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mackie pre-amps and firewire interface

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by inLoco, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    ok so i had pretty much decided to go with a motu 828mkII with an m-audio octane for connecting 8 drum mics! for live i'd use my behringer 2004's 4 of 8 pre-amps! it has a main output and an alternative! i'd connect mics to 4 channels and pan them hard right and left! then i'd send from the outputs to the direct ins of the 828mkII. i know my behringer pres aren't the best but with a low budget for recording live it would do the trick till i'd get money for good mic pres... but now... i've seen that mackie launched the onyx 1640 with firewire! this means that it has 96kHz FireWire option for streaming 18 independent channels of audio to computer with near-zero latency.

    what do you guys suggest? kurt you too :wink:

    should i buy the motu 828 mkII with an m-audio octane
    or the
    mackie onyx 1640 with the firewire card

    i've always heard that mackies pres rock!

    i accept other suggestions, it's just that i don't want to spend more than 1500 euros for having at least 12 pre amps
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    They both are way too different to directly compare. The mackie is a full mixer with an interface. The 828MKII is an interface with a small mixer. The 828MKII has SMPTE, WC, S/PDIF and both ADAT optical I/O as well as ADAT sync which makes it more useable in the real world of interfacing gear in the digital realm. The 828MKII or rather two of them is an option I am considering myself.
  3. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    so basically what you are saying is that the 828mkII is more reliable than the mackie... is it? and of course it has more tools to work with!
  4. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    the 828mkii only has 2 preamps on board- it has 8 more analog inputs but you will need preamps with them- also you can send 8 more inputs via adat lilghthpipe- but you will need preamp as well. Then there are 2 inputs via spidif. I use these with a rosetta AD and you will need 2 more preamps as well.

    On the mackie side you might possibly need a computer interface (am not sure on this) if so, you will neeed the 828 for the interface plus the mackie for the pres-
  5. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    MOTU products come with a feature called "Audiodesk" which is a way to monitor inputs without latency. Unless things have changed since I was shopping for interfaces, Audiodesk only works on Macs so the MOTU package is better or worse depending on which computer plactform you use, Mac or PC. ... I use PC and that was the main reason I steered away from MOTU stuff. Why pay for a software feature you can't use? And what do you do to replace the needed function?

    I have also read reader responses that MOTU products have pretty "iffy" converters. Lot of folks talking about upgrading the converters in their MOTUs .. I am not a big "gotta have good converters or it's gonna suck" kind of guy, I only mention it so you have a heads up. I would be interested to hear Gaffs impression of the MOTU stuff after he' s had one for a while.

    Mackie pres do not rock ... they are fine but I would hardly say they rock. No one here has heard the ONYX pres yet (that I know of) so it's hard to make a judgment call on them ... at this point, from Mackie I would have to say "show me" before I become convinced the ONYX pres are leap ahead in quality.

    At the point you're at inLoco, I think you should be making your choices based on the feature set and not considering the audio quality. I doubt there will be much difference between the Mackie and the MOTU in terms of audio or conversion quality, so it all comes down to the bells and whistles and functionality of the hardware in your application. Only you know best which is going to suit your needs.
  6. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    damn it... yeah i think that you are right kurt...

    but another question that i'm a bit confused...
    how does the latency work with the motu and a pc? i would be using both my pIV 2.4 with 512 ram (i want to put more 512 to get better response!)

    that zero latency is only with mac?
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Latency can be an issue or not. If a system is a very basic set up with only few channels activated, latency can be very low and not so much of an issue.

    I like my DAW to perform like a console and recorder ... so I keep a lot of input channels activated and that bumps the latency up to a high and unacceptable level for overdubbing and talent monitoring ... so I use the AISO function in the soundcard to split the input back out of the (16 channels of) converters which I have normaled to the first 16 inputs of my Mackie SR24 ... I monitor the DAW mix via the spdif out of the soundcard which is routed to my stand alone CD recorder. I also have the outs of the CDr normaled to the 23/24 ins on the Mackie.. so I monitor the mix and inputs all on the Mackie without any delay ... I can send multiple phone mix's to talent, add effects (from my stand alone effects box's) to phones or monitors.

    The Mackie provides C/R and talkback functions ... it works pretty cool if you ask me. I feel (almost) as if I were back in front of a large format console.
  8. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    so do you think if i record 8 drum tracks and then put playback from the motu phones line out to record bass you think with my settings it would be zero latency?
    both recording 24/44100 and 24/96
  9. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Well, No. That wasn't the message really. Which is more useable depends on your needs and requirements. The MOTU is more of a complete and flexable firewire system. The Mackie is 8-preamps with converters through a firewire interface option. I tend to put them in the same overwelming big catagory of average quaility and tone.

    Reatime zero latency on the PC or MAC can only really be done in harware because the time it takes to go through the computer, drivers and recording application will always have some sort of processing time that is positive of zero.
  10. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Originally posted by Kurt Foster:

    I belive Audiodesk is the software sold in bundle with the MOTU interfaces, which is just Digital Performer without the MIDI part, and is Mac only;CUEMIX DSP is the no latency monitoring facility and works for both Mac and PC platformS, being hardware based.

  11. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    hey maintiger i need to know something... from what i recall you are a motu 828 mkII user.
    you say it only has 2 pre-amps, and then spdif, 8 adat and 8 line ins...
    my question is this:
    you say the line ins need the pre-amps. but can i connect for example my bass or my keyboard?
    another question is this:
    i plan to buy the motu 828 mkII for recording mine and other bands shows! i'm thinking of buying it with maybe the m-audio octane for the 8 channel drums via adat, spdif i connect the gt6 bass effects and then pre-amps of my mixer to the line ins of the motu. the keys go there to (if i can connect...)
    can i use the motu as a mixer doing the following:
    recording every track, making a live mix for the club and using the other analog outs with different mixes for the drummer, the vocal...???
    can i do this?
    making this mixes requests much of my pIV 2,4 512 (soon to be 1024)???

    sorry about so many questions but i really need to get all info!
    if anyone can responde, besides maintiger cool!

    many thanks guys
  12. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    You have 2 pres built in with both xlr and 1/4" so you could put your bass or stereo keys there.- for the other 8 analog inputs
    you will need preamps- the ones in your mixer should be just fine if you have individual outs or inserts- either will work-

    the octane can certainly connect via adat. another one to consider is the behringer 8 ch preamp with adat lightpipe out. My friend brought it over to try it and it was surprinsigly clear - at only $229 or so for 8ch is a steal. I don't know if the octane will be that much better but it is triple the price-
    then there are 2 more channels available via spdif on the 828 for a grand total of 20 inputs- you will need a spdif connect for the extraa 2-

    in the 828mkii you do have 8 individual outs, plus 2 main outs, plus 2 aux outs, not to mention the headphone outs- this will give you 7 potential stereo mixes on this box- I've never used it this way but I don't see why it couln't be done as the outs are fully programable.

    I've had the 828mkii about 6 months and it has never failed me- the built in preamp are a little wimpy- I think they only go to 50 db- but they are certainly good enough for bass or keys. like I said, the other analog outs are not useable without preamps- I tried a keyboard & got zip level! we have used it all 20 inputs blazing at one time and it all went without a hitch- If i had any qualms about the unit it would be that the motu AD conversion is nowhere near the apoggee level. that's why I went out and got the 2 ch rosetta to go via spdif- I heard the difference when my freiend brought his rosetta over- but it works well enough for me, using (some of the )the 18 inputs for drums, scratch tracks, etc, then using the 2 ch via spdif for 'dubs, main vocals, direct bass and all that good stuff :D
  13. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    i have behringer 2004 mixer!
    the first 8 channels have pre-amps and inserts on the back... this can work as individual outs???
    i was thinking i could only use 4 pres because i have a main mix and an alternative 3-4. i would pan channel 1 and 2 hard right and send them to the right channel of the main mix, and then channels 3 and 4 hard left to connect do the left channels, main mix and alternative... but can inserts work as individual line outs?
  14. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I use the inserts on my Mackie boards as direct outs by inserting a TRS plug in to the "first click" - the plug hangs out of the connector by about a 1/4", but it makes the connection for the output but does not break the signal path through the channel.
  15. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    so what you are saying is that the sound doesn't lose quality but volume?
    do you think does volume levels are acceptable?
  16. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I don't think I said that. It works fine - no gain or quality issues. The only potential issue is that it is unbalanced, but my patch cables are only a few feet long and foil shielded - noise has not been an issue.

    Well - the other potential issue is when someone helpful comes along and pushes all the insert plugs in the rest of the way. :evil:
  17. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    do you think the difference isn't that much? can anyone back this up? i've seen to the new 8 channel pre-amp for SP but it doesn't work with adat... (very strange... i think...)
    about that spdif for dubs... you use the rosetta 200 right? i've checked a lot of net stores and just doesn't see it! as they stopped shipping it? by the way... what's the price on that?
    it's just that i'd like a decent 8 channel pre-amp to work with adat but now i am leaning towards something like the rosetta for dubs or the rme fireface cause i hear rme has very good conversion...
  18. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I haven't heard the octane- I heard the behringer and as I said, is ok for 200 bucs- I don't know if the difference is enough to warrant 600 vs 200 bucs- you'll have to look into that yourself as I don't plan to buy an octane (unless someone brings it by the studio to check it out, like it happened with the behringer) I don't plan to buy a behringer either! The rosetta I have is the 24/48 (with a 96 option), 2 ch. there is one on e-bay right now. They usually go for around $700 or so used.. here is the link:


    By the way, if I wanted to have 8 more connections viad adat I'd probably buy the 8 ch Lucid AD converter and use good preamps with it. Another friend brought his by the studio and we checked it out- its a fine box and it goes around 1K+ when you can find them used on ebay. Ramsa-panasonic also has an 8ch box that sometimes goes under 1k on e-bay but I haven't heard that one... :D
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Don't get sidetracked ... this whole pre and converter or the all in one box thing has me in an tizzy ...

    Mic pres (if you get good ones) will last forever. Converters come and go. It may seem to all of us (at this point) converter development is at a standstill and I admit things have been remarkably stable for a while now but I would be willing to bet the farm that there will be some new developments coming down the pike as soon as everyone has moved to 196k.

    This may take a while but as soon as storage gets cheap enough and computer speed comes up to snuff where we can all handle these higher rates while still having enough system headroom to run tracks and plugs, it will go there.

    What I have noticed is a huge hole in the market place for converters. There is just about nothing available between the Alesis AI3 and the Apogee 16 X series converters ... all the RME, Aardvark, Lynx etc. stuff all are tied to mic pres and various formats for transfer. What would be great is a simple 8 channel converter that is line in line out on ADAT and or Firewire. It could be a card option which format ADAT or Firewire that the customer selects for themselves.

    What would be very cool would be a system with a nice analog stage where all the conversion is done in the card option leaving the opportunity for the user to upgrade to a different format at a later time.
  20. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    that's why the lucid I mentioned in my previous post is attractive. Its just 8ch of AD conversion via adat to your computer card- use your choice of pres! My friend, as I mentioned, brought one over and this box sounds good- He got it for about $1100 on evilbay...

    here is a link to the lucid site:


    I do think he got the previous version, though, one that was only AD, not AD/DA

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