Mackie 1604VLZ vs Yamaha ProMix 01

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by drbob1, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a small studio in the basement-mostly for my kids' punk/rock bands' demos. I've been using a Mackie 1604VLZ when I needed multiple tracks (like drums) into my Korg D16, however I also do some live mixing (blues, rock, local drama productions) and the possibility of scenes for drama is really appealling. Plus the digital board includes compression and effects built in, reducing clutter and the number of pieces of gear I have to learn. There's a promix I could buy and have $200 left over from the VLZ for outboard stuff (could use a ribbon mic ;) So, any disadvantages of the ProMix or reasons I shouldn't go ahead with the swap?
     
  2. muddy

    muddy Member

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    neither one is really great sonically, so i'd go for the features of the promix. the mackie micpre's are particularly bad with sm57's, which happen to be really good mics with a good pre.


    ml
     
  3. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    For recording I usually use a Langevin preamp, for channels 3 and 4 an ART, so it's pretty far down the page before I record with the Mackie pres, but for live use, yah, they'd see 57s quite a lot. I've not used many other boards except the Behringer stuff, and not back to back, so I can't really say I've got a feel for a lot of pres. If the Yamaha has better pres and is cheaper, that pretty much seals it... I've heard of problems with noisy AD/A convertors, but the seller says this one is quiet. I also understand there's no way to output more than 2 digital channels, so not much use as front end for a DAW, right? Bob
     
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I actually used a 1604 VLZ as a submixer for synths in my studio, that fed into my large board, and it sounded good. Well, actually, it sounded transparent.

    I didn't think the mic pres were bad with a 57 when I loaned it to my son to record his band with.
     
  5. muddy

    muddy Member

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    get yourself a good a/d converter & lightpipe it out of the promix into your soundcard (assuming it has an adat/lightpipe connection), which would give you 8 digital outs. bypass the yami's converters, if you can. they'd be shite. & forget behringer. it doesn't get any worse. as far as pre's, the mackie pre's do make a 57 sound very dark & murky.


    ml
     
  6. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    I did not like the pres or EQ on the old VLZs at all. The pres on the VLZ-Pro series was a huge improvement, but the EQ still is lacking.
     
  7. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>the mackie pre's do make a 57 sound very dark & murky.<<

    I found no problem at all with them, even though I preferred the preamps on my larger console because they have more headroom.

    I thought they were plenty bright, even when compared with my focusrite red and ISA preamps, and a pair of Neve 1073s, which are often thought of as classics for electric guitar.

    While one man's bright is another man's dark and murky, I couldn't disagree with this assessment more. Just my two cents. DrBob, you have to take the comments on these boards, including mine, with a huge grain of salt, because you can see how it is possible to have these "objective" opinions vary wildly.

    I've engineered and mixed lots of my music and that of others for national broadcast over the past 17 years, and I have yet to see two studio cats agree on everything. That's why there's an awful lot of stuff out there that sells; everyone's opinion as to what is good differs.

    As to EQ, it's really hard to take the EQs on any of the little consoles seriously, none of them compare to the EQ on a larger board or outboard gear, but then, for the kind of work you're talking about, a plug in EQ works just great and will probably sound better anyway, no matter which console you go with.
     
  8. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd keep the Mackie, even though I don't particularly care for them. You'll be giving up a lot of recording functionality with the Promix and not getting very much in return. It's an old mixer with no support, old digital technology and very limited signal routing. The automation is snapshot only, unless sync it up with a DAW. No direct outs. No tape sends/returns. No channel inserts. It's rather useless for recording on it's own but I gather you'll be using it with the D16. It'd be be ok for bringing in some extra channels but that's about it. Fader motors fail, power supplies fail, ect. I think it's a rather risky trade.

    As a live mixer, you're giving up half the # of pre's compared to the 1604.
     
  9. tonefreak

    tonefreak Member

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    If not Mackie, the what else? Mackie seems really good for the money... no?
     
  10. muddy

    muddy Member

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    denyle's probably right. i was thinking there was a current promix that was being referred to.

    scheffy, i didn't say the vlz's pre's were dark, i said that theirs was the 1 pre that made a 57 sound dark. aside from discovering this for myself (i as well have worked for years in studios like elect. lady, compass point, though as an artist & session player, but you still hear the discussions) it's been confirmed to me by the likes of chris lord-alge, bob rosa (2 friends i've worked with for years & years), fletcher (you don't even want to get THIS man started on mackie pre's!) from mercenary; if you pose the question on prosoundweb, gearslutz, you know the places, i think you'll find that the assessment of a 57 through a mackie pre as being bright & airy to be a VERY small minority. but you're right; doesn't mean it's necessarily so, as confirmed by your assessment, & i HAVE heard engineers who don't consider the pre's to be terrible. but i'm far from alone in my findings, either. & the eq just makes it worse, as i find them to be grating & harsh. anyway, if the dr. is gonna stay with the mackie, i might think about trying some different mic's.

    OR...you COULD go thiis way:

    http://www.dangerousmusic.com/2buslt.html
    [​IMG]

    and do your mixing from within the daw. this thing will destroy the mackie for good signal paths! you would have to pick up more mic pre's for recording drums or a band... you could even go this way:

    http://www.rollmusic.com/systems/folcrom.shtml
    [​IMG]

    & use your langevin as your preamp. just some more alternatives.


    ml
     
  11. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Now you're talkin'! I like Muddy's alternatives a LOT.
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    It's utterly absurd.

    He should buy tens of thousands of dollars of outboard preamps and use his DAW as a live mixer? Then run it through a summing buss??

    Or were you thinking this for his kid's punk band demos?
     
  13. muddy

    muddy Member

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    hahaha...that's funny, michael. you have my sense of humour. :D


    ml
     
  14. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Well, not seeing huge downsides to the loss of the extra outputs I don't use, I went ahead and purchased the ProMix. I shouldn't have any trouble getting my moneyout of it if I feel I really need the ADAT outputs from the O1V, and I do think I can use the dynamics and effects processors... Thanks for the advice! BTW, just for fun, does anyone make a really high quality, INEXPENSIVE AD/A convertor (stereo-won't really work to spend $1000 to feed a $700 multitrack recorder)? I have some decent outboard gear and would prefer to master analog, but I realize that the ADA stuff in the Korg is marginal...
     
  15. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Let us know how the promix works out.

    On the low end, Art makes the Di/o ada for well under $150. I had one for a day and it sounded ok to me. I returned it only because the level control only works on the digital side and not on the analog side.
     
  16. muddy

    muddy Member

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    yes, i CAN help you out here, and the end result will be SO worth it. you can do what i did, & wait around until a lucid ad2694 comes up 2nd hand (i paid $500, & they sell for $850). the lucid is as good as anything that IS good until you hit the expensive stuff like prism, mytek, cranesong, which are all over $3,500 to over $10,000. and you can use it's clock to improve the promix's d/a converters.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.mercenary.com/lucidad9624.html

    don't buy it new, though, because the mytek stereo96 adc is $950 new & MUCH better. next up would be the lynx "LYNX ONE" pci card converters, which are really good, give you a/d AND d/a converters (it's important to HEAR what you've done!), and are only $450 for the card:

    [​IMG]
    http://www.mercenary.com/lystlystinpc.html

    lastly, you have the rme stuff, which IS better than the mass marketed "guitar-mart" stuff, but not NEARLY as good as the above, and you WOULD trade up eventually; why waste the money now (it's not really THAT much cheaper), just get what you SHOULD be getting now. anyway, here it is:

    [​IMG]
    http://www.atlasproaudio.com/rme.html

    a word of warning; before you go & waste your money on the guitarmart, 5-tools-in-one boxes that yamaha, presonus, behringer, art, alesis, et. al., you have to realize that GOOD converters cost! they haven't spent very much of what went into that $500 box on the converters. think about it. the lucid ad9624 is $850, & there's nothing BUT converters in it. now look at that micpre-compressor-eq that they've slapped ad/da converters on. which would you think would do the better job? this final step in the digital recording process is extremely IMPORTANT!!! the diff between good & bad is night & day! before you make the move, do yourself a favour & gimme a shout. i'm glad to help. i used to sell this shite, & i know a good deal about it.


    ml
     
  17. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Muddy, just curious. Have you had a chance to compare the Lucid side by side with the Benchmark. I was looking for good deal on the Lucid a while back but since I've heard so many great things about the Benchmark, I'm having second thoughts about the Lucid.
     
  18. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    The new 2 channel Benchmark a/d converter will list at $1,800, or so I hear. Supposed to debut in April last I heard. I'm interested, but need to hear it first. Feeling gassy.;)
     
  19. muddy

    muddy Member

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    the benchmark converters (especially their dac1!!!) are awesome! you're really talking preference here, though. benchmark's units are much newer, & probably benefit a bit by any improvements made in the last 5 years, so i'd have to give the edge to them. i happen to really like lucid's converters, though. great top end. if you're looking at benchmark, i'd highly recommend looking at mytek:

    http://www.mytekdigital.com/welcome.html

    they have a couple of 2ch units that are comparable in price, & phenomenal in quality. i'd get them over the benchies any day of the week!


    ml
     
  20. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    Choices, choices, choices. Thanks for the recommendations. I'm still in research mode, and won't pull the trigger for a couple of months.
     

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