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mackie mixers - sr or vlz series?

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G'day Guys,

                    I've run out of inputs on the motu - time to cough up for a mixer. Am looking at a second hand mackie, either a 1604 vlz pro or a sr24-4 vlz pro. Does anyone have any experience with either of these and /or opinions as to which may make a better mixer for my studio?

cheers,

Ben

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Mackie - sucking the soul out of your music since 1984.

;D

They're both decent mixers. both 4 bus, both have decent mic inputs, both low noise, both 4 band EQ with sweeping on mids. You just need to decide 24 vs 16 channel. Both are a good buy for the right bucks!

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cool, thanks Jester!

would be nice to have the spare channels, but then that would probably just tempt me into buying more crap to fill them....

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are there any other mixers you'd recommend around the $500-600 mark?

TBH, no. I got my Soundtraks for $600, but it needed some TLC. There's better analogue desks for the money, but unless your a bit of a boffin with the old hot stick and like to wade through schematics in your spare time and chase down obsolete parts or their equivalents... an older desk isn't the go. Mackie stuff may not have quite the punch of the good old analogue gear, but it's nice and clean, reliable and more than suitable for a home or project studio. I certainly recommend the VLZ stuff to muso mates when they're setting up home/project studios. Spec uses a 1604VLZ Pro and gets very good results  ;)

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Yeah, as far as I know they're pretty much the same functionality and audio quality, except for the additional inputs on the SR series. Also the SR series each have a couple of stereo inputs. And I think the SR series might have 6 actual sends per channel, whereas the smaller mixer has a toggle button on knobs 3 and 4 to access aux outputs 5 and 6.

As Jester mentioned, I've got the 1604VLZ PRO, and it's served me well.

- Easy-to-route Sub Groups for choosing what you want to send into your audio interface.

- Plenty of returns (and the ability to listen to your Audio Interfaces output at all times with no fear of audio feedback loops when recording - ask me how, if you need to).

- Reasonably quiet, including the mic pres.

- Clean sound, and therefore doesn't add or take away from the source, IMO.

- Straightforward layout (but don't they all?)

The control room monitoring knob has become a bit scratchy on mine, but by turning down the inputs on my monitors, I'm able to use a different portion of the knob's travel.

The meter calibration is a little peculiar, in terms of what 0dB actually is (refer to the owner's manual PDF from the Mackie site), but there's plenty of headroom off the scale if you get too enthusiastic.

Something to watch out for is the original ribbon cable running between the main board and the connector panel (designed to rotate, depending which direction you want your cables pointing out) was known to play up, causing some channels to cut in/out intermittently. Mackie has acknowledged the fault, and will usually supply the replacement cable while you pay for labour. Be sure to check *every* input carefully before you buy! And even then, the problem may not appear for months/years even.

Are your sources mainly stereo or mono?

Bit of a pain is having all stereo sources sharing two-mono-inputs-per-device-and-panned-accordingly, especially for EQing where one has to tweak the left and right channels independently. But not much can be done here as Mackie discontinued their 16 stereo fader mixer years ago and there wouldn't be too many around these days.

Lastly, the faders are only 60mm, so don't offer as much control as the longer 100mm faders found on other mixers. Not such a big deal if you're more into using the mixer as a patchbay for your audio interface, compared to live, hands-on mixing duties.

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awesome review, thanks Spec. its about 50/50 mono / stereo sources I'll be using, so the mono channels won't be too much hassle, eq will get done in logic anyhow. now just to find one.....

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