The Mackie 8bus has more headroom than the SSL X-Desk. You guys still haven't figured out this headroom business.
+28 dBu on the main outputs. That's not out of the question since it has 18V rails. All other outputs are +22 dBu (thus likely unbalanced).
Someone incorrectly interpreted the meter scaling of X-Desk (0 dBFS and 24 dBu) as it's max output level. The user manual does not say the output level is +24 dBu. However...
the X-Desk is >+24 dBu "headroom." Somewhat meaningless but we can assume they mean max output level.
Now, what advantages does the X-Desk have? Being SuperAnalogue
, we can assume it is fully balanced, has no caps, and has a bandwidth near 200 kHz. Mackie likely isn't balanced but I don't know. They also claim 120 kHz bandwidth which is pretty darn good. There's more to it than headroom.
All this info brought to you by reading manuals
, not messageboards.
Someone said "I think it could be possible to test the headroom." Yes, they figured this out a hundred years ago? You put a tone on the input, and a scope on the out. You turn it up till it flattens, bam, there's your max output level. It's barely even science. When you guys are pushing all your analog inputs to 0 dBFS = +22 dBu, what you think you're hearing as headroom is really how one piece of gear vs another falls on its face
. Some do it better than others. You like distortion and mangling, that's perfectly fine and why analog has a place. But let's be honest about what's occurring and not judge gear this way. Personally, I stay away from that range on everything and you'll find it all sounds pretty good. Analog tape never exceeded +16 dBu so why should you?
Props to comscout
for being honest and eloquent about the differences.