Heritage Audio MOTORCITY EQUALIZER
MOTORCITY EQualizer — executed as the world’s first reproduction of the ‘Holy Grail’ of classic EQs, faithfully fashioned by the European pro audio manufacturer from Motown* units owned by eight-time GRAMMY® Award-winning producer and mix engineer Michael Brauer to reproduce the unmistakably huge, punchy, and warm signature sound that made the EQ in question as classic as the hits it helped create.
As a real dead-ringer for faithful musicality, MOTORCITY EQualizer’s 10-gauge aluminum faceplate features custom-molded Bakelite knobs as part of its historically accurate control layout lending further credence to Heritage Audio leaving no stone unturned in its quest to offer the world’s first publicly- available reproduction of the ‘Holy Grail’ of classic EQs — namely, Motown’s Chief Technical Engineer and musical miracle worker Mike McLean’s take on the smart graphic EQ designed for the film industry and made by Cinema Engineering*, Langevin*, and Altec*. Fully faithful to the original design, a unique passive equalization circuit using no less than 21 inductors and 21 tone capacitors — exclusively made for Heritage Audio to match Michael Brauer’s originals’ values to 1% tolerances — further reflects the attention to detail behind realizing the European pro audio manufacturer’s mission. Indeed, it stands as the only EQ that can rival — or even ‘beat’ — the popular Pultec* EQ!
Engineering — reverse or otherwise — a 100% accurate reincarnation, however, was no easy task. Thanks to a little Stateside help from friends at Chicago-based boutique audio company Black Lion Audio, Heritage Audio CEO Peter Rodriguez and his faithful European team spent weeks working closely with Seth Berman from Black Lion Audio’s New York facility, who took the lead in sourcing the in-depth information needed for Heritage Audio to work its musical magic. Made more difficult by the global pandemic-induced 2020 summer lockdowns in Europe and the US, the dream team overcame many hurdles to realize the MOTORCITY EQualizer dream — not least that the exceptionally-tight mil-spec Sixties-vintage tone capacitors and inductors so central to the sound of that classic EQ are no longer available. Amazingly, alternative replacements were never considered as an option. Of course, Heritage Audio had custom recreations built from scratch instead, each with exact materials, values, and tolerances. The result? A perfectly interchangeable clone of the very few original Motown units remaining — just add 60 years’ worth of dust to twin them with the world’s first reproduction… and a spot-on one at that!
That said, MOTORCITY EQualizer is an all-analog, passive EQ design with seven accessible frequency points across the tonal spectrum, each with a stepped rotary switch capable of flat response or up/down up to 8dB in 1dB increments. Indeed, those frequency points graduate from 50, 130, 320, and 800 Hz, before jumping to 2000 and 5000 Hz, peaking at 12500 Hz. Helpfully, the front panel also features a simple IN/OUT/OFF toggle switch with top hat knob (allowing users to A/B the EQ effect settings) and jewel light power indicator, while all such stepped, heavy-duty rotary switches have easy-to- read-from-a-distance ‘General Radio’ Bakelite-style knobs created to look like the originals. On top of that, MOTORCITY EQualizer finally features a (-8dB/ +8dB) master GAIN control, again in 1dB increments. Incredibly simple in its execution, the Sixties-vintage-accurate back panel — also announcing MOTORCITY EQualizer as a Classic “Detroit-Heritage” Equalizer Unit — features a power supply jack and XLR Output and Input connections. Clearly, the sound itself is as to be expected from what is, after all, the world’s first reproduction of the ‘Holy Grail’ of classic EQs — packing a punch without sounding harsh or distorted.
Surely something as supposedly simple as an analog seven-band EQ might sound more like hype than hyper-goodness, yet hearing is believing. But why has Heritage Audio gone to such lengths to see through the seemingly impossible task of bringing such a classic back to life? Let’s let Michael Brauer have his say: “It’s simply got that sound!”
Saying that, then, Heritage Audio’s MOTORCITY EQualizer is not a digital equivalent, not a respectfully close replica, and not a more modernized ‘improvement’ but rather nothing more or less than staying true to the original article — all finally made available to the general public. Put it this way: with MOTORCITY EQualizer it is now perfectly possible to integrate this true-to-specification, carbon copy of both form and function into any recording set up… for the very first time in history! However, it is also fair to say that the UTC replica input transformer made exclusively for Heritage Audio with modified turns ratio makes for better integration into modern recording studios while the Carnhill-driven deployed output line amp truly trumps the original’s Opamp-labs output-induced Achilles heel. Having access to that Classic “Detroit-Heritage” in a modern 2U rack-mountable package packing a sub-two-grand price tag to compete with the likes of those priceless Motown-designed units owned by eight-time GRAMMY® Award-winning producer and mix engineer Michael Brauer to reproduce the unmistakably huge, punchy, and warm signature sound that made the EQ in question as classic as the hits it helped create clearly all adds up to one mean feat for Heritage Audio — with a little help from its Stateside friends: musical mission accomplished!
* Motown, Cinema Engineering, Langevin, Altec, and Pultec may well be trademarks of their respective owners and Heritage Audio is in no way affiliated with any of them. Mike McLean is cited for historical purposes only and Heritage Audio is in no way affiliated with him.
Pricing and Availability
MOTORCITY EQualizer is shipping and available via Heritage Audio’s growing global network of dealers with an SSP (Standalone Selling Price) of €1,999.00 EUR (including VAT) in the EU and a MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) of $1,999.00 USD, US distribution being handled via RAD Distribution.