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Genius!2: Cliff Maag Sr. and the Air-Band #10

He started back in the business with Maag Audio at the urging of his son

The Air Band EQ has graced a number of Cliff Maag Sr.’s designs to date, beginning with the NTI EQ3 equaliser in the early ’90s, and now found on all of the Mäag Audio equipment, writes Mike Hillier. The concept of the Air Band is simple: it’s a high-frequency shelving filter. But unlike most shelves, the corner frequency stretches well beyond the audible range. “Necessity is the mother of invention, and I have a passion for great music and recording great sound,” says Maag. “Because my studio business, at that time, would not support the purchase of a better console, it became necessary for me to update my old custom console. This is where the inventing part came in and the Air Band Mic Pre and EQs were born.”

The original NTI EQ3 was a six-band EQ with fixed frequency bands. However, while each of the first five bands could be boosted or cut, the final Air Band could only be boosted. Later revisions, added additional corner frequency options for the Air Band, bringing in the option of adding a shelving boost from as low as 5kHz. “In picking the frequencies and Qs there was one goal in mind: no phase-shift. This lack of phase-shift determined the frequencies and Qs, which happened to create a big bottom end EQ that many users count on and have come to love; I would say almost as much as the Air Band.”

In 2009, Cliff Maag returned to the Air Band EQ at the urging of his son: “Ryan was looking at comments in blogs on the internet. He said, ‘Dad everyone is talking about your equipment and they really love your gear.’ Wow, there was a lot of wonderful things being said. Soon after that, we decided to get back into the game and started Mäag Audio with my two sons, Ryan and Cliff Jr, and Travis Allen.”

Mäag Audio released a new EQ based on the EQ3, called suitably, the EQ4, and have since added additional EQ and pre-amp models. But Cliff is hoping to develop beyond this one design “We do have one particular hardware development. It is a compressor design that we are working tirelessly on right now. I have waited a long time to develop this and it is about ready to go. Stay tuned!”

Pictures: Top: Cliff Maag Sr. Last: Ryan Maag, Cliff Maag Sr., Cliff Maag Jr. and Travis Allen.

Launched last year, Genius!2 is the second edition celebrating those clever people whose inventions have transformed the world of professional audio. The 30-page supplement is also available to read in a handy digital-edition form.