues, there are also some who reported finding defects out of the box. Thankfully these are rare, and can be resolved via warranty. There were also those who found the power amp section lacking for their bigger venues.

If you’re looking for a reliable 20 channel powered mixer that you can carry around for mobile musical productions, then this one is just for you.

Powered vs Passive Mixers

Powered mixers come with built-in amplifiers, so they perform two tasks simultaneously and allow for an even more streamlined and centralized operation. With these, you don’t need a separate amplifier, simplifying setup and reducing potential clutter. Since it houses the amplifier, all the amp controls are also accessible within the unit. Passive mixers on the other hand require a separate amplifier to work, and along with it extra cables. While it does complicate setup, it makes troubleshooting easier since the two units are separated, also reliability is better since there are fewer components within the mixer.

 

 

 

 

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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your graphic equalizer wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of graphic equalizer

 

 

Questions? Leave a comment below!

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