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Analog/Digital

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Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:20 am
by JRocker
Just picked up an old Mackie 1402 small desk, and was wondering if I can connect this to my PC (I use Cubase) and have it where I can record some tracks through it (as analog) and the rest via my digital DAW. I want to achieve a mixture of analog/digital sounds. I'm only interested in using it for recording acoustic guitars and vocals.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:23 am
by ken long
JRocker wrote:Just picked up an old Mackie 1402 small desk, and was wondering if I can connect this to my PC (I use Cubase) and have it where I can record some tracks through it (as analog) and the rest via my digital DAW. I want to achieve a mixture of analog/digital sounds. I'm only interested in using it for recording acoustic guitars and vocals.

You can set this up in a number of ways. ALT Outs of mixer to 2 channels on interface. Send interface back into Mackie and use the monitor outs as your primary monitor feed. tbh, The Mackie pre-amps leave a lot to be desired. A semi-pro interface these days has better, IME, pre-amps.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 9:44 am
by Arpangel
I have a Mackie 1202, similar thing, same preamps, I used it in exactly the way Ken describes, it worked fine. Mackie preamps are hidden gems, you'll pay a lot more for something appreciably better. One annoying thing about these mixers is that if you use the Alt Out, it cuts off your aux sends, I always found that annoying.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:31 am
by CS70
JRocker wrote:Just picked up an old Mackie 1402 small desk, and was wondering if I can connect this to my PC (I use Cubase) and have it where I can record some tracks through it (as analog) and the rest via my digital DAW. I want to achieve a mixture of analog/digital sounds. I'm only interested in using it for recording acoustic guitars and vocals.

You surely can, the 1402 has inserts on some of its channels so you can surely use an interface with many I/O to connect channels individually (not sure where the insert is located, probably before the EQ section). Or of course simply send the stereo out to the DAW using only 2 line ins of the interface. It also has AUXes so you can send left and right AUX mixes.

It begs the question of why and what do you think you'll achieve, but that's another story. :-)

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:39 am
by Sam Spoons
These two articles suggest that there ain't much wrong with those Mackie mic preamps.

Bearing in mind the mic preamps in your audio interface are already analogue whether sticking the Mackie desk in front will do anything useful is another matter. Easy to try though and see is you like it.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/pick-preamp

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/preamp-post-mortem

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:22 pm
by N i g e l
The Mackie and "similar" {ahem} mixers use a transistor front end for hi gain / low noise.
The line level inputs also go through this chain but they are potted down first.

One application when feeding a sampler was to overdrive the i/p, sample distorted and playback clean.

This colouration might occur in lower amounts at lower levels of course.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:11 pm
by Sam Spoons
This is for vocals and acoustic guitar so the line inputs/pads are not really relevant. The Mackie's analogue eq might be worth having but, apart from that, the 'analogue sound' is unlikely to be significantly different from the digital sound the interface (with it's analogue pre amps) produces.

As I said earlier, it's not hard to try so give it a go and make your decision with your ears. Several suggestions as to how to connect it to the PC but it's all got to go through the interface to get it into the DAW so it ends up digital.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:47 pm
by CS70
Sam Spoons wrote:This is for vocals and acoustic guitar so the line inputs/pads are not really relevant. The Mackie's analogue eq might be worth having but, apart from that, the 'analogue sound' is unlikely to be significantly different from the digital sound the interface (with it's analogue pre amps) produces.

Spot on.

For the OP: if you want to have some "analog" sound, a good option is to save for an external preamp (or borrow it) and run it cranked - something you usually can't really do on an interface (since you can't bring the level down again to avoid overloading the converters) and you probably don't want to do on the Mackie mixer (these kind of mixers are often engineered to work well and sound ok within the performance envelope of their component, not outside).

Certain specific preamps, however, tend to behave nicely when pushed. And get something with a transformer. I use a 610 for example which really sounds nice when cranked on vocals and bass. It's just distorting but it does it in a nice way. Same goes for pushing a 1176-like compressor - sometimes. An inexpensive option is the Golden Age Pre 73, which is quite nice than pushed. Since it's Swedish plenty people have it around there and I'm thinking of getting one for good myself instead of borrowing.

However: important to say that all that is just for fun. These days you can get pretty much the same analog feel in the box - so long you record properly and process with the right effects. The 610 emulation of my Twin (with its Unison preamp) sounds pretty much the same as my hardware unit, and for free and instant analog magic I do still recommend and use the glorious 32 bit BootEQ MkII from Variety of Sound.

But nothing wrong with having fun!

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:39 pm
by N i g e l
CS70 wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:This is for vocals and acoustic guitar so the line inputs/pads are not really relevant. The Mackie's analogue eq might be worth having but, apart from that, the 'analogue sound' is unlikely to be significantly different from the digital sound the interface (with it's analogue pre amps) produces.

Spot on.


I disagree. My point was that no matter what the signal into the mixer, they all go through the same path which can be overdriven. This is significantly different to overdriving the analogue on my convertor which only has 1 gain knob / ch and therfore any overdrive very quickly results in clipping.

CS70 wrote: Mackie mixer (these kind of mixers are often engineered to work well and sound ok within the performance envelope of their component, not outside).

The Mackie mixer has plenty headroom, so it is straightforward to overdrive the i/p and then bring the level down to avoid clipping.

CS70 wrote:These days you can get pretty much the same analog feel in the box

I agree, I think I first read about mixer overdriving by either Prodigy or the KLF, so quite a while ago.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 3:51 pm
by CS70
N i g e l wrote:The Mackie mixer has plenty headroom, so it is straightforward to overdrive the i/p and then bring the level down to avoid clipping.

The Mackies and similar live mixers I've tried didn't really sound that great when overdriven, but I've likely never tried that one (I guess... never remember the various denominations) so maybe it does. It's easy to try anyways.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 4:11 pm
by Sam Spoons
All true but I suspect the OP is hoping that simply passing the signal through the Mackie will give him an 'analogue sound'?

I may be way off the mark though, #JRocker?

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 5:25 pm
by Wonks
The EQ on the Mackie is just a shelving treble and bass. OK for slight tweaking but nothing surgical.

N i g e l wrote:The Mackie mixer has plenty headroom, so it is straightforward to overdrive the i/p and then bring the level down to avoid clipping.

I may be miseading your intention, but surely if the mixer has 'plenty of headroom', it's going to be a lot harder to overdrive the i/p?

Yes, I get that because it's got input and output gain controls (well two output gains - channel and master) you can drive it in a way that that can't drive a standard AI mic input, but 'plenty of headroom' means that you need a lot more gain to get into overdrive mode than with a low headroom device, and that extra gain is likely to make the signal quite noisy.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 5:57 pm
by N i g e l
Wonks wrote:
N i g e l wrote:The Mackie mixer has plenty headroom, so it is straightforward to overdrive the i/p and then bring the level down to avoid clipping.

I may be miseading your intention, but surely if the mixer has 'plenty of headroom', it's going to be a lot harder to overdrive the i/p?

fair enough; what I mean is that the i/p can be overdriven and that the next stage/mix bus has the headroom to handle that without clipping.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:07 pm
by Wonks
Fine.

Re: Analog/Digital

PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:14 pm
by N i g e l
Im not a Cuebase user but like other DAWs, does it have Vintage channel strips or Fx that would give a more analogue feel to the sound ?