McIntosh Brings Back the Standalone Graphic Equalizer

The standalone graphic equalizer that was once a staple of hi-fi systems is making a comeback at McIntosh.

The company today introduced the MQ112 Environmental Equalizer, an eight-band graphic EQ with an adjustment range of ±12 dB at key frequency bands between 25 Hz and 10 kHz and a Tilt knob for controlling the effect of the equalization.

The new equalizer ships in October with a $3,000 price tag.

In the press release announcing the MQ112, McIntosh said: “Rather than tinkering with room treatments, speaker placement, or even reorganizing the entire room to optimize the acoustics of their sound system, the MQ112 lets enthusiasts fine-tune the mix and balance of frequencies to craft the ideal sonic profile for any listening space — or compensate for the imperfections in vintage recordings for the clearest reproduction of their sound.”

The equalizer, which is placed between the preamp and power amplifier, has eight bands centered at 25 Hz, 50 Hz, 100 Hz, 200 Hz, and 400 Hz at the lower end of the spectrum and 1 kHz, 3 kHz, and 10 kHz at the higher end. In and Out modes, the latter of which bypasses the EQ circuit, make it easy to hear the effect by quickly comparing equalized and non-equalized sound. The Tilt control shifts the tonal balance by boosting bass or treble ±6 dB across the entire frequency range.

Balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs and outputs are provided to accommodate any audio setup, and a second set of outputs enables the equalizer to be used with two stereo systems or two subwoofers or to bi-amp a pair of speakers. In more sophisticated setups, the MQ112 can be connected through the processor loops or tape monitor record/play connections on many preamplifiers and integrated amplifiers.

The MQ112 sports a classic McIntosh design featuring an illuminated green logo, black glass faceplate, rotary control knobs, and aluminum end caps. For more information, visit

jeff-henning's picture

… this really is a piece of equipment that does not need to exist especially now.

I make that statement for three reasons:

1: Using analog equalization for room correction, even in its most benign state, is, for the most part, a fool’s errand. If, on the other hand, you are using this for EQing source material, it is of some use. It is, though, of limited use, because it is a fixed graphic equalizer, rather than a parametric EQ. Not useless, but not entirely useful.

2: A much better solution would be to use room correction and speaker correction as implemented in Dirac, etc. and then EQ the song as needed to give you the most pleasing sound. From experience, this usually means turning up the bass and treble. On occasion, it means a little bit of judicious EQing of the midrange. On those rare occasions, it’s usually taking down the area around 3 to 4 kHz by a few decibels. Obviously, this is designed for digiphobes which means that the phase distortion and noise that is added by this unit will be nothing compared to all the distortion & noise on the their vinyl LP’s.

3: If this particular piece of equipment appeals to you, you better buy it in the next year or so. I would not expect this to be around for long since it really is obsolete. It will be going the way of the dinosaurs sooner than later.

Billy's picture

I remember back in the 70s strolling into my local Radio Shack and coming out with a Realistic equalizer. Felt like I was king of the world. Thought it made my Kenwood Integrated amp really shine. These days with the state of my hearing, I highly doubt I could tell the difference with or without this fine piece, even if I could afford it. I tend to agree with the other poster, seems like a solution to a problem no one has asked in a great long time. Still, it really is a thing of beauty.

brenro's picture

Seems kind of on brand to me.

Loose Cannon's picture

Schiit Loki will give you half the frequency bands for 1/20th the price, not a bad tradeoff.

3ddavey13's picture

I would love to have had one of these 30 or 40 years ago. An equalizer was the only piece of equipment back then that allowed you to tinker with the sound. Even if I got one for free, I don't know how I could use it today. Hope McIntosh has a market for it.