VLZ® Very Low Impedance
As with mix amp headroom, noise (or lack thereof) is a cumulative
thing. One channel might sound quiet when you're demoing the mixer at
a store and the published noise spec might seem OK. But how will your
overall mix sound when you have 12, 16, or 32 channels going? This is
when channel after channel of additive noise can combine to sabotage your
An incredibly high percentage of Mackie owners rave about how quiet our
mixers are – even when all channels are wide open. We specifically
set out to make our mixers that way, by using premium components and by
adding Very Low Impedance (VLZ®)
Developed for our acclaimed 8•Bus console series.
VLZ is a unique (and, frankly, expensive) circuit design that
until now has been found only in money-is-no-object consoles in the $200,000-and-up
price range. Now you can enjoy its benefits in all of our mixers.
VLZ wouldn't be necessary if we did all our recording in outer space or
other places where it's extremely cold. At absolute zero (-273°
C), circuit components are noise-free because the atoms
that comprise them are completely at rest. However, at over three hundred
degrees hotter (room temperature), all the atoms in circuit components
are agitated and constantly crash into each other. That causes little
random voltage spikes that create thermal noise, or white noise (non-electronic
types call it hiss).
Mackie deals a crushing blow to thermal noise by making internal impedances
as low as practical, at as many places as possible within the mixer. Very
Low Impedance is achieved by scaling down resistor values by a factor
of three or four, resulting in a corresponding reduction in thermal noise.
That alone isn't the expensive part. What's expensive is the high current
necessary to achieve low impedance. You don't have to be an electrical
engineer to realize that high current requires lotsa power – whether
it's current for an amp, a motor, or a mixer circuit.
And that's where our mixers excel. Our compact VLZ mixers, LM-3204, and
have extremely robust internal
power supplies. They deliver current levels that
are impossible with wimpy external "wall warts." Our 8•Bus
consoles need more power, so they come with brawny external,
rackmountable power supplies of their own. Either way, having enough power
to do the job helps achieve Very Low impedance in critical circuit areas,
which means astonishingly low noise levels – on tape or in your
Another advantage of VLZ.
Low impedance circuitry, by its very nature, is more immune to
crosstalk problems. By designing with low impedance, crosstalk between
channels is minimized throughout the mixer.
Our VLZ approach isn't anything mysterious or proprietary. It's just straight-ahead,
We don't stop there, either. Although the mic
preamps in all of our mixers benefit greatly from
VLZ, they have their own unique low
noise/high headroom story, too.