Not all mixer EQ sections are equal.
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
For starters, we put it in the right places.
|1. Hi shelving EQ.
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
6. Mackie's wider Mid EQ vs. competitor's
narrower midrange EQ.
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 music.
So Greg rewrote the book on mixer equalization... as only a practical musician
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 mid EQs.
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 acclaimed
consoles. 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 EQ on the 8•Bus
series 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-format SR40•8
high mids are sweepable 500Hz to 15kHz, and low mids from 45Hz to 3kHz.