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Question on Mackie 1220i setup on Win 7 PC

Discussion in 'Recording' started by JESRadio, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. JESRadio

    JESRadio Active Member

    I have a unique issue. Unique because it has been hard to find someone that uses the equipment that I do to do what I do lol. I use the setup to broadcast live internet radio and record videos with voiceovers. I'll explain:

    I bought a Mackie 1220i Firewire mixer. I had to add a firewire card to my desktop PC running Win 7. Installation went ok although the CD with the drivers on it did not self install, I had to manually install the drivers. Got everything working and went into Control Panel>Sound and made sure the appropriate device was enabled and listed as default. For "Playback" I use the PC soundcard, routed from PC back to the mixer via cables so I can control the volume via the slider. I went into "Recording" and noticed several choices were listed (because of the firewire) and was a little confused as to which one to pick. Analog 1-2 would only send the left channel to my internet radio encoders/DAWs. Analog 5-6 would send stereo and also Analog 15-16. The rest did nothing. I got everything working except one important thing. The main volume, which would be broadcast over the internet and recorded, was very low. In order to get the volumes to go up in SAM Broadcaster I would have to crank the gain and sliders all the way up, which distorted everything of course. Basically the issue is when the sound settings on the mixer are perfect as far as levels go, perfect in my headphones, the volume is too low in SAM and on my recordings. It's like I am missing a main volume somewhere. There is no software that comes with the mixer and I cannot find any tutorials regarding correct PC settings.

    I had to revert to my old way of doing things, using the mixer as a strictly analog board, by running the main outs (via XLR to XLR) into the inputs of my Scarlett 8i6 USB 2.0 interface in order to get the necessary volume needed in my recordings and encoders. With this analog to interface setup I have to turn everything down and have plenty of distortion free play. Using it this way defeats the purpose of using firewire and I could have saved money by buying a plain old analog mixer. The reason for firewire is I have had issues with USB mixers in the past with noise and groundloops.

    Is there anyone that knows where to find a tutorial or an explanation as to which "Recording" inputs to use or just how to turn the main outs in the firewire up?

  2. pcrecord

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

    I never tried the Mackie 1220i, but I think you need to get back to the manual.
    I'm sure, there's no reason to use the onboard pc soundcard. Think of your mixer as an audio interface with more controls.

    On page 11, it says you can route the output of the DAW to Room/headphone + you should have 12 input equivalent to your line and mic inputs.

    If distortion occurs, good chance you're overdriving the preamps. Lower the gain to 0db, put the fader to 0db, push the solo button and make the instrument/voice play at it's higher level and slowly turn up the gain until the vu leds peak near -12db. That should be ok for recording purpose.
    If you don't get enough gain in a software, it may be a windows or a software ajustment that needs to be done.

    In you DAW, you should activate all input/output to make the software see and use them. Try to use Asio drivers and not MMe (which is controled by windows)
    Or try asio for all free drivers.

    For windows applications: Go in the control pannel, sound and in the interface list (in output) right click and check the 2 options (show deactived and show disconnected)
    In the input section do the same then, right click on the input you use and click properties, you should have a level there.

    You bought 2 units in one (a mixer and an audio interface), it's fair to say you need to reed the manual carefully. You got live fonctions and recording fonctions they will either work together or colide depending how you do the setup.
  3. JESRadio

    JESRadio Active Member

    Thanks for the reply, however I think I didn't explain very well. Think of the encoders as a DAW. The encoder volume, that is being broadcast to my stream, is not loud enough. When I look at all the inputs in my PC sound settings, there are only 2 that register on the meter while I am talking. Both of those are maxed out at 100% on the Levels in the PC.

    I have used USB mixers and never had this issue. Using USB I only had to move 1 volume control in settings to 100 and I had to actually lower the mixer mains to not clip the signal. Using firewire, I am having the opposite issue. I can't get the PC sound loud enough without maxing (and thus distorting) the volume on the channel itself.

    I have the levels set perfect on the board according to the meter and according to what I hear in my headphones. It's just the audio that my PC is broadcasting in SAM Broadcaster is not loud enough. I have tried all different settings in SAM as well to no avail.

    Again, it is like I am missing a master volume (in the PC inputs) to raise the total volume for ALL the inputs beyond sound settings.

    The manual tells me nothing about this issue. It is just a reference guide as are all manuals.

    I have used the same setup on USB ( routing a cable from PC onboard sound to a channel separately) before with no issues. Although I may route it internally via Alt sends at a later time if I can solve the volume issues.
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Firewire automatically returns the DAW to the Mackie via input channels. Route the Mackie DAW returns to the 2-bus and adjust the volume there.
  5. JESRadio

    JESRadio Active Member

    Tried that. Music from PC was loud enough but mic volume was still low. Another problem was I had to control the music volume in SAM which defeated the purpose of having the sliders and mute function.

    Talked to Mackie and they said the FW out to PC is limited to -15 db and there's no way around it. Whats the point of having FW if your mix is so low?

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2
  6. McMurphy

    McMurphy Guest

    You do understand this is some kind of operator error? Otherwise you'd probably find a lot of other people having the same issues with that Sam broadcast software. And that -15 might be due to that newly enacted CALM act? Which all broadcasters in the USA today must now follow. It's stupid I know. It cost taxpayers a lot of needless money and was completely idiotic. It was designed to keep commercials from sounding louder than the program content. I've been hearing some pretty funky level changes happening on TV stations lately because of that. It's kind of like normalizing in software but not really that. It morphs into average level changes throughout a television show. Sometimes I hear announcers too low or the background music too low and I know the commercial has not been cut that way. So if they are brick wall limiting at -15 in the Sam software, at 16 bit, at least you still have 80 DB of dynamic range which should be more than sufficient. And perhaps that Sam software is just crap? Did you get the paid for version or the free version? That could have something to do with it?

    Your only other alternative is to utilize that five band pectoral limiter that is in the software to improve density and apparent loudness level and that will have to do?

    The reason why the other guys keep talking about the multi-tract software's is that many of them have the ability to stream for Internet broadcast purposes such as Adobe Audition and others offer. And they are telling you if the Sam software won't cut it, then stream from another piece of software that can stream at higher level outputs such as Reaper which you can get for free. Adobe Audition 3.0 has also been classified as abandoned ware and is currently free and it's awesome. I still prefer using my Audition 1.5 which still has the ability to stream. So just because the software is designed and indicated for broadcast doesn't mean it's good software for broadcast over the Internet. Maybe it's intended more for kids?

    I still think the problem might lie within the built-in five band limiter? You might not have that adjusted right and that might be causing the low-level problem as it might be overworking? And the harder you push that, the lower it might go? That would indicate improper adjustments have been applied. Too much input threshold level, not enough output makeup levels? And you'll have that problem that is plaguing your productions and streaming.

    You've not mentioned anything about that five band limiter in the software? Why? I think you're right when you say you're missing one little thing? And that might be the little thing? You said you knew something and I'm questioning what's something you know? And your problems with USB interface devices versus FireWire makes little sense. So I really question what you know? You're having problems other folks are not having a.k.a. operator error as you surmised. So let's take a look at that multiband limiter? I downloaded the free version of your software but I really haven't given it much of a look. I don't have the streaming meanies as I stream nothing.

    It appears to me currently you are playing equipment roulette? You know some things but not enough to utilize simple equipment on a computer. This is not rocket science. Doing it well and a broadcast manner may require something more than toy broadcasting software? Especially if everything is limited to -15 instead of zero DB, full scale. So there might not be a corrective action you can take with that software? And if it worked perfectly fine with USB but not with FireWire, again that's operator error. You gotta' pick up a book since I don't think you have cracked one yet?

  7. JESRadio

    JESRadio Active Member

    I dont know if its accident that u are an extremely condescending person or if its intended but unless u know how to broadcast live internet radio with SAM and a fw mixer plz stop commenting.

    I DONT RECORD. THERE ARE NO BOOKS OR I WOULD HAVE READ THEM. Obviously this forum was a last resort which I regret right about now.

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You cannot diagnose a problem if you cannot isolate. You cannot isolate a problem sometimes when there are multiple contributing factors. The only way to find all issues is to start at the input and work forward one step at a time connecting additional bits as everything checks ok.

    By trying a DAW vice your SAM software you can diagnose more easily everything up to where the firewire enters the computer. And as to a DAW, Audition is used more for professional radio and internet broadcast than any other software.

    You need to stop, take a deep breath, and relax. Live audio is what many of us have done as a business. Internet streaming is the same business.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2
  9. McMurphy

    McMurphy Guest

    I can assure you it was an accident, I've only been doing this for over 40 years. You're asking for help for free and I generally charge $80 per hour. So do you want help to correct this problem from people who know or do you want to just commiserate with others who know what you don't?

    BTW whether you are broadcasting on the Internet, FM, AM, TV, it's still broadcasting, otherwise known today as narrowcasting! And you are trying to run a broadcast facility no matter how rudimentary it might be. You are having technical problems that need to be solved by technical people. So you can wipe your nose and figure out what's more important to you. It's obvious to me everything you have tried with the knowledge that you have, has not succeeded. So this is what I would do in troubleshooting the issue.

    Dave suggested starting with a clean slate and I agree. You need to unplug everything from everything. This is how we start the troubleshooting process. You can't have anything plugged in. We are starting with a clean slate.

    I recommend a good surge protected UPS power supply distribution unit. Nothing too fancy or too expensive is needed. You will be using this UPS pulling everything from a single outlet. Plug your computer and mixer into the UPS and switch on. Make sure all faders are turned full down. We are first going to verify that CDs and/or any downloaded audio files folder back through the FireWire from the computer to the mixer. If you detect hum immediately upon connecting the FireWire from the mixer to the computer, try that AC ground lifter on either the mixer or the computer for both. There is going to be no fear from shock. Not when you're pulling everything from the same outlet. These are not tube guitar amplifiers with hot chassis that can cause lethal shock hazards. This is all low voltage, low current solid-state stuff.

    The mixer I believe has a headphone output with a monitor selection capability of choosing the mixer outputs or a return stereo feed from the computer? And things should play back from the computers such as CDs and/or any downloaded music files, just fine. So far your issue has not been addressed regarding the Sam software. We are not there yet. Now if you're CDs in your computer are only playing out the onboard computer sound card, you're going to have to change that in Windows. The easiest way is in the BIOS, completely disabling the sound device. It can also be done within Windows in the device manager window. This will make the computer default to the only available audio device it can see and that will be your Mackie. Just forget that the onboard computers sound card even exists right now. We can go back to that later.

    Assuming you have figured out how to monitor a CD or downloaded music through your Mackie, you should detect no hum. And then so far so good. So now we will move on to trying to record a microphone without any processing through the Mackie. This is why the other guys were talking about other audio software. It doesn't matter whether you don't intend to record. It only matters that we straighten out this problem first and regular audio software is needed. Free software such as Audacity, Reaper and Adobe Audition 3.0 are all available for free. I prefer Adobe Audition as it offers rather unique analytical audio tools. Even the rudimentary Microsoft audio recording program could be used. But since you want to try and stay on the professional broadcast side of things, Adobe Audition 3.0, for free. I paid $300 for mine. You won't have to pay anything. Again, we are not dealing with Sam just yet.

    Any of these audio software's should be able to verify that you could make clean recordings at proper levels. Audition also offers the ability like many others, to stream. Something to keep in the back of your head even though you have Sam. Not all radio stations use Sam. Many use other coders that might be a tad more capable than Sam? And did you use the free version of Sam for the paid for commercial version of Sam? Because there could be differences that are only obtainable from the paid for version? And all you did was bitch instead of answering the question so answer the question. I've been doing this for over 40 years and I'm not goofing around.

    Let's say up to this point you are not experiencing any hum issues recording a dry microphone through the mixer to the software in the computer and at proper recording levels? If the levels appear too low in the audio recording software? Then the associated mixer applet that goes with the installed driver for the Mackie needs to be adjusted. Some windows for these adjustments shows separate faders for both recording and playback. Some share common faders for both functions. At this stage everything should be fine? Let's move on.

    Now let's go ahead and plug one of those compressors into the insert, for the microphone input that you are using on the Mackie. If the processor uses a wall wart power supply, those generally only have 2 AC plugs. Other devices that have built-in power supplies may include ground pins on the AC plug? That could be your source of hum? Especially if the compressor has a built-in power supply with the ground pin on the AC plug which will need to be lifted on that unit as well. Assuming now you are recording a good recording levels, everything is clean, your voice is processed through a compressor on the insert, we are ready to shut down the audio software and start Sam.

    Upon starting Sam, please follow their instructions to the letter. Now it's possible built into their real-time coder audio could start to distort? This is why they include that multi-five band real-time limiter. And if there are any presets you can select for that multi-band limiter, start trying all of them out. This will further processor signal to raise the apparent loudness level of your broadcasts. And if you continue to have problems? It is also possible that not all equipment plays well with all computers and software but I don't think that's the case?

    If you don't do what your chief engineer at the radio station tells you to do to correct a problem... of course you are going to get barked at. And since you are getting this worthy information for free, you should be grateful. These are the processes for which we must go through in order to properly troubleshoot these simple problems. And this is a simple problem.

  10. JESRadio

    JESRadio Active Member

    At this point my original question is mute since I have been picked up by a station that uses Skype to broadcast to their server. I no longer have to worry about the original volume levels being too low.

    And again, I appreciate all the help (or attempted help) thus far. I understand you have years of experience. However, I have been doing this for a couple of years myself and have gone through the wringer with USB and now FW difficulties. Broadcasting on the internet is only like AM/FM in that you are talking and people are listening. The ways to actually encode the signals have been reduced to few, as good programs like Edcast have ceased to update. SAM is a great program, allowing automation and such. Zara is another. I would love to find the encoder capabilities in Audition, but I needed the ability to play music, jingles and ads along with the talking. SAM is hard to beat there. SAM is also very finicky when it comes to hardware setup. Early problems with USB 1.1 and 2.0 have been slowly worked out (although not all) but it is very hard to find videos and instructions on how the actual hookups are to be done correctly. Spacial Audio message board even offer very little help when it comes to what I am/was doing.

    With that being said, I am going to attempt to start fresh with the FW only setup so I can rid myself of the extra peripheral (USB 2.0 interface) once and for all. I agree with earlier posts that Mackie has to be able to broadcast at a higher level since in their own manual it lists ALL outputs to be at +22 db. It has to be a software issue somewhere.

    As far as noise, I don't have any on the current config using the board as analog to USB interface to PC, or the FW config. I don't know why it keeps being brought up. What little noise I had was solved by arranging the plugins of the hardware correctly. I will probably have no issues with volume even if I can't find the software issue since I use the AUX send 1 to control sound to skype with a separate laptop. This is the correct way to broadcast to Skype since it prevents the person/program on the other side from feeding back through to the main mix.

    Again, thanks for the input, and I hope to be able to figure it all out eventually in case I need to use my own server again. The station I will be broadcasting on uses Skype much like an FM station uses ISDN from a home studio. The audio can't be as good as ISDN direct to studio but it is the next best thing. Although I think I am over compressing since I listened to the last recording but I will find the appropriate thread for that (if there is one).
  11. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I'm not going to read through all of that so, some of this may be repeat.

    First of all, don't use your onboard soundcard. Go into Windows' sound mixer and make the 1202i your default recording and playback device. In Sam Broadcaster, the 1202i should be both your default recording and playback device. In the configuration menu, go to the audio mixer pipeline and go to the mixer pipeline. Click on DSP and if there is a compressor available there, use it. There may be a preset that will work for you. Do the same for the voice setting.

    That all being said, if you want to have real control using the faders, you will need a program that is capable of configuring individual input output via the 1202i. Sam Broadcaster is intended for in the box functionality only as far as I can tell.
  12. McMurphy

    McMurphy Guest

    Congratulations on your show getting picked up for Skype narrowcasts/broadcasts. Their software includes their own real-time codec for streaming. If your levels are fine for them, then it's your Sam software you don't have tweaked up right. FireWire, USB, no difference there. You are presuming problems with USB based upon operator error. Everybody builds their own stuff with different wiring and grounding concepts. That's where your problem lies. Not with USB.

    I understand you have been doing this a couple of years. You are only put through the wringer with USB because you really don't know what you're doing or how to wire things properly. So two years of incorrect experience does not make for technically correct experience at actual over the air broadcast major market levels, where mistakes like yours make you lose your job. Which is a good reason why so many of us went to school for actual technical engineering. So your problems with USB are simply isolated to you. Everything is direct coupled. Nothing has any kind of isolation input or output transformers. Improper grounding causes nightmares plain and simple. Many of which you have already had. In fact I've used my sleep to work through many technical problems. And when you wake up, you know what to do to correct the problem. Maybe you shouldn't drink so much before you go to bed LOL? Then technical problems just turn into nightmare chaos. And the only thing you wake up with is a hangover without a solution or hair of the dog. ARF!

    Most real-time, ISDN, MP3, real-time coders like the TELOS, Zephyr was simply encoding a 16-bit, 44.1 kHz, 128 kb per second, real-time CBR (constant bit rate) stream. Bandpass was out to 15 kHz and artifacting was kept low. I've done many musical broadcasts with those for FM radio. Simple computers today are capable of creating the same kind of real-time MP3 streams. Though other real-time codecs are also used of which there are many. Windows media for instance offers lower artifacting than MP3 and a broader frequency response bandpass, at identical kilobit per second settings. Real Audio is another that I never cared for much, years ago. Talk about artifacting OMG! Yuck. Nothing funny about that. Nothing good either.

    You might think that Sam software perfectly fine along with others but the fact remains, they might be restricting maximum output levels to -15 so that one Internet broadcaster is not substantially louder than another Internet broadcaster? Most average levels are at -15 which then allow for 15 BB of head room.

    Your rationale of needing to play music, commercials, sound effects, can all be accomplished even without that Sam style software on a single computer. Which only indicates your knowledge of your computer, how it works, what you can do, is really quite limited. Most of this comes down to the programs you have available, your routing and selection of software. And then how to use it all together in the same machine at the same time. Any competent engineer knows how to do this. Why not you? You've been doing this for a couple of years and what have you learned? You learned that USB was no good. This is a typical beginner/entry level, enthusiast, dilemma which makes it so easy to exalt yourself of your lack of knowledge and experience, education, reading and to blame the equipment. Only beginners do that. So you pretty much let the cat out of the bag. So why do radio station folks use the same software and don't have your problems with USB? Obviously you know better, right? You don't, sorry. I'm not trying to be mean. I only know what I'm talking about and you don't. So you've got that lifetime first-class, FCC Radio Telephone License? No? Okay a third class license? No? Well then... what kind of a broadcaster are you? Do you have a degree in Brain Surgery? Like Jethro Bodine? I rather doubt it.

    And what makes you think that you're not going to have the same problem with Skype? They might simply just be batch normalizing everything? Or simply dynamically compressing everything streaming into their servers? You don't know anything about processing your signal. All broadcasts are processed in real-time with analog or digital equipment. A simple compressor on a microphone does not exactly denote " processing ". It's dynamic compression but it's not generally necessarily processing. Processing means that you are creating a sound and operating level, with the processing. You're pumping up dynamic range by narrowing the dynamic range, adding equalization pre-or post-or both before and after dynamic range compression and output limiting. That's processing. It's a process. It's not a step. It's the full Monty.

    At some radio stations, they have separate microphone processing on each microphone. Then the signal gets combined together with everyone else's and is again put through additional processing. This is what makes a broadcast stream, sound competitive. Otherwise it's always that problem of its too soft, too low. And where your couple of years of experience has not yet led you yet, into the realm of processing and its techniques to get what you want. Of course you're not going to find any books on that subject. There are no books on that subject. This comes from hard-nosed technically trained engineers, not entry-level enthusiasts with a good heart and ideas. And you're too soft in comparison to what? The music is too soft? The speaking is too soft? Everything is too soft? That's all rectified through appropriate and proper processing and not just a single limiter on a microphone. You're still learning. You're learning from an actual professional so take heed.

    I might also point out that you have been appreciative regarding my helpful input. Indicating that my information was mute, your knowledge of the English language for broadcasting purposes, that you didn't pay attention to in school you considered to be moot and you sat there like a mute thinking it was all moot. It wasn't. You didn't learn the English language. And now you want to bring something to everyone that might be moot if it falls on mute ears? So maybe you might want to finish high school first before you jump into this? Because I also cannot imagine that while you were sitting there mute, in English class, I built my high school radio station because I got my third class broadcast license when I was only 15. First-class license at 22. Been working at a half a dozen radio stations and building a couple of recording studios up from scratch. And if you don't want to learn that stuff, how do you expect to succeed in what you are doing? I mean you take a correspondence course to become a doctor? No of course not. You have to go to school. Then only when after you learn enough, they let you start practicing on dead people. Then you can try some things out on live people for a few extra years. And you think becoming a broadcast professional requires no knowledge, no schooling? Are you crazy? I know I am. That's why I work in the business. It makes you crazy. So it sounds like you're already there? Congratulations! You are now a member of the brain-dead radio engineers club. And where beer and marijuana can solve all of your problems.

  13. JESRadio

    JESRadio Active Member

    Your posts about USB and FW being the same are plain wrong. You apparently are posting just to toot your own horn. I have zero respect for guys like you that have nothing better to do than troll message boards and offer no solutions, only fancy lingo that means nothing to the average person.

    And I dont need your congrats. Im proud of my accomplisments in broadcasting. At least I can do it without spending thousands on a worthless degree and without acting like a fake hack on air. Im guessing thats the real issue. In 2 years im better on air than a majority of hacks that are getting paid nothing to spin records.

    Now run and tattle so I can get banned from this site.

    Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk 2
  14. McMurphy

    McMurphy Guest

    I know that data is handled differently between USB and FireWire. Nevertheless, they are both viable and more than adequate when you are talking about USB 2.0 devices that are professional audio interfaces for computers. So you don't know what you're talking about. You know everything. And screw you. That was a heartfelt congratulations you dumbass.

    I stepped you through a full instructional set and you give me BS. You are a adolescent snot nose. Don't like guys like me? I don't like adolescent idiots like yourself. You don't know squat about what you are doing. So you've been making stupid mistakes for two years or so and you want to keep making your stupid mistakes. Go right ahead... be my guest.

    No one needs to spend thousands let's be clear about that. This only requires a simple SHURE SM58 and your Mackie. Nice when you can include some microphone processing. Nice to have output stereo bus limiting, if you want a professional sounding product to be streaming. You're an ungrateful idiot.

    No you shouldn't be banned. What makes you think you should be banned? Because you're being stupid? That's the perfect reason for staying here and learning what you need to learn... for free. I don't know about you but I always looked to my teachers and other older engineers, to learn from them. You're not interested in learning anything. So why the heck are you even here? You know everything already. The equipment is at fault... certainly not you because you know everything and you've been doing all the wrong things for the past couple of years and you can be proud of that. You made a McDonald's hamburger! Wow! I make network quality audio. You could to... but you don't want to. You just want to be happy with your own stupidity and misinformed knowledge. Fine. Go have fun playing in traffic.

    Do you want to learn anything or not? Do you want to just tell us what a great blabber you are? Great. What the F, do you blab about? Politics? Sports? It certainly couldn't be music? You don't know how to record that either. Maybe recite poetry? Maybe you just talk dirty to people with a toilet mouth? And you want to make sure they understand all of your expletives. Well I'm telling you how to do that better and you're not interested.

    I'm sure you also know you should only use a condenser microphone for announcing? Right? Wrong. Good dynamic microphones work great. Even better than many condenser microphones. And in your dearth of information, you included nothing about your microphones. Another stupid blunder. How many more times do you have to be stupid before you're not stupid? Obviously I wasted my time on a stupid person. You've never done this professionally. That's all I've ever done for over 40 years. To become a chief engineer at a radio station, it requires a few things like a license to prove your competency. You can't prove that.

    Obviously you imagine you should be banned for something? All children think like that. You give away your age. You are about as skilled at this as a five-year-old is and they're not. You aren't either. So go visit some other sites and try this out on some others. See what you get? You know like me? Just wait. Who are you the next Rush Limbaugh? You know he's stone deaf just like you.


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