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Old Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 09:17 AM
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Mackie vs Tascam vs Yamaha

We are in the market for a new mixer. We currently have a powered analog mixer and are upgrading to digital.

I have heard some horror stories about the Mackie TT24. The Yamaha LS9-32 looks really good but expensive. I am seriously looking at the Tascam DM-4800.

Does anyone have experience with any of the above? Any recommendations?
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Old Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 09:52 AM
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Look at some of the past discussion regarding consoles, there are many of them. The general issue is that you have to define what you need the console to do before you can select it. Factors such as number and type of inputs, number and type of outputs, desired effects or processing and so on for your situation should be identified so that there is some basis for any discussion or recommendations. Your comment that you have a powered analog mixer and are looking to change to a digital console also brings up the question of what you plan to do about the 'powered' aspect.

The DM-4800 is a lot of console for the money and it can be used for live mixing but it was designed primarily for recording and studio applications and as a result is not as user friendly for live use as many digital consoles designed specifically for that purpose. Perhaps not the best situation for someone counting on it for every service but with operators with little or no digital console experience.
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Old Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 10:00 AM
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To my knowledge, the TT24 is discontinued. There are a handfull of "B" stock boards available.
Oops, gotta run to 3rd grade music class.
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Old Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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For a budget digital rig, my money would be on either the Tascam DM series if ease of use was paramount over studio sound quality; the Yammie if you had the patience to learn and teach it and needed the best sound quality you could afford.

I have used the LS9, but not the DM-series Tascams, so this may be a little biased. I'll be as fair as I can to both:

LS9-32:

+ The $20k M7CL's little brother. Same basic OS, same processing algorithms, similar routing and effects processing setup.
+ Up to 64 mixable channels at once, with 32 pres built in; using an EtherSound audio network it can I/O 32x32 additional inputs and outputs.
+ Very small footprint for a console with its channel handling.
+ Excellent sound quality and good effects.
+ Every channel input, every mix, and every matrix has a four-band fully parametric EQ (bass and treble also configurable as shelving or low/high-pass) and up to two of compression, gating, limiting and ducking built-in.
+ Virtual rack of effects and GEQs available to insert on any channel, mix or matrix.
+ Allows synchronous remote control and offline configuration via software control system (Yamaha Studio Manager).
+ Allows distributed model with "native" head amp control with certain supported stage boxes and networks (for instance, the Yamaha SB168-ES running on EtherSound architecture)
+ Setlist storage and recording capability using an ordinary USB flash drive; the USB input can also be used for stereo playback/recording to a computer-based system.
- Very utilitarian UI compared to its bigger brother. No touchscreen, minimalist common control set.
- Required use of layers, with minimal built-in situational awareness aids to tell you where you are and what you're doing (the iLive-T digital surfaces have individual LCD displays naming channels; the M7CL doesn't require layer use for channel faders, only mix/matrix/DCA banks, and its Centralogic section makes better use of the screen for bank/channel ID).
- Stricter routing; channels go to mixes (with special ease-of-use support for L/R/M mix assignment), which can go to outputs and/or matrices, and matrices go to outputs. There is no direct channel-to-matrix or channel-to-output capability, nor matrix blending, through the software.
- OS was designed with a touchscreen in mind; without one, Studio Manager software is virtually required for ease of use of features like channel/scene naming, pre-post mix send switching, etc. (it's free, but the computer isn't).
- Limited expansion capability. If you want significantly more than 32 inputs on your sound system, you'll end up spending almost as much to expand the LS9 as it would cost to get an M7CL-based setup, and more than an iLive-T.
- The most expensive mixer in your list at around $11k "street".
- No native support for surround mixing e.g. 5.1. Obviously such mixes can be constructed, but positioning is limited to LCR balance and using mix levels to adjust front-rear fade.

Summary: It's kind of a "tweener". Compare it to consoles in the $15-20k range and it falls way short. Compare it to consoles in the $5-10k range and it blows their faders off. As a first console for a media team used to analog, there are better, but you can also do far worse.

TASCAM DM-4800:
+ Better hands-on control layout than the LS9; complete common control section has knobs for each control you'd find on the "top half" of a comparable analog channel strip, a flexible set of panpots that can work with or independent from the selected fader layer, and individual head amp trims for all built-ins.
+ Massive extensibility; 4 expansion slots (double the LS9) that can each I/O up to 16x16 channels.
+ Better routing flexibility than the LS9; channels can be sent directly to an output, output feeds can be internally routed into channels, etc.
+ Price is competitive with counterpart analog consoles, half the price of the LS9.
- Gy-mongous console footprint; pretty close to the M7CL in overall size.
- Fewer faders per layer (though the independent panpots allow control of two different layers at once)
- Built-in compression quality has been criticized.
- No built-in effects other than compressors (and those aren't on all channels). No virtual rack.
- Fewer built-in mic pres than the LS9 make it a 24-channel base console with expansion capability.
- No software control support. Everything about the mixer has to be done using the console's own interface.
- CompactFlash storage is a little more expensive than USB and requires a special card reader for PC administration.

Summary: An OK first digital console, built more towards studio work than live, but certainly capable of handling a church service.
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Old Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 10:58 AM
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The status of the TT24 seems unclear. Mackie still lists it as a current model, however they apparently have had several web site issues where it disappeared at times and at least was 'accidentally' listed as a discontinued model during some site revisions only to then reappear as a current model. And different online retailers seem to list it as either available, 'B stock'/'factory resealed' only or discontinued. Supposedly the production issues in China were resolved months ago so that should not be affecting it. Generally, no one seems real sure of the status or future of the TT24, very few dealers seem to have them available yet Mackie is avoiding coming out and saying it's discontinued.
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Old Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 12:14 PM
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@ Brad: I don't know what's up with Mackie either. I was a Mackie dealer many moons ago and sold many TT24's. I still talk with the Mackie rep for my area, and it is discontinued. What "may" replace it, who knows.
@ liko81: thanks for the synopsis. I actually don't mind not having internal EFX, verbs, etc. as I prefer external units for easy access and modification. Now, internal dynamics, that's another story.
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Old Tuesday, May 25th, 2010, 05:33 PM
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$11k "street" for the LS9? I think street price is actually around $8k-$9k.

Another option is the Roland M400. VERY competitive with the LS9.
Check out this LONG thread for more on the M400.
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Old Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 06:43 AM
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Thanks for the responses. We need at least 24 inputs. We currently have 16 with one open input but we have just added 6 wireless systems. I have a quote of about $7900 for the Yamaha. I realize I will need to add a main amp and monitor amps. Looking at a Crown XTi 6000 for the main and Crown XTi 1000s for two monitor channels.

Looking at the rear of the Yamaha I'm a little confused. Nothing is labeled Mains or Monitor. Are these the Omni outs? (I noticed that Omni outs 15 and 16 are labeled left and right.) I am also used to having RCA jacks for my tape/CD player input and output.

The connections on the Tascam appear to be similar to what I have on the current mixer. I have a price of $3985 on it.

The price difference of roughly $4000 is enough to purchase the amps and making this a tough decision.
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Old Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 09:28 AM
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Yest, those are probably the Omni Outs. The LS9 is typical of many digital consoles where a physical input is just an input and a physical output is simply an output. The console programming defines the logical assignments and routing for those physical inputs and outputs. So Input 1 on the back of the console could be channel 1 or Channel 17 or Stereo 1 Left while Output 1 on the rear panel could be Main Left or Aux 3 or Direct Out 21 or whatever is assigned in the programming. Grasping the concept of the internal assignments and routing being logical rather than physical often is a big step toward understanding digital consoles.
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Old Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 09:53 AM
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View the LS9 as a mixer desk plus a patch panel combined and you should get the picture. As Brad says, any physical input can be routed to any input channel and any output channel can be routed to one (or even more) physical output(s).

Dave
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Old Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 02:08 PM
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Does anyone know anything about the possibility of a LS9 v2? It seems like the LS9 has been on the market for quite some time without any improvements. It would be nice to see a nicer looking screen and improved UI.
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Old Monday, May 31st, 2010, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Weber View Post
Yest, those are probably the Omni Outs. The LS9 is typical of many digital consoles where a physical input is just an input and a physical output is simply an output. The console programming defines the logical assignments and routing for those physical inputs and outputs. So Input 1 on the back of the console could be channel 1 or Channel 17 or Stereo 1 Left while Output 1 on the rear panel could be Main Left or Aux 3 or Direct Out 21 or whatever is assigned in the programming. Grasping the concept of the internal assignments and routing being logical rather than physical often is a big step toward understanding digital consoles.
Thanks! That does make sense. I am a computer programmer dabbling in multimedia for our church. Can the LS9 program an input to more than one output? I can see a use for sending mic feeds to particular monitors and guitar feeds to others.
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