Whirlwind Perfect Ten EQ Pedal Review

The Perfect Ten EQ allows players to fine-tune their tones while working with any nuances of their equipment.

Most players spend a fair amount of time hunting for sweet tone. Equipment is mixed and matched, and through trial and error, we’ll hopefully find that sound we like. New York-based Whirlwind released a pedal this year that allows players to fine-tune those found tones, all while working with any nuances of your equipment.

The Perfect Ten is a 10-band, graphic EQ pedal utilizing a constant Q design. When using the sliders to adjust frequencies, the constant Q design provides constant bandwidth on either side of the modified frequency. What this means is a more accurate, graphic representation by the sliders and more intricate control of the frequencies in your sound.

The first 30 minutes of testing the pedal turned into an hour, and then another, as I ran around plugging every guitar I had available into the Perfect Ten. Using a Marshall MG100HDFX head and Line 6 Vetta II cab with dual 12" Celestions, the Perfect Ten provided a detailed range of adjustment for every guitar and pickup combo I plugged in. Raising the middle- and high-frequency sliders brightened a set of normally dark Duncan Designed humbuckers on a Schecter C-1 Elite, while lowering the mids put a nice mid-scoop on an already bright, bridge-positioned Duncan Distortion a Dean V79.

While allowing me to modify the frequencies in my tone, the Perfect Ten didn’t take away the distinct voice of the equipment. My tone was still my tone, but I was able to tweak facets of it much more than by using the amp’s 3-band EQ and Contour control alone. With constant Q, changes in frequency were the same all the way up and down the slider, so even minor adjustments seemed to make a world of difference—be it adding some weight to a sometimes-thin Warlock with passive EMG HZs, or putting a little quack on split-coil tones.

The electrics sounded great, but I had a bigger test in mind: The pedal also turned out to be a champ at handling a Sigma acoustic loaded with a Dean Markley ProMag passive soundhole pickup. The ProMag does not have EQ controls, and the Perfect Ten allowed me to balance the sound amongst all the strings while diminishing disparities associated with pickup placement and playing style. Positioning the Volume slider at zero offered boost without adding crunch. This was helpful with electrics, but really key with my ProMag setup since I was able to get much more volume while still maintaining the original clarity of the pickup.

As far as aesthetics, the Perfect Ten is a solid piece of equipment. The rectangular, metal body is sturdy and wide, with more than enough finger room to adjust the numerous sliders. A cool and practical design element is the sunken slider board—it’s surrounded by the edge of the metal casing, so the sliders aren’t as exposed to possible breakage if the pedal gets kicked around. Another nice touch to the smooth and precise sliders is that each is lit individually with an orange light that get brighter when the pedal is engaged. My only complaint with the Perfect Ten is the bright, blue/white light that indicates when the pedal is engaged. It was so bright that it was bothersome to look at for extended periods, and left me with a bit of flash-eye.

The Verdict

Whirlwind’s Perfect Ten is an excellent tool for shaping tone, from gentle to extreme, and anywhere between. The accuracy of the EQ, coupled with the constant Q design and a plentiful, clean volume boost, make this a must-have for any effects lineup, for any type of music. It’s pricier than some other EQ pedals, but intelligent design and superb functionality are worth it.

Buy if...
you like to experiment with tone and you want pinpoint accuracy and control.
Skip if...
you’re not interested in adjusting your sound, or you’re looking for something inexpensive that will give you basic low-mid-high adjustment.

Street $200 - Whirlwind - whirlwindusa.com

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