Mackie CR1604 TRS Outputs weird wiring issue

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/12/2004

I find your site chock full of very interesting articles.

I came across your site while searching for more info on a Mackie 1604. I managed to get my hands on an original 1604 and intend to do some work on it as it is not in the best condition.

I am writing to inquire about the issue of the TRS outputs. Has anyone tried to rectify the problem by opening up the 1604 and rewiring the TRS outputs correctly? I know you said that it's no easy task but has anyone actually opened it up and taken a look to see if it can be rectified? I'm itching to open up the 1604 myself.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks & Kind regards

Joined: 02/12/2009

Hello Hubert-

I've never opened it up, so my info is second hand. Back in the mid-nineties, Mackie tech support confirmed the wiring oddities about the original CR-1604. As for where I got the info that the jacks are circuit-board mounted, it was one of two places: Mackie tech support or my local service center. I trust both of those sources (my local service center rewired some other older gear for me at the same time to be pin-2 hot XLR but couldn't fix this ring-hot TRS issue).

But nothing beats first-hand knowledge, open that sucker up and have a peek. Check out pps 24-25 of the owner's manual. And page 29 is the section with other mods that are fairly easy to do.

Hubert was referring to this article of mine:

And, I just found this in an old 1993 ASCII text-version of the CR1604 manual:

These outputs are electronically balanced (since they have
both polarities available and are capable of driving +4dBu
lines with 28dB of headroom. They're also low impedance.

For most music recording and PA applications, unbalanced
outputs are perfectly acceptable. Use standard cables.
For cables runs over 50 feet, you may need a balanced line
to reject noise.

Balanced output is 6dB hotter than the unbalanced outputs.
To use these outputs in balanced applications, connect a
stereo phone plug as follows: Tip = "-" (cold)
Ring = "+" (hot) Sleeve = Ground

Same characteristics as the stereo MAIN OUTs except that
the signal combines Right and Left Main Channels and the
polarity is reversed.

Joined: 05/17/2004

I had one of these a few years back and thought about addressing this also.
After a couple emails back and forth with Mackie correcting this internally was near impossible. Had to do with some switching problems in the jacks making reversing the tip and ring a no can do. :? Problem solved though, replaced the board. :)

Joined: 06/25/2008

I just purchased a used CR1604 and thought something sounded different between the mains and the ALT3/4 so I went searching and found this info on the main outs being wired reversed.

since it's not feasible to rewire the jacks on the main outs, would it be advisable to build a "cross-over" cable for my speakers? My main outs go to my studio monitors and my Alt3/4 go to my headphone amp for distibution to the musicians - I'm thinking that I could build a cable which has one end of the connector wired with Tip = cold, Ring = hot and the other end wired correctly and that would reverse it back the way it should be.

Am I thinking clearly on this or am I missing something?

Joined: 02/12/2009

Quote:Am I thinking clearly on this or am I missing something?


You're thinking clearly and correctly. Good call, that's the best method. Make sure to label the cable so it doesn't ever get mixed up with your regular cables... a la "reverse polarity" or (if the other end is XLR) "pin3 hot".

Joined: 06/25/2008

Yes, that's a good point - I might even make them a different color from everything else in the studio just to help with identifying them.


Joined: 01/15/2010

sorry to bump an old thread

i have a mackie cr 1604

and my way around this was using the alt 3 and 4 outs as the main outs

it sounds a bit o' static / skratchy with all the faders turned down.

I'm going to try and make my own cables asap!!

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