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1. How do Parametric equalizers work?


1. How do Parametric equalizers work?

Like their Graphic equalizer cousins, Parametric equalizers offer control over cut and boost (loss and gain) of particular audio frequencies. But they also offer two more variables:

  1. The ability to vary the frequencies being adjusted to allow for very precise equalization
  2. The ability to vary the 'Q' or width of the filter skirt, to ensure that the frequencies either side of the ones required are not greatly affected. The Q control can vary from very narrow (ie 1/20th) of an octave through to very wide (ie on some units over 3 octaves).

Parametrics usually offer from 3 to 6 bands, some with overlapping frequency ranges and some with broadband control able to be used over the complete frequency range. Most parametrics have a switchable scale or range switch which allows operation in a x1 or x10 mode allowing the required frequency of equalization to be more accurately fixed on a finer scale.

Parametrics are by their design usually constant Q in nature, although I wouldn't bet on it!
For a discussion of Constant Q,
Click Here

Parametric equalizers lack the "graphic" appearance of Graphic Equalizers and are often perceived as being difficult & complex to operate.

This misguided perception is however being gradually overcome and Parametric Equalizers are finding applications in:

  1. Live Sound Systems for careful equalization of FOH or Monitor Systems and removal of sharp nodes or peaks in main system frequency response, also for pitching or voicing of drums such as rack tom toms or guitars at varied frequencies to give them a more distinctive sound.
  2. Installations for precise reduction of frequency response / amplitude response peaks that can cause feedback to maximise system gain.
  3. In studios for precise equalization and pitching and voicing of instruments or voices.
  4. In broadcast applications for removal of hums, carrier tones and other disturbing noises.

Naturally, as with all pro audio equipment, Parametric Equalizers should have Balanced inputs and outputs.


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