Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Mackie bashing.

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Munjibunga, May 24, 2002.


  1. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I was reading a recording newsgroup, and there were a couple guys who just bash the crap out of Mackie boards. I've been using a 1604 VLZ for 7 years doing live sound indoors and out, and I really like the sound and the layout of the board. Now I also have a 1402 VLZ Pro, and it is a great little board for rehearsal and small venues.

    I've never had to have one repaired, and I find them easy to set up and use. The sound is excellent. Am I a dork for liking these boards? I've looked at Allen & Heath, and their layout seems counter-intuitive. They also cost 50% more than a comparable Mackie. I doubt that they sound much better than the Mackie.

    Somebody set me straight, please. Give me logic and rational thought, though, not bile and vitriol.
     
  2. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    My experiences are the same as yours, Munji. I think lots of people like to bash Mackie to make themselves feel better about all the money they spent for the same performance the Mackie provides. Trying to convince themselves somehow that they made the right decision.

    BTW, I know several local sound men who have large arena-size consoles by different high-end makers. Almost all of them use Mackie 16 or 24 channel boards for their smaller setups.
     
  3. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Maybe I'm not going insane. I think Mackie may have had a problem with some ribbon connectors, but I've never had a prob. I've even had my mini-cosole tip over with my 1604 inside with no ill effects. Well, let's see what else pops up here.
     
  4. zombywoof5050

    zombywoof5050

    Dec 20, 2001
    For the price of the Mackie, I seriously doubt that you'll find a better pre. I've been using a 1402vlz (non-pro) for years and it's great.
     
  5. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA
    I think, like Munji, I'd like to hear some valid criticisms or comparisons with other boards..within the same general price range. I saw Spacegoats comment's in his "BB King Gig" thread, but the comparison to a several-hunnerd thousand dollar Midas touring board ain't realistic.

    Is there anything better in the same price range, and if so, why? Anybody?
     
  6. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    After messing aound with the comparably priced competion, I think the Mackie holds up very well. I'm sure the super high end boards make a huge difference, but for the price the Mackie is damn good. I tried the A&H myself and had the same problem as you Munji. It did sound good though. Then again, you might want to discredit my opinion altogether as I think it is possible to get a good sound out of a Behringer compressor. (not as easy as a dbx, but very possible!)
     
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    OK, I think I'll proceed as though I'm sane, then.
     
  8. While Mackie consoles fall short of Midas standards all around, most other consoles do, too. And, no, it isn't a fair comparison to compare a 1604 with an XL-4. Actually, I think that dollar for dollar, the Mackie small format consoles are a great value. They are fairly transparent and do have loads of headroom. I'd take an SR-24.4 over a GL-2200 sonically (although the Allen Heath has some very desirable features like dual swept mids and the aux reverse thing). The small desks are the best in their price range.

    I do think that the large format Mackies (SR-40, 56 etc) fall short, however. They're fine for clubs and installs but they're not road worthy. Unfortuantely, touring consoles have to be modular. They also have to have knobs with metal shafts and retaining nuts. These things alone add lots of dollars to a console's price tag. With a Midas or a Soundcraft, if a channel quits working at least I can take that one module out to fix it or swap it with another in minutes. The large Mackies just aren't field repairable. The reliability numbers are pretty grim. One of the companies I work for has two of them. They don't ever go on the road any more because they broke down so much. One is on an install and the cost of repairing the other one is enough that it just isn't worth doing. What gets me about these consoles is that Mackie markets them as comparable to other large format desks (like Midas XL-series, Soundcraft Series 5, Yamaha PM-4000, etc), which they most certainly are not.
     
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Spacegoat, I think you've touched on the issue. Mackie's marketing department likes to make certain comparisons with "boards costing many times more," but the Mackie market is at a much lower price point than the Midas gear. To get 16 decent preamps for $1,000 ain't bad, and you get a serviceable sound board with them. But I don't think even Mackie would suggest you should replace your $150,000 Midas with even their top-of-the-line SR56-8. Mackie serves folks like me with good-quality equipment at a reasonable price. To keep the price low, some compromises have to be made. Bottom line, I'm very happy with the sound and reliability of my Mackie gear, especially my SR 1530 speakers.
     
  10. I concur. We've got a bunch of little Mackies that get used a lot. The reliability and sound quality are quite good for the price. I just realized that in my last post, it kinda seemed like I was bashing all Mackie stuff for reliablity. That's not the case, I was just talking about the big ones. The small format stuff has proven very reliable. I really like the SRM-450s, actually. I've even used them as front fills at big shows. I'd like to hear the 1530s.
     
  11. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Good to hear you say that. I was growing concerned for the same reason Munji was, and looking for a small board myself. I remember asking you about that difference before; and then putting the idea on hold for price reasons with the fancier boards. This makes me feel better about getting another non-modular board.
     
  12. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I was recently in the market for a mixer and compared everything I was looking at to Mackie as a reference. I ended up getting a Soundcraft Spirit M12, but that was mainly for two reasons:

    1) I liked the pres a little better, and;

    2) It has direct outs, and the comparably priced Mackie does not. Since I'm going to be using the board as the front end of a recording system, this was pretty decisive.


    I haven't seen much Mackie-bashing, but if I did I'd just have to laugh it off. Those are some damn decent boards, and they do tend to remain remarkably service free IME.