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Mackie boards? bad???

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by Anonymous067, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. Anonymous067

    Anonymous067 BANNED USER

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    Okay. Lately I've been hearing a lot of stuff about how "mackie boards are terrible" and yada yada yada.

    Why are they so bad?
    Personally, I'm not a huge fan of allen and heath stuff, and I don't have the money for midas.

    Our school has a SR56.8, and I've also worked with a VLZ Pro 24.4. They both sound good to me, so why do people say these boards suck?
     
  2. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    Whether a piece of equipment is "good" or "bad" always depends on context and the gear that surrounds it. I work for a company that does mostly corporate events where you set up for between a half hour and a half day for events that last a maximum of 8 hours. We use Mackie SRM-450 powered monitors almost exclusively and have never had a complaint from our customers about the sound of a show. As a tech, the self noise, ground buzz and other minor problems the general public doesn't notice bother me, but the gear pays the bills. In this context, the powered monitors and mixers from a similar class of gear work just fine - they're "good" enough. A midas console feeding SRM-450's would be a huge waste of money in terms of sound quality. I also wouldn't bring a 24 ch Mackie board to a venue with a high-end line array system - the better speakers would make the low(er) quality of the console more noticeable, maybe even to the general public. Price point is a big consideration, especially at highschool level since there are very few schools that aren't strapped for cash.
     
  3. Anonymous067

    Anonymous067 BANNED USER

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    A lot of people on here, and the person who posted above you.
     
  4. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    I don't mean to come out and blatantly say that Mackie boards and products are bad. I'm just trying to point out that anything can be made to look bad when compared to things that are really good. A Ford Focus is good but is made to look bad when compared to a Bentley. My favorite console for general purpose use is the Mackie 16ch board that actually has all 16 mic pre's...that board is very versatile and many of them have allowed me to do great shows through the years.
     
  5. Anonymous067

    Anonymous067 BANNED USER

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    I wasn't trying to slam you. I completely understand. Mackie does suck compared to midas. I just can't afford a 120,000 $ board.
     
  6. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Much of it has to do with history, where Mackie has their roots: the old CR1604. They entered the market by developing a large niche market that didn't really exist before: that for the disposable compact portable not-very-flexible console: the 1604 and its relatives created a brand-new market, one that's arguably gone to Behringer, Phonic, and the like now.

    Because you could buy a Mackie CR1604 for a fraction of the price of a Yamaha MC1604, and the Mackie was small enough to fit in a portable rack, lots of people who should have gotten better stuff (like at least Yam MC series) wound up with Mackie boards.

    I'll admit that their new stuff looks nice and actually sounds decent too, and I've worked many a show with something Mackie in the chain .. but the Mackie stigma remains. They're historically inflexible (the famous stupid Aux Swap switch comes to mind).

    I'll drive a Mackie if I have to, but there are much better consoles out there. I'm a Yamaha and A&H guy (sure, I'd love a Midas H2K as well, but same thing with the 120K console). Yam and A&H and Soundcraft are very functional consoles, very flexible. My favorite is the GL4K: on that one, you can do anything, perhaps even achieve world peace.

    Not to mention that, historically, Mackie has marketed and built to the Music Industry crowd, the guys who buy a cheap PA from the local music shop, rather than to the pro audio crowd. They're changing that in recent years, what with Onyx and all, but I'd still rather buy a console from a company who specializes in consoles (A&H, Soundcraft, Yam Pro) than one who started making cheap disposable consoles.

    My two cents.
     
  7. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    In my inventory, I have a Mackie SR40, SR2442, 1642, and a 1604. I also have a Yamaha O2R. All of my analog consoles are ageing, and Mackies don't age well. They tend to dirty up pretty quick, leading to them getting pretty unusable. Not to mention the fact they love all 1/4" outputs on their smaller consoles (the 2442 should have all XLR outs on subs). Now, these boards work, and they work rather well. They sound OK, but you can tell a differance when I have the O2R patched in compared to the SR40. They are not a horrible console, and if you take care of them, tney will last for a good amount of time. For the price, they are fine.
     
  8. TimmyP1955

    TimmyP1955 Active Member

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    The Mackie's definitely don't suck. Anyone who can't make a good sound with one has no business mixing. However I am always disappointed when I walk into a gig and set down in front of one. The single sweepable midrange is very limiting. In the studio it may be ok, but given the crummy mics we have to work with live, I consider the dual mid sweeps of an Allen & Heath (my preference) or Soundcraft to be a must.

    The Allen & Heath (and, I'm told, the Mackie Onyx) are very easy (and thus cheap) to fix owing to individual PCB construction. With the usual Mackies and Soundcrafts, most repairs are a lot of work (= money) owing to everything being on a single circuit board (= a lot more disassembly to get the thing apart).
     
  9. avare

    avare Active Member

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    Mackie makes a very good product at its price point. Whether you can get the quality you want at a given price point is a different question.

    Andre
     
  10. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    On the PC board thing, that seems to vary not so much by manufacturer but by series. Yam MGs, for example, are most assuredly single-board, or at best a small board-count, design. The GAs are semi-modular, a horizontal board for each panel module = group of 8 or so channels.

    But the really good ones (and they're going out of style fast with digital boards) have not only a single vertical board for each channel strip (like A&H's GL series, for example), but a separate module for each channel strip. Classic examples of that are any Yam PM series console and Soundcraft's 800B. Each element of modularity (vertical board, channel strip module) of course adds to the cost of the thing, so you're not going to see it at the economy level consoles.

    I think Timmy summed it up pretty well, though: a good engineer can make (almost) anything sound good. The better gear, though, will have better tools to make it easier for you to make it sound good, like two or more swept mids, swept high-pass, metering, inserts, PFL, true mutes, pre/post switching, more flexible routing options. The first console I learned on was an old (but then it was new) CR1604. Somehow I made the thing work. Now I mix on a GL2200 with plenty outboard and a good PA every week; I saw an old 1604 in the local Guitar Center a year ago and wondered "How did I ever work on that thing? It doesn't have this and that, and that thing's in the wrong place".

    Probably a year and a half ago I drafted up a tech rider for a band I was working with. A simple thing, really flexible. In that I asked for, console-wise, at worst a Yamaha MC1204 or MC1604. That seems a fair bottom-of-the-barrel "decent" console. But good engineers (and I hope I'm a good one; I try) can make almost anything sound okay, and that's the important thing.
     
  11. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    There's a bunch of reasons professionals will decline a Mackie as a professional board. They're great for basic use, and for less high need installations. The forst board I ever learned on was the 1604. I have a 2404 and it's a great board for smallish stuff. Not a professional rig because it lacks some features (think matrices, individual pc boards, possibly preamp quality, etc) which certain people would require... But that's just where you get into the idea of the board being good for a certain type of stuff, and not so much for more needy installations. As someone said above - mackie really does well with their originally targeted crowd: musicians. Whereas in theatres ad such, you'll see a lot more A&H, Yamaha, Soundcraft (sometimes :p), midas, etc.
    For a high school theatre, a Mackie is probably fine. Or you might consider a SC.
     
  12. soundman1024

    soundman1024 Active Member

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    I was like the OP for a while, wondering what the problem with Mackie is. They seemed like great units that never had a problem, Mackie was about all I had used though. When the Mackie 32.8 at our church got replaced by an A&H ML5000 I all the sudden realized what everyone says about Mackie is true. In comparison the Mackie just sounded harsh..it lacked fidelity. I realize the ML500 and the 32.8 are two different leagues of console, but I heard it again when the same 32.8 hand-me-down to our youth room was replaced by a Soundcraft Series TWO, a much closer comparison. When you hear the change once you can't not hear it later.

    Like everyone has said though, a Mackie can do the job. Their name isn't disrespected per-say, it's just that there are options people pick before Mackie when it is out there.
     
  13. jkowtko

    jkowtko Active Member

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    So there's:
    * features
    * sound quality
    * reliability

    I think it's a lot like this with any piece of electronics equipment. When you buy a home stereo system, sure the Sony receiver has a lot of features in it, but is it going to sound like an NAD? No.

    I think Mackie boards in general do not have the long-standing reputation for sound quality that the others do, and they have produced certain models that have had reliability/quality problems. Not that the others don't but overall their track record is better.

    But since you're only buying one board, you can still make a decent choice with Mackie (or Behringer, for that matter) -- you just have to pick the right board that will perform and survive in your environment. Personally, though, I'd buy buy A&H or SC... :)
     
  14. avare

    avare Active Member

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    These types of comparison questions with inappropriate responses are way too common come up way too often.

    Ferraris are great cars, why do people buy Saturns?

    Andre
     
  15. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    For professionals it usually comes down to Return On Investment. If a brand/model serves the needs and generates income effectively, then it is a good choice. If a product is difficult to use or unreliable or requires greater initial investment than the resulting income justifies, then it is a poor choice. Depending on the application, there are many factors that can potentially enter into this including sound quality, initial cost, reliability, transportability, ease of use, market preception, market application, support and numerous others. Very few products are inhernetly good or bad, they are only good or bad for the application.
     
  16. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    mackie does build a solid board, it withstands abuse. I was mixing on our soundcraft Ghost the other day, and i was thinking, something just isnt right, it seemed very harsh. I have gotten better sound out of our other consoles. I think its time for a good cleaning. Our Ghost lives in its case, and is going on probably around 10 years old. Our mackies are now about 6-8 years old, been toured, and beat to hell. They seem to sound a little sweeter. I didnt have a chance to really tweak the system, due to the entire setup was a train wreck. I had a crown XTi 2000 decide to start thermaling about a min before the show, along with channel 1 on it not working so i had to move everything over to channel 2. It would not even work when i bridged it and told it to Y the input. I also had another XTi decide to completely shut down. I had to go up and turn the power button off then back on again in order for it to reboot the amp, go figure on that one. I also had a nasty ground loop out of just one amp (another try to figure out)...... I blame half of it on hotel power due to random problems appearing and disappearing. Also the hotel electricans installed their distro right next to my snake which didnt make problems any better........
     

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