For reasons that now elude me I have agreed to take delivery of a Mackie TT24 digital mixing console and find a home for it in order to do a real life ROAD TEST for ProSoundWeb. In addition I am to find some unsuspecting audio guy and help teach him all about this model I know very little about. Instantly I misplaced the manual and had to do some quick research to get somewhat familiar with the mysterious TT24.
Overview: Introduced a year ago, at the 2004 NSCA show, the TT24 is Mackie’s first digital live sound console, designed from the beginning as a mixer intended primarily for sound reinforcement. The ‘tt’ stands for two-touch; meaning the control of any parameter should only be two touches away. Its price and features are aimed at mid-level live sound operators who are frustrated at digital consoles whose primary application is recording. However, the TT24 has three ADAT optical ports for its 24 mic channels so it easily doubles as a 24-channel recording interface.
Physical: At 71 pounds, it’s a third lighter than a comparably priced analog desk, like a 24-channel GL4000, and it’s also 25% smaller. The desk is about 3 feet wide, not counting the pair of sturdy handles on each end, and about 2 feet deep. The slightly angled fader deck on the front has 24 motorized faders, plus 5 more in the right-hand master section. Each fader has 3 buttons – solo, select and mute – plus a rotary encoder, called a V Pot. Above the fader deck are 24 analog pots for the 24 mic pre-amp gain controls, and on the right is the Quick Mix area: a dozen rotary encoders that map to controls that are displayed on an angled black and white touch screen, with buttons that call the several displays for the selected channels, plus scene and utility buttons.
Features: The console has 24 microphone inputs with four-band EQ, gate and compressor. These XLR inputs have individual phantom power, a line/pad switch, an analog pot for the pre-amp with 0 to 60 dB of gain, separate TRS line input jack and single-jack TRS pre-digital insert point. Additionally there are eight line inputs that are fully featured minus a mic pre, plus a two-track return, a talkback mic input and two-channel digital I/O
The TT24 has 12 auxiliary sends, with the last four default-patched to the mono inputs of 4 internal stereo effects. Every output has quasi-six-band EQ: two parametric, two adjustable shelves, and two feedback “kill filters,” which are swept notches that can be set for -6, -12, or -18 dB by pushing on their encoder. The three main outputs, LCR or LR/Mono, also have a graphic equalizer.
The control surface has 29 motorized faders, 24 grouped together, and five more at the right end with the master controls. Over these are V-Pot controls: rotary encoders surrounded by a ring of LEDs to indicate position. They are used for Pan, Trim, HPF and aux sends (and pan for stereo linked auxes) and as signal meters.
The main control ‘Turbo Touch’ section has a dozen small rotary encoders of its own that work with a 5-inch black-and-white touch-screen and eight function buttons for quick access to screens for EQ, Dynamics, Group/Aux assignments, Aux masters, Snapshots, FX control and Matrix.
The eight groups can be chosen to be VCA, mono or stereo groups. There are a total of ten channels of assignable compression and EQ processing for any audio subgroups, so if they’re all stereo, you’ll run out after the first five.
Matrix Plus turns the eight subgroup XLR outputs into an 11 x 8 matrix with delay to 600ms in addition to the quasi six-band EQ. The Plus refers to the fact that each of the sub-group inputs can be reassigned to any of the other inputs or returns, making it possible to create additional, though somewhat limited sub-mixes beyond the 8 groups or 12 auxes.
I’m bringing this console into Mississippi Studios (www.mississippistudios.com
); a small venue that’s been running one or two monitor mixes from their 16-channel Alesis mixer for the last couple years. Since they’re using self-powered wedges they’ll immediately be able to run all four wedges on separate mixes. Owner Jim Brunberg and Sound Engineer Steve Beatty will help us evaluate the console in use there.
(Please note: I did not place that VIP avatar in my profile. It’s Herman’s idea.)