Review: Mackie 400F

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thearnicasync
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Review: Mackie 400F

Post by thearnicasync » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:37 am

Someone requested a review of the 400F, so I thought I'd share my experiences.

At the time, I was recording on a PowerBook G4, 1.33gHz, with 1.25 gig of ram, into Logic.

Converters

I have great history with mediocre gear. Let's see: m audio delta 44, m audio quattro, m audio delta 1010, presonus firepod.

In the last two years, I've had somewhat better converters, namely the Apogee Rosetta 48k and more recently, Lucid adda 2496. I owned the Rosetta and the Mackie 400F at the same time, in fact.

Honestly, I preferred the Mackie converters. Flame on. I'll spare you the you the "tighter lows/Smoother highs", life is too short for bad espresso routine. Suffice to say that everything sounded real. As in, a band or drum kit in a room sounded exactly like that. Not hyped, not overly "clean"...probably the most trasparent converters I've had. In comparison, the Apogees sounded "clean" to me. Honestly, they didn't do much for me.

I haven't had the lucids for very long, but so far so good. Not as bright as the Mackies.

Onyx Pres:
I've been going Pre crazy the last 3-5 years, and have had some good ones...chandler ltd-1, syteks, both hamptones, osa, 7th circle n72/a12, etc. Most of mine have been color pres, with the exception of the syteks. The pres in the onyx would sit fine next to any of these. On drums, they were clear and never blew out even with a super loud drummer. They didn't thin out. All in all, they sounded very comparable to any syteks, BurrBrown or otherwise, that I've heard.


Usability:

Ah, the reason I took it back. At 60%, the headphone amp would oscillate with LOUD static and light whistling. The drivers crashed every 15 minutes, forcing a reboot of core audio. Which worked sometimes. Otherwise you had to turn the mackie off, wait for core audio to switch to internal, turn the mackie back on, then reselect/reboot core audio. The latter process is 3-5 minutes, so doing it every 15 sucks. A lot.


Well QA'd, the 400F is a bargain I think. Mine was a paperweight.

$.02

Barry Jive
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Re: Review: Mackie 400F

Post by Barry Jive » Thu Apr 27, 2006 11:43 am

thearnicasync wrote:Someone requested a review of the 400F, so I thought I'd share my experiences.

At the time, I was recording on a PowerBook G4, 1.33gHz, with 1.25 gig of ram, into Logic.

Converters

I have great history with mediocre gear. Let's see: m audio delta 44, m audio quattro, m audio delta 1010, presonus firepod.

In the last two years, I've had somewhat better converters, namely the Apogee Rosetta 48k and more recently, Lucid adda 2496. I owned the Rosetta and the Mackie 400F at the same time, in fact.

Honestly, I preferred the Mackie converters. Flame on. I'll spare you the you the "tighter lows/Smoother highs", life is too short for bad espresso routine. Suffice to say that everything sounded real. As in, a band or drum kit in a room sounded exactly like that. Not hyped, not overly "clean"...probably the most trasparent converters I've had. In comparison, the Apogees sounded "clean" to me. Honestly, they didn't do much for me.

I haven't had the lucids for very long, but so far so good. Not as bright as the Mackies.

Onyx Pres:
I've been going Pre crazy the last 3-5 years, and have had some good ones...chandler ltd-1, syteks, both hamptones, osa, 7th circle n72/a12, etc. Most of mine have been color pres, with the exception of the syteks. The pres in the onyx would sit fine next to any of these. On drums, they were clear and never blew out even with a super loud drummer. They didn't thin out. All in all, they sounded very comparable to any syteks, BurrBrown or otherwise, that I've heard.


Usability:

Ah, the reason I took it back. At 60%, the headphone amp would oscillate with LOUD static and light whistling. The drivers crashed every 15 minutes, forcing a reboot of core audio. Which worked sometimes. Otherwise you had to turn the mackie off, wait for core audio to switch to internal, turn the mackie back on, then reselect/reboot core audio. The latter process is 3-5 minutes, so doing it every 15 sucks. A lot.


Well QA'd, the 400F is a bargain I think. Mine was a paperweight.

$.02
Thanks for the review. Did you get another? Sounds awesome if it worked right! What software were you using?

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8th_note
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Post by 8th_note » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:04 pm

Can you elaborate on the comparison between the Mackie and your Delta 1010? By chance were you ever able to compare them side by side? Assuming the drivers worked (I'm on a PC and would probably have better luck), do you think it would be worth the money to upgrade to the Mackie for the converters? I have 11 channels of outboard preamps that I'm happy with so the Onyx pres aren't going to help much.

I have a Delta 1010 and have been curious about how much difference it would make to upgrade.

andrewfoshee
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Post by andrewfoshee » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:26 pm

I'd be interested to hear other experiences with this device ... I'm wondering how it would work with Sonar 3 PE on a Sony Vaio Laptop (2.4Ghz with 1GB RAM)
I will see you there, or I will see you at another time.

thearnicasync
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Post by thearnicasync » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:40 pm

Hiya,

As far as the 1010 vs. Mackie, it's hard...I had the 1010 a long time ago. I really thought the 1010 sounded good, but ya know you keep on buying stuff. And reading ding dong stuff on the internet.

I do remember thinking the Firepod sounded better than the 1010, but again bad dirvers and QA on that too. I remember starting to hate the firepod too...very bright and blurry next to the apogee/lucid/even Mackie thing to my ears. I do very much like the lucids, which I think you can get pretty cheap these days...especially the DA. I never had the money for pricey playback, but I finally got decent monitors and decent DA...I didn't have that when I had the rosetta (was monitoring off the 002). You can really feel quick, transient lows instead of a big billowing low end thing.

Mostly I try to write better songs now...much harder for me lately than getting online and wheeling-dealing gear. :wink:

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lukeduplex
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just sent mine back

Post by lukeduplex » Tue May 30, 2006 10:59 pm

i just sent my mackie 400f back because it wasn't playing very nicely with digital performer 4.6 on my powerbook 1.67ghz. Slow performance, had to restart unit often.

Aparently this is know to be an unstable setup. If you use DP, get something else.

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pk
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Post by pk » Wed Aug 09, 2006 8:57 am

I'm thinking about picking one up tomorrow. Just wondering how it will play with my Digi002R. I'm not too interested in the FW option, mostly to add more pres and I like the stand-alone mixer capability for monitoring sans ProTools or even a computer. Hmm....so if I plug my monitors in the 400F, then I guess I would need to route the main outs from the 002R there in order to hear playback in PT? All this monitoring stuff just gets to me sometimes.. :roll:

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Post by FNM » Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:07 pm

After about a year or two of saying that dual 400f compatability is coming soon, I've pretty much given up.

The beta drivers came out like 3 or 4 months ago, but I still can't seem to summon much hope for good mackie drivers(edit: the old ones work good for me, still no "non-beta" dual compatibility though). If it happens I will be very happy, but I probably will be 60 years old and retired.

I like it for 10 channels, I'm just getting sick of telling the singer he has to sit out since I'm full.
Last edited by FNM on Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SteveE9C6
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Post by SteveE9C6 » Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:32 pm

The 400F is an excellent FW interface. The pre's are articulate and uncolored, and compare with pre's like the Grace. I use them in addition to several high end pre's in my rack. The convertors are good. Very good. I own another brand multiple pre FW interface in the same general price range and the 400F smokes it when it comes to the "listen to your own ears" test.

I got tired of waiting on new Mackie(Echo) drivers. I bought the CEntrance Universal Driver which lets the 400F play with any other FW interface, dasiy chain, and run multiple audio apps at the same time. (The new v3 driver has been delivered to Mackie from Echo a couple of weeks ago. It should be out any day)

This is a nice unit. For every one who has a problem, there are a thousand happy campers. Best of luck with your buying decision!


I'm using...
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also have cubase and traction... but don't use them
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Ryan Silva
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Post by Ryan Silva » Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:10 pm

Well here it is closeing out 2006, and still no drivers to dasiy chain two 400f's. Hell I'm not even happy with the drivers for a single unit. Man, I never knew how stable my Delta 1010 drivers were unit I got these swiss chesse drivers. I guess like everyone else, I will just wait.

Ryan

PS The AD's sound great.
"Writing good songs is hard. recording is easy. "

MoreSpaceEcho

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Jeff White
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Re: just sent mine back

Post by Jeff White » Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:44 pm

lukeduplex wrote:i just sent my mackie 400f back because it wasn't playing very nicely with digital performer 4.6 on my powerbook 1.67ghz. Slow performance, had to restart unit often.

Aparently this is know to be an unstable setup. If you use DP, get something else.
Here is my $.02:

Mackie problems are driver related. If you have a Mac and use DP, a MOTU or RME interface is the way to go.

I have been using DP since the fall of 2003 with a MOTU 828mk2. Solid as a rock stable across three different Macs (iMac G3 450DV, and now Powerbook G4 1.5GHz & G5 Dual 1.8GHz [1st Rev]). I've owned three 828mk2 units. My first one I had for three yrs. The backlight went out in August of 2005 and I waited until Sept '06 to send it back. Now I have a new warrantied unit that they exchanged for my "defective" 3 yr old 828mk2. Amazing. th only thing wrong with it was that the screen was difficult to read. I paid zero dollars for the exchange, except for shipping to MOTU.

My "second" 828Mk2 was purchased through a TapeOp'r in May to replace an M-Audio FW1814 that was crashing OSX due to bad drivers. It was a horrible experience. I bought the FW1814 as a backup unit, just to have. Sold it for another 828mk2 and never looked back. I just had this 828 modded through Black Lion and it sounds amazing. Seriously holy f'n shit night and day difference amazing. And I wasn't hating the sound before it went in, btw.

Anyway, I think that a BLA modded 828mkii or Traveler + a BLA modded Focusrite Octopre may be the way to go right now for 16 channels. No worries about syncing two FW interfaces, as the Octopre is ADAT lightpipe. I'm sure that Matt's mod sounds amazing. Plus, the clock in the 828mk2 is solid through 96K and the analog path is audiophile. Matt's modded pres in the 828mkii are very clean, plus you can add 8 more channels through the analog ins of the 828 a well. That's 18 simultaneous inputs of various flavors. Mighty nice.

Jeff

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