Skip to main content

hi guys, could it still make sense in 2018, mix with an old but good Mackie 32/8? could I reach the same audio quality as an inbox mix? the idea is to use the daw for compression / effects and the mixer for the sum of the signals and the equalizer. thank you


KurtFoster Fri, 07/13/2018 - 12:35

there are many variables to consider. most, like what kind of converters you have, how many channels of ins and outs you have, all have been discussed here ad nauseam. do a search.

i think it may make for an improvement in imaging and depth but in the big picture, Mackies just don't have the headroom that a real large format desk can provide. that's why they made summing amps for recordists who can't afford to keep and feed a Neve. if you are careful with your levels, you might get away with it. i myself have done it with an older Mackie 2404 and i noticed a considerable improvement over Cubase / in the box. however newer DAWs have better 2 bus' so ymmv.

imo, eqing on the Mackie would not be an improvement over the eqs in a DAW, in fact to the contrary. the eq on an 8 Buss is just not as well respected as say a Trident / API or Neve eq is. but the idea is to add compression perhaps better reverbs and effects in analog than the DAW offers. usually eq and automation moves are left to the DAW. i would suggest the best way to determine if there's an improvement in your situation is to try it.

kmetal Fri, 07/13/2018 - 17:01

it depends on the style of music imho. gritty blues rock, or 80's punk/hardcore may see some benefit from the lofi nature and limited headroom of the mackie. i think ricky martins 90's album was mixed on a mackie 8 bus. anything with a sense of fidelty from the last 18 years or so probably wouldn't benefit from the mackie. not all daws are created equally, and the quality of their summing differs. ive always found cubase to lack headroom and not have a particlaryly good summing engine, although that was back in 32bit when most daws didn't sum well.

kmetal Sat, 07/14/2018 - 15:47

i did a quick google on it since the mackie thing was always something my mentor mentioned, and wanted to make sure he was on point. So it appears there is truth in both statements, yours and mine. good stuff man, i was under the wrong impression, i thought the entire song was recorded using the mackie 8bus.

Relevant quotes from the article-

"On a completely different level, "La Vida" is a milestone of technology: the first Number One record to be done completely within a hard disk system. In addition to changing the course of mainstream pop music, "La Vida" may also turn out to be a pivot point in how records are made."


"Child and Rosa worked out the song in Child's writing room on keyboards, with a decidedly low-tech boom box cassette recorder running constantly to document the composing process. Once the structure was worked out, Child handed the song over to programmer Randy Cantor, who set about creating sequenced drum, percussion and synthesizer parts, which would become the basis of the recording. Those parts were recorded through a Mackie 32+24*8 console to a 64-channel Pro Tools system."


"The tracks were then turned over to Dye for additional recording. The horn parts, some of which were used to augment layered synthesized horn parts and others for riffs, were played on flugelhorn and trombone by Tony Concepcion. All of the recording was done direct, without a console; Dye miked the horns with an AKG C-12VR, placing it rather close in on the bell. "I wanted a very in-your-face sort of sound," he explains. "Other [horn] tracks on the record have that sort of mariachi/cantina sound to them at times, but for this song we wanted it brash and sharp." The rest of the signal chain was a Focusrite Red preamp, an Empirical Labs Distressor for compression, and Pultec EQP-1A and Neve 1031 equalizers. The same signal chain was used for live percussion parts."


"notably the surf-like guitar part (one of Rosa's production inspirations, performed by Los Angeles-based session player Rusty Anderson to an ADAT tape with a slaved two-mix from the Pro Tools)."


"The final mix kept the project completely in the digital domain, done to a Panasonic 3800 DAT deck, with no analog backup. "The thing about analog is that you know the sound is going to come back warmer, with a rounder, fatter low-end sound and smoother top-end transients," says Dye. "But recording in an all-digital domain, the sound you get out is the sound you put in. You have to make sure that whatever the sound is, it's what you want it to be, because that's what digital is going to give you back.""

kmetal Sun, 07/15/2018 - 00:33

paulears, post: 458203, member: 47782 wrote: My nice Soundcraft is used now AFTER the computer, a rather expensive volume control for the monitors. To be honest, I could do that in the DAW too - just can't bring myself to retire it!

what model do you use? they use SC on a tom petty record for mixing, and oi see SC ghosts once in a while in commercial studio gear lists.

KurtFoster Sun, 07/15/2018 - 07:37

i've seen a a lot of cases where it's said that a Mackie was used to record an album. 9 out of 10 times a Mackie was used to monitor a DAW or a tape machine but in most instances outboard pres, eqs and compressors were employed in the actual recording. the result is a recording where a Mackie was "used" but the signal on the recording actually never passed through said Mackie.

all that said, i'm sure there are a lot of records that were made on those things that we will never know about because no body's saying where the bodies are buried.

pcrecord Mon, 07/30/2018 - 07:45

paulears, post: 458203, member: 47782 wrote: My nice Soundcraft is used now AFTER the computer, a rather expensive volume control for the monitors. To be honest, I could do that in the DAW too - just can't bring myself to retire it!

paulears, post: 458205, member: 47782 wrote: This one's an LX7.

Interesting ! I also had an LX7 in my old studio. When I moved in a home, I needed to downside and I wanted to concentrate on quality so I sold it and went for external preamps; ISA, 4-710 and LA-610s. Comparing the quality of my recordings, I'd never want to go back.
Of course if you say you only use it as a volume knob, I'm guessing you have other signal paths to record. But it's a very big volume knob.. he he ;)
I bought a midi controler instead, so it gives a volume fader and 8 more to do automations. ;)
It's an Icon Pro x. I'll come with a video about it in the next few weeks..