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Rating and Reviews: Mackie Big Knob

The Mackie Big Knob takes any of 4 stereo sources and routes them to any of 3 monitor pairs. It also has a talkback mic, headphone outs, mute, mono and more.

User Ratings
Overall
Sound
Features
Ease of Use
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Is there anybody here who doesn't want a Big Knob?" submitted November 22, 2005

By a customer from zincstudio.com
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Sound
Features
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Value
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The Wow Factor
Musical Background: hobbyist
Music Style: voiceovers, archival sound projects
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Sound: Neutral as far as I can tell. Feature: Terrific if you have a couple sets of monitors and like to switch between them. I like to switch between my Blue Sky Pro Desk monitors and some cheap computer speakers to see how my podcasts and voiceovers translate to equipment that everyone has. I don't have a control room separate from the "studio", but this unit is just the ticket if you do. Built-in phono inputs are great for ripping vinyl. And of course, there's the Big Knob itself. You'll love the ability to route inputs and outputs at the push of a button. Things I miss: should have just one more set of inputs! But then again, if you are recording more than a couple of tracks, you probably have a mixer or a multi-channel interface anyhow. Quality: Solid steel baby! No plastic crap. I like that. Doesn't move around on the desk unless you want it to. Good layout, easy-to-read labels. Some question about the rear trim controls though -- seemed a little loose at certain postions, but didn't seem to effect signal or usability. Unless you swap out equipment, the trim controls are pretty much "set and forget". Value: Seems a little pricey for what it does, but I can't complain. Don't see anything else on the market that comes close in quality and versatility. Manufacturer Support: Have had no need for support. Mackie is quite responsive though -- just pick up the phone. The Wow Factor: Looks like pro equipment. Overall: Damn near essential for a home studio DAW setup, especially if you have two or more sets of monitors. I use it every day for basic tracking, recording teleconferences through a digital telephone hybrid, listening to CD's with headphones, and occasionally, ripping vinyl. Anticipate this unit will be on my desk for years.
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"Great features, well built" submitted February 17, 2007

By a customer from aol.com
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Sound
Features
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Value
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Musical Background: Hobbyist, Engineer/Musician
Music Style: Rcok, Country , Classical etc.
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Sound: Noticed no degradation of sound quality (in-line between E-MU 1820M and PM5s). Just make sure you get your levels right - more than just pressing bal/unbal button. Feature: Only wish it could do 5.1 Ease of Use: After reading manual, any confusion was cleared up (lots of i/o, some of it for larger studio functions that don't apply for me) Quality: Seems well built (for studio equipment), don't think it was really designed for road use. Value: Bit pricey, but probably best balance of quality/features/price I seen. Manufacturer Support: N/A The Wow Factor: Looks sharp, and once you grab a Big Knob you'll never want to let go. Overall: Would buy again, but if I were a bit richer, I might buy the PreSonus Central station (all the i/o of the Mackie, plus digital - and a smaller footprint [with the add-on controller]) but you do trade mixing for switching on the inputs.
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"It's worth it." submitted March 30, 2014

By Sean o in Oakland, CA
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Music Style: Techno
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Overall: I didn't envision myself spending the cash on this initially.. afterall. There are synths to be had! But i has to come up with a montioring solution since i have some mix cubes to check out what is going on in the mid range. Once i got it home and plugged the big knob in and hooked it up i was half expecting a nightmare of zeroing levels... but the big knob is more or less plug and play. Zeroing the levels between monitors was a snap. A db meter app on my phone smoothed the process but it really wasn't actually necessary most of the time since the LED meters made it super easy. A/bing my tracks at the touch if a button is so nice and very necessary.. but what has helped even more is the ability to split a subwoofer off of the main three channels as well as the very important dim button. The dim button does the job of bringing down the levels to where the levels are less than average listening so you can hear where your parts are cutting out. The button just makes it easy and more likely that you will use that montoring method. I also really dig the multi headphone outs.. What i haven't tried but i see is available is to montior from different sources. So if you have a big mackie mixer you can pkug the monitor section from it into the big knob. So you can also get an a/b of what your desk is doing as well as your daw mix. That is really helpful i think. Also if i was into sampling a ton of records i could do that easily with the phono input. I feel i have just started getting into what applications the knob can do. It has lots of potential and the sound is wicked transparent. It's a good bit of kit and worth the money.
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"Glorious simplification..." submitted April 24, 2007

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Professional
Music Style: rock, pop
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Sound: Pure and clean. Feature: You won't find ANYTHING in a similar price range with all of the Big Knob features. Just about any combination of ins and outs you can imagine for your DAW setup. Ease of Use: Stupid easy. Value: No competition. The Wow Factor: Looks great on your desktop. Overall: If you need to compare mixes, CDs, etc. this is your ticket. It made DAW mixing a pleasure for me instead of a circus act of switching between inputs and level changes on my desktop mixer.
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"...so far so good!" submitted June 21, 2012

By Edward B
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Musical Background: Bassist, vocalist, song writer, arranger
Music Style: Old School R&B, Rock, Fusion Jazz, Funk, Alternative
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Overall: I'm a long time musician and down through the years I've been dabbling in recording. But now I'm trying to get a serious amateur home recording studio put together...which means I'm still learning in every phase...software, hardware, connections, latency...it's fairly overwhelming... But I must say...the BIG KNOB is very welcomed addition to my meager setup. The convenience is really a MUST HAVE but what you get for the price of BIG KNOB is just awesome! It's really designed to accommodate far more than my starter studio...but the ability control up to three monitor sources, multiple input sources, a headphone amp as well as a talkback feature...I'm really impressed with this unit!
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"Best Value" submitted July 23, 2007

By a customer from gmail.com
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Sound
Features
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Musical Background: recording engineer, remixer
Music Style: house, pop, jazz, funk
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Sound: sound is good not excellent. I've been been hearing direct from DA converter to speakers... It was much clearer and stereo image was more solid. This is not bad though but it colors the sound a bit. I think especially the upper mids... Passive systems offer no degradation of sound. Feature: I cannot even think what to do with that much of outputs. Talkback is a very neat addition... I think this is the only monitor controller with so much features. Ease of Use: Easy to setup but i wish it had XLR outputs. I had to change the connectors of my xlr-xlr cable. Other than that, it is relatively straight forward. Quality: I noticed that, at very low levels the stereo image shifts. I mean when i turn the volume knob up from zero, first the left channel starts to play and gradually right ch is coming. Phones level controls are a bit flimsy but studio out and talkback level controls are solid. That big knob is especially solid. Mono button causes st. image shift too. Value: i think this is one of the best values ever. I dont know any product offering this much of features... I would have bought one of the SPL controllers but they are twice as much as a price. Manufacturer Support: i didnt have to deal with... The Wow Factor: i think i like it. Overall: Overall this unit is sitting nicely on my desktop but i think it occupies too much space. They could have made it smaller... Another thing which is not cool is it gets pretty hot under normal circumstances.
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"You NEED This!" submitted May 23, 2005

By a customer from yahoo.com
Overall
Sound
Features
Quality
Value
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Singer, Songwriter, Producer & (recently) Engineer
Music Style: R&B, Gospel
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Sound: The sound is VERY clean... Mackie knows sound, like "Bo" knows football...no worries here! Feature: I bought it for the "talkback" and "mono" features...but I got so much more. Lots of flexibility with this hook up...NICE Quality: Solid construction...but you EXPECT that from a "Mackie" Value: Does more than other devices costing much, MUCH more. Manufacturer Support: Don't know...haven't needed it yet. The Wow Factor: Looks real sexy sitting next to my Korg D32XD. Overall: I had a cheap radio shack A/B switch...but this lets me do so much more...I'm glad I bought it!
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"great tool" submitted April 1, 2012

By elden n in Aiea, HI
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Musical Background: hoppyist
Music Style: all
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Overall: really awesome peace of gear. I have 4 pair of monitors and five headsets, this gear simplified my set up and monitoring purposes. well, i also have H4 headphone amp which is also routed to this gear. so yes i plug those headphone also to it and still can add another monitor to it. this gears works well in my set up.
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