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Mackie 400F firewire audio interface

Mackie 400F

3.75 3.75 out of 5, based on 1 Review

A discontinued 8x8 Firewire interface with four mic preamps and two headphone amps


22nd December 2011

Mackie 400F by Tibbon

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 3 out of 5
  • Overall: 3.75
Mackie 400F firewire audio interface

The Mackie 400F is a neat interface, but it can be crippled by poor tech support and poor parts availability.

When I got the 400F it was as an upgrade from a Digi002R which had been giving me stability problems and frankly didn't sound that great. The Mackie was a huge step up sound-quality-wise, but it still was miles away from the top shelf stuff that is 8x the price.

I really liked the features of this unit. The inserts on all four microphone inputs is a rarity for interfaces, but a huge asset. It made it so easy to patch in outboard gear before hitting digital. Decent headphone outputs and ok front panel metering.

However, about a year after getting it I noticed that sometimes, on rare occasion, the unit wouldn't connect to the computer and the firewire light would toggle. It was always easy to fix, so I ignored the problem. Thought it must have always been a loose firewire cable or something.

Then last year, the problem got worse. I have to power cycle the unit a LOT to get it to work. Eventually, it wouldn't work at all.

I called Mackie. Sometimes they were swift to pick up the phone, and other times not so much. I get the sense they have a small support department for this stuff.

They were nice and sent me the full schematics to the unit, but after confirming 100% that it wasn't the power supply (recalibrated and checked all voltages), they said that it must be the firewire board gone bad. Next natural question is, "Ok, so how much for a new Firewire board? Or can you repair the old one?

Nope. No firewire boards available. They don't keep a stock of parts like that. No repair suggestions. Unit is dead with no hope. I was shocked. I noticed on the firewire board it said it was made by Echo, so I called them. Nope, they don't have any boards either, because they all needed to be custom programmed. If they did have any, they would be like $400, but they didn't. It sounded like a few dozen people at least have had this problem before.

I sold the unit on eBay for $50 the next week. I used to be fine with buying Mackie products, but they've driven me away. My next interface will be a Presonus Studiolive 16.4.2. Mackie was so unhelpful.

On the flipside of how support should be, a few weeks prior to this I called Yamaha to ask about replacement keys for a DX7 (almost 30 years old!). Yep, they had them, sealed in plastic wrap and ready to go. Only like $5/each. Called Kurzweil about a part for my K2500R. They had it, as well as any part I could imagine, and for very reasonable prices. Mackie? Nope, they don't keep parts.

 
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