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LA Audio EQX2

Parametric EQ By Paul White
Published September 1997

Does the world need another budget parametric equaliser? Paul White discovers that it never had that many in the first place.

While compressors, gates and effects units come at us from all sides, there really aren't that many stand‑alone equalisers at the non‑esoteric end of the market, yet console EQs are often insufficiently flexible for any more than the most basic tasks. Part of the reason for this situation may be the difficulty of designing a good equaliser without spending a lot of money on components, but companies such as TLA, Aphex and Rane have proved that it is possible. LA Audio's approach is a 6‑section parametric EQ that can be used either as a dual 3‑band unit or a mono 6‑band device. In my experience, very few jobs need to go beyond three bands, but it's always useful to be able to apply all your resources to one signal when the need does arise, especially if there are several 'rogue' frequencies that need notching out.

The EQX2 comes as a 1U, mains‑powered processor with a choice of balanced XLR and balanced jacks at both input and output, optimised for +4dBu and ‑10dBV operation respectively. The Mode button, for selecting mono or stereo operation, is located on the rear panel, but all other controls are on the front.

Each of the six channels has the same control configuration, comprising a Cut/Boost control, a Q control and a Frequency knob. The knobs have a nice rubbery feel, with clear marker lines, but the Frequency controls are only calibrated at their maximum and minimum positions, and with a range of some 40:1, that leaves you totally in the dark as to what's going on in the middle. The Q controls are splined pot shafts with notched position markers, and while this saves panel space it does make them difficult to see. Again, it's impossible to judge what bandwidth is being applied between the two extremes; perhaps a centre detent (with printed value) would have helped a little.

The Cut/Boost control is detented and has the usual +/‑15dB gain range. Each channel covers the same three frequency ranges, but the range of control is very wide, which means that in mono applications there's still plenty of scope to set the filters where you need them. The low section covers 20Hz‑1kHz, the mid section 200Hz‑8kHz, and the high section 500Hz‑20kHz. In all cases, the Q control varies the filter bandwidth from around three octaves down to just one semitone, and a clip LED in each channel warns of overload caused by too much input and/or excessive boosting. Each of the two channels has its own bypass button, but there are no individual bypass buttons for the six filter sections — something that could make setting up easier, especially for the inexperienced user. A further button brings in a 12dB shelving high‑pass filter at 75Hz to take out unwanted LF.


Compared to other cost‑conscious equalisers, the LA EQX2 actually sounds pretty good, though you'll still notice the difference if you put it side by side with something really tasty, such as a Drawmer 1961 or one of the expensive esoteric models — EQ is one area where more money usually does equate to higher performance. The better equalisers let you pile on more EQ without making the sound seem unnatural, phasey or muddy. In this respect the EQX2 behaves well, as long as you don't go in for excessive boosting. Used carefully, the EQX2 allows you to warm up the bass, focus the high end and scoop out any boxiness. Having a fully variable Q also means you have much more scope than you'd get from a typical desk EQ.

In building this equaliser to a price, LA Audio have obviously had to make compromises, but they're one company who can usually be trusted to put the sound first and find somewhere else to make savings. For example, the small Q controls are a little irritating, especially as it's hard to see the pointer, and the lack of proper scaling around the frequency and Q controls means that you have to rely totally on your ears. In theory, this is how you should set up an equaliser, but after a hard day listening to endless takes of the same song, visual confirmation of what you're doing is sometimes reassuring, especially as you can't bypass individual bands.

On balance, though, this is a well‑designed processor that offers the right mix of features and performance, so if you feel the need for more flexible EQ, but can't stretch your budget to the more exotic models, you won't go too far wrong with the EQX2.


  • Good balance of features and sound quality.
  • Can be used in both dual‑channel and mono modes.


  • Q pots are small, and both the Q and Frequency controls


Despite a couple of operational niggles, this is actually a nice‑sounding equaliser for the money.