When you're cooking up a mix, equalization is your
seasoning. You can add new flavors or enhance existing ones.
You can perk up a bland sound or mellow out a sharp one. If
you want to serve up gourmet audio, you should use the freshest,
most natural seasonings – uh, EQ – available.
And just as with flavorings, you can ruin a mix with artificial
or stale equalization. We promise to drop this dumb analogy
if you agree to read the following section. It explains why
Mackie is known for the quality of our EQ – and how
our practical approach can improve your creative product.
2. Lo shelving EQ.
3. Mid Peaking EQ.
4. Brand X Hi and Lo shelving
increases the midrange too.
5. Mackie Hi and Lo shelving
leaves the midrange alone.
6. Mackie's wider Mid
EQ vs. competitor's narrower midrange EQ.
For starters, we put it in the right
Along with designing mixers, Greg Mackie uses them,
too. In the years between TAPCO and Mackie Designs, he had his
hands on just about every mixer made. One of his ongoing frustrations
was where EQ points were placed. They seemed to exist in some
sort of time warp: "High EQ" was placed at 10kHz. That may have
been high back in the Fifties, but today there is another octave
of treble above 10k. Low EQ at 100Hz is equally outmoded –
bass goes a lot lower than that nowadays. And midrange EQ seemed
to be a refugee from some old radio studio board. Centering
mid EQ at 1k might be great for making the spoken voice excruciatingly
audible, but it has little to do with shaping the contours of
So Greg rewrote the book on mixer equalization... as only a
practical musician could.
Hi Shelving EQ at 12kHz.
All of our mixers have Hi Shelving EQ at 12kHz (fig.
1) instead of 10kHz. A gentle 12k boost adds detail and sheen
(without aural fatigue). Cutting at 12k can take a harsh edge
off a sound without emasculating it.
When you're demoing mixers, EQ is one thing you can accurately
test just by playing a CD into a couple of channels. Listen
to how our Hi Shelving EQ delicately enhances the "tizzz" of
cymbals, the delicate texture of strings and the breathiness
of vocals. Then listen to the competition, many of whom still
adhere to the old 10kHz thing.
Lo EQ with firm foundations.
Down there at the bottom, we have 80Hz Lo Shelving
EQ instead of the tubby boom and bonk of 100Hz EQ. 80Hz gives
you more control over deep, fundamental bass that's produced
by kick drums, floor toms, bass guitar, and low synth sounds.
You can add depth and richness to male vocals, fatten up guitar
sounds and create ear-stomping dance mixes.
Shelving EQ that isn't off the shelf.
Shelving EQ gets its name from the plateau, or shelf,
that's created when you boost or cut it. The whole idea is to
boost all of the frequencies above or below a certain point
(in our case, 12kHz and 80Hz). But the shelving equalization
found in some mixers gives you an unpleasant bonus in the midrange.
When you boost high or low shelving EQ on some mixers the midrange
gets boosted, too (fig. 4). When you add high- or low-end, you
also hear more midrange. So you boost the shelving EQ more.
Which boosts the midrange more, etc. This is a vicious cycle.
Through careful circuit design and more expensive components,
Mackie Designs mixers avoid Hi/Lo-Mid interaction problems (fig.
5). If you want high or low shelving EQ, that's ALL you get.
It's a difference you'll come to appreciate.
Midrange done right.
We located the fixed peaking Mid EQ on our 1202-VLZ
PRO and 1402-VLZ PRO at 2.5kHz (fig. 3) because that's a far
more musical point than 1kHz. 2.5kHz interacts with and enhances
the harmonics of the human voice and many instruments, including
guitar, reeds, horns, and keyboards. Hear the difference for
yourself: At 1k, a boost adds a gradual "hollowness," as if
the sounds were coming through a cardboard tube. As you continue
to boost the 1k, the sound becomes strident and fatiguing. A
2.5k boost adds a brisk clarity of tone that enhances instead
of hurts. Gently cutting 2.5kHz mid EQ de-emphasizes an instrument
or vocal without radically altering its sound.
But there's another reason why so many warranty cards have raves
about Mackie midrange: it's wider than many of our competitors'
mid EQs. That goes for the fixed EQ found on the 1202-VLZ PRO,
1402-VLZ PRO, and for the 1604-VLZ PRO and 1642-VLZ PRO's swept
That's a very important difference. Narrow EQ curves (like the
green one in figure 6), create an unnatural, intrusive effect
that's not good for much except drastic corrections. The wider
a midrange peak is, the more natural it sounds. The broad midrange
EQ curve found on our compact mixers (blue area in fig. 6) is
based on the circuitry in our acclaimed8•Busconsoles. It lets you actually use mid EQ as
a creative enhancement, instead of as an audio "bandage."
On the 1604-VLZ PRO and 1642-VLZ PRO you get swept mid EQ, which
you can sweep as low as 100Hz and as high 8kHz, for amazingly
accurate control over midrange frequencies.
Midrange EQ on the8•Busseries of recording consoles gives you parametric
equalization on the high mids (sweep from 500Hz to 18kHz, bandwidth
variable from 1/12-octave to 3 octaves) and sweepable low mids
(from 45Hz to 3kHz).
And on the large-formatSR40•8andSR56•8,
high mids are sweepable 500Hz to 15kHz, and low mids from 45Hz