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Compact mixer options other than Mackie

Discussion in 'Recording' started by krazydog, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. krazydog

    krazydog Guest

    Hi guys.
    I'm thinking about grabbing a Mackie 1402 VLZ Pro.
    I'd like some other options.
    Basically what I'm looking for is something that will get me by until I buy a "real" preamp.
    What other options are there in the same price/quality as the Mackies with 6-8 XLR/Pre Amp with Phantom.
    I'll be tracking Drums & everything else for my "demos" going into a Delta 1010.
    I've used the Mackie before & I hear the same thinness as everyone complains about.
    Of coarse for the money what do you expect right?
    I'd like to be able to run straight out the inserts as with the Mackies if possible.

  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.

    That thinness everyone mentions with the Mackies is really a lack of coloration. The Mackie mic pres are pretty accurate. Unfortunately this type of sound signature is great for classical and orchestral production not that desirable for Pop and Rock. We have all become accustomed to the sound of the designs from United Audio / Urei, Neve, Focusrite, etc. These designs add sonic signature / coloration and actually have a "good sound" rather than a "neutral sound". All in all, it's hard to best the Mackies at their price point.

    Kurt Foster
  3. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    The Soundcraft Spirit 'M' Series are worth a look.
    Sposed to have 'Ghost' preamps, and Soundcraft EQ is always very nice.
  4. Clueless

    Clueless Guest

    IMHO, the best small-format board, if you have a space constraint, not a budget constraint, is the Midas Venice 160 (tabletop or rack mountable). Sonically, it absolutely kills Mackie's 1604.
  5. Consul

    Consul Guest

    Actually, that Soundcraft Spirit M12 has my curiosity up. I'll have to keep a close eye onthat series. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
  6. tripnek

    tripnek Active Member

    Jun 9, 2003
    If you want something inexpensive, try the Alesis stuff. Great starter boards and IMHO better sounding pre's and more features than the Makie stuff. I started on a used Alesis Studio 32. Great little board and can be had on eBay for around $300.

    If you can go a little more money try the Allen and Heath, Soundcraft or Midas.
  7. krazydog

    krazydog Guest

    Thanks for the suggestions guys!
    I'm going to see if I can drum up a rental Spirit to try out.
    Looks like they're even cheaper than the Mackies.
    The Midas looks nice but at $2500 US I'd rather grab the Sebatron 4000e! hehe
    I'm planning on purchasing the 4000e in the next few months but I need something on the cheap right now.
    I'm going to look into the Alesis boards as well.

    Haven't the Mackies come down in the States??
    It seems we can get them cheaper up here in Canada.
    The 1402 is $575 CAD now. Apparently they went down in March.
    I just looked at the Sweetwater price & it's $529US!! ($725 CAD)
    Seems odd!!

    Any hoo, I hope the Spirit at as good or better sounding than the Mackie, if not I'll just grab a 1402 Pro.

  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    If you are intending to bite the bullet and get some real pres soon, I think a Mackie or just about anything will hold you until then. Truth is all of the previously mentioned boards, excluding the Midas or perhaps the Crest (now manufactured by Peavey), have pretty cheap / cheezy mic pres that will be bested by the Sebatron vmp, a GR MP/ NV, or many of the better boutique pres ... so if that is the direction you are headed in, the Mackie will do fine until then. Save the cash for some good mics and pres.
  9. Beeernd

    Beeernd Guest

    I think the Wackie most likely will serve you adequately. You could always bypass the mic pres by inserting some external units and the mixbus is tolerable if you do not max out the headroom. In the future you could look at replacing some of those cheap Opamps in the channel buffer in order to improve the sonics dramatically. Another old WACKIE trick is to run the mixbus quite low (output leds only in the green) and makeup the output gain with a more colorful (boutique) gainstage, such as a tube/class A equalizer or compressor set to supply gain only. I know this is contrary to sensible gain structure, but it is worth experimenting with it IMHO. In other words, the mixer is fine if you let it do as little as possible gain-wise. Especially with external pres., most of our gain should be coming from these units.
    One more thing, for a step up in sonics and user friendliness take a close look at the Allen&Heath Mix Wizards (16:4:2, I believe). I think their Eq is quite useable, as are their pres. and I always prefer to have long throw faders over the stubbly MACKIES.

    Good luck :D
  10. sign

    sign Guest

    The Soundcraft Spirit series design came from the small Seck company that made some pretty good sounding budget boards like the 1882.

    Very good sounding pre's, much better than the Wackie and Behringer stuff.
  11. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    I've been digging around for info on mixer consoles strictly for live performance mixing.

    Near as I can tell, the Midas Venice is about the top of the pile. It had better be, considering the $2,700 price tag for the 16-channel model, and $4,200 for the 32 channel.

    The next stop down looks like the Soundcraft LX7-II.
  12. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    The little Midas boards are absoultly the best small board, but as was stated, ... Its not really like buying a small board. They are basically little XL4s, or 3s, or H3ks. Although... FYI, the aux return channels sound like $*^t compared to all the mic inputs.

    Anyway... Crest makes some cool small boards too. Lots of cool options that no one else has.. its worth a look.
  13. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    A new option that has arisen is the Speclk LILO ... no eq just aux sends and summing ... pretty cool ..
  14. bgavin

    bgavin Guest

    Well, I dug forever, read everything I could get my hands on, and even built a spread sheet matrix of features.

    In the end, the clear winner was the Venice, but the Crest XR20 is a huge contender at half the price and comes with a 5 year warranty. Very usable machine.

    In the end, cash flow won out. I picked up a Mackie SR24-4 VLZ Pro from the original owner. The SR series has a few significant extras missing on the 1604 VLZ Pro, such as group inserts. My needs for this board are strictly for live performance mixing, not recording.

    My daughter's band played the Warped Tour in San Francisco over July 4th weekend,where one of big dollar stages was equipped with a full size Midas Verona. The system mostly sounded like screaming through a wet blanket, with lots of mid-bass boom from the subs.

    Two stages away, an obsolete Mackie 40-8 was driving subs and mains, and was very tight, clear, and punchy. In the end, the operator makes all the difference.
  15. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    hey dog,

    not sure if you're into buying used, but theres a place acrross from me at N/W corner of Brimley/Eglinton ( Scarb) called Encore Sales, like the cash converters, and i think they have a Mackie about that size for under 500 bills,

    if you want , I'll step over and confirm price on it,, ?

    let me know


    contact me by phone if you still have # or on my hifisanity email


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