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May sound like a silly question, but I've used both these boards but not together so it's hard to judge. Obviously the eq was far superior on the Ghost. But just sound quality in the line inputs (I won't use either preamps) minus eq does the Ghost sound better? Why does it? It's easy to say just because one is a Mackie and the other is a Soundcraft but why is it better? Does it use higher grade buffering amps?


anonymous Sun, 03/31/2002 - 08:38

I did some research on the two boards years ago and here's what I know. The Ghost has a great eq design in the hi mid eq, and sounds great, infact it is the same design ( comming form thier rep) as thier higher end recording console, however they shorted on the high and low shelving design simply because it would be giving too much for too little money said the rep. The buffering amps are TL070's which are actually inferior to the Mackies depending on how you look at it. TL070's have been used in many consoles over the years, especially those inexpensive English sounding boards known for warmth. They actually distort the signal and cause a loss of high end, hence the warm sound. However the summing amp section of the board they decided to use 5532's which are quite conmmon in SSL's and Neve consoles, to my ears they have a better open more neutral sound. They cost a few pennies more so thats why they only used them in the summing amp section.
The Mackie on the other hand uses a 4560 sip type chip as it's line buffers and has a much more clearer type sound, but perhaps a little too clinical. The signal path in the Mackie is excellent as good or better than even the real expensive type boards, it's very quiet, and has a great power supply, and grounding scheme for an inexpensive board. The Ghost console uses a swithching power supply design which I was leary of because none of the other great board manufactures use this type of power supply. I actually opened up my Mackie and replaced my whole summing amp section with John Hardy 990 op amps and in the future plan to try API. If the Mackie had the EQ of the Ghost it would be hands down winner. I plan to do the same thing you have been talking about with some type of outboard eq. They want alot more money for the Ghost that's the other issue. If they were the same price I would have gone with the Ghost and Modified it since it's way easier to modify, each channel pops out. Hope that helped you some.

erockerboy Mon, 04/01/2002 - 08:13

Having owned both the Mackie and the Ghost, I personally haven't found the Ghost to be a "step up" from the Mackie.

I currently use a Ghost and frankly am not thrilled with it. Seems like I recall similar conversations here at RO regarding this topic in the past. Try doing a search under "Soundcraft Ghost hum problem" and see what comes up. Anyway, I had been looking to replace my old Mackie warhorse with the Ghost thinking it would be an "improvement", and to my ongoing chagrin, the Ghost has turned out to be a real dog in many respects. It's noisier than the Mackie. It isn't built as well. Yeah the Ghost EQ's are better, and the pre's sound slightly more pleasant than the Mackie's... but when the dust settles I wouldn't call the Ghost a "step up" from the Mackie. More like a step sideways.

FWIW, I *did* spend quite a bit of time trying to polish this particular turd. Among other things, I rebuilt the PSU, doubling the amperage and putting some super beefy filtering caps on it. In addition I ran a dedicated circuit to the studio with its own isolated ground and an Equitech balanced power unit. I re-capped the entire master section of the console. And after discovering that the channel PCB's in the Ghost were internally grounded to the chassis NOT with a proper ground wire, but THRU THE KNOB CASINGS (?!?), I went through the entire console and isolated every pot with a "condom" made of electrical tape to eliminate all of those #@$&ing ground loops, and then installed an internal star grounding system. In other words I've done everything I could think of to give this thing a fighting chance to sound good. The result? Well... it sounds OKAY. It's still noisy, it still has a perceptible hum on the 2-bus, it still has an irritating EFI hash in the background even with all inputs muted. I don't love it. But I'm getting work done. Whatever.

If I had it to do over again, I'd buy a pair of 02R's or something. Seriously, I'm starting to think it takes a LOT more money to get an equivalent mixer in the analog domain.

Narleysounds, thanks for the great post. Question, are the John Hardy 990's a drop-in replacement for the stock op amps in the Mackie? Wish I'd known about this mod earlier, I might have thought twice before dumping my old 8-bus.

anonymous Thu, 04/04/2002 - 14:35

having spent too much with a Mackie 8bus, and now owning a Ghost, i am a little surprised by the responses to original post. also surprised someone would spend time & money trying to upgrade either. they are 'project-studio' priced mixers. i have a tape machine, pro-tools and a slew of outboard gear circled around the Ghost and i have never had 'hum' problems. i got what i paid for. it does its job. eventually i'll upgrade (API?TRIDENT?). the Ghost is more functional & better sounding than a Mackie. its the whole package (& resale value! hold on to that Mackie much longer you can trade it for some 'cool' Boss gtr pedals). what about simple things like PHASE REVERSE on every channel!!!

Tom Fodor Mon, 03/05/2012 - 02:26

I have cables I made for that, so I have phase reverse. The Ghost is noisier than the Mackie for sure, but the Mackie is less coloured and a bit sterile. The argument is pointless though! You will never like exactly the same gear as I like. I personally prefer the SSL sound to the API mid forward sound. I like Neve 9098's over 1073's because I think they are more subtle. I like milk chocolate, you like dark chocolate. The 8 bus consoles are a great studio hub, especially if you use a lot of outboard colour. The ghosts give you the colour straight up. I think the design philosophy behind each is very different but both are very usable tools.


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