You are here

Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Kevin Nolan » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:40 pm

I still use a Mackie 32-8 mixer for coping with many hardware synthesizesrs and effects processors.

I'm considering putting a compressor / expander / gate on every channel, and wonder if anyone has done this; and if so whether you can recommend a cost effective solution.

I'm looking at something like 8 x Behringer MDX4600's - and wonder what you'd think about that?

I don't want to spend a fortune on this - the primary goal is to have a gate on each channel to manage the noise floor(s) of a lot of old analog synths (even a Juno 106 with the Chorus unit activated can be noisy) - so a cheap-and-cheerful solution is goal - but one that works!

Thoughts and recommendations appreciated (keeping Behringer bashing to a minimum :-) )
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 803
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby The Elf » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:46 pm

TBH I'd be looking at replacing the mixer with a digital variety (X32?) that would include all the channel processing you would ever need. Maybe not the solution you're hoping for, but one with more longevity?
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12570
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:49 pm

I love hardware and have used Berry gates live (they do exactly what they say on the tin) but, TBH, it's probably better done in the box.

BTW is this for tracking or mixing?
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10015
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:58 pm

Not the answer you want to hear, I expect, but I'm with the Elf on this one -- I'd ditch the vintage Mackie for a rack-mount digital mixer. You're looking at blowing £800 on a lot of pretty so-so gates when for not much more you could get a digital mixer with better facilities and sound...
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 24343
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Luke W » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:18 pm

Another vote for the digital mixer route here. By the time you've added the cost of cables on top of the units themselves (even cheap ones) you're well up into the sort of numbers that will get you perfectly decent mixer. You'll save space too, more room for synths :thumbup:
User avatar
Luke W
Regular
Posts: 219
Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:00 am
Location: Northamptonshire, UK
Techie / Musician Of Sorts

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Kevin Nolan » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:07 pm

Thanks for your feedback.

Not to bore you with the details (but I'm going to :-) ) - but this room (being setup) has a lot of hardware gear over two 'synth setups' - over 30 synths and about 8 hardware effects. One of the two synth setup is already primed to use two cascaded O1V96s (still trying to figure out how the hell that works!) - and the second setup uses the Mackie. They each route into a MOTU interface via 8 channels (each) and into DAW.

So I'm trying to use the equipment I have - and the gates are just an after thought.

FYI there are several reasons why I'm not ditching the Mackie

Firstly it's so versatile in terms of I/O - 32 physical inputs (routed to a MOTU interface via its 8 busses) - but - also it replicates its bus outputs three times; and also has the inline MIX-B capability - providing for up to 64 physical inputs.

So all told - it caters for a huge number of old analog synths very well - and perfect for hardware monitoring when recording to DAW (I'm using 8 channels for hardware effects too which can be used during hardware monitoring when tracking or as effects via auxes in Logic Pro)-

But because of the sheer number of of inputs and outputs, I've figured out a mechanism to also simultaneously cater for permanent routing of the tape-backup inputs and outputs for a Jupiter 6, Prophet T8, Trident Mk2, CS40M and Juno106 (and others if needed) - enabling backup/restore on the fly from any of those synths on a per-piece / as needed basis. I'm hoping this will enable those synths in exciting new ways because frankly I haven't programmed a new sound for them in years because their memory banks are full and it's otherwise so much hassle making backups and restores. But using both the Mix-B In-line inputs and the replicated bus outputs - I've figured out a way to have the synths permanently linked to Logic Pro for backup/restore while not interfering with the more usual role of the mixer for tracking.

Finally, I have to say, however contrived in use because so much will be done in the box - I _love_ mixing at the Mackie. I make no claim to being expert in this arena - but just above the Mixer are a pair of Genelec 1030A's and just above them tilted slightly down so acting as near fields are a pair of huge JBL 4412's - and it is nothing short of bliss to sit at the Mackie, mixing a piece over those speakers. I just love the experience of sitting comfortably at the mixer, making tweaks because it's such a joyous listening experience.

So although not fully worked out yet routing wise - and perhaps a little old-fashioned these days - I intend taking 8 DAW outputs as tape returns through the Mackie and indeed routed to a Finalizer 96k for mastering (because I know it well too). Even if it's just for stereo mastering (that's 'mastering' with a small m :-) ) - I just love being at the Mackie and want to keep it in the setup. I could honestly live permanently in that seat !!

So the Mackie is doing a lot of 'heavy lifting' over various roles - it took ages to work out the tricky routings for its various roles and there just isn't a digital mixer available with the sheer quantity of both inputs and outputs needed.

Sorry for such a long winded reply - it's a along winded room! I'm trying to use every last morsel of equipment I already own - and as said - find the Mackie more than useful in a hardware laden setup. (I have a second room in development too and it with a lot of hardware synths too - but I'm going totally MOTU AVB interface in that setup)

If I read you (all) correctly , you have no fundamental objection with the Behringer equipment(?) To Sam - I haven't heard of the "Berry" gates and a Google reveals nothing on them?

Thanks for your time and replies - I totally get the digital mixer suggestions and as said am in part doing that - but just want to keep the Mackie too.
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 803
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:20 pm

I get that, as I said I love hardware and use an X32 Compact as my studio desk and interface for the little recording/mixing I do (live sound guy here).

The Berry gates worked fine, unsophisticated and simple but got the job done for a given definition of 'got the job done'. Not the best available but not one of Berry's horror stories either.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10015
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby CS70 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:21 pm

To Sam - I haven't heard of the "Berry" gates and a Google reveals nothing on them?


A little Mr. de la Palisse here, but when Sam says "Berry" he means "Behringer" I think (do you, Sam? :))

Plenty results googling "behringer gate" :-)
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4078
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:39 am

i do indeed mean 'Behringer' CS and apologies to the OP for not using plain English.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10015
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Mixedup » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:48 am

I've not used them, but there are eight-channel dynamics processors by Klark-Teknik, Presonus and SM Pro, amongst others. (Some are out of production, though). Eg. you can pick up a KT SQ1D for about 250-300 second hand. So 750-900 for 24 channels.

But you could probably pick up a digital mixer for that money, or an old computer and an old 24 channel interface (eg MOTU), and run 24 channels of plug-ins as processors...
User avatar
Mixedup
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4343
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Cambridgeshire, UK

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Kevin Nolan » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:27 am

CS70 wrote:
To Sam - I haven't heard of the "Berry" gates and a Google reveals nothing on them?


A little Mr. de la Palisse here, but when Sam says "Berry" he means "Behringer" I think (do you, Sam? :))

Plenty results googling "behringer gate" :-)


Doh!

(thanks! :oops: )
Kevin Nolan
Frequent Poster
Posts: 803
Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:53 pm

My opinion of the "Berry Gates" :D is that they do tend to sound a bit cold, glassy, I'd go for two secondhand BSS quad noise gates, that'll cost you about £500 tops for good used units.
Classics too.
I would suggest Alesis 3630's, but the gates are awful, they have very poor release times, and always cut low level signals off too soon, even the Berrys are much much better in this respect.
I think given the "situation" getting a bunch of secondhand Behringer Composers might be a vote winner, why not? I think the glassy sound could be avoided if you're careful with EQ etc, and always keep that tube button depressed, it does actually do something nice, and anyway, who on Earth is going to have the same set up as you! Could be cool.
8 secondhand Composers? Maybe £250?
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1253
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Studio Support Gnome » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:18 pm

the mackie sounds shit...

nasty hard EQ.

and a PCB fault , that behringer copied , thus mackie could prove their case...


plus they tend to get flakey in the middle due to poor design in supporting the main mix motherboard PCB

stuff adding shit gates and compressors to it...

32 channel digital console, and expansion ADDA ....

OR

find a decent analogue console, WITH MIDI MUTING

Examples, Allen and heath GS3, GS3V and GS3000 , Soundcraft Ghost. , Soundtracs Topaz.

get it serviced, and you'll have better EQ, better Pre-amps, and better control of noise floor.

or find an Ottomix. (google it.... rarer than hens teeth , and even finding anything other than a control module reference in google takes a fair bit of effort.... so much for obsolete analogue hardware being always searchable in google....
)
and plug that in to your existing system
User avatar
Studio Support Gnome
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2829
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 12:00 am
Location: UK
Now available for consultations and audio engineering jobs .  Also guitar tech work , and “rent-a-shredder” sessions .  Oxfordshire based but can and will travel .  Email maxtech.audio@me.com

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:04 am

Studio Support Gnome wrote:the mackie sounds shit... nasty hard EQ ... and a PCB fault

Don't sit on the fence Max, tell us what you really think :D
User avatar
Eddy Deegan
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2418
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 12:00 am
Location: Brighton & Hove, UK
Some of my musical works.
I had a weird time in Surrey once, but that was a drummer's fault.

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Sep 08, 2019 8:14 am

I think the sensible solution here, if we are all honest, is a digital mixer.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1253
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Cost effective compressors / gates for 32 channels of a Mackie 32-8?

Postby James Lehmann » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:39 am

Kevin Nolan wrote:I still use a Mackie 32-8 mixer for coping with many hardware synthesizesrs and effects processors... I'm considering putting a compressor / expander / gate on every channel, and wonder if anyone has done this.
Gate & Compressor on every channel of a Mackie 32:8 at a reasonable cost?

Hmm... a fun challenge!

Whether it can be 'cost-effective' or not is something only you can determine because 'cost-effective' means totally different things to different people, especially on internet Forums, which is one reason why others are trying to talk you out of your original aim.

However, if your mind is 100% made up to keep the Mackie and acquire 32 channels of analogue comp/gating then if it were me here are the units I'd be scanning the Reader's Ads, Reverb & eBay etc for, limiting my search to 1U 4-channel units with the aim of minimising 19" rack space:

    Drawmer DS404
    Drawmer DL441
    Aphex 105
    LA Audio C400
    LA Audio G400
    BSS DPR-504
    dbx 1046
    dbx 1074

It'll probably take you at least a year of hunting to assemble your 32-channel rack of doom at a reasonable cost, but all the units above do come up at knock-down prices from time to time - I've scored a number of great bargains from that list recently. (The last 3 are probably going to be a bit more expensive.) Prepare yourself for some 'cosmetic disappointments' (surprising what people advertise as 'mint' these days!) and possibly a minor repair or two – mostly this gear is going to be well-used & abused from hire/touring companies & theatres etc – but stuff like the Drawmers are built like tanks and should work for decades.

32 gates should be easiest to assemble – no-one wants those anymore – so you could first go for 32 channels of gating seeing as your first priority seems to be to gate every channel, and then perhaps 'make do' with a lesser number of compressors by using just the groups (8) on your Mackie or a patchbay (I would hope you have multiple patchbays already!) until you can assemble the full complement of 32 comps.

And when you're done please pop back here and post some photos! :thumbup:
James Lehmann
Regular
Posts: 354
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Europe
I used to be a rocker, but now I've gone off it and just sit in one. (JL)


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jimh76