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Mäag Audio EQ4

Mäag Audio EQ4 has an average user rating of 4.00 from 1 review

Rate & Review Mäag Audio EQ4

User Reviews by KVR Members for Mäag Audio EQ4

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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