Mackie Muckie

Little wonder Mackie has gone through such financial difficulties over the past few years. Mackie is a company that markets aggressively and convinces the novice that they can offer exceptional sonic quality at value prices. In reality, Mackie offers premium priced cheap products. At least Behringer aligns the price/quality curves. Cheap products sold for a cheap price.

I am whining about Mackie because I have to use one of their consoles every week for live sound. I do not expect the Mackie to sound as good as my Neve. I do not expect it to offer the same level of functionality. But I do expect some basic performance attributes for the price point. I would gladly use Allen & Heath or Soundcraft products over the Mackie at similar price points. I was not at the church when this purchase decision was made.

The board in question, an SR32-4, has significant crosstalk issues through the aux sends. I often have CDs or MP3s on constant rotation and simply mute the channel when I don’t require the background music. No latency in terms of pressing the play button and when the church service ends it adds a nice touch to have the music already cued and good to go. However, even though the channel is muted, a small amount of the signal is routed to the master aux sends even though no signal is being directed to the auxes from the channel. This means that a noticeable signal arrives to the monitors on stage. How irritating.

I also don’t like the 60mm faders. They have a terrible feel and a short throw. The paint on the scribble strip is easily removed by masking tape. The board only offers 6 aux sends. There is no direct out. The XLR main outs have a +6db boost. I had to use the alternate TRS outs to connect to a loudspeaker management system. The EQ is brittle to my ear.

I would never recommend a Mackie. Too many compromises on sonic quality for the price. Better sounding products are available at competitive price levels. As for Behringer… don’t get me started on that company 😉

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