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Re: mixing a looping rig

To run stereo effects on the mackie, buy your self a y-connector (stereo 
split to two mono singles 1/4")  On your effects out, plug the stereo 1/4" 
send the split signal to the two mono (stereo left, stereo right) of your
effects device, then bring two 1/4" mono plugs back to the effects return.
Your now ready for stereo live performance.

tip 1)
adjustment of sound levels is done in two places a) on the board and b) on 
effects device.

make sure the effects device has plenty of signal by learning how to feed 
signal at the normalized positions of the knobs on the board send aux 1.  
do this, first make sure your line inputs from your guitar amps are set to
about 70% of their line feed capability.  Then adjust your line levels on 
board (pre-mix) to about mid way and then bring the sliders to their proper
operating position (0db about 70% of the slider level).  Then press your 
button to read the LEDs on that signal, adjust your line levels until that
signal never exceeds 0db. (this according to the mackie manual)
You now have your line levels set, adjust the high, mid and bass to suit 

Now adjust the effect send on the board to its normalized position "you'll
feel the click on the knob when you get to that position".   Now send the
signal for that channel by going to that slider and finding the effects 
and turning it up about 1/3.  You should have a signal going to your 
device.  Check the lights on the effects device and adjust the input 
levels so
that you don't overdrive the signal, turn the effect device mix to 100% and
adjust the output levels of the effects device to whatever level appears to
create a unity gain.  From there go back to the board and adjust the 
return level to their normalized values.

confused? it's no secret that you will need to spend a substantial amount 
time with your board in order to get the best possible sounds.  Many of 
tips were learned by my going to internet sites in nashville and finding 
the pros said.  The biggest tip I learned is that you want to run your 
as wide open as possible, otherwise you will get band filtering which you
cannot get back by your last stage EQ.  

good luck and happy mixing.  in my opinion there are only  a few who really
know their boards, even among the professionals.  i've gone to way too many
concerts wanting to bail due to bad mixes.  it is so irritating to pay a 
of  money for a good concert and be dupped.