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VLZ® Very Low Impedance

Noise happens.

As with mix amp headroom, noise (or lack thereof) is a cumulative thing. One channel might sound quiet when you're demoing the mixer at a store and the published noise spec might seem OK. But how will your overall mix sound when you have 12, 16, or 32 channels going? This is when channel after channel of additive noise can combine to sabotage your sound.

An incredibly high percentage of Mackie owners rave about how quiet our mixers are – even when all channels are wide open. We specifically set out to make our mixers that way, by using premium components and by adding Very Low Impedance (VLZ
®) circuitry.

Developed for our acclaimed 8•Bus console series.

VLZ is a unique (and, frankly, expensive) circuit design that until now has been found only in money-is-no-object consoles in the $200,000-and-up price range. Now you can enjoy its benefits in all of our mixers.

VLZ wouldn't be necessary if we did all our recording in outer space or other places where it's extremely cold. At absolute zero (-273
° C), circuit components are noise-free because the atoms that comprise them are completely at rest. However, at over three hundred degrees hotter (room temperature), all the atoms in circuit components are agitated and constantly crash into each other. That causes little random voltage spikes that create thermal noise, or white noise (non-electronic types call it hiss).

Mackie deals a crushing blow to thermal noise by making internal impedances as low as practical, at as many places as possible within the mixer. Very Low Impedance is achieved by scaling down resistor values by a factor of three or four, resulting in a corresponding reduction in thermal noise.

That alone isn't the expensive part. What's expensive is the high current necessary to achieve low impedance. You don't have to be an electrical engineer to realize that high current requires lotsa power – whether it's current for an amp, a motor, or a mixer circuit.

And that's where our mixers excel. Our compact VLZ mixers, LM-3204, and
SR244/SR324 have extremely robust internal power supplies. They deliver current levels that are impossible with wimpy external "wall warts." Our 8Bus and SR408 consoles need more power, so they come with brawny external, rackmountable power supplies of their own. Either way, having enough power to do the job helps achieve Very Low impedance in critical circuit areas, which means astonishingly low noise levels – on tape or in your monitors.

Another advantage of VLZ.

Low impedance circuitry, by its very nature, is more immune to crosstalk problems. By designing with low impedance, crosstalk between channels is minimized throughout the mixer.

Our VLZ approach isn't anything mysterious or proprietary. It's just straight-ahead, Mackie-style "over-engineering."

We don't stop there, either. Although the
mic preamps in all of our mixers benefit greatly from VLZ, they have their own unique low noise/high headroom story, too.

 

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