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.