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Difference in sound - SSL X-desk and Mackie ?
Old 6th April 2012 | Show parent
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by brew View Post
Headroom police. The Mackie 8bus has more headroom than the SSL X-Desk. You guys still haven't figured out this headroom business.

Mackie claims +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...

SSL claims 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.
Very nice post by somebody that is clearly educated. No I am not being sarcastic.

Thanks,
john
Old 6th April 2012 | Show parent
  #32
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Axiom static's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
Very nice post by somebody that is clearly educated. No I am not being sarcastic.

Thanks,
john
Agree as this is a very well thought out post!

Also very rich in useful information!
Old 7th April 2012
  #33
Here for the gear
 

I personally think that most Mackie consoles sound better than the X Desk. I have used both extensively and really, if you don't use the els on the Mackie, they are good sounding little desks. Oh yeah, don't use the preamps either. For summing. Hands down Mackie over here.
Old 7th April 2012 | Show parent
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beatsmith View Post
What do you guys think of the sound of the X-Desk when 'pushed' or driven?
I hated it actually. Nothing musical about it when pushed. That's exactly why got rid of it. The AWS has a nice fat thing happening when pushed. I was looking for the same thing and certainly didn't find it in the X Desk.
Old 7th April 2012 | Show parent
  #35
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Axiom static's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaSmiel View Post
I hated it actually. Nothing musical about it when pushed. That's exactly why got rid of it. The AWS has a nice fat thing happening when pushed. I was looking for the same thing and certainly didn't find it in the X Desk.
Big difference in price boys..........

We cannot start comparing a $3000k mixer with the AWS can we now?

For the record I had an AWS and agree with you about pushing it.
I sold it though, a little big for my needs.
Running a Matrix and this i can compare with the AWS!

Old 7th April 2012 | Show parent
  #36
Here for the gear
 

The point is that it's not great when pushed. There is nothing "fat" about the X Desk. It has no typical SSL summing characteristic as found in the bigger desks.

So implying that because it is SSL, there must be something great about it is not true in my opinion anyway.

The Matrix is also not very good either IMO. That is off topic though.

Mackie is surprisingly great stuff. I wouldn't describe it as top notch, but I would take an 8 bus over an X Desk all day long everyday of the year.

Hope that helps.
Old 7th April 2012 | Show parent
  #37
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Axiom static's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaSmiel View Post
The point is that it's not great when pushed. There is nothing "fat" about the X Desk. It has no typical SSL summing characteristic as found in the bigger desks.

So implying that because it is SSL, there must be something great about it is not true in my opinion anyway.

The Matrix is also not very good either IMO. That is off topic though.

Mackie is surprisingly great stuff. I wouldn't describe it as top notch, but I would take an 8 bus over an X Desk all day long everyday of the year.

Hope that helps.
I actually was not implying anything, apart from the fact that the products differ significantly in price. Sure no issue on Mackie stuff either, I say get anything that fits your needs after all it is the output which matters.

In terms of the Matrix not sounding good well that is your opinion, and I have no issues with that, I can tell you though I previously owned the AWS, and in my opinion they both sound exactly the same.
Old 8th April 2012
  #38
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Axiom static's Avatar
 

Heard the X-Desk today for the first time, or x-desks this guy had 2 cascaded into 1.

And if my opinions count for anything, this thing is solid. Build quality is great and the faders are very smooth.
Very clean and transparent in sound, plenty of headroom also.
I got the chance to see the cat track some drum machines through it using the FX running a TUBE-TECH LCA 2B.

All in all I found this to be a great machine..It would be nice if it was a little bigger, but at this price point maybe not, however all in all very solid little summing machine.
Old 8th April 2012 | Show parent
  #39
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaSmiel View Post
The point is that it's not great when pushed. There is nothing "fat" about the X Desk. It has no typical SSL summing characteristic as found in the bigger desks.

So implying that because it is SSL, there must be something great about it is not true in my opinion anyway.

The Matrix is also not very good either IMO. That is off topic though.

Mackie is surprisingly great stuff. I wouldn't describe it as top notch, but I would take an 8 bus over an X Desk all day long everyday of the year.

Hope that helps.

Define pushed... to do that on my SSL I need to go with more than 20dBu per track into it. Ever tried that with a Mackie

If you don't like the SSL pushed, don't do it. But you won't be nearly able to push the Mackies as hard as the SSL. And that can matter, especially if you want/need to push outboard gear thru the inserts or before the inputs.

I owned a Mackie 8-bus, and it doesn't come near to the SSL technically wise. Of course the 8bus has more features and more channels. The sound is anyway matter of taste, not worth to discuss about it.
Old 8th April 2012 | Show parent
  #40
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Axiom static's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Define pushed... to do that on my SSL I need to go with more than 20dBu per track into it. Ever tried that with a Mackie

If you don't like the SSL pushed, don't do it. But you won't be nearly able to push the Mackies as hard as the SSL. And that can matter, especially if you want/need to push outboard gear thru the inserts or before the inputs.

I owned a Mackie 8-bus, and it doesn't come near to the SSL technically wise. Of course the 8bus has more features and more channels. The sound is anyway matter of taste, not worth to discuss about it.
Hey just checked out your page at Stardust!

Nice
Old 8th April 2012 | Show parent
  #41
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Define pushed... to do that on my SSL I need to go with more than 20dBu per track into it. Ever tried that with a Mackie

If you don't like the SSL pushed, don't do it. But you won't be nearly able to push the Mackies as hard as the SSL. And that can matter, especially if you want/need to push outboard gear thru the inserts or before the inputs.

I owned a Mackie 8-bus, and it doesn't come near to the SSL technically wise. Of course the 8bus has more features and more channels. The sound is anyway matter of taste, not worth to discuss about it.
How does the Dangerous 2 buss LT sound compared to the Xdesk?
Old 8th April 2012 | Show parent
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
How does the Dangerous 2 buss LT sound compared to the Xdesk?
Good question. I haven't analysed that in a "scientific" way. What I'd say extemporary is that the Dangerous has less "sound" than the SSL, let's say cleaner (in my not very experienced audio engineer life with various mixers). But the SSL seems to me more pristine.
Old 9th April 2012 | Show parent
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deft_bonz View Post
Good question. I haven't analysed that in a "scientific" way. What I'd say extemporary is that the Dangerous has less "sound" than the SSL, let's say cleaner (in my not very experienced audio engineer life with various mixers). But the SSL seems to me more pristine.
Is that like the Dangerous is Cleaner the The SSL has a Finish? I listened to the stuff on your site and def here the Analog summing and it Sounds SSL' ish to me. Is the dangerous being used in those clips on your site?
Old 9th April 2012
  #44
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The now discontinued Mackie 8 bus series shows better specs in many areas over the onyx series and the SSL . Of course, these are specs and can vary in testing from manufacturer at times.

For years the Mackie 8 bus was the king of project and many pro studios. Then it became known as '#%&* on a stick'. Neither are accurate.

That said, the Mackie 8 bus series was a really great desk for many of us. I loved mine for almost 20 years and recently sold it. It was a total champ.

Mackie - 8•Bus Specifications

http://www.mackie.com/products/onyx4...yx_4Bus_SS.pdf
Old 9th April 2012 | Show parent
  #45
PDC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foldback View Post
I would love to hear a high quality audio track, passed through a higher-end Mackie mixer and the same track passed through an X-Desk.
...uh what? High end Mackie? That is kind of an oxymoron. There is no high end Mackie. The newest VLZ3s blow the old 8 buss consoles out of the water.
Old 9th April 2012
  #46
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Axiom static's Avatar
 

Sorry but anyone who even compares a Mackie to an SSL has some listening to do!

Nothing against Mackie, but seriously guys what are we talking about.

SSL handsdown wins, even if it just an SSL X-Desk!
Old 9th April 2012
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by piano View Post
The now discontinued Mackie 8 bus series shows better specs in many areas over the onyx series and the SSL . Of course, these are specs and can vary in testing from manufacturer at times.

For years the Mackie 8 bus was the king of project and many pro studios. Then it became known as '#%&* on a stick'. Neither are accurate.

That said, the Mackie 8 bus series was a really great desk for many of us. I loved mine for almost 20 years and recently sold it. It was a total champ.

Mackie - 8•Bus Specifications

http://www.mackie.com/products/onyx4...yx_4Bus_SS.pdf
The Mackie is a champ for its price. It's a great desk and I was happy for a long time... until I got a DAW plus 16 channels of conversion.

The specs read 28dBu max, but you won't be able to run 16 channels hitting 0 dBfs, 32 channels is impossible. If you should do push hard is another question




Quote:
Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
Is that like the Dangerous is Cleaner the The SSL has a Finish? I listened to the stuff on your site and def here the Analog summing and it Sounds SSL' ish to me. Is the dangerous being used in those clips on your site?
Not all my clips shown on my page are mixed OTB (yet). There are still a lot of clients that don't want to pay extra for an analoge mix, so it's ITB.

I use the Dangerous as a submixer for drums. The stereo out is then fed into a stereo channel (X-Panda).

Like I said, I didn't really compared them soundwise. There is a difference, and that's how I'd describe them out of my mind.
Old 16th April 2012 | Show parent
  #48
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Silver Sonya's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaSmiel View Post
The point is that it's not great when pushed. There is nothing "fat" about the X Desk. It has no typical SSL summing characteristic as found in the bigger desks.

So implying that because it is SSL, there must be something great about it is not true in my opinion anyway.

The Matrix is also not very good either IMO. That is off topic though.

Mackie is surprisingly great stuff. I wouldn't describe it as top notch, but I would take an 8 bus over an X Desk all day long everyday of the year.

Hope that helps.
No to all of this.

- c
Old 16th April 2012 | Show parent
  #49
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Looneytune's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Sonya View Post
No to all of this.

- c
Thanks because I was just going to say the same thing.
Old 16th April 2012
  #50
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The Beatsmith's Avatar
 

so it's fat and does sound great when pushed?
Old 16th April 2012 | Show parent
  #51
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ionian's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Beatsmith View Post
so it's fat and does sound great when pushed?
Depends who you're asking!

Regards,
Frank
Old 16th April 2012 | Show parent
  #52
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ghostwriter's Avatar
At the studio we patched an X-Desk in place of the SSL console just to hear how it would sound and I thought it was a very clean respectable board. Did it sound like the SSL console? Of course not, there's no transformers, etc... in the X-Desk, so the X-Desk didn't add any real mojo to the mix like the SSL console did. But, the X-Desk was very transparent and high quality.
Old 17th April 2012
  #53
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Steve Honest's Avatar
X Desk

X desk by a mile,
the X desk sounds like a real desk, the mackie is an expensive door stop or paperweight

steve
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #54
Gear Nut
 

I never though I would see the day when Mackie and any SSL product go head to head and Mackie gets favourable comments. I had a Mackie and liked it most people did for its day but comparable to a SSL :face palm:
I thought I was in the High end forum not the hi forum
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #55
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
Depends who you're asking!

Regards,
Frank
When you're asking me, YES heh

I like to drive it slowly more and more until it's too much, then back again. Very handy with a DAW and fader groups over all master out faders

When pushed I got loud sounding mixes. That does not always suit the mix, of course
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #56
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Brett 123's Avatar
 

Maybe I can help fill in here . I ended up getting an x desk as well as a Fat bustard and keeping the Mackie .

I was in a good place to make a comparison as I had been pre mixing an album for Sony on the Mackie then ended up finishing it with the SSL and the Fatbustard , even ended up using some of the Mackie channels for parallel compression etc.

Right off the bat the biggest difference with the SSL is the headroom , no matter what the manuals say , I could hear and even see the difference in wave form . The Mackie would clip the very highest peaks where the Ssl will keep going and going . I gain stage properly so wasn't expecting so much of a difference , but it was apparent.

I will say tone-wise , there is not too much difference , as I had thought ( both being transformerless ). Though I think due to the headroom as much as anything else the SSL sounded wider/deeper with more clarity . Not by a million miles , it just sounded more professional .

The good thing about the SSL and the Mackie is that they are both fairly clear and to an extent what you put in you get out .

I have done mixs on a Mackie that have been picked by record companies over the same mix I've done on a SSL 4000 in some of the highest spec rooms in London , and I believe it's because I had more time with the Mackie mix .

Either way , it's possible to make great music with both.

Cheers,

Brett
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #57
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Looneytune's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Honest View Post
X desk by a mile,
the X desk sounds like a real desk, the mackie is an expensive door stop or paperweight

steve
ha ha that is mean yo
Old 17th April 2012 | Show parent
  #58
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Karloff70's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by comscout View Post
I'm suggesting here that most mixers used as carefully as I just described would sound indistinguishable from a six figure SSL or Neve under the same conditions. Especially in a blind listening text. Can anyone here identify which recording in the top 100 was mixed on any particular console... just by listening? Not a chance... but more importantly, can the buying public tell the difference?
I'll be the cocky bastard then and say that I'd certainly have a go if someone gave me 3 mixes to pick out the Mackie mix by ear. The Mackie has a very specific 'hollow' thing to the sound, especially if people use the bass eq at all to boost when mixing. Listen to The Prodigy "Fat of the Land". That sound does not come out of an SSL. Sharp top, hollow body, wide, low, but empty. VERY specific.

Just to not be misinterpreted, I am not saying the thing is unusable and agree, good mixes (in some definition) can be made and have been made on them, but they DO have a specific character of hollowness, to me decidedly un-musical, as it makes it harder to have the sounds work together for each other, and works like an exciter on your sound. It's like the sounds do not know of each other. Like a sampled piano patch. A hard fight for glue. Of course for its cost you usually got the opposite problem of a kind of mash where you end up struggling to pull the sounds apart enough instead. I imagine (haven't tried it) in this way of looking at it, the SSL X-desk likely behaves like a 'proper' desk and does both a) give you the space (which a Mackie does in its way) but b) stays cohesive and musical with it (which a Mackie does not to my mind).

They became popular for a reason, as at the time to be able to go as quiet, as wide and as deep in the mix for that cash was unheard of, and all got blinded by the at first enticing sizzle and hollow boom, coming from having maybe a Spirit Studio in their setups. I remember a friend excitedly 'upgraded' from the Spirit at the time, and it made me feel queasy even then. To this day I d rather use a Spirit any day of the week. Sorry for blurting......
Old 31st May 2012
  #59
Here for the gear
 

According to SSL, the X-desk is based on the very same technology and uses the same components/circuitry as is found on their large consoles; this also makes perfect sense if you imagine what 8 or 16 SSL channel strips/ preamp-eq stages would add to the cost.

According to SSL, because of shorter cabeling/wiring, the X-desk might even come out on top compared to the larger AWS/Matrix etc. That's how good it is.

Comparing it to a Mackie isn't worth your while. We are talking decent analog desk preferably for live use vs a high-definition desk. A different ballpark altogether. Stephen Bennetts' description of the X-panda having more 'weight', better 'separation' and 'focus', prettymuch summons it.
I personally have used a Mackie Onyx quite a bit, it does a good job for little, but it def is not high-definition.
Old 31st May 2012
  #60
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My observation is that the Mackie gear needs to be carefully staged to keep a good clean tone. Inputs clip at say, +22, true enough, but padding/switching levels to consumer reference is a not a bad idea.

Not just avoiding output clip points but leaving some buffer, preferably at least 6 dB. Avoid running the output peaks hotter than that, but make sure you have gain set up high enough downstream enough that you really keep it there. The danger is you turn the output faders down and then turn input faders up and overload the summing amp, but don't see it because output levels are low.

Bottom line is the Mackie stuff is easier to use wrong, which makes life harder, especially when you have to have headroom for when "stuff" happens in the studio, but the take is the one you have to have gotten right.

I can control things pretty much here and can coax really clean sound out of my little Mackie. OTOH, right now it's in the shop and I'm using a line mixer that utterly rules in terms of clean sound, but has only level and pan, so it really ups the ante on minimalism.

Cheers,

Otto
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