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I had the opportunity to check out the Mackie DXB 200. First off, the store had a Yamaha DM 2000 sitting right next to it. The Mackie looked like the controls for the transporter room in original Star Trek. The Yamaha looked more like an analog console. The faders on the Yamaha felt a little smoother; however, I must say it is nice with the Mackie that you don’t have to rely on a external monitor to see what is going on.

The unit is set with channel strip information showing for the first 24 channels. Not only do you get a led meter, but a VU muter below. Then of course the track name, routing, EQ and pan. If you push the screens were the EQ is on a channel, the one screen changes to a full screen showing a blue screen and the EQ up close. You can move the EQ with the knobs below, or just touch one of the 4 EQ dots (for the 4 freq’s) and move it with your finger which was pretty cool. However I don’t think it is a good idea. What you are doing is relying on visual to let you decide how much or less EQ you are adding to a signal. Not Good! You should be relying on your ears. There is an EQ, gate and compression on each channel, however they are not at the same quality as the Cambridge EQ, or other UAD compressors that you can add if you install the UAD cards in the system..

There are 8 slots in the back. You can put a card which gives 8 analog in, 8 analog out in for each slot or a card to give you 8 digital out with AES. However if you fill 4 analog cards for 32 in/out, and 4 cards for 32 AES digital outs, there is no room to add any UAD cards for the better quality plugins. Therefore, the other option is to fill the slots with the analog in/out, and have the output go into an Apogee 16 AD/DA converter or any other converter box. Then with the extra slots, you can install the UAD cards.

This gives you a total different work flow feeling than using the DM 2000 or 02R96. Though the Mackie is nice, it does not have a studio console feel at all. It feels like you are working a controller with two screens. There is one midi fader layer button level which you can be setup for Pro Tools, Logic, Nuendo, or Sonar. When you set it up, it shows you part of the Mackie controller on your screen. It allows you to move the DAW channels with the fader button, or the custom buttons for other controls. So if you have the midi fader level on, you can control channels 1-24 on your DAW. Then with the fader button (that is also on the Mackie controller) on the screen above, you can switch to the next 24 channels in your DAW and control them. Very nice.

The unit of course has transport control, jog wheel, talkback mic, button to switch big from the big monitors to small monitors, and a place on the front right side for a mouse.

You have a 24 faders plus master fader with two nice displays. The screens respond very well to your touch. However when you choose the keyboard on the screen you have to push harder. There is mute, solo, pan, assign controls, and the ability to save mixes. You of course should route all channels from your DAW into the DXB to be able to use the effects of the mixer, or the UAD plugins. Though it is very nice, you could have a DAW with UAD plugins on your computer with a cheaper digital mixer or controller. The Mackie will not make your music sound any better. It all comes down to work flow, and the flow with using this unit is very good. But with the Yamaha 02R96, you have 16 mic preamp’s, built in converters, and 4 good effects per channel. In addition to the EQ, gates, and dynamics also on every channel that both have. The Yamaha can be used as a good controller, especially with the improved control of DAW’s with it’s version 2 software.

Though I did not get to use the mixer with a DAW, I was able to work with the controls for quite some time at the store as I was shown all its features by the salesman. Again, I see the work flow being very good and using a mouse only necessary for controlling your DAW at times. If you want to route an effect to a channel, you hit the effect button, touch the effect you want, and then all the channels show up in the route screen. You can choose which want to you to assign the effect to, or have the effect go to the Aux. Pretty easy.

If you don’t care about the mic preamp’s or effects on the Yamaha mixers, the Mackie may be a good option for you. One thing of course is you can use outboard pre’s, and converters and not be stuck with things that are part of the Yamaha mixer though many are content with it. But dollar for dollar, the Yamaha offers you more for the buck. The 02R96 cost a little less and you also get the pre’s, and 4 effects per channel.

I can not comment which would I prefer unless I used the Mackie in a session, but for $12,000, it is pretty nice, and offers more than a Control 24 or the new Nuendo controller since you can get line or mic lines in, and having effects built into the unit. However with my limited insight, I think I would prefer the Yamaha. Mind you staying in this 10- 13 K price range. The Sony DMX R100 had more of a console feel to me. http://www.soundons…"] SOS article Sony DMXR100[/]="http://www.soundons…"] SOS article Sony DMXR100[/]

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KurtFoster Wed, 08/18/2004 - 09:45

Thanks for sharing your impressions of the DXB 200 with us. I think I am with you ... having previously owned a console manufactured by Sony (a MCI 636) I lean towards the DMXR100 myself. You know the pres are good .... there are lots of them in the marketplace too .... it seems to be the solution for mid priced facilities ....

DMX R 100 V2
Photo: Mark Ewing

Guitarman Thu, 08/19/2004 - 09:27

Hey guys....

I had a chance to get close with the DMX 100 and found the pre's to be execllent for basic track's( drums, bass, keys, etc.) with an HDD system.

I really liked the unit. I never really mixed a project with it because I mix in the box most of the time. But I loved the dynamics in it when I tracked.

Best wishes,

[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.jamesdel…"]JD( o}===;;;[/]="http://www.jamesdel…"]JD( o}===;;;[/]