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Sound FX by Alex Case

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Equalization 5

″Your heart is the big box of paints.″

— ″WRAPPED IN GREY,″ XTC, NONSUCH (CAROLINE RECORDS, 1992)

The equalizer. It is a peculiar name for an audio signal processor. While it may sound like the title of an action movie or a utopian political movement, it is a genuine part of the audio lexicon. In the early days of audio (beginning in the late 1800s), the output signal was often clearly inferior to the input signal. Transmission lines, transducers, and storage media of the time took their toll on the quality of the signal. Equalizers were invented to try to compensate for this, to make the output more closely equal to the input.

Participants in audio today have it much easier. The quality of every piece of the audio recording, ...

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