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Mäag Audio EQ4

Maag EQ4
Mäag Audio EQ4 by Plugin Alliance / Brainworx is a Virtual Effect Audio Plugin for macOS and Windows. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, a VST 3 Plugin and an AAX Plugin.
Product
Version
1.15.1
Intel-compatible CPU with SSE2 instruction set (Pentium 4 compatible or higher; we recommend at least 2 GHz)
2 GB RAM
Windows XP or higher (Windows 7 or higher recommended)
Pro Tools 9 or higher or a VST/VST3-compatible host
Display resolution of 1440 x 900 px / 1280 x 960 px or higher
Product
Version
1.15.1
Intel CPU only (we recommend at least 2 GHz)
2 GB RAM
Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or higher
Pro Tools 9 or higher or a VST/VST3/AU-compatible host
Display resolution of 1440 x 900 px / 1280 x 960 px or higher
Effect
Formats
Copy Protection
Online Activation (Challenge / Response)
My KVR - Groups, Versions, & More
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EQ4 6 Band Equalizer with AIR BAND.

Following its EQ3 and EQ3-D predecessors, the EQ4 provides unparalleled transparency and top end presence while maintaining the true natural sound behind the mix. EQ adjustments are obtained with minimal phase shift and detent controls allow for easy recallable settings.

The EQ4 offers the legendary AIR BAND and five other sonically superior band passes.

Operation

Because of the Maag Audio EQ4's unique design, there is very little phase shift. This helps the user keep the integrity of the original sound and enhance the "Airy" frequencies, while tonally shaping the sound from the top to the bottom. The lack of phase shift and the AIR BAND makes the EQ4 great on anything that needs EQ shaping.

The EQ4's band passes all interact with each other. In turning the AIR BAND gain up, the overall gain will come up a bit as well. Increasing the AIR BAND gain will also increase the overall gain to a small extent. This is normal and is a necessary byproduct of the design. This happens because of the interaction (summing) of the AIR BAND with all of the other band passes. This interaction is a necessary part of the design to ensure the integrity of the sound is maintained. To compensate for the added overall gain, simply turn down each of the 5 band pass knobs equal amounts. An example would be two clicks down on all 5 knobs. The EQ will remain the same shape, but the overall gain will be lowered. This compensates for the extra gain added from the interaction of the boosted band passes. This is the correct way to get the desired results from the Maag Audio EQ4. Here is another way to look at it: If lifting a desired frequency, you may want to consider bringing down the level of the other band passes above and or below; always remembering the band passes interact with each other. This is a different approach from other typical equalizers.

Understanding how the band passes and the AIR BAND interact in the Maag Audio EQ4, will help you better shape your sound; providing unparalleled transparency and top end presence while maintaining the true natural sound behind the source.

The plugin version has an extra feature, the LEVEL TRIM, which you can use to turn down the overall gain if needed. ALT/click toggles between a reset for each band and the last status, enabling you to easily bypass individual bands.

Controls (from right to left):

  • AIR BAND
    • Boost only shelf at 2.5 kHz, 5 kHz, 10 kHz, 20 kHz, or 40 kHz.
    • The frequencies below the shelf peaks are also affected due to the transitional slope.
  • AIR GAIN
    • Gain control for the AIR BAND.
    • (+15 dB).
  • 2.5 kHz
    • Fixed boost and cut shelf.
    • (+15 dB, -4.5 dB).
  • 650 Hz
    • Fixed boost and cut bell.
    • (+15 dB, -4.5 dB).
  • 160 Hz
    • Fixed boost and cut bell.
    • (+15 dB, -4.5 dB).
  • 40 Hz
    • Fixed boost and cut bell.
    • (+15 dB, -4.5 dB).
  • SUB (10 Hz)
    • Fixed boost and cut bell.
    • (+15 dB, -4.5 dB).
  • PEAK
    • Red LED starts to illuminate when digital signals clip.
  • SIGNAL
    • Green LED indicates audio signal presence.
  • IN/OUT
    • Engages and disengages EQ.

Reviews

JC Concato - Head of Music School - Point Blank Online

One of the best sounding plug-in EQ I have come across, sounds really musical while remaining transparent. The Air Band is probably one of the first things I bring in on my master channel EQ before Eqing individual tracks.

{See video at top of page}

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 4.00 from 1 review
Mäag Audio EQ4

Reviewed By RobertSchulz [all]
February 9th, 2023
Version reviewed: 1.14.1 on Windows

First things first. I want to tell a little about my story with the Mäag plugins as I think it is important for the understanding of my valuation of EQ4.

I once had the opportunity at a special deal to get the Mäag EQ4 or EQ2 for almost the same price. And if you're thinking the EQ2 is a shrinked down version of the EQ4, you're completely wrong. I thought that too at the beginning, but it's not, they do differ in functionality. But the popularity usually sees the EQ4 as better plugin. But Against all popular thinking, I decided to go for the Mäag EQ2. It convinced me more at that point of time especially because of the additional 15k Sweetspot of the Air band, which the EQ4 doesn't have. Since the other EQ bands didn't mattered to me that much and my thought was that the pattented Air band technologoy is the outstanding factor of the Mäag devices (which I still think after a long time using them), so I wanted a fully complete Air band control.

I used the EQ2 long time and I'm still a bit more fan of it, but how fate happens to be their came Dirk Ulrich's Farewell sale and I decided to don't miss the chance and get the long-wanted EQ4, which was the version which got me interested first in Mäag devices long time ago as I saw it used by Dave Pensado in his YouTube video series. He said he used it for Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera etc. and I still was hooked by this blue little legend. So now I finally got it.

Review of the Mäag EQ4 itself:
I think it's important to point out again, that the major factor of this plugin (or even the whole Mäag series) is the Air band technology, which is also pattented. It sounds absolutely amazing and dependent upon the amount and cutoff point it really brings the audio source a shine I never heard done before by any other plugin. The Mäag E4's air band has 5 cutoff points for the high-shelf (2.5k, 5k, 10k, 20k and 40k) - it's important to note again that the 15k point is missing. You would say "it's just one single preset, I don't need that". But I can say that this 15k preset is very very pleasant sounding and best preset in my opinion, espcially for vocals. 80% of when I am using my EQ2, I am using the 15k sweetspot. So I really miss that much in the EQ4 and is amongst many others another reason for me why the EQ4 never could be mentioned as the "full" version of both EQs. They are complementation, not a substitution for each other.

Beside the Air-band high-shelf, EQ4 has 5 fixed frequency bands (Sub - 10hz, 40hz, 160 hz, 650 hz and 2.5kHz) in comparison to EQ2 which has just 1 single band, but there the frequency is selectable between 8 different frequeny settings reaching from 10hz (Sub) to 1,4k. In EQ4, You can boost and cut which isn't possible in EQ2 which only allows you to boost but not to cut. Depending upon your mixing technique this could be a big plus for the EQ4, for me personally it isn't that much because I like to have more precision when I cut and this is also another thing I will come to in a second.

But keep in mind, the fixed frequency bands and you also do not have an option to change bandwidth/Q. Speaking about the sound of the frequency bands, I would describe it as clean. Nothing special in sound coloration. Maybe this is exactly what you want and need when you use this EQ for mixing and mastering, but others may hope for little bit more of analog saturation and feeling connected to it. That's not what you get with this plugin.

Another important thing to consider is that you can't do extremely precise adjustments of either band including the air one, neither in EQ2 nor in EQ4. In EQ4 you have a range from -5.0 to +5.0 and you step by 0.5 steps over the settings. Meaning in total you have ((5+5)*2) + 1 = 21 steps/settings per band available, which probably will be fine in most scenarios but also could lead to problems if you need that exact adjustment of a 0.7 value for example. I wish that they could add an option in the a future update to change the precision to be more accurate.

Also another big disadvantage of the EQ4 for me personally is that you can't bypass/mute a certain a frequency band/filter. You only have a global On/Off button to bypass the complete plugin. In EQ2 you can bypass the 1 and only frequency band + the air band separately. This is not possible in EQ4. And yes, you can turn the Air Band off, but this is not exactly what I mean by a correct and clean bypass as you need to change the value of the knob to do so.

The Trim feature is nice to regulate the volume back to unity gain, but I also wish that there would be a Dry/Wet knob for smoothing out the filter and the air band essence. Especially because we can't fine tune with the knobs as descibed before.

Another thing worth to mention is that parameter values can not be typed in. These are 1-to-1 hardware-like drag-only plugins!

Last but not least - a nitpicky note: The name of the plugin is a little bit confusing, because EQ4 actually contains 5 filters (excluding the air band high shelf), not 4. I think this is because the 10 hz sub didn't counted that much, but in fact they EQ4 contains 5 filters.

If you are interested in purchasing either one, the EQ2 or EQ4 (or even both), here is another tip from me. I recently discovered the Magnum-K plugin, which is the third sibling of the Mäag device series. It combines a compressor and an EQ, but the EQ section (which is like a modified copy of the original EQ2 - f.e. for the air band, the 2.5k and 5k are replaced by 25k and 30k settings) can be used completely separated and it offers in addition/comparison to EQ4 and EQ2 among other features M/S processing and a dry/wet knob. So if you are interested in acquiring one of the plugins of the Mäag series, it's definitely worth to check this out before as well. I actually now have all 3 of them and can recommend them to everyone.

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