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setting up a Mackie 1604 Vlz Pro?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by leftcoastproductions, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. hey guys I have some questions for people that have been in the field for a bit.......
    First off I just picked up a Mackie 1604 that I am using with my Delta 1010 Rack and wanted to know if someone could save me the aggravation of the whole trial and error process........currently I have my effects setup through the ins/outs of the Delta 1010 so I can use them in the box with my internal tracks/mixes

    1) I want to run four stereo effects on the mackie buses(two comps,Ensoniq dp/4+ effects,analog stereo filter) will I need to use a Y plug?

    2)I also want to be able to use these hardware effects with the Delta 1010 without having to repatch everytime....is it possible? or do I need a patchbay for the effects? I've heard somewhere that you can run the sends from the Mackie into the Delta and back out into the Mackie? I'm a bit of a noob so please be easy


    new progressive track-Sixth Element
  2. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    Read or download the manual for the Mackie. It gives extremely accurate advice on setting up 4 stereo aux effects loops.

    Its better that you do that than I tell you from memory my distorted version of what to do.

    And in 2 what are you hoping to do? Listen to the effects, or rerecord them?

    I think you would benefit from a read and reread of both manuals and a good understanding of subs, auxes and buses - most good audio books can help.

    The 'trial and error' process should be part of your learning curve not an aggravation to be avoided.

    You don't make it clear to me what you want which makes me think you don't exactly know yourself. Better that you learn exactly what to do, then you can apply it to more than this one situation,

  3. don't know myself? c'mon man get a clue.......

    I thought what I asked was pretty specific if you look a little closer....
    I have read the Mackie manual and it doesn't go into too much detail in regards to setting up an effects loop with a soundcard.....which I already know how to do but not with effects already inline with my four buses.....in regards to #2 I am trying to record effects as well as hear them......I have had some experience in setting up a mixer and a soundcard and have tripped a number of times.....I've learned its best to ask people who've had experience.....
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I thought the answer from Jeemy was spot on ... at least he was willing to take a stab at it ... I passed over answering for a couple days myself because I didn't want to have to explain how to use a mixer to you. Jeemy answered in kindness and look how you respond .... that's not the way to get info here. If you want to act like that, try P S W or Gearslutz ... a little decorum please.

    First, a compressor is not an effect.. and is not patched or used the same way as an effect ... because you don't seem to know this, it can be assumed you have not comprehended the owners manual for the 1604. This is explained very plainly. Perhaps you have read the manual but it appears you didn't absorb all the content.

    Compressors are patched inline or on a channel insert, while effects are usually patched as a loop, off an aux send and returned via an effects return or another channel on the mixer.

    Second, if I were you I would try to use as little of this mixer to pass signal to the 1010. I would be coming out of the mic pres via the inserts and sending that to the 1010, bypassing most of the mixer and it's associated problems.

    If you want to use outboard gear with your DAW the best way to do this is to come out of the D to A converters, into whatever effect you want and then return the effect to the DAW via the A to D converters.

    Use the Mackie to monitor your tracks while you record (for latency free monitoring and phone sends) but try not to pass signal through it that is headed to the DAW for best results.
  5. when I'm being attacked from someone who doesn't know me and am told that I don't know myself out of nowhere for some form of obvious misunderstanding I as well as most don't take well to it....think about it......I have forum etiquette and realize I am subject to criticism but that was out of left field.....when the person replying doesn't have anything constructive to say except read the manual....it comes across as an ego stroke....in which there are plenty of people hovering over these boards .....I'm sure you know that Mackie's manuals are not the most up to date in dealing with a DAW system......I do know that I could easily set up a patch system between the two and patch everytime I wanted to change something around.....what I was asking is there a way to use the effects in the mixer and in a loop with my Delta 1010? I know my Ensoniq Dp4 will because of its multi ins/outs

    as for running everything through my desk there are many people that I know that run synths and drum machines through their desks to sub mix and add effects from their bus inputs to add color and a desired sound before hitting the soundcard or ADAT......maybe you know something we don't about this and can explain further as to why its not a good idea.....

    I did figure that compression was an effect however....for the simple fact that it effects an audio signal having an effect.....my Joe Meek and TL Audio compressors certainly add a pumping "effect" to my drums....as well as many "effects" processors have compressors in them (TC Electronics.....Eventide)as this is kind of a subjective view I'm not going to say who's wrong or right.....I am curious to know why I shouldn't run a comp on a bus? is there something to be lost here? I run alot of drums on separate outputs and need compression on most of them

    thanks for your time
  6. shock

    shock Guest

    Well, if you like what the Mackie does to your sound, go for it. It certainly does add a lot of "color". :roll:
  7. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    What Kurt is telling you is to stay out of the mixer as much as possible. Use only the pres ie. in and right back out via the direct outs. While the pres in most compact mixers are decent for what they are, the EQ and Buses will do nothing but degrade your sound. If you setup your effects through your DAC's you will get better audio quality.

    Compressors are series devices and as such process the entire signal. Effects units are paralell devices and process only a portion of the signal. You determine how large of a portion of the signal gets processed by the wet/dry mix. Not only would you have to use a 100% wet mix to use a compressor on an aux bus but all of your signals would be sent through that bus (mixing before you hit the DAW). It would get ugly real quick.

    I'm sure Jamie meant no offense in his post, he's a very decent guy. It's hard to tell the meaning of words in print, I know I made the same mistake a few weeks ago with another person. So go easy on Jamie he was only trying to help you. Sometimes mistakes are the best lessons.
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I don't see any of what you describe as an "attack" in Jeemys post. I thought his remarks were very insightful and helpful. The guy was just trying to help. IMO, a little "humble pie" on your part would serve you well ... you seem to have an unwarranted high opinion of yourself. If you really knew as much as you are acting like you know, you wouldn't be asking these kinds of questions.

    Your follow up post only serves to reinforce my first impression .. It is so full of misconceptions and whack comments, I simply do not know how to respond without writing a book .

    Yes, some engineers do run everything through a desk ... however these are good desks like neves, SSL's, MCI's or old Tridents, not Mackies. it is widely accepted that Mackies do more damage than good to the sound. If you knew as much as you act like you do, you would know this.

    The whole idea of a DAW is to avoid cheap mixers and outboard gear. The best thing to do is to keep your audio out of the Mackie.

    There is nothing wrong with inserting a compressor across a bus, just like inserting it through a channel. Essentially it's the same thing. But you would not do this with an effect. Effects are usually run in a aux send / return loop as I described previously.

    Compression is not an effect! It is a signal processor that controls dynamics. If you can hear the compressor "pump", you're using it incorrectly .... Effects are reverbs, delays, flangers, chorus's etc.
  9. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Well said Kurt!

    I misspoke in my last post, I should have said Aux Send/Return not bus. My bad. :oops:
  10. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    FAO: leftcoastproductions

    If I have caused offence, I apologise. I am of medium experience - 20 years as a musician, 3 as an engineer - your post was clearly passed up by those of very high experience here as it was a very simple question, phrased kinda badly. They therefore left it for somebody in your 'experience ballpark' to answer which i thought I did.

    In addition I tried to give you an answer where you would actually learn something, not to mention where I wouldn't confuse you further. Bear in mind everybody in the pro audio field with a few exceptions is working for themselves or very hard for somebody else. We don't have time to go into vast amounts of detail about stuff you really should know. Sometimes you may get quick answers that encourage you to go out and learn further and give you guidance. Shurely this is good guidance not bad?

    Even with my limited experience I could tell that you were kinda throwing terms out there. If you knew what you claim you would maybe see that this question is quite odd - I don't see the advantages of what you ask to do.

    If you are trying to run your effects through the desk and back in to the DAW and record them you will get all kinds of undesirable latency not to mention huge coloration with which the Mackie won't be kind. Not to mention $40 worth of extra cabling :D

    If you wanted to do this for a live session or to practice such, so that you were fading tracks in and out, adding effects etc for a live set of your own material this might be more understandable. Bit of a big desk for that tho.

    As it is I don't know why the desk is even considered. Your previous system would work fine with less latency. The EQ built into your DAW may not be superior to the Mackie's but it will be on a par and given the latency and coloration issues, use your onboard EQ.

    You're not bringing anything new into the system while doing this, right? Its just a playback mix which you want to record effects onto as a second pass. So what do you need the desk for?

    There's no way to use the Mackie to multiply the effective number of aux loops you have as they all have to come back to the Delta at some point. And I am pretty sure having used the 4/4 some years ago that there is absolutely no way of using effects loops while you record with outboard gear.

    If you thought you could multiply your effects available by blending them, think again. This gives you so little control over the results you will be rerecording over and over again - hardly effective when you consider the advantages of doing so in the box.

    Not to mention the fact that compressors shouldn't be in a loop in the first place, as mentioned above.

    If I understand you correctly, sell the Mackie and buy a PCI card with onboard effects of the type you want to use and use them in the box.

    If I don't understand you, perhaps you could clarify - or repost in the DAW forums - or search them - which is forum etiquette too.

    Finally Big_D if you're reading this - I debated this a while back and didn't get final answer, if you're trying to minimise signal chain, is the direct out (passing through the EQ, aux and faders but balanced) a better option than an insert half-jacked (shorter signal path but unbalanced)?
  11. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    From everything I've learned on this subject (mostly from Kurt) and my own personal experience, the shortest signal path in any compact mixer is best. That being said I haven't noticed any real difference with direct out vs. insert on the Mackie. I can hear a difference going through the main bus however. I use the direct outs most of the time but use the inserts if I need more than eight channels. If I had to venture a guess I think Kurt and others would say insert. Are we correct Kurt? :D
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    The insert at "half jack" or out the send of a half normaled patch bay, will be the shortest route .... The direct passes through the eq and channel fader adding more gain stages and adding noise. If you want to use the eq section then the direct send would be right, if you only want the mic pre then the insert is the place to take it from.
  13. thanks for the replies guys :D

    I do appreciate the time taken here and believe its not the first time I've been misunderstood in a forum....thanks for bearing through it as I'm sure most of you were wearing thin.....

    As you can tell I've had no formal training in Pro Audio and have only gathered bits and pieces from being in forums and in a few studios....
    I see how I misunderstood running through a Mackie is quite different than a Neve console.....I had always thought that it would be better to run it through being able to tinker with the eq.....you guys brought up some interesting points of view as to setting up my system.....I think I might sell the 1604 and pickup another Delta 1010 and run them together and use my old Mackie 1202 Pro..... the main reason I wanted to use the 1604 was to have more inputs without patching, buses, live playback with effects, as well as sliders...... if its going to eat my signal up what's the point?

    Kurt the pumping compression is an effect I like :D most of the music I make is dance oriented so pumping drums is kind of the norm......

    I will take a risk here and post a link to a few tracks that are works in progress if any of you care to comment please feel free :p

  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    All's cool ... and I don't mean to embarrass you in public ... Please continue to contribute and ask questions .. and remember, the best thing to do is to try things out for yourself. It is possible that what you want to try may work best for you in your situation ... so just use your ears and do what works best for you. We tend to speak in generalities here considering the format.

    I personally like to eq things and compress a bit on the way to the DAW but I have the advantage of having a lot of nice mic pres, compressors and a couple of great eq's to work with.

    I would keep the 1604 as it will be more flexible to use as a monitoring board (more sends, aux's, channels) but as you mentioned, get some more inputs for your system as well ... I can't live without at least 16 line ins myself ... I use 11 channels just for drums quite often. By the time I add bass, a guitar and sometimes stereo keyboard and a scratch vocal, I'm up to 16 inputs just for rhythm tracks ... .

    TELAMETZ Guest


    how about the onyx model do ou know about any improvments there or are the mackies still only good for monitoring

    because im on the same road im strongly considering the onyx 1604 with a nice mic pre hooked to a patchbay i have along with

    does any one know?
  16. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    One of the other Moderators here at RO reports that the ONYX sounds pretty good ... but I remain skeptical ... I have not heard one yet but it really looks to be more of the same from Mackie. Mackie has reintroduced several versions of thier small format 1604 mixers and IMO, each one seems to get worse.

    Add to that the inclusion of the Firewire interface and you can't even bypass the mixer with a good pre on the way to the recorder .. your stuck with (what I assume is) bad summing and bus headroom which the Mackies have exhibited all along.

    Mackes are built like a tank, are great for PA work and very flexible as a monitor system for DAW but I myself would never pass signal to a recorder or mix through one if I could help it..

    TELAMETZ Guest

    my situation at the moment is on an up grade

    i have the 1010 which has a/d but no pre's the

    so i pass signal through a phonic to the 1010 and back out to the phonic like a big loop of sound

    i the shortest signal path is the best but without a great pre i use that for the time

    how about the soundcraft m12 with a 610 pre or any pre under $1500 tube of solid state

    your thoughts
  18. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    My thoughts are for a mic pre get a Sebatron ... these are the least expensive decent mic pres in the 1 and 2 channel catagory around ... If you're going to get 8 channels or more, then I recomend the TMP 8 from JLM under $280 per channel for world class op amp mic pres ... nothing else in that price range cuts it IMO ...

    As for a small mixer to monitor with, almost anything will work ... perhaps your Phonic ... or a used Macke 1604 ... I use a SR 24 because it has the best aux send layout of all the Macke line ... 6 dedicated aux's with the first 4 available as pre send aux's .. and the stereo channels are handy to monitor the outs of a DAW rig through spdif (I convert through my CD burner) while the 16 ins and outs may be used for recording or inserts / aux sends at mix time
  19. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I beg to differ!

  20. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I should have said least expensive decent mic pres around ... yeah there's a lot of crappy pres that cost less, like the RNP, PreSonus and the Focusrite Platinum's and some like the Syteks that sound ok but can be dimensionally flat and run out of headroom ... but for the least cash for a good mic pre that sounds huge and dimensional, with no compromises, the VMP series from Sebatron and the JLM TMP8 are the best I have come across at that price point .. opinions and mileage may vary but that is my feelings on the topic.

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