Mavericks and the Mackie 1640i

I’ve been holding off updating the OS of my main studio computer (Mid 2011 27″ iMac) for the last 2.5 years. It came with Lion installed and I saw nothing in Mountain Lion that would motivate the hassle of an update. Also, I’ve been burned several times by incompatible or untimely updates to firmware, hardware and OSs so I know better than to jump on the new shiny thing. The golden rule applies in any digital creative environment, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!’

Photo-2But! I’ve been an Ableton Live person for the past few years but the release of Logic X really got me thinking about a switch. The notorious MIDI timing problems of Ableton, and the fact that it’s not optimized for the type of linear, timeline based workflow that I prefer made Logic seem like a nice alternative.

After much consideration I decided to shell out the cash and buy the software from the app store, only to find out that you need at least OS X 10.8.

No luck for an old timer like me still stuck on 10.7.5…

Still I decided to go forward and see if my gear would be compatible with an upgrade to Mavericks or not. The only two things that set off an alarm was the Mackie 1640i Mixer (see below) and the Access Virus TI2 Virus Control software.

The mixer board was my biggest fear since loss of its Firewire capabilities would negate its most appealing feature. (I could have passed it via a couple of Fireface 800 or similar but still…). To test it out I connected it via a Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter to my MacBook Pro running Mavericks, and lo and behold it worked perfectly! (Yes, the mixer board is from the 003 serial number series, see below).

Photo-1

Encouraged by this I decided to upgrade my main machine as well and it is now happily chugging along on Mavericks.

So far I see no strange or broken behavior. I have tested Maschine 1.8 with the Komplete plug-ins, Arturia’s Analog Factory and Live 9.1. The Mackie 1640i seems to be 100% functional. I noticed some severe lag and dropped notes when I started out, but that was due to the System Drive being re-indexed for the first hour or so.

This is not to say that all is well in Mavericks land, beware that there can be any number of combinations of Firewire controller cards, serial number series, firmware versions, thunderbolt adapters and so on that could break compatibility, but at least for me it was all a very smooth and seamless upgrade.

Did you upgrade to Mavericks yet? Did you run into any problems? Share your experience or let me know if you have any questions.

My setup:
Mid 2011 iMac 27″ (3.4gHz, 12gb), Mackie 1640i (003xx) connected via a FW 400 to 800 adapter to Firewire port on Mac, also tested via Apple’s Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter.

A note on the Mackie 1640i Serial numbers:
There are series of the Mackei 1640i on the market. You can tell them apart from the start of their serial numbers. The older series starts with 003 and the newer with 204. The older series relied on the CoreAudio drivers on the Mac and the newer has its own fancy driver and control panel. According to the Mackie website the 003 series is not compatible with any OS X version above 10.7 which has caused a lot of confusion amongst users considering an upgrade. In my experience the 003 series works just fine in 10.9, both via a firewire port and via Apple’s thunderbolt to firewire adapter.

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31 thoughts on “Mavericks and the Mackie 1640i

  1. Pingback: Switching from Ableton Live to Logic Pro X | Glitzerstrahl

  2. I saw on your site that a firewire 400 to 800 connection using 10.9 is possible, but I have not been able too connect my Mackie mixer. Is there a special technique you used or am I misunderstanding your post?

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    • Nope, no special tricks used. Since the iMac only has FW800 ports I had to use a converter to plug in the Mackie supplied FW400 cable. I used the standard apple converter cable that I picked upp in an apple store in SF.

      Can you describe the problem you are running into?

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  3. Hey,
    I’m french so sorry for my English.
    I have a problem with the firewire Mackie Onyx 1640i and my iMac 10.9.4, i have no connection between my iMac and my table.. And i have no connection with my Macbook Pro 10.9.3 and my table too. I don’t really understand your post and the serial number of my Mackie is (21)JS10965.
    I’m deseperate, i don’t know what to do.
    I downloaded the drivers, but it still doesn’t work…
    Thanks,
    Raphael

    Like

    • Hi Raphael, what year model is your iMac? Depending on when it was built it might have a different Firewire controller card than mine, and that is a common cause of problems.

      When you say that you have no connection, does that mean that you cannot choose the Mackie as the Output device in your Audio settings for Mac OS?

      Also, final question, what DAW or other software are you using?

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      • I don’t really know the year of the model, i had it for Christmas, but don’t remember when, maybe 2011 or 2012 i think… I have the serial number if you want.

        Yes, i cannot choose the Mackie as the Output device, i can’t see it in the Audio Midi Setup…

        I like to work with different DAW, sometimes Live, sometimes ProTools or Logic Pro.

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  4. Hi,

    I just found this post on your website regarding the connectivity between a Mackie Onyx1640i and mac computers running Mavericks. So I just bought an Onyx 1640i console with a serial number starting with 003 and I realised that it is not supposed to be compatible with my mac book pro running 10.9.4 ((MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012)). Tomorrow I am going to buy a thunderbolt adapter in order to install the onyx to my computer (hopefully), I hope it will work out otherwise I am going to have to return the Onyx. I will buy the same thunderbolt adapter that you have. I really don’t understand how it appears to be working only with some Mac computers running 10.9… Thanks for your post by the way, it gives me hope : )

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  5. Hi TF. I’m from Brazil, my name is Jorge and I have been working with one Imac, late 2007, and Mackie 1640i, ( serial number 0030895BRCX0034), running with Logic Pro 9 and two month ago a bought the New Mac Pro.

    So started my Nighmares !!!!!!!!!

    To get connected thrue the firewire system I bought a firewire cable 400/800 and an original Apple firewire/thunderbolt adapter, so I did all the connections got together, downloaded Logic X and guess what ?????

    I’m having a big problem with the connection… while recording, listen music from itunes library, from Youtube or via an USB driver the connections got lost for 2 seconds and than it comes back…

    The problem is that I can’t work with this kind of issue, imagine: during any kind of recording sessions this happens ? No way !!!!

    I send some emails straight to Mackie support but they did not helped me for completely, on the last one they told me to use the original adapter, ( the one that I have ) and said that they have the same set that I have on their office and did not had any kind of problem.

    Trying to walk and pass thrue the problem I bought two different firewire 400/800 cables, thinking in the possibility that the fisrt one I bought was bad quality one… i was wrong because I changed the cable and the same problem insists in appear.

    Actually I always could see in my input and output the Mackie and for a certain moment it works, but in a few minutes it cames down and blow up all my setup.

    Can you help me ?

    Just waiting Bud.

    Best Regards

    Jorge

    Like

    • Hi Jorge,

      I am sorry to hear about it. Unfortunately I can’t really help you since I have no idea why this is happening. I am using exactly the same cables as you are, the only difference is that my computer, MacBook Pro (Retina, Mid 2012), is older than yours. The only problem that I have is that when I am trying to listen to music from quicktime player, you can hear crackling sounds but the connection between the computer and the console does not get lost like it does on your set up. Does it get lost only once, as soon you are listening/recording, and then the connection comes back? Or does this happen multiple times while you are recording or listening to audio?

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      • Hi TF.

        Thanks for reading my questions.

        Well it happens several times during a session of 30 minutes, like I start recordind and after 5 minutes I lost connection and in 1 or 2 seconds It comes back.

        It seems like the connection is very light and weak and is always on the edge, do you understand me ?

        Any kind of news, just let me know.

        Best regards !

        Like

  6. Hey I have roughly the same setup. 2011 imac 27, firewire cable 400 to 800, 003 serial on the 1640i. I have terrible cracks and distortion when recording tracks. I’m very frustrated and disappointed! Help!

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    • Hi Nick! I’ve upgraded to Yosemite now, but I never had a chance to test the mixer since I sold it to make some space in the studio. Sorry that I can’t help you on this one.

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  7. Hi I have a problem, I have a 2012 Mac Pro desk top and a Mackie 1640i
    the OSX I am running is Lion, Initially when I connected the system my Onyx 1640i worked for a few weeks and then after the Mac and the Onyx does not connect, I am not getting any messages and I cannot see the ONYX in my MIDI selection.
    Please Help
    JC

    Like

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