Harmony Central Forums
Announcement
Collapse
No announcement yet.

6599597

Collapse



X
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #31
    ...and here's the connector on the Satellite part.
    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

    Subscribe, like, and share the links!

    Comment


    • #32
      First of all Mike, thanks for the excellent info. I've been warned that many devices claiming to deliver +48V don't, but hadn't measured the Satellite yet...so thanks for saving me the effort.

      Second, regarding this comment:

      <<It's not that simple. First off, I was talking about using the pod without the docking station, but that button is on the docking station.>>

      I'm travelling right now, but I'm pretty sure the manual recommends that you use the pod and dock, or the pod by itself, as using just the dock doesn't provide all the options of using both together.

      <<Second, when monitoring from the DAW, in order to hear yourself, you have to set up the DAW for input monitoring. >>

      I don't think there's any way around that with the Satellite. To me, that's not a huge deal as the latency is sufficiently low it doesn't bug me, and for any signal source where I'm using plug-ins in the host, I'd prefer to hear their effects anyway. But you're right, if you have to listen to the DAW with zero latency monitoring from the Satellite, there's really no option, like a little mixer applet.
      Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

      Subscribe, like, and share the links!

      Comment


      • #33
        <<But if you took it out to record something several times a week, then put it back in the dock when you got home, it might barely last long enough to get tired of it. >>

        Research above and beyond the call of duty on that Molex connector

        I wonder if those specs are a guaranteed minimum, average value, worst case, or what. I'll assume guaranteed minimum, in which case whether that was an acceptable figure or not would really matter how you planned to use the connect/disconnect feature. I imagine one typical scenario would be to use the dock/satellite with a desktop machine, and the satellite with a laptop. Then it would boil down to how often do you do remote laptop recording...or if you wanted to take it on vacation.

        I'm also assuming the "remote recording" angle because the Satellite doesn't have MIDI, but does have the really nice mic pres.

        I can't speak for Mackie, so hopefully someone from Mackie will chime in. But my assumption is that Mackie saw the Satellite as a way to appeal to someone who wanted a desktop interface and mobile interface, and would be willing to pay a little more than either one by itself in order to have both.
        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

        Subscribe, like, and share the links!

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by Anderton
          And for those who want to see what Mike is talking about . .
          And here's the data sheet.
          I wonder if those specs are a guaranteed minimum, average value, worst case, or what. I'll assume guaranteed minimum, in which case whether that was an acceptable figure or not would really matter how you planned to use the connect/disconnect feature.
          I think that's correct, it's a guaranteed minimum, but it's also statistical. The manufacturer would probably give you a new one if yours wore out in fewer than 500 insertions, but whether Mackie is willing to guarantee it (and give you a new Satellite or a free repair job) - not too likely. Besides, who counts, unless it's the person whose job is to test it and come up with the specification for the connector? I'm guessing that when it leaves the dock will be when it goes to a recording gig away from home, but maybe even just to the back yard to record the crickets. Someone who figures they'll leave it in the dock except for recording the band gig every couple of months will be fine with it.
          I don't think there's any way around that [monitoring through the DAW] with the Satellite. To me, that's not a huge deal as the latency is sufficiently low it doesn't bug me, and for any signal source where I'm using plug-ins in the host, I'd prefer to hear their effects anyway. But you're right, if you have to listen to the DAW with zero latency monitoring from the Satellite, there's really no option, like a little mixer applet.
          With gentle application of a sledge hammer to the computer, I managed to get it to record a glitchless stereo track with the latency set to 128 samples. I haven't tried multitracking. With this setting, the throughput delay is down to around 30 ms.

          But wait! There's more! Even with the monitor button on the dock set to SOURCE, the audio still goes through the A/D and D/A converters and whatever else it passes through in the big chip to get from input to output. The minimum input-output delay is about 1 ms. That's what I call "low latency monitoring" but not "no latency monitoring." It won't throw your playing off, but you can get comb filtering at your ears when the delayed sound from the headphones mixes with the acoustic sound coming up to the other side of your eardrum through your throat. Most people don't notice this because they monitor too loud and the headphones swamp out the acoustic sound, but at the right monitor level, it's noticable. Of course this isn't recorded, but it bothers some singers.

          And here's another tidbit about the phantom power. I checked the current, and it tops out at 4 mA per leg. To meet the IEC standard for phantom powering, it should be able to supply 10 mA total (5 mA per leg - DC-wise pins 2 and 3 are in parallel so you get double the current). Doing a little extrapolation and applying Ohm's Law, I believe that they have the official correct value (6.8K) resistors in series with the phantom power source. If there was 48V going to the resistors, you'd have the full amount of current available. And, no, I (still) can't tell you what mics it will or won't work with, but be aware that you might eventually run into one that wants more voltage or current.

          Also, for the benefit of anyone who actually reads the manual and follows the typical hookup diagrams, there are a couple of incorrectnesses with the diagrams on pages 13 and 14. On page 13, there's a stereo guitar effect processor with its outputs connected to line inputs 1-2 on Channel 1, and a (stero I assume since it has two outputs) keyboard with its outputs connected to line inputs 1-2 on channel 2.

          That won't give you stereo on either one. The cables need to cross, so the guitar processor's outputs are connected to, for example, line input 1 on channels 1 and 2, and the keyboard's outputs are connected to line input 2 on channels 1 and 2. That allows you to record the guitar or the keyboard in stereo by selecting either line input 1 or 2 on both channels. Or, if you can get the levels balanced, record a mix of the two by pressing all four buttons.

          I don't quite understand the application on Page 14 (two video decks in, and surround out) but I'm assuming tha tthe video deck's outputs are stereo, and therefore each deck should go to channels 1 and 2, not two inputs on one channel. The diagram on Page 16 (stereo output from an iPod and a TV set) is correct. Perhaps things got a little too crowded with all those wires in the other diagrams and the artist took a shortcut, or a donut break.
          --
          "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
          Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

          Comment


          • #35
            These are more of academic interest, but in the interest of interest, I present for your amusement:

            Since the "straight through" signal path goes through the A/D and D/A converters, its bandwidth is naturally limited by the sample rate. This is one of the reasons why higher sample rates are sometimes justified, and when it's set to run at 96 kHz, there's more high end than you or your dog can use. However, when the unit is running at 44.1 kHz, the high end drops off sharply at just above 21 kHz, and about 23.1 kHz at 48 kHz sample rate.

            The Satellite wakes up at 48 kHz and that's where it remains when it's not talking to the driver via Firewire and told to switch to a different rate. Therefore, be aware that when the pod is used barefoot as an outboard analog mic preamp, the top end rolls off at 23 kHz

            This falls more into the realm of investigative journalism than truly useful information, but It's worth noting if you're inclined to use the pod by itself as an auxilary preamp, for example, to provide a couple more mic inputs for a mixer like the Mackie Onyx 1220 or 1620 that doesn't have a mic preamp on every channel. If you think you're getting extended high end in your recording by running the mixer at 96 kHz, remember that the mic channels that go through the Satellite preamps will be limited to 23 kHz. In real life, that's probably just fine, but if you're the sort that believes that there's something to record up there and your mics are good enough to capture it, do it through the mixer's mic channels and not through the Satellite.

            Another thing that's more academic than likely to be a practical problem is crosstalk between the channels. With a test signal connected to any input of channel 1 and the input gain fully up on channel 2, the channel 1 signal apears in channel w, not just in the monitor, but it gets recorded. At 100 Hz, this crosstalk is a fairly reasonable 60 dB down, but (as is typical of crosstalk) it rises with frequency, being only about 30 dB down at 10 kHz.

            This appears to be due to some internal coupling. It doesn't matter which input on the dock is selected (or no input selected), even with a shorting plug connected to the selected input, with one exception. Interestingly, with a mic connected to channel 2 and the mic input is selected, the crosstalk level drops substantially, to a tolerable -55 dB at 10 kHz and a respectable (practically down in the noise) -70 dB at 100 Hz.

            I didn't record all the data in the other direction (driving channel 2 and looking for crosstalk in channel 1) but a quick check shows that it's essentially the same in that direction.

            Just a couple more things to worry about.
            --
            "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
            Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by MikeRivers

              Since the "straight through" signal path goes through the A/D and D/A converters, its bandwidth is naturally limited by the sample rate. This is one of the reasons why higher sample rates are sometimes justified, and when it's set to run at 96 kHz, there's more high end than you or your dog can use. However, when the unit is running at 44.1 kHz, the high end drops off sharply at just above 21 kHz, and about 23.1 kHz at 48 kHz sample rate.

              The Satellite wakes up at 48 kHz and that's where it remains when it's not talking to the driver via Firewire and told to switch to a different rate. Therefore, be aware that when the pod is used barefoot as an outboard analog mic preamp, the top end rolls off at 23 kHz


              Bummer, so there's no way to bypass the converters if you're using it as an outboard pre? I don't suppose there's a SPDIF connection either if you want to use it as an outboard pre on a digital console that doesn't have firewire, and avoid another stage of conversion.

              Anyhow, once again great info, Mike! Yes there are a few of us who actually care about these things.
              What The...?
              http://www.what-the.com
              http://www.facebook.com/whattherock
              http://www.myspace.com/whattherock

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Lee Flier Bummer, so there's no way to bypass the converters if you're using it as an outboard pre? I don't suppose there's a SPDIF connection either if you want to use it as an outboard pre on a digital console that doesn't have firewire, and avoid another stage of conversion.
                No S/PDIF, but if you just want to use the preamp, you can take the output from the Insert Send jack on the docking station. That's ahead of the A/D converter and it's got all the high frequency response you'd ever want. It's 3 dB down at about 400 kHz (Sir Rupert would be proud), which I think is going just a bit too far and should be rolled off so it doesn't pass radio stations.

                The pod doesnt' have an insert jack, however, so if you want to use it as an analog preamp, you have to deal with more bulk and an unbalanced output that maxes out at +18 dBu.
                --
                "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by MikeRivers
                  No S/PDIF, but if you just want to use the preamp, you can take the output from the Send jack on the docking station. That's ahead of the A/D converter and it's got all the high frequency response you'd ever want. It's 3 dB down at about 400 kHz (Sir Rupert would be proud), which I think is going just a bit too far and should be rolled off so it doesn't pass radio stations.


                  Excellent... LOL... Well that works, at least there's a way to do it. I am really curious to hear these preamps.
                  What The...?
                  http://www.what-the.com
                  http://www.facebook.com/whattherock
                  http://www.myspace.com/whattherock

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    <<I am really curious to hear these preamps.>>

                    They're like the difference between a guitar going direct into a high-impedance input, and a guitar going into a decent line in...very clean. Maybe the extended HF response has something to do with that?
                    Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                    Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Lee Flier
                      Well that works, at least there's a way to do it. I am really curious to hear these preamps.
                      If you've heard an Onyx mixer, you've heard the preamps, at least I'm pretty sure of that. Though I haven't seen a Satellite schematic, the Satellite preamps test identically to those in my Onyx mixers - same gain, same 400 kHz frequency response at the direct output, same 1 dB rolloff at 20 Hz or so at maximum gain, flatter down lower at 10 dB less gain. This is a considerable improvement over the VLZ-Pro, which is about -3 dB at 20 Hz at full gain - they cheaped out on a capacitor in that design.

                      While the Satellite has some interesting ergonomic features, and I have no quibbles at all with how it sounds, if Mackie preamps are what you're looking for, you don't need a pocket-sized 2-channel Firewire interface, and can afford about double the footprint, the Onyx 1220 mixer might be a better buy. The satellite is $400, the mixer $530.

                      With the mixer, you get four preamps (with individually switchable real 48V phantom power and insert jacks) plus four stereo line inputs, EQ on all channels (with a bypass switch), faders, pans, mutes, low cut filter, balanced direct (pre-fader/EQ recording) ouptuts, and the option of adding a Firewire interface if you need it.

                      The other day I was showing the Satellite to a friend who has a weekly radio show and has been thinking about setting up a facility at home to pre-record it when she needs to do that (though she really likes working live). As we were talking, I realized that it doesn't have a mono button. While the direct left and right input routing is fine for CD players, she needs a mic in the center which would require a Y cable to split it to both mic inputs. I haven't checked the buttons for clicks, but I suspect that pushing faders up and down would be quieter. And it's easier to adjust the level from a CD with a single stereo fader than two rotary knobs.

                      So, like so many other pieces of gear, you really need to figure out why you like it, and then decide if it's the best (or only) thing that fits that need or lust.
                      --
                      "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                      Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Anderton
                        One thing about Pro Reviews is once a company tries one, they want to do it again. That’s a good sign, and this one is particularly interesting because Mackie holds the record for the most number of posts ever in the Pro Review for their Onyx 400F (which still, almost a year after its start, is still getting posts).

                        There were a few reasons why this so: First of all, it's a good piece of gear that potentially fit a lot of users needs, so they wanted to find out more about it. Second, there were a lot of interesting "sidebars" about audio quality, conversion, phase linearity, and the like. Third, although the majority of users reported no problems, a small group experienced weird FireWire "whines" and some other issues that stubbornly resisted solutions. Oddly, this seemed to be pretty much a Mac-only phenomenon, and only certain Mac models at that.



                        At Mike River’s suggestion, I harvested the thread for stats on page 22. I found that the overwhelming majority of 400f users reported problems, and multiple, non-mac-related problems at that. Of 22 actual users (removing the single most negative and positive response):

                        - 10% were happy campers
                        - 30% were satisfied but with reservations / problems
                        - 60% were unhappy and reported multiple problems, from wobbly knobs to multiple hum and whine issues, insufficient gain issues, driver issues, etc.

                        The value of this brilliant format is that regular users post their views. I cannot recall any product that has generated so many negative ones. And they continue, unsolicited. Just the other day, I noticed that someone posted in the ever-popular ITB thread: “I've been thinking of switching from Paris, and so I've been testing out a Mackie 400f (which, turns out, has noise when the phantom power is switched on ).” Another user, another problem.

                        I have no axe to grind, and am able to filter out the crusaders whose bad experience has driven them to complain loudly. But I find the number of average users reporting problems with the 400f to be stunning. And because this is entry-level gear, there are undoubtedly novice users unable to distinguish between a hardware problem and their own inexperience.

                        I am therefore baffled by your summary. Have I misunderstood?

                        -peaceloveandbrittanylips

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Hi Guys - sorry I have not had a chance to post again earlier - I have been super busy over here at Mackie HQ.

                          Dan and I have been catching up with the review - thanks Mike for the in depth analysis and advice - I always know when we send you a product to test it will get the thorough checkout, inside and out, that it deserves.

                          Dan is feverishly typing our comments regarding the phantom power levels and driver developments and I would like to address the concerns that Brittanylips has raised.....

                          Satellite is our third generation firewire I/O product based on the latest technology, therefore an entirely different chipset and architecture than our second-generation firewire product - the 400F. We have shipped thousands of 400F's so far around the world exceeding our own forecasts and the vast majorities of users are happy and consider the product to be a market leader for sound quality. With all that said, please keep in mind that forums by nature can be perceived as negative - they are after all a primary resource for people seeking solutions to problems. Customers that are happily creating music with their products are drastically less inclined to spend the time to post.........:-) We believe very strongly in the 400F and will continue to develop enhancements, and in doing so, support both current and future Mackie customers.

                          With any technology product that is produced in these volumes the chances of issues arising with small numbers of units does exist. Here at Mackie we pride ourselves on the fact that we have an industry leading support team who take their jobs very personally and are willing to go 'the extra mile' to ensure customer satisfaction. Mike Rivers has known us all a long time and I am sure he will vouch for our integrity in dealing with these matters as quickly and completely as we can. We also consider our own forums - which we run with a very open policy not shared by most of our competitors - to be a resource for both us and our customers and this has proved to be a major benefit throughout the years. So, with that in mind, I am very happy to read both Craig’s and Mike’s positive feedback for the new Satellite interface and I am very much looking forward to reading feedback from other Satellite users as this thread progresses.
                          Woody

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            <<I have no axe to grind, and am able to filter out the crusaders whose bad experience has driven them to complain loudly. But I find the number of average users reporting problems with the 400f to be stunning. And because this is entry-level gear, there are undoubtedly novice users unable to distinguish between a hardware problem and their own inexperience.

                            I am therefore baffled by your summary. Have I misunderstood?>>

                            No, but I should give a full-length explanation rather than a summary. I didn't harvest the thread, and didn't do totals of who liked or didn't like the 400F. And I don't know if my comments about the unsuitable performance with WDM drivers would put me in the "satisfied" or "with reservations" column. And if someone posted that they were very happy with the sound but had a problem with something like wobbly knobs, that to me would be more favorable than saying something had rock solid knobs but sounded like crap.

                            The thing is, one tends to see things through one's personal experiences. WDM driver issues aside, I thought the sound was great, the construction was excellent, and I had none of the whine or weird noise issues people experienced (although at the time, I did not have Mac set up, only Windows machines...and frankly, my ADK desktop computer is rock solid and seems to play very well with all other hardware I use with it, from interfaces to camcorders).

                            When the comments about problems started surfacing, I tried my best to make the 400F malfunction. I couldn't, and because I couldn't, I couldn't propose a fix for the problems people were having. As a result, I spent lots of time checking out other boards and comments about the 400F to see if maybe there was a common pattern to problems as I couldn't experience these for myself. My impression was that the whine thing seemed to be more of a problem with Macs that Windows machines. There were other complaints about the unit (like the sound being "brittle," or there not being enough level at the line ins), but I felt these were less relevant. Why? Because a lot of people didn't have problems with the sound quality or thought the sound quality was excellent, and the question of levels seemed to depend on what of gear you were using with it. The thread made it clear what to expect from the levels, so if it didn't fit your needs, you could pass. Ditto sound quality: If you didn't like it, you didn't have to buy it.

                            But the whine thing would be a deal-breaker. No matter how much you liked the preamp sound, or regardless of whether the level controls did the job, it didn't matter if there was an annoying whine.

                            I never was able to get the 400F to misbehave, and I can report only on my experience. When the review was over, Mackie donated the unit to a school that specializes in teaching music to kids. The unit got a real workout there for months, under varying conditions, with varying instruments and funky computers. It didn't misbehave there, either.

                            However, I don't give up easily. I was determined to experience the problems people were reporting, particularly after receiving a private email from an engineer (not from Mackie) who said in no uncertain terms that FireWire is a lousy choice for an interface to carry audio, and that a variety of problems are bound to crop up with interfaces that use FireWire. This was supported by posts in other threads on other sites about non-Mackie FireWire devices having whines. I started to feel that these whine issues were not unique to the 400F, although as I didn't have them, I couldn't help but wonder what the variable was.

                            This is why I tested the PreSonus Inspire 1394 with the Mac, and interestingly, had whine problems that ultimately were related to a graphics problem (and once that was fixed, my personal assessment of the Inspire went from negative to positive. But the unit itself didn't change; only the context in which it was installed). This was not easy to uncover: It took a lot of posts and having Presonus send me a total of three Inspires before I found the graphics-related glitch.

                            So, this is also why I tested the Onyx with the Mac: I was hoping lightning would strike twice. And it did. And the CHUD utility ended the problem. I don't know if this is exactly the problem others experienced, but it was a problem, and fortunately, it was fixable. I have since used the Onyx as the main interface for my Riffworks pro review, with no problems other than the possibility that it may not report latency correctly under OS X, leading to a slight cutoff at the beginning of a sequence. I will do more tests to see if this is indeed the case.

                            Ultimately, my impression after taking in the entire universe of Mackie 400F info that I had -- from this thread, from other threads, from Mackie regarding rates of return and so on -- was that indeed, "although the majority of users reported no problems, a small group experienced weird FireWire 'whines' and some other issues that stubbornly resisted solutions. Oddly, this seemed to be pretty much a Mac-only phenomenon, and only certain Mac models at that." (In retrospect, it may not have been clear when I wrote that sentence that by "this" I was referring specifically to the whine.)

                            My conclusion was not based on a statistical analysis of all the info I had, and I would have to agree that a Pro Review thread is definitely going to attract more people who are having problems and are in need of a solution. I experience this every day with magazines: People write when they're upset about something. They may see me at a trade show and say "Hey, I loved that article you did," but they'll rarely take the time to write that down.

                            The ultimate indicator of customer satisfaction, I believe, is how many units get returned. You do need to allow for people who don't bother to return something for whatever reason, but Mackie told me that had less than 1% returns on the 400F and I take that statistic at face value. Even assuming ten times that number either didn't return the units despite dissatisfaction or had probllems but kept the unit anyway because it worked "well enough," to me that still indicates that the majority of 400F owners were satisfied with their purchase on some level, and I'm sure of those, a percentage was very satisfied.

                            In the end, all I can say with absolute certainty is that had I bought the 400F, I would have been very satisfied and not returned it.
                            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Dan Steinberg
                              The whine is gone!


                              Now then, since some of you guys must have grown up along with me in the eighties and it's great B movies, who can be the first to tell us what C.H.U.D. really stands for?


                              Cannibalistic Humanoid Undergound Dwellers... great flick.
                              (In case this wasnt already answered.)

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Anderton In the end, all I can say with absolute certainty is that had I bought the 400F, I would have been very satisfied and not returned it.


                                provided you bought a "properly working" unit.

                                i returned 2, and a client returned 1.

                                i think there has been great confusion with this whole "whine" thing. obviously some folks had some sort of firewire related noise. call it a whine, whatever. i never experienced that.

                                HOWEVER, and i believe this is the deeper problem, (as evidenced by the 400f thread and my own personal experience with 3 different units), some 400f's make a noise when NOT connected to any computer at all.
                                not PC, not mac, just a 400f connected to nothing but monitors or headphones.
                                since the word was out on the firewire "whine," i'd bet some folks heard this and just assumed it was 'cause of the firewire.

                                what i experienced: if you have no microphones plugged in, no computer connected, and you turn up channel 4, you got a buzz. turn off the phantom power and the buzz goes away. channel 1? clean as a whistle. channel 4? not so much. this wouldn't be such a big deal if you could turn off the phantom power on each channel.

                                hell, lots of home recording folks who bought a 400f and record one thing at a time may never have even used channel 4, and so never experienced a noise at all!

                                the 400f's that i had sounded great except for the noise issues. that was a deal breaker for me.

                                so here we are with a new mackie offering. curious if someone could test this new satellite in a similar fashion? i.e. turn the gain up on the preamps, with no computer connected, no microphones connected, and phantom power on. turn of the phantom. any differences?

                                also, how is the headphone level? on the defective 400f's i had, the level was low and exhibited a weird thing where there was distortion in the middle range of the volume control. at the very low and very high settings it was clear though.

                                and before anybody pisses all over me for mackie bashing, i OWN an onyx 1620 and love it. but it isn't the easiest thing to lug around, so i'd be curious about a satellite if it actually avoids the issues of the 400f. and/or if the 1200F EVER actually ships and really works, i'll buy one of those too.

                                -d. gauss
                                d. gauss

                                http://www.betteroffdead.com

                                Comment













                                Working...
                                X