Software may be ascendant in the studio, but hardware remains indispensable to the recording process. From audio interfaces to monitors to monitor controllers, DI boxes and more, Mackie makes a wide assortment of handy hardware devices for your project studio setup. All Mackie gear is solidly built, feature-packed, intuitive and affordable.
Whatever type of music you record and produce in your project studio, you'll find numerous Mackie products to help you bring your music to fruition. Here, we’ll look at some different recording scenarios and suggest various Mackie products that are particularly suited for each situation. Naturally, these are only suggestions, and you can mix and match to fit your situation and budget.
You’re producing pop, electronic and hip-hop music and need a setup that’s compact but powerful, that will allow you to work comfortably by yourself but also record vocalists and other musicians when needed.
An excellent interface choice is the Big Knob Studio+, which gives you both 2x4 USB interface features and extensive console monitor-section features. As with all Mackie interfaces, multi-award-winning Tracktion T7 DAW software is included, as is the DAW Essentials Collection, featuring 16 contemporary FX plug-ins including a compressor, an EQ, a delay, a reverb, a chorus and more.
The Big Knob Studio+ combines the functionality of a fully featured monitor controller with that of a USB audio interface.
Connect one of the monitor output pairs from the Big Knob Studio+ into a set of XR824 monitors, offering premium sound quality and flat response across the frequency spectrum. These self-powered loudspeakers each feature 160W of bi-amplified power, an 8” woofer and 1” tweeter. The XR824 is equipped with a suite of room-optimization features, allowing you to tailor the frequency response to the acoustic characteristics of your space.
It’s useful to be able to switch between large and small monitors when mixing to check how your mix will translate. Consider adding a pair of affordable CR4 multimedia monitors, giving you a different perspective on the sound with their 4” tweeters. You can use your Big Knob Studio+ to switch between your monitor pairs.
To provide enough headphone feeds when you’re recording others, the HM-400 headphone amplifier will meet your needs and more. It gives you four channels of headphone outputs, with lots of options including Aux inputs for each channel.
For those occasions where you’re tracking live instruments, it’s handy to have an MDB-1A active direct box on hand. Its passive design requires no power, and its internal transformer imparts warm sonics on bass, guitar, or any other instrument-level source. It even includes a handy feature called Merge that allows you to use it with a stereo source, albeit with a mono output. Activating the Merge switch on the unit's front panel turns the Thru jack into a second input.
You’re in a serious group and you record your music in your rehearsal studio. You like to play together when you cut your basic tracks, and then overdub additional parts on top.
With several musicians recording at once, you'll need a headphone amp, and the HM-800 offers 8-channels and lots of useful features. It has two stereo inputs so it can easily handle two different headphone mixes from your audio interface. Plus, each channel has a TRS aux input through which you can route custom mixes and combine them as much or as little as desired with the selected monitor mix. When used in conjunction with a multi-output interface or a mixer, the aux input feature allows you to set up a “more me” knob for each musician.
The HM-800 headphone amplifier is loaded with features to allow you to feed multiple headphones with multiple mixes.
Quality studio monitors are critical for creating mixes that translate, and the MR824 monitors—part of the new MR series—offer sonic accuracy and consistent performance at an ultra-affordable price. Each contains an 8” woofer for hefty bass reproduction, a 1” silk-dome tweeter for highs and 85W of bi-amplified power. The MR824 also include adjustable acoustic space filters that will allow you to compensate for your room acoustics.
Should you add additional monitors to your setup, you can switch between them and your MR824s with a Big Knob Passive, a unit that offers affordable, high-quality monitor and input switching, and its passive design means it's sonically transparent.
Another handy device that you’ll use during your tracking sessions is the MDB-1P passive direct box. It allows you to record bass or guitar (or another instrument-level source) without a mic so that it can be in the same room as the drums or other loud sources without any bleed issues.
TV/Film Composer Studio
You compose music for television and film and need components that will provide you with pristine sound and enough features to comfortably handle situations where you’re recording other vocalists and singers.
The Big Knob Studio is a perfect choice for your audio interface. This 2x2 USB unit gives you high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz converters for ultimate sound quality. It also provides the monitor section features you need in your mixer-less DAW setup such as talkback, several input options, headphone outputs, and the ability to switch between up to three different sets of studio monitors.
For listening back to your tracks, the XR624 monitors make a superb choice. Smaller than the XR824s, they still offer plenty of bass response, and exquisite sonics, overall.
The XR-series monitors (XR624 pictured here) accurately reproduce your audio and offer room-optimization features so you can tailor them to the acoustics of your space.
For those musicians and clients that might attend your sessions, you need a headphone amp to create enough feeds. You'll surely be satisfied with the four-channel HM-400, which offers multiple options including Aux inputs for each channel.
You’ll also need a direct box for bass and other instrument-level sources, and the MBD-1A active unit will provide those.
Budget Singer-Songwriter Studio
You write songs, and put out demos and albums, and need a quality studio setup but your budget for studio gear is limited.
Since you mainly record your vocals and instrument tracks separately, the 2x2 Onyx Artist 1•2, a USB 2.0 audio interface, provides dedicated mic and line/instrument inputs, 24-bit/192kHz audio quality, zero-latency direct monitoring, and MIDI I/O, all for a very reasonable price. You get one Onyx mic preamp for your vocal or acoustic-instrument mic, along with an instrument input for connecting a bass or DI electric guitar.
The Onyx Artist 1•2 combines excellent sound and loads of features for a very reasonable price.
The MR524 would be a good choice for monitors in your studio. These self-powered units feature Mackie’s logarithmic waveguide design for ultimate accuracy and an ultra-wide sweet spot, and 50W of bi-amplified power. You'll be able to control their level from the main output knob of the Onyx Artist. If you’re on a tighter budget, you could substitute a set of CR4 monitors instead, and still get a flat response for mixing, at a lower price.
When you do have other musicians, singers or friends at your session, patch the Onyx Artist 1•2 into an HM-4 headphone amplifier to assure that you have enough headphone outputs for everyone in attendance.
You're a DJ with a home setup that you use for creating your sets and recording them. The big challenge is getting a big enough sound to simulate club conditions.
The Onyx Producer 2•2 audio interface gives you the sound quality you need and the line inputs to connect your DJ mixer into your computer and monitor system. This 2x2 USB unit gives you high-resolution 24-bit/192kHz converters for ultimate sound quality, as well as MIDI I/O so you can connect a DJ controller.
To get the bass response you're looking for, try a set of MR624 monitors in conjunction with an MRS10, 10” powered subwoofer. The combination will give you floor-shaking bass for auditioning your sets with ultimate realism.
The MRS10 subwoofer works in conjunction with other MR-series monitors to provide impressive bass response.
For those situations where you're DJing from a laptop and want to connect it to a PA system at a club or party, consider the convenience of an MDB-USB. It's a stereo direct box that streams audio from your computer via USB and then outputs it as a balanced signal through rock-solid XLR outputs, making external connections a breeze.