Mackie Intros New Digital Production Console

Oct 14, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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Mackie, a LOUD Technologies Inc. brand, announced its next-generation digital production console at the AES Convention in New York City. The Mackie dXb is a 96k/192k-capable, 72x72 I/O matrix (36x36 at 192k) digital production console with dual integrated touch screens, internal DSP, powerful automation, control surface functionality and FireWire I/O option cards for streaming audio to/from a desktop or laptop computer.

Development of the dXb was a collaborative effort between Mackie and Sanewave Inc., a Washington-based engineering and design company that specializes in digital audio technology. Ken Berger, senior VP of marketing and product development at LOUD Technologies Inc., commented, “Sanewave was the perfect partner for the dXb because its group includes members of the original development team behind Mackie’s award-winning Digital 8-Bus. Our own internal engineering resources augmented their expertise: the same Mackie teams responsible for key products like D8B v5 software, Mackie Control, Spike and an expanding portfolio of effects plug-ins. As a result of this collaboration, dXb is a significant leap forward for digital mixing, a market that Mackie helped define and continues to drive today. It incorporates functionality from a number of Mackie products, including an onboard UAD-1 Powered Plug-Ins card and the ability to operate as a Mackie Control Universal to provide tactical control for popular DAWs like Pro Tools, Logic, Digital Performer, Nuendo, Cubase, SONAR and more.”

Physically, the dXb includes 24 channel strips with 100mm Penny + Giles optical touch-sensitive faders and two integrated 15-inch touch screens: one for each bank of 12 faders. These screens are the mixer’s primary interface, providing access to important functions like send levels, inserts, routing, dynamics processing, surround panning, metering, effects and more. Also included is a tape-style transport with memory location recall and weighted jog/shuttle wheel, as well as a padded armrest with built-in mouse pad and a control room section that allows for A/B monitoring, dual phones mixes and talkback.

The dXb software has been designed for the precise response and intuitive operation more commonly associated with analog buttons rather than virtual ones. Both touchscreens and the mouse can be used simultaneously and operate independently. Users can also run select VST plug-ins internally without a separate computer and/or operate plug-ins in a desktop or laptop computer system and interface with the dXb via FireWire.

The dXb's rear panel features a card cage that can be customized with a variety of I/O cards, including analog (mic or line-level with remote-controlled mic preamps), AES/EBU, FireWire (IEEE-1394a), TDIF and ADAT optical. Both a Sync Card (supporting Word Clock and LTC) and Control Room Card (near-field and main speaker outputs, phones, and stereo AES/EBU and SPDIF) are included. Fixed rear-panel I/O includes Sony 9-pin, MIDI In/Out (MTC/MMC), FireWire (for external data storage), Ethernet and two USB host ports to connect a mouse and/or keyboard if desired.

The Mackie dXb will be available from select Mackie dealers in the second quarter of 2004 with a suggested retail price beginning under $20k, depending on configuration.

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