Even today, with all the modern, boutique analogue or digital equalizers on the market, the Dual Parametric Equalizer, as compact EQ unit, is still unrivalled and puts any pedal-sized stage or studio equalizer that I have come across to shame.
As consequence, the TC Dual Parametric Equalizer has found fans amongst tone connoisseurs and not surprisingly draws at times silly prices on the second-hand market.
Of course, the Dual Parametric Equalizer is not limited to the rigs of guitar players, but in this review I focus on its use for guitarists. But no matter your instrument, may that be bass, keyboard or miking vocals, brass instruments, etc, or as part of your studio setup, the TC Dual Parametric Equalizer will be a handy and very capable tone-tool to finely shape your tone to perfection.
Studio and rack setup users may want to take a look at the even more powerful rack version of the Dual Parametric Equalizer, the TC 2240 HS Parametric Equalizer / Preamplifier.
The vintage TC Electronic Dual Parametric Equalizer is a compact pro-unit that was primarily geared towards studio usage, hence the unit lacks the feature of an effect on/off stomp switch but instead as the small LIN/EQ switch to engage and disengage the equalizer. This is certainly not very usable for guitarists, who might need to switch the unit on and off during a song. Guitarists may find this less useful and those with switcher systems might consider placing the Dual Parametric Equalizer in a loop in order to switch the equalizer on and off.
While this is perfectly reasonable, personally I find the TC Dual Parametric Equalizer offers much more than just its EQ feature and hence should be looked at more carefully to make fully use of it.
The TC Dual Parametric Equalizer not only offers its 2 stunning, accurate parametric equalizers for precise tone shaping possibilities, but also offers a quality buffer to preserve your guitar tone when using long cables or a long audio path due to effects routings on your guitar rig.
Guitarists playing with long cables on stage or during rehearsals or is using multiple effect units in their rigs should seriously consider implementing a quality buffer in their audio path to reduce tone loss. Of course, there are great stand-alone units available, for guitarists, most come as clean booster pedals, but the TC Dual Parametric Equalizer has in addition to its amazing equalizers a great, quality buffer and powerful 12dB clean boost built-in. Even if you switch the equalizer off, using the LIN/EQ toggle switch, the buffer is still active and works to preserve your audio signal.
The TC Dual Parametric Equalizer can either be powered by battery or through a much more recommended power supply. Any standard 9vDC power supply will get the TC working. If you require more headroom, the TC offerers a maximum of +14dBm or would like to make full use of the up to +12dB clean boosting power for studio and line usage (e.g. keyboards, synthesizers, samplers, drum machines) or to get a stronger signal with more presence from your guitar or even kick a good-driven valve amp into natural overdrive, it is recommended to power the unit with a little more than 9vDC. TC lists the maximum as 25-32vDC. As always, be careful overpowering this or any unit. If you are using an unregulated power supply, be careful and use less than the 32vDC, due to fluctuating voltage with unregulated power supply. But if using regulated power supplies, such as Voodoo Lab’s Pedal Power series, the ModTone Power Plant or similar power sources, you can safely send between 25-32vDC into the unit and take advantage of the TC’s full tone preserving and shaping potential.
In a rig setup, I would advise to carefully test various combinations. Due to its features, including the TC Dual Parametric Equalizer early in your chain might be a good-rule-of-thumb, but don’t limit yourself to this. Always follow your tone requirements first – use-your-ears and also take other units and their features into consideration. For examples, certain fuzz boxes and wah pedals don’t like a buffered signal. In this case, placing such units before the TC would make more sense.
Most guitar pedals, especially older models and non-boutique make units, already come with buffers includes. Most of these buffers are of very low quality, such as many Boss, Ibanez or Electro Harmonix pedals, but still, if you are having a combination of these and true bypass pedals (true bypass pedals by design ‘bypass’ the buffer stage when switched off), it would be recommended to place the TC either directly before or directly after true bypass pedals.
Another good placement would be at the very end of your rig, just before your amp. In this case the EQ and clean boost in your TC Dual Parametric Equalizer would shape your tone, and by that even restore any lost audio due to the tone travelling through your rig and at the same time the TC’s buffer would preserve the audio on its journey from your rig to the amp.
Newbies to equalizers and even to those who have experience using the more widely available pedal equalizers, such as Boss or Ibanez models, may find its features and layout not very logical and complicated. I got mine as a second-hand purchase without box and manual and hand-to-heart, it took me a while to even get something remotely interesting out of this box. My first impression was, this unit is too subtle and hence useless. But I was very wrong and luckily experimented a little more.
A big help for me was downloading the 11-page manual as PDF file off the TC Electronic website and I recommend this to every owner of the TC Dual Parametric Equalizer as a starting point. The manual includes several helpful demo settings that will give you a great head start from where you can tweak the pedal to suit your tonal needs.
More than just a regular equalizer, the TC Dual Parametric Equalizer is the swiss-army knife for any musician, serious about his or her tone. If sound is everything to you, you want to take a serious look at the TC Dual Parametric Equalizer. For me it has become the most important addition to my rig after the guitar and amp. The best equalizer I have ever come across. It’s as simple as that.