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Author Topic: "Wacky" Mackie Mixer?  (Read 6456 times)

Offline blueboy

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"Wacky" Mackie Mixer?
« on: May 27, 2006, 02:53:14 pm »
I have an old Mackie 1402VLZ mixer that I used to use as a utility mixer for several devices (keyboards, samplers, guitar preamps etc), but since moving to using a software mixer it has been put aside.

After nearly blowing up my nearfield monitors (and my ears) during a software "glitch" I decided to put the mixer back in the chain to act as a master monitor level control. Much to my surprise, I quickly found that it destroyed all the high end in my audio. The best way to describe it is it sounds as if it is converting my audio on the fly into high bit rate MP3 audio. On first listen it sounds ok, but when listening to high frequency content like cymbals, the sound becomes very hollow and grainy. The only sound I can get through this thing that is even close to acceptable (for critical listening) is through the tape input, as there is less in the signal path than the individual channels.

I also have an old Akai MB76 programmable mix bay and tried that out instead and it was much better, but as it is digitally controlled, the level increments where too coarse.

Then I saw a Behringer 1602 line level mixer that was really cheap and I thought how bad can it be? There really isn't much going on so it will probably do what I need it to do, so I picked one up. At first I was quite pleased as it appeared to have good frequency response, but something kept bugging me about it. After doing several A/B comparisons with it in and out of the chain, all I can say is that it appeared to "rubberize" the sound in a really weird way, so back it went.

So my question is....does anyone else with a Mackie 1402VLZ find that it alters the highs, or does it sound like this unit is defective?

If this is just the way they are (and I am just noticing it for the first time), do the newer units also suffer from this problem? Is their a better choice for a relatively inexpensive board that will be used simply as a line level mixer and is fairly "transparent".

Thanks for any feedback.

JL

"Only he who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible." ~ Manuel Onamuno

Offline compasspnt

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2006, 05:20:48 pm »

If you are serious and economical, get one of these:

http://www.spl-usa.com/mtc/mtc_E.html

Offline blueboy

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2006, 12:26:46 am »
Thanks for the suggestion Terry, that is a very cool looking unit.

I was hoping to get something that offered mixing flexibility as well as a transparent monitor controlling capability, but I'm thinking that those 2 functions are probably best left to separate devices, and this would fit the bill nicely for a controller.

The price isn't too bad either (apx $1000 Cdn), so it is definitely under consideration for addition to the studio upgrade shopping list.

JL
"Only he who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible." ~ Manuel Onamuno

Offline Podgorny

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2006, 08:34:14 pm »
Why not utilize your software mixer with an analog level control, suck as the PreSonus Central Station or the SPL that Terry Mentioned?

It seems to me that it would solve your problem, and allow you to keep working they way you are now used to.





"Nobody cares what the impedance is; all they care about is when you can walk into the room, set up a mic, turn the knobs, hit record, and make everybody go 'wow.'"

Offline Teddy G.

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2006, 09:06:10 pm »
I'm going to try the M-Patch2, from SM-Pro Audio. This is a slight upgrade from the original M-Patch(Still available, I believe?) design, which now includes a headphone jack/amp.

Basically a "patch bay"/attenuator(A box with switches and inputs and outputs), that I'll plug my powered speakers into, my Mackie mixer and my sound card - direct. Monitoring should be unencumbered by any "extra" circuitry(Assuming the M-Patch is rather "Pristine", itself?), at least no more amps/eq, etc. It's not quite "in" the US, yet, so I'm ordering direct from Australia. They say it should be available here in about 4 weeks(8Th. St. Music, in Philadelphia, among others, is a dealer.).

As far as I can see, this is THE gadget that I have been waiting for for several years..? THE place to plug the phones and speakers into AND a neat-o, very convenient little "patch bay". For a price of around $150(US), I'm going to buy one and hear for myself...

Sorry, I can't find my link to the place, now... I'll check and post it in a minute.


TG


Offline Teddy G.

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2006, 09:08:37 pm »


http://www.smproaudio.com/MPATCH2.htm


Is it any good? I've got everything crossed(And my debit card in hand!).

I'll let you know...


TG

Offline Jack Schitt

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2006, 01:03:06 pm »
blueboy wrote on Sat, 27 May 2006 14:53

I have an old Wackie 1402VLZ mixer that I used to use as a utility mixer for several devices (keyboards, samplers, guitar preamps etc), but since moving to using a software mixer it has been put aside.

After nearly blowing up my nearfield monitors (and my ears) during a software "glitch" I decided to put the mixer back in the chain to act as a master monitor level control. Much to my surprise, I quickly found that it destroyed all the high end in my audio. The best way to describe it is it sounds as if it is converting my audio on the fly into high bit rate MP3 audio. On first listen it sounds ok, but when listening to high frequency content like cymbals, the sound becomes very hollow and grainy. The only sound I can get through this thing that is even close to acceptable is through the tape input, as there is less in the signal path than the individual channels.

I also have an old Akai MB76 programmable mix bay and tried that out instead and it was much better, but as it is digitally controlled, the level increments where too coarse.

Then I saw a Behringer 1602 line level mixer that was really cheap and I thought how bad can it be? There really isn't much going on so it will probably do what I need it to do, so I picked one up. At first I was quite pleased as it appeared to have good frequency response, but something kept bugging me about it. After doing several A/B comparisons with it in and out of the chain, all I can say is that it appeared to "rubberize" the sound in a really weird way, so back it went.

So my question is....does anyone else with a Wackie 1402VLZ find that it alters the highs, or does it sound like this unit is defective?

If this is just the way they are (and I am just noticing it for the first time), do the newer units also suffer from this problem? Is their a better choice for a relatively inexpensive board that will be used simply as a line level mixer and is fairly "transparent".

Thanks for any feedback.

JL




I use a 1402 for that purpose and have no complaints. It ain't the greatest device on the planet but it certainly isn't destroying my audio in the blatant way you are describing. I return playback from the DAW into the effect returns.

Offline djwayne

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2006, 01:41:42 pm »
Sorry blueboy, but the only one around here that is "wackie" is you. Mackie makes some pretty good mixers for the money. If you want high buck audiophile quality be prepared to spend mucho bucks. As for me I'm very happy with the sound I get from my 24 X 8 bus Mackie, and resent the "wackie" insult.

I needed a decent board for my home studio and the Mackie has been very reliable for me for over 10 years. I didn't want a $50,000 board for a home studio.

Think of it this way, If I bought a Mackie for $3,500 and now it sells for $1,000 I've lost $2,500, If I would have bought a $50,000 board, it now would probably only fetch $25,000 meaning I would have lost $25,000.

And no, I wouldn't sell my Mackie for $1,000, find someone else who beleves the negative hype.

Offline blueboy

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2006, 02:26:31 pm »
Hi djwayne...sorry I didn't mean to single you out. I forgot that you take things personally....

Anyway, I have nothing against Mackie or I wouldn't have bought the thing in the first place. I was looking for comments along the line of Denny's (thank you Denny), as I find it strange that I have not noticed the high frequency loss before.

If I was a gear snob (/slut) I probably would not have tried to replace it with a Behringer! As mentioned, the Behringer did far more damage to the audio than the Mackie (I sure hope you don't have any Behringer as I don't want to insult you personally with that comment, and no... I don't have anything against Behringer).

I guess I had never used the board in a critical listening situation before, and had just assumed that the board was relatively transparent. Basically, I'm just trying to decide whether or not it is worth it to get it checked out (and potentially repaired if it has indeed gone "wacky" on me), or look at alternative solutions.

I have changed the thread title to avoid placing any further stress on the minds of other Mackie followers......I mean owners.

JL  
"Only he who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible." ~ Manuel Onamuno

Offline djwayne

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2006, 02:42:09 pm »
I'm just sick of hearing the bullsh---t negative hype about a good product that is reasonably priced and works well for most situations. There's people in this world that are so spoiled rotten that nothing pleases them, nothing.

My Mackie is over 10 years old and still working flawlessly, and sounds great. It's nothing personal, it's just been a very good product, that some people diss for some reason. There's lot's of competition between manufactures and board owners, so you can't believe half the cr-p you hear.

I just came from a very long thread about Mackie vrs Soundcraft, Tascam ect....and really tired of the baloney.

Hey Peter Gabriel has one in his "Bunker" studio. If it's good enough for Peter Gabriel, it's sure good enough for my music. There's a whole laundry list of very famous celebrities that also own the Mackie 8 Bus from Aerosmith to Whitney Houston, now if you want to insult all those people's buying decisions, then you're on your own.

Offline George_

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Re: Wackie Mixer
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2006, 12:10:07 am »
I've made some demoproductions with only mackie VLZ pres.. works..

but for monitoring "nononono":)

why not buy a DAC-1?

cheers
"BORN A ROCKER, DIE A ROCKER"

George Necola

Offline redfro

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Re: "Wacky" Mackie Mixer?
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2006, 09:21:15 am »
Sorry, guys, but having been in your position I went with an Allen and Heath.
My problem with all the Mackie stuff is the EQ. In my opinion it's brittle and useless. The pres are OK, but after you start putting tracks together you get this haze over everything. Just not what I'm looking for. And I'm no gear snob. I'm too broke for that. I just buy pieces that to ME are a good balance between price and performance.

And I know of many great albums where Mackies were used, but the lengths the engineers had to go to to make it work is the problem. And almost none of them used the EQ.

Not bashing, just giving my opinion...
Wes Pitzer
WCS Media

Offline djwayne

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Re: "Wacky" Mackie Mixer?
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2006, 10:28:13 am »
At the time I bought my Mackie(10-12 years ago), the only A & H board on display was a small rack mount job with a cheap looking knobs and layout, I didn't even want to listen to it. The only two other 8 bus boards that were comparable was the Soundcraft and a Tascam. I didn't like the layout of the Tascam, and the Soundcraft had no meter bridge option. The meter bridge was important to me. A friend of mine bought one of the Soundcrafts and he raved about it, as expected. I didn't hear anything special over the Mackie. But he claimed he did. He was just sore I didn't buy a Soundcraft like his, so I've been getting flack since day one, and I'm really tired of hearing this "my board is better than your board" thing.

The Mackie has worked out really good for me. I use it mainly for mixing keyboards and synths, and the EQ's and Pre's are plenty adequate for that. For acoustic guitar and vocal recording, I use a seperate chain I put together and bypass the Mackie. The shear number of inputs and output options makes the Mackie the perfect choice for routing and controlling many various things in my studio, including a DA-88 and a 5.1 system.

For a little extra spice, I'll add a little Sonic Maximizer thru the effects sends.

Just last week, I decided to give it a good cleaning, I mean a really good cleaning, removed all the knobs and cleaned between all the pots with a tooth brush and some rubbing alcohol, soaked all the knobs, brushed them and wiped them off and now the board looks almost like new. Time consuming, but definitely a worthwhile project. So now it's all set for another 10 years.

Offline Frob

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Re: "Wacky" Mackie Mixer?
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2006, 05:17:32 pm »
before i start i have to say, i am not spoild, my whole studio has been nickle and dimed up to 10K in total cost over the past 5+ years.

that said one of the first things i bought was a used 1604 VLZ pro. it was not a bad purchase. but i am not blinded by the fact that the EQ section is useless. the pres are the best for the monney, but thats it. the pres are good for the monney. dont bline your self with product loyalty.

Offline Fibes

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Re: "Wacky" Mackie Mixer?
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2006, 05:40:03 pm »
I used a 24 track 8 buss for years as a headphone mixer and center section. hell, we did some great things with that and ADATs but i'm not going back there.

We'll have the 24 channel 8 buss up for sale soon.

Fibes
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