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 Mackie 1604 VLZ-PRO At a Glance  
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arrowReleased: 1999  arrowVersion: 0.00
arrowRated: 8.0/10arrow User reviews: (3)
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Albert writes:
The Mackie 1604 VLZ-PRO is a 16 channel compact 4-buss mixer with 16 mic inputs, 16 line inputs, and inserts on each channel. Channels 1-8 have direct outs, and it has 6 effects sends and four stereo returns. Each channel has 3-band eq with sweepable mid, low cut switch, mute, solo, buss assign, and trim controls. The mixer has a headphone output, control room and master mix outputs, tape in/out, and a mono output that sums both left and right master outs together.

The master section has some nice routing capabilities and makes the mixer easy to intergrate into a studio setting.

I have three of these mixers and use them in a non-standard way, i.e. I have them ganged together. The original CR-1604 was designed to be ganged together using Mackies MixerMixer, but the VLZ models were not. I use two MixerMixer's to join the outputs of the three VLZ-PRO's, effectively creating a single 48 channel mixing board with the improved XDR preamps, plus the advantages of all the extra tape and effects inputs.

Good Points
Since both the mic inputs and line inputs are routed through the mixer's preamps, the new XDR preamps do make a difference in how the entire board sounds. I find the mixer to be more open sounding than previous 1604's, with a cleaner and slightly brighter high end. Mackie has included a simple way to set the trim levels correctly for each channel using the onboard metering, and when followed properly this yields good headroom and clean sound. I have found this mixer to be easy to use, and to sound excellent. I personally believe it is the best value on the market in a compact mixer. It is ruggedly built in an all metal enclosure, and based on my experience with my three previous CR-1604's, it should provide years of trouble free service. (knock on wood, of course!).
Bad Points
The only real annoying negative to this board in my opinion is that the effects returns are not pannable. The original CR-1604 had panning controls for the effects returns, and I really miss that feature on the new boards. I contacted Mackie Designs about this and got the response that they dropped the panning because the newer digital effects boxes have panning control inside them. I find this to be a cop-out frankly, as panning effects from within the effects box is not always possible, and at the very least is slow and time consuming. Effects panning is very important for a refined mix, in my opinion. The Mackie eq is workable when used in moderation. For fine tuning of eq and outboard eq is probably a good thing to have.

 Mackie 1604 VLZ-PRO Specifications:

Digital IOs:
Analog IOs:
16 mic, 16 line, 16 insert
Midi IOs:
Busses/Subgroups: 4 busses
Aux sends: 6 fx sends
3-band, sweepable mids
rotopod bracket

 1604 VLZ-PRO Links

Electronic Musician review

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