Z-Systems Zqualizer

Make / Model: Z-Systems Zqualizer
Year: 2003

Build Quality





I bought this as the main EQ for my Mortarworks Mastering room, and it was awesome.

It is a digital parametric EQ that, at the time, and as of now, sounds amazing. One of the first really good, yet affordable digital EQs. These really should have become more popular, but I think they had supply issues, and had a hard time meeting demand, as they were really pushing the envelope of production, and were a small company. One issue was that the rotary encoders (the knobs) on the front, well, they could be a little buggy and jump around a bit, which was slightly annoying if adjusting gain, but horrendously annoying if adjusting the mode. They ended up fixing this, and though they still mistracked a teensy bit, it was mostly fixed.

Sound wise: Amazing eq. Didn’t get harsh, and it could sweeten things. Not the way an analog EQ could, but damn good for a transparent device.

The biggest draw though, was the onboard M/S encoding/decoding and matrix. Before this, I’d have to make a matrix from tracks in my DAW. With this, I could put it into M/S and just eq there, and have a stereo output. OR, I could put it into M/S, and have an M/S output go through my chain, then re-encode with a Matrix in the DAW. Super useful, as when you are working at a mid-level mastering room, M/S can save poorly eq’d and mixed recordings.

And it was half-rack space, so I could just pop it up on my desk, close to my listening position, and adjust.

Whoever runs Z-sys is a brilliant designer. And if Ebay pricing is an indication of demand and quality, it’s nice to see his EQs finally getting appreciated the way they should be.

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Llamatism is a collection of things, a cabinet of curiosities, and reports from explorations on things, by Gary Llama.

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