Recording - August 2016 - 41

and a dash there can add the perfect final
touch to a mix in a clean, natural way.
The AIR BAND, of course, is easily
worth the price of admission alone. I
have worked with other equalizers in the
past that have ultra-high frequency choices that only dogs can hear, but the AIR
BAND in the Mäag units is truly something special. It opens up a source in a
very clean way that adds depth and
detail, but does not add any harshness,
sizzle, or ear piercing artifacts of any
kind. It's a hard-to-describe balance of
crystal detail and smooth sheen.
Not just adept on the 2-bus, the
EQ4M also works great to add clarity,
meat, and dimension to drums, acoustic
guitars, piano, and miked guitar cabinets. The frequency choices on the
EQ4M seem custom chosen for vocal
equalization, which is where the EQ4M
lived when not on my 2-bus.

Justin liked how the Mäag gently
brought out subtle things like shakers
and high end material with AIR BAND.
He used it to great effect on a track he'd
also mixed, for a new album by Tommy
Stinson of the Replacements. On this
track in particular, the drummer used
kick and snare but instead of cymbals
featured a shaker instead.

As a mastering box
Since the EQ4M is billed as a mastering box I took it to visit my colleague Justin
Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering. Justin
put it through its paces on a few unmastered mixes he was working on, and we
took this opportunity to A/B it against the
plug-in versions from Brainworx and UA.
The first mix Justin chose had undefined bass. He used the EQ4M to boost
the Sub by one click, add two clicks at
40, took out two clicks of 160, took out
one click of 650, and left 2.5 flat. He
then added 4 dB of air at 10k, and the
mix sounded great and still natural. He
was impressed by how clean the EQ4M
was; on further mixes he found the Sub
band great at gently cleaning out mud.
Just to get his bearings, Justin tried his
best to match EQ settings between the
EQ4M and his Manley Massive Passive
and API 5500 Dual Equalizer.
Compared to the Manley, the Mäag was
more open and obviously defined; Justin
felt it offered an overall cleaner boost.
By contrast it lacked the Massive
Passive's weight and broader sculpting
skills. Compared to his API 5500, the
API seemed more pointy and bright.
None of this was necessarily good vs.
bad, simply varied color choices for different uses, and all three EQs actually
worked well together.

hardware has that extra 5-10% "air",
you would be right, but in this case the
AIR BAND isn't "airier" on the hardware, it's actually a tad more of an obvious effect-y sound on the plug-in. But this
was in a mastering environment on mastering grade PSI monitors; Justin was
quick to point out that while the hardware was more transparent than the
plug-in they were still darn close.
For mastering he felt the EQ4M would
make a great addition to a mastering studio, but feared the fixed bands might be
too limited for a one and only mastering
box. He did mention he could easily see
using the Sub and AIR BAND on every
session! Everyone who has heard or used
a Mäag EQ agrees that the AIR BAND is
definitely a secret weapon.

Hardware vs. plug-in
Next we pulled up the EQ4 plug-in
running on Justin's Universal Audio UAD2 Satellite OCTO. The first thing we
noticed was that it took a little fiddling to
get the hardware and software levelmatched; we had to turn down the plugin 2.5-3 dB. Overall they were quite
close in sound, with cut frequencies
being a hair more matched than boosts.
If you are expecting this to be another
plug-in vs. hardware review where the

Conclusion
This is a wow factor box! Again, the
word that comes to mind is "addictive".
It's a beautifully built, sweet-sounding,
impeccably quiet box that would add a
touch of class to any serious pro studio... and have I mentioned how sweet
the AIR BAND and Sub boost are?
Price: $2395
More from: Mäag Audio,
www.maagaudio.com
RECORDING AUGUST 2016

41


http://www.adkmic.com http://www.maagaudio.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - August 2016

 Contents
Recording - August 2016 - Intro
Recording - August 2016 - Cover1
Recording - August 2016 - Cover2
Recording - August 2016 - 1
Recording - August 2016 - 2
Recording - August 2016 - 3
Recording - August 2016 - 4
Recording - August 2016 - 5
Recording - August 2016 -  Contents
Recording - August 2016 - 7
Recording - August 2016 - 8
Recording - August 2016 - 9
Recording - August 2016 - 10
Recording - August 2016 - 11
Recording - August 2016 - 12
Recording - August 2016 - 13
Recording - August 2016 - 14
Recording - August 2016 - 15
Recording - August 2016 - 16
Recording - August 2016 - 17
Recording - August 2016 - 18
Recording - August 2016 - 19
Recording - August 2016 - 20
Recording - August 2016 - 21
Recording - August 2016 - 22
Recording - August 2016 - 23
Recording - August 2016 - 24
Recording - August 2016 - 25
Recording - August 2016 - 26
Recording - August 2016 - 27
Recording - August 2016 - 28
Recording - August 2016 - 29
Recording - August 2016 - 30
Recording - August 2016 - 31
Recording - August 2016 - 32
Recording - August 2016 - 33
Recording - August 2016 - 34
Recording - August 2016 - 35
Recording - August 2016 - 36
Recording - August 2016 - 37
Recording - August 2016 - 38
Recording - August 2016 - 39
Recording - August 2016 - 40
Recording - August 2016 - 41
Recording - August 2016 - 42
Recording - August 2016 - 43
Recording - August 2016 - 44
Recording - August 2016 - 45
Recording - August 2016 - 46
Recording - August 2016 - 47
Recording - August 2016 - 48
Recording - August 2016 - 49
Recording - August 2016 - 50
Recording - August 2016 - 51
Recording - August 2016 - 52
Recording - August 2016 - 53
Recording - August 2016 - 54
Recording - August 2016 - 55
Recording - August 2016 - 56
Recording - August 2016 - 57
Recording - August 2016 - 58
Recording - August 2016 - 59
Recording - August 2016 - 60
Recording - August 2016 - 61
Recording - August 2016 - 62
Recording - August 2016 - 63
Recording - August 2016 - 64
Recording - August 2016 - 65
Recording - August 2016 - 66
Recording - August 2016 - 67
Recording - August 2016 - 68
Recording - August 2016 - 69
Recording - August 2016 - 70
Recording - August 2016 - 71
Recording - August 2016 - 72
Recording - August 2016 - Cover3
Recording - August 2016 - Cover4
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