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Mackie 400f vs Motu 896
Old 24th January 2007
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Mackie 400f vs Motu 896

Sorry guys, I know we all hate these threads.

I have a MOTU 896 right now (original, not HD)

I am curious how the Mackie 400f compares to it, I know there are alot of MOTU haters around but please try to be objective in your posts. I like that the Mackie has 60db of gain, and I have heard good things about their pre and converter quality. I do not need the 8 inputs of the MOTU, and ideally I would like to downgrade to the 4 of the Mackie, improve the sound quality, and have money left over

How would you compare the converters, preamps, and stability of the 2 units (I am using XP)

Thanks!
Old 24th January 2007
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Unless you are using a MAC, dont even consider the 400F. Lots of PC users are having driver problems with it. Really unstable drivers. I'd buy a RME 400 if I'd be you.

PS: Yes.. the Mackie pres and converters are great. I loved them. But like I said, drivers are really bad, and thats just as important as everything else. RME goes up to 65db!
Old 24th January 2007
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Unfortunately I am very poor at the moment :P may I ask what is unstable about the drivers? Does the unit just crash and stop responding to apps, or does it merely have latency issues? I do plan on getting a fireface 800, I just can't afford it at the moment :P maybe this summer.
Old 24th January 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakromm View Post
Unfortunately I am very poor at the moment :P may I ask what is unstable about the drivers? Does the unit just crash and stop responding to apps, or does it merely have latency issues? I do plan on getting a fireface 800, I just can't afford it at the moment :P maybe this summer.
Why dont you just get the 400? It's a "smaller" version of the 800 and doesnt cost that much more than the Mackie.

The drivers are bad cause the interface stops working HOURLY. No sound, no nothing. Then you have to switch it off, back on, and then it usually works again. Thats the biggest issue *I've* experienced.. but there are plenty more. Just check the mackie forum: http://forums.mackie.com/scripts/for...;f=27;t=001135

I seriously love the mackie onyx but drivers make it impossible for you to work with it.
Old 24th January 2007
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

I just noticed something, when you apply phantom power on the 400f, it applies it to ALL 4 preamps. I just purchased 2 ribbon mics, I have never used ribbon mics but from what I read you don't want to use phantom power with ribbons. Is this just to be safe or wil phantom power kill a ribbon mic? I am using a modern oktava ribbon if that matters, I am sure the problem is more so in vintage ribbons. Also if this is indeed a problem, would I be able to just use an XLR to 1/4" cable or a converter to bypass the use of the phantom power? Thanks
Old 24th January 2007
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakromm View Post
I just noticed something, when you apply phantom power on the 400f, it applies it to ALL 4 preamps. I just purchased 2 ribbon mics, I have never used ribbon mics but from what I read you don't want to use phantom power with ribbons. Is this just to be safe or wil phantom power kill a ribbon mic? I am using a modern oktava ribbon if that matters, I am sure the problem is more so in vintage ribbons. Also if this is indeed a problem, would I be able to just use an XLR to 1/4" cable or a converter to bypass the use of the phantom power? Thanks
ribbons, i'm pretty sure, will not be harmed by phantom power unless you have a faulty cable. in the case of a faulty cable your ribbon would be toast. i would suggest contacting the ribbon manufacturer to find out.

bill
Old 24th January 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
Unless you are using a MAC, dont even consider the 400F. Lots of PC users are having driver problems with it. Really unstable drivers. I'd buy a RME 400 if I'd be you.

PS: Yes.. the Mackie pres and converters are great. I loved them. But like I said, drivers are really bad, and thats just as important as everything else. RME goes up to 65db!
I've heard bad things about the Mackie 400f from Mac and PC users alike. Another vote for the RME 400.
Old 24th January 2007
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

I am pretty tempted to roll the dice with them if the only issue is mainly driver related. I am a computer science major so I can usually get whatever issues there are figured out and fixed. If it really comes down to it I heard about a "universal driver" taht exists made by CEntrance. Has anyone else ever heard of this?
Old 24th January 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakromm View Post
I am pretty tempted to roll the dice with them if the only issue is mainly driver related. I am a computer science major so I can usually get whatever issues there are figured out and fixed. If it really comes down to it I heard about a "universal driver" taht exists made by CEntrance. Has anyone else ever heard of this?
Save your $$ until you can get the RME 400 or 800. Good driver development & support costs money, and RME is worth the extra $$. Your computer science knowledge will not get you out of the nasties of bad drivers, unless you can rewrite the drivers for Mackie - if you can, they need to hire you immediately, before they lose all customers over these constant driver complaints.
Old 24th January 2007
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by digibird View Post
Save your $$ until you can get the RME 400 or 800. Good driver development & support costs money, and RME is worth the extra $$. Your computer science knowledge will not get you out of the nasties of bad drivers, unless you can rewrite the drivers for Mackie - if you can, they need to hire you immediately, before they lose all customers over these constant driver complaints.
heh

unfortunately waiting is not an option right now, I really need to get this replaced with something in my price range. The consensus seems to be not the 400f though. Who knows, maybe I'll feel ballsy and buy it anyways. I have to keep in mind that for every person who complains about the product, there are probably 10 or more who are happily using it. I just have to hope I didn't use all of my good luck on that scratch off last night I won $4 on :D

(sorry I don't mean to just disregard all your comments, trust me the fear of the driver is there. My main concern is if the preamp and converter quality is as good or better than my motu. I will try my best to deal with any issues there are, if I can't I'll just flip it no biggy...)
Old 24th January 2007
  #11
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mrbowes's Avatar
 

Technically, the converters and preamps are marginally better in the 400F, but you gotta ask yourself 'is it worth it?'. Are you making music for yourself or are you recording bands for demo/label work?

Don't take for granted a stable, working system. The driver hassle could potentially outweight the benefits.
Old 24th January 2007
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Man.. why are you coming on here asking for advice if you already know that you'll buy the Mackie anyway? You're totally ignoring the driver problems, which are HUGE in my book. And almost everybody running the Onyx on a PC has or at least had them at some point. Without stable drivers you are SCREWED, big time. Mackie hasnt been able to fix this since ages, ever since the ONYX came out, still you think YOU can fix it?

Well good luck.. but I really think you are bull****ting yourself here.
Old 24th January 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakromm View Post
heh

unfortunately waiting is not an option right now, I really need to get this replaced with something in my price range. The consensus seems to be not the 400f though. Who knows, maybe I'll feel ballsy and buy it anyways. I have to keep in mind that for every person who complains about the product, there are probably 10 or more who are happily using it. I just have to hope I didn't use all of my good luck on that scratch off last night I won $4 on :D

(sorry I don't mean to just disregard all your comments, trust me the fear of the driver is there. My main concern is if the preamp and converter quality is as good or better than my motu. I will try my best to deal with any issues there are, if I can't I'll just flip it no biggy...)
I can appreciate sticking to a budget. With that in mind, how about the Presonus Firepod http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Firepod/ for 1/2 the $$ of the RME Fireface 400, or the TC Electronics Konnekt 24D at the same price?
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Konnekt24D/
I've heard good things about both units, and there is an extensive review of the Konnekt 24 at the Harmony Central Pro Review Forum.

Good luck.
Old 24th January 2007
  #14
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
Man.. why are you coming on here asking for advice if you already know that you'll buy the Mackie anyway? You're totally ignoring the driver problems, which are HUGE in my book. And almost everybody running the Onyx on a PC has or at least had them at some point. Without stable drivers you are SCREWED, big time. Mackie hasnt been able to fix this since ages, ever since the ONYX came out, still you think YOU can fix it?

Well good luck.. but I really think you are bull****ting yourself here.
Like you said, they are huge in your book. But we are talking about my book. The driver issue isn't a deal breaker for me. I do private recordings and I am only concerned with the quality at the moment. Why do people get offended by this? What concerns you in a piece of gear won't necessarily concern everyone else.

Everyone confirmed my 2 main issues of preamps and converters, so yes I will go ahead and buy it. Sorry your priorities are different then mine?
Old 24th January 2007
  #15
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tnjazz's Avatar
I am going to disagree with (apparently) everyone else on this thread and say "get the 400F".

I had one a while back and it ran flawlessly on my PC. No issues at all, excellent performance all the way around. People talking about driver issues are doing a lot of fear-mongering, IMO. I never had one bit of trouble, and neither did several folks I know who also owned them. Maybe I got lucky with the right mobo and firewire card though, who knows?

I am also one of those who is rather impressed with the Onyx preamps. Add the converters to that and I think it's an excellent choice. Only sold it because I replaced it with a ULN-2 and switched to Mac. There are times I wish I had it back though.

I think the preamps sound better than the Fireface 800, although I have not heard the Fireface 400 pres so I can't comment on a comparison there.

So consider this post a for the Mackie 400F from a satisfied (former) user of one.

Good luck with whatever you decide on.
Old 24th January 2007
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by digibird View Post
I can appreciate sticking to a budget. With that in mind, how about the Presonus Firepod http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Firepod/ for 1/2 the $$ of the RME Fireface 400, or the TC Electronics Konnekt 24D at the same price?
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Konnekt24D/
I've heard good things about both units, and there is an extensive review of the Konnekt 24 at the Harmony Central Pro Review Forum.

Good luck.
I had the firebox and absolutely hated it, the gain was so small it was unuseable. Does the firebod have similar gain or is it more powerfull?

I looked at the website and see it has "60db" of gain. The problem with the firebox was there wasn't exacly whatever gain they claimed. Say they claimed 50db of gain. There was actually 35db of gain, then a check box you could check taht says +15db in the settings. If I wanted to just amplify the signal I can do taht myself in post...

But the firepod does seem to be in another class as the firebox and simply not a more input version. I will definately consider it since I did love the drivers for the firebox.

Edit: i looked at presonus site more, the firebox specifically says 45dB (+12dB digital boost switch) the problem is when I bought it I thought it was 45db AND a +12db switch, the truth was it was 33db with the +12 making a max of 45 which is even low for fake gain :P The firepod on the other hand dosn't say anything about digital boost, however it says 2 different specs, at the top of page it says 60 and at the bottom it says 54
Old 24th January 2007
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tnjazz View Post
I am going to disagree with (apparently) everyone else on this thread and say "get the 400F".

I had one a while back and it ran flawlessly on my PC. No issues at all, excellent performance all the way around. People talking about driver issues are doing a lot of fear-mongering, IMO. I never had one bit of trouble, and neither did several folks I know who also owned them. Maybe I got lucky with the right mobo and firewire card though, who knows?

I am also one of those who is rather impressed with the Onyx preamps. Add the converters to that and I think it's an excellent choice. Only sold it because I replaced it with a ULN-2 and switched to Mac. There are times I wish I had it back though.

I think the preamps sound better than the Fireface 800, although I have not heard the Fireface 400 pres so I can't comment on a comparison there.

So consider this post a for the Mackie 400F from a satisfied (former) user of one.

Good luck with whatever you decide on.

Thanks, I know there are alot of dissatisfied people with it, but those are usually the only ones you hear from. They are the only ones who need to seek out a board for help or to vent. I understand that there are 100:1 ratio probably of people with flawless experiences. It's just a shame most people can't quite understand this. If mackie was only dishing out defective units do you think they would still be in business?
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