Parametric Equalizer

A parametric equalizer is a device that helps edit the different parameters of an audio spectrum. The most common ones are gain or amplitude, center frequency, and bandwidth, which is the inverse of Q. This equalizer has a center frequency that allows the user to customize the equalization process by modifying a particular frequency. This device is also capable of making fine adjustments.

Parametric Equalizer: Historic Highlights

Around 1950, equalizers were widely common as audio production tools. However, it wasn’t until the 70s that Daniel Flickinger launched the parametric equalizer officially to the public. His creation was the Sweepable EQ, a tunable equalizer that made random selections of frequencies and amplitudes by three overlapping audio bands. George Massenberg found the use of the parametric equalizer in the music production business by using it in live music scenes as well as in-studio productions. 

Some Basic Terminology

To understand what we have just explained, some terminology might be useful. To begin with, the center frequency is a variable frequency that makes the equalization process quite accurate. Additionally, the parametric equalizer includes gain or amplitude knobs which allow the user to cut or boost any given frequency. 

Moreover, bandwidth is the range of frequencies that surround the center frequency. This feature has an inverse relationship to Q. In other words, the higher the Q is, the narrower the bandwidth. In opposition, the lower the Q is, the wider the bandwidth. Wider bandwidths produce a more natural sound.

Parametric Equalizers: Some Uses

You can also employ parametric equalizers for tuning studio monitors and feed cancellation, as well as for removing unwanted noise. When used for tuning studio monitors, parametric equalizers flatten out peaks and dips. In the case of feed cancellation, these devices cut certain frequencies to prevent the shrieking sounds heard in live music concerts. Lastly, if you use it for removing unwanted noise, parametric EQs are great at cancelling out undesired noises, which achieves a cleaner sound.

If you’re interested…

If you want to learn more on this topic, you can consult our entries on linear phase, dynamic, and shelving equalizers.