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Output level on Mackie ProDX4

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Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:49 pm

I am having difficulty getting a sufficient output from my Mackie ProDX4 mixer into an active speaker (Yamaha dbr10 or QSC K10.2), from my casio keyboard (PX s3000).
All is fine direct from the keyboard into the active speakers at line level at normal gain settings, but I cannot get the Mackie main output to any reasonable level for the speakers. The keyboard signal level seems fine on the input side and the "output" LEDs on the mixer are all the way to the right. I have tried both unbalanced and TRS out of the mixer.
I know there may be something odd about this mixer series (now discontinued - perhaps for this reason?), but does anyone know if I can solve this problem (without connecting to the speakers at mic level).
Thanks for any help.
Peter
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:35 pm

Sounds strange.

Does the mixer work normally if plugged into something other than the active speakers?

Can you hear the keyboard at a sensible level on headphones plugged into the dx4 monitor?

What happens if you route the keyboard input to (one of) the aux outputs, and connect the aux output to the speaker instead of the main output?

I dont think the meter LEDs would work if the main output was muted, but have you checked that the output isn't muted? And that there's nothing silly going on with the graphic equaliser on the outputs -- or any other processing?
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:53 pm

Many thanks for the prompt reply.
Tried your suggestions - hardly anything on headphone at max, and same with AUX output (there is only one on the DX4).
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:02 pm

The headphones are derived directly from the stereo mix bus, so that implies your keyboard signal isn't actually getting through to the mix, let alone the output. And as the aux send is prefader, that suggests a problem at the front end of the channel, but after the input gain control and channel meter (since you said that was reading a healthy level).

So, check that the channel fader is open. Check the channel isn't muted. Check the EQ isn't doing something silly. Likewise the channel compressor isn't hauling your signal right down with lots of gain reduction. I don't know if there's a gate mode, but turn it off if there is!

And if you're running two cables for a stereo feed from your keyboard into the mixer, unplug one of them and see if that changes anything.
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:02 pm

Also, checked the output into my Club XS6 - level is less than from an SM58!
I have checked the settings on the app and all seems neutral, unless I have missed a mute/"superpad" that I don't know about:)
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:09 pm

Peter H wrote:Also, checked the output into my Club XS6 - level is less than from an SM58!

Yes, that would seem to confirm that the mixer isn't actually send a sensible signal level, and the lack of headphone level implies there's very little reaching the mix bus.

I have checked the settings on the app and all seems neutral, unless I have missed a mute/"superpad" that I don't know about:)

Can you recall a preset from a previous event where the thing worked properly? Or is there a default 'flat settings' preset?

Have you tried getting another signal source through the mixer, through a different channel -- a dynamic mic, for example?
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:11 pm

I'll have another look at the manual for the Mackie, in case there is anything I'm missing. However it is strange that both "input" and "main output" leds are lighting up towards max. Also, just to say I was getting distortion/digital clipping (at low sound levels) when I really turned the keyboard level up max.
I have heard there is something unusual about the "gain" on this mixer.
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:17 pm

Can you recall a preset from a previous event where the thing worked properly? Or is there a default 'flat settings' preset?

Have you tried getting another signal source through the mixer, through a different channel -- a dynamic mic, for example?

I'll try all this and get back. (I'm very bad at getting everything set up at home -I usually wait for the next gig:)
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:17 pm

Hmmm... Weird!

Where are you based, Peter? Maybe one of the experienced forum members can help out.
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:18 pm

Hmmm... Weird!

Where are you based, Peter? Maybe one of the experienced forum members can help out.

I've now tried a dynamic mic - similar output levels, and also tried factory reset on the mixer/app with no improvement.

Thanks for the offer - I'm in Leicester (already connected to local pro-engineers) and grateful for any help.
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:59 pm

Suggest you do a factory reset:

Simply press and hold the Channel 1, Channel 2 and MAIN buttons simultaneously for a few seconds to reset the ProDX to its factory settings.

Then make sure you select the input channel and set its gain with the rotary knob, followed by selecting the ‘Main’ button and again set its gain with the rotary knob.

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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:13 pm

Simply press and hold the Channel 1, Channel 2 and MAIN buttons simultaneously for a few seconds to reset the ProDX to its factory settings.

Then make sure you select the input channel and set its gain with the rotary knob, followed by selecting the ‘Main’ button and again set its gain with the rotary knob.

Thanks. Done that. Inputs and Main on max and LEDs lighting up full, as before, but output still low from mic and keyboard, on either input. So, for example, I don't even get acoustic feedback if I put the mic near the speaker, until 1" from the cone.
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby DanR » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:05 pm

Doesn’t seem to be any info on these issues with the mixer.
I’m assuming it’s the same problem when plugging both outputs into one speaker via balanced connection.
It needs to be tested against another DX4 really. I’d send it to Mackie and see what they think.
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:24 pm

Doesn’t seem to be any info on these issues with the mixer.
I’m assuming it’s the same problem when plugging both outputs into one speaker via balanced connection.
It needs to be tested against another DX4 really. I’d send it to Mackie and see what they think.

Thanks, yes, there is very little on this mixer on forums etc. except that the input gains are "auto" rather than controllable. The series has been discontinued for some time (?why, after only a couple of years) and I took a chance at a low price, because it has a unique feature set for my purposes (need only keyboard and vocal mic to the speakers, but want a reasonable live "vocal channel" in a small box, and all controllable from the audience).

(Yes, tried both balanced trs and unbalanced out, as above, and you are right, I have nothing similar to compare with)
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Wonks » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:38 pm

Paul White's review of the ProDX8 (https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/mackie-prodx8) didn't highlight any problems , so I suggest that your unit is very faulty. Is it new and can you return it?
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:39 pm

Has it worked satisfactorily in the past? Have you updated the firmware or app since?

Peter H wrote:The series has been discontinued for some time (?why, after only a couple of years) and I took a chance at a low price, because it has a unique feature set for my purposes (need only keyboard and vocal mic to the speakers, but want a reasonable live "vocal channel" in a small box, and all controllable from the audience).

I suspect it's unique feature set was it's downfall because it probably only met the needs of a very small number of users, as you are one of the few that is obviously good for you (as long as it works of course).
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:53 pm

Has it worked satisfactorily in the past? Have you updated the firmware or app since?

I've only had it a short time. Problem from first (and only) outing. As above, have tried factory reset as suggested.

I suspect its unique feature set was its downfall because it probably only met the needs of a very small number of users, as you are one of the few that is obviously good for you (as long as it works of course).

You may be right, but even in my local experience, this could be brilliant for small (jazz etc) combos - nearest equivalent is Club XS6, or much bigger digital mixer - prodx4 fits in my small bag.
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Wonks » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:59 pm

Maybe quality control problems as (at that price) they are obviously built in China. Looking at the block diagram, if the software thinks the input and intermediate signal levels are good I'd say the issue is in the DAC section - probably the internal power supply to them.
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Peter H » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:52 pm

Looking at the block diagram, if the software thinks the input and intermediate signal levels are good I'd say the issue is in the DAC section - probably the internal power supply to them.

Thanks, that sounds logical. (The output through main jacks is present, but low dB, but there is absolutely nothing through the phones output at max gain.)

I will contact Mackie through support.
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Re: Output level on Mackie ProDX4

Postby Wonks » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:56 pm

Fine, but I'd get it back to the supplier ASAP for minimal hassle.
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