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Drawmer MX40 Punch Gate and MX50 Dual De-Esser (part 4)

Considering their price range, the MX40 and MX50 are well specified and technical parameters such as noise and distortion are of course comparable to the best in the business...

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Considering their price range, the MX40 and MX50 are well specified and technical parameters such as noise and distortion are of course comparable to the best in the business. But how well do they perform their intended functions? For me, the star performer is the MX50 Dual De-Esser. As I said earlier, de-essing using an ordinary compressor is a fiddly business, and to be honest it doesn’t always work too well. There is a definite need for a standalone de-esser and the MX50 fulfils that need admirably, and it has two channels for when you are really having a bad ‘ess’ day. The MX50 therefore is recommended. Turning to the MX40 Punch Gate, I can still give it my recommendation, but only in limited circumstances. First the good part - the MX40 isn’t troubled by jitter when the gate closes provided the release control is set sensibly. The problem is for me is in the preset attack time of the gate which is far too fast. Figure 2 shows the results of gating a 1kHz sine wave that gradually ramps up in level, crossing the threshold at -10dBu. This is with the ‘Peak’ setting engaged. As you can see, the attack is almost instant which creates an audible click. On percussive material this isn’t a problem and it does have the advantage of allowing the initial transient through very cleanly, but on signals which do not have much high frequency content the fast action of the gate is a problem. I would say therefore that the MX40 can’t be the only gate you own, but you could consider having one to use on drums and percussion. On these sources the MX40 is very clean, and the Punch mode of attack adds brightness and presence to drums in a way that would be difficult to imitate.

In conclusion, you should buy an MX50 Dual De-Esser now because there surely must be space in your rack for it and it is such very good value for money. If you need to gate drums and percussion, then check out and audition the MX40 Punch Gate. It isn’t the only noise gate you’ll ever need, but it might turn out to be a useful tool.

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004
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