Is Mackie worth the cheap price?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by JohnTheNerd, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. JohnTheNerd

    JohnTheNerd Active Member

    I'm looking at getting an audio mixing board and want to spend no more than $200. At first I was going to get a Behringer 1204x with USB. However reading reviews and fourm entries I decided against it. Currently, I see the Mackie Pro-FX8 mixer. It offers all the features and more than the Behringer for the same price. However, I do not know if the board sounds any good and am wondering if anyone could give me some advice.

    Thanks much!
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    What do you intend to use it for? What other equipment do you have to use with it?
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Hi John !
    I've worked with berhinger and Mackie mixers and I'd choose Mackie first any time.
    The 2 models you propose are entry levels, they have limited EQ and the preamps are note the cleanests.

    As Boswell said, it's very important to know what you want to do to better help you.

    There is better sounding mixers, Allen&heat and soundcraft are 2 that I thrust. ;)
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Mackie sounds as good as anything at that price. all those mixers are made in China and probably with the same components. my advise is go for the features you like. at that price point, that's all that distinguishes one from the other.
    DonnyAir and bigtree like this.
  5. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

    Very few budget mixers from ANY brand are made at home - you can't build much for that money with our labour, so for me Mackie, Soundcraft, Behringer and all the similar small cheap compact mixers are fine - excellent value for money, and it's just a case of selecting the right feature set. If you want gorgeous sounding eq, then that price won't buy it, but the eq on these things is fine for most stuff.
  6. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Both of the mixers in that price range are pretty much going to sound the same. Don't be fooled by claims of "British EQ!" or "Premium Preamps"... they are both mass produced, at low cost labor, and very often quality control is next to non-existent, and pretty much limited to the criteria of "if it powers up it's fine".

    If you want to really up your game, look into a Presonus Studio/Live or Allen & Heath; both do have nice preamps, EQ, converters, and are built as front end desks for recording. The A&H will require a Firewire connection on your computer... I think the Presonus is USB, but I could very well be mistaken on that.

    Either one would be a HUGE improvement from the low budget mixers you are currently looking at... but... you won't touch them for the $200 you have to spend.

    At that budget, your options (and quality) are very limited, and anything in that price class is going to basically sound the same, so it really comes down to certain features that might attract you - but, those will be limited too. For $200, any way you go, you're looking at sonics and features that are at best entry level caliber in both sound and quality.

    Basically, what I'm suggesting is, don't expect anything close to a pro sound, and be prepared for potential service issues, too.

    The general rule of thumb that "you get what you pay for" applies here.

  7. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Not so long ago, behringer products were considered all noisy copy units. It might have changed since then but.. I guess I'm no behringer fan for life !!
    The only worth it product they make is the x32 series, in my opinion. But I admit upfront that my opinion is teinted by years of deceptions from their older gear... I have a small 4 channel Soundcraft mixer for DJ work here, the preamps are a world ahead of where other small mixers were when I bought it and it was 149$ CAD.
  8. JohnTheNerd

    JohnTheNerd Active Member

    Thanks for all the replies! I intend to use it for my small home studio and recording some YouTube audio. Also for small live events at a school for which I do audio work. (Dances etc) After recently working with a VERY nice presonus board I understand I'll get what I pay for. Just looking to get the most for my dollar.
  9. JohnTheNerd

    JohnTheNerd Active Member

    Correction: It was a digico sd8
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Until you step up to a Yamaha digital board, none of them are gonna be close to a digico. Some people swear allen an Heath is a step up from a basic Mackie, and I disagree. None of the new digital boards in the 2k price range are wows either. I had a 4 night a week gig over the summer where I ran sound thru a the house speakers k series tops and yorkiville subs, w the bands rig. The only, mixer that sonically sounded better was the Yamaha ls-9 which is an older board, that met a higher inital price point. And is stil, selling used for a grand and a half more than the new Berlinger, ah, and presonus offerings. I was able to use them as well as the standard slew of The usual analog compacts and there is very little difference in sound quality.

    So yes, Mackie is worth it I your case, and you should be just fine with it.
  11. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    At those prices either will do the job, how well and for how long is really just a crap shoot...both are hit and miss on the quality control
    Ber*#@@#ger has never had a good reputation for reliability, but they give you all sorts of bells and whistles for cheap. Since Mackie started building all there stuff in China they've had issues too. But they are still part of a big conglomerate here in the USA.
    But Allen & Heath (UK) also has all their small stuff made in they're all in the same boat!
    Also you didn't list any equipment (mics, instruments, computer, DAW etc..) you will be using with one of these mixers either...or exactly how you are planning on recording what?
    That might make a difference in the sound quality you get through one of these or it might not even make any difference at all. Most of these inexpensive mixers are just simple relatively low noise surface mount chip circuits using very inexpensive passive components.
    So I guess I would recommend in this order:
    1. Allen & Heath FX boards (if you're looking for a better quality mixer with effects and USB)
    2. Mackie FX/USB
    3. Beri$##ger FX/USB
  12. JohnTheNerd

    JohnTheNerd Active Member

    Unfortunately the speakers I'll be using it with are carvin pa speakers (hate those things) and some basic senhiser wireless mics along with a few beta 58s. I have a custom built middle range computer..specs:

    Motherboard: Asus z974 extreme
    Ram: 8GB
    CPU: Intel 3rd gen i3
    GPU: Some 2gb gtx card
  13. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    Are you using any sort of recording software (DAW)?
    As long as you have a decent stereo amplifier with enough power to drive those Carvins I would say those are fine for listening....maybe you hate them because you don't have anything powerful enough to run them....
    Beta 58 are solid dynamic mics and will certainly get you by...Senn's don't know your model but I would assume the receiver can plug into the mixer.
    All of those mics are somewhat noisy compared to professional recording mics so those mixers will do the job as good as you can expect. It's all relative...
    Depending on what your DAW recording software is, will be the only criteria with your computer. Looks like enough computing power there to do what you're doing.
    I think the Mackie comes with Tracktion3 recording software which should work fine...
    Again no idea if you're using any recording software now but not a big deal either way.

    FWIW these USB mixers only provide 2 channels stereo into and out of your computer anyway...
    Some of them are more limited than the others so download the manuals online and check all your features and compare closely.....they can be misleading in what they will actually do.
    kmetal likes this.
  14. JohnTheNerd

    JohnTheNerd Active Member

    Currently I'm only using audacity. Update on the shopping for a mixer: found a nice price ($100) for a Eurorack UB1832FX-PRO with an Odyssey hard case. It sounds descent and seems like it should do the job.
    pcrecord likes this.
  15. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    Good for you ! ;)
    JohnTheNerd likes this.
  16. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Even at that price, I would give that one a miss. The hard case might be worth something, though.
    pcrecord likes this.
  17. JohnTheNerd

    JohnTheNerd Active Member

    I looked the case up on amazon and it's worth $85...I did get the board and it's brand new and honestly, although not perfect, the quality is workable.
  18. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    If your purchase makes you happy, that's ok John.
    I'm guessing Boswell and I would never buy a board like that because we've been spoiled to work with highend mixers.
    We also have our ears trained to recognise audio quality and defects and would have a hard time liking this one. I won't assume I'm anywhere near the experience and knowledge of Boswell but I'm learning everyday and so can you.

    Enjoy your EuroRack, if you outgrow it or realise you want a better unit later on, at least you can say you didn't waste a lot of money. ;)
  19. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    I'm sure that will make a great PA mixer for school dances.
    Do you have a band?....or are you the sound guy?
    That mixer won't be very good for recording though. 2 channel output.
    There's no USB connection for any digital recording like the other ones you we're looking at.
    No direct outs either, only main out and sub out, but hey it has lots of effects!
  20. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The channel inserts, the subgroup and monitor outputs are all independent outputs that could be used to record (with the proper cable and an audio interface with enough inputs.) But NO, even tho you could record, I wouldn't recommand doing it because of the preamps quality of this unit.
    Since you would need an audio interface anyway, I suggest to buy one with acceptable preamps quality and quantity to fit your needs.

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