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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Mackie powered mixer recommendations

Contributing Member


Aug 26th, 2018 01:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm looking at a couple Mackie powered mixers, a couple of them used. One is the 808S and the other is an 808S FR (maybe they're the same mixer?) They look the same from the photos, one is $20 more than the other.

The cheaper 808S:

And the $20 more 808S FR:

Sure look the same to me, and they're both in the $425-450 range. But they're discontinued and have been replaced by this model below, which is $700 new:

This is for an acoustic duo, some break DJing. Will any of these do the trick? Would I be splitting hairs and wasting money by going for the newer, more expensive one? Also this is going to replace a Yamaha which we got 10 years out of that finally crapped the bed. Am I correct that Mackie is one of the best, most durable brands?

Contributing Member

South Florida

Aug 26th, 2018 03:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

To answer your question--yes absolutely. I don't know the know the difference between the S and FR but I have played through 808's at many small to medium sized rooms and they are the workhorses.

Tony Wright
Contributing Member

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Aug 27th, 2018 06:17 AM   Edit   Profile  

The big difference for MY money between the two basic platforms *808 vs PPM608 is the OHM ratings.

The 808 platform is a stereo powered mixer or a mono powered mixer...not that stereo v mono has ever been an issue for me, after all MOST users of powered mixers use one side for mains and the other side for monitors thus destroying any concept of stereo...and personally I do not like stereo for live music anyway...I want everyone in the back of the house and everyone in the front of the venue to hear everything on both sides.

So now that I have debunked the stereo v mono issue, back to Ohms.

Assuming you use the "mono main and monitor" option most of the time you perform, the big difference is the ability to reach 2 Ohms on the older 808M and 808S. (I believe both were offered under the "FR" model name..."FR" means "fast recovery".)

Why is 2 Ohms important to me and many others? The ability to support up to four 8 Ohm monitors on a powered mixer. For those using the powered mixer for a band situation, being able to power two dual 15 mains (each rated at 4 Ohms) and four 8 Ohms monitor on a set and forget 8 channel boxtop powered mixer was a blessing.

While I rarely loaded the Mackie 808 to the maximum load I just described, I frequently used three monitors, two on the front and one for the drummer.

If that feature is not important to you...and if you never share (loan or rent) your powered mixer, then you might elect to opt for the used 808 simply for price.

Otherwise, it appears that the new 608 has compression (one knob control on channels 1 thru 4) and it also has TWO monitor sends, one powered thru the internal power amp OR to an external power source (powered speaker or power amp) and the second is strictly an external power source. A nice feature if you have a band with two singers who want MORE OF ME in the mix.

KEEP IN MIND, I owned two 808 at the same time and rented them out. (I bought used and I bought one 808M and one 808S.) The weak point was one monitor mix for many college age clients...but they rented them anyway, because of my rental price and availability.

Use your eyes and ears both if you get a chance to audition the two used 808 platforms. They are getting older...so a lot of their value is the specific condition of the one you are looking at.

For my money, if it was a long term owner who is upgrading to a larger system. And that owner seems to have taken good care of his 808 (few scars from the gig wars) and usually used it with just two monitors...I would seriously consider that option.


For clarification, if you open both photos of the two USED Mackie 808 powered mixers on the Guitar Center dot com USED link, and then click on the photo of each of the 808 and then "enlarge" the photo, you can see that BOTH are "FR" models. Check the lower right hand of the front of the photo. Click on the photo and it will enlarge. The FR808S is immediately to the left of the Mackie name on the lower right corner of the front.

Contributing Member

The man

in the shed
Aug 27th, 2018 08:08 AM   Edit   Profile  

Another good option is the Carvin box-top powered mixers. They're all out of production, but find one in good shape and it will serve you well for years. They're built like tanks.

The biggest difference I've experienced with Carvin (compared to the Mackies) is the Carvins don't have a compression feature on each channel.

This adjustable compressor on each channel strip on the Mackie is huge help when running multiple vocal mics.

Juice Nichols
Contributing Member

Panama City, FL

I'm just a dude, playing a dude...
Aug 27th, 2018 01:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

Personally, I would get a couple small powered speakers and a small digital mixer. For about the same price you will have way more flexibility than a boxtop powered mixer. Price will depend on how many inputs you need but you could get set up nicely for not too much money.

Contributing Member

San Clemente, CA

Happy Sunsets, tahitijack
Aug 27th, 2018 02:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

I can't add much to Tony's review. But, but, but....I would suggest you purchase the GC insurance policy for used gear. Especially true for older gear. Mackie 808 has a reputation for being a work horse and solid as a tank, right there with Telecaster, Hotrod Deluxe and Shure. Yes, they might sound great in the store, you just want peace of mind that four months out they are still sounding great without laying down more money to fix it. I think the price is fair if they are in good to fair condition. My financial limit is 50 to 60 percent of new product. Good luck!

Tony Wright
Contributing Member

Stillwater, OK

I never met a calorie I didn't like.
Aug 27th, 2018 09:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

Do not misunderstand my comments above...I am simply addressing the questions and discussion regarding "worth the price" and "FR" and 808 versus the PPM608.

Nothing very wrong with the 808...however, I believe they have been out of production for at least 7 or 8 years, and perhaps as many as 10-12 years out of production. I know I owned two 808 in 2008/09 and I think they were either being discontinued at the time or they were already out of production...

My recent purchases have been passive Mackie ProFX mixers (availability, reliability and features for price). I currently own one ProFX8; two ProFX12 and one ProFX16. I like all of them. But for small and lightweight, I like the ProFX12...evidence of this love affair? I own two. I bought my son a ProFX12v2. I also bought my grand nephew one.

For speakers, I am all over the target on this. As of today, I currently own six JBL PRX6xx series cabinets, two each PRX612; PRX615 and PRX625. I use these for "sound equipment for rent" and "sound for hire" and pretty much anything bigger than 150 people. (Guitar Center loves me. Bought used.) I also own four Yamaha DBR10 which I use for MY two person ensemble...gigs under 250 people.

I have a lot of compliments on the DBR10 sound quality...each time I was using one of the ProFX mixers. Nice set up.

Did I mention that the DBR10 weigh 23.2 pounds and produce around 131 dB SPL and 325 Watts for power. Light weight, lots of SPL and compact with great tone quality. What is not to like?

Cheap? Not at all. Good speaker cabinet? I think so.

I think it is hard to go wrong with equipment that is current production. LOTS of variations on older gear (the PPM608 v. 808M for example or the Mackie ProFX versus the Mackie CFX series) simply has withstood the test of time. The decision on which to buy is difficult...but in MY case it was simple. I cannot easily move 160 pound subwoofers and moving a 24 channel mixer are probably beyond my practical skill. But I am not trying to push the limits of the local college student's hearing any more either. So, lightweight and plenty loud is going to be just fine for me.

So, specifically for "Surfinboy" the original post author:
What should you do? Well, if you do not want payments I do not encourage you to "dump" the speakers you currently own. Perhaps the right thing in this case is the powered mixer option.

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / Mackie powered mixer recommendations

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