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Mackie 1604-VLZ Pro 16-Channel Mixer

16x4 professional compact mixer. (171) Read 6 reviews for this product | Rate and review this product
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Mackie 1604VLZ4 16-Channel Mixer

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Product Description

No matter how much you spend on a microphone, its ultimate performance depends on how it interacts with the preamp it's plugged into. Many high-end mic preamps can effortlessly amplify the slightest sonic nuance, creating an aural panorama that's breathtakingly realistic, excitingly vivid, and truly 3-dimensional in scope. For years they've provided fidelity that just hasn't been possible with the "stock" mic preamps built into mixing consoles. Until now.

To develop the new XDR (eXtended Dynamic Range) mic preamp, the engineering team started with blank paper, concerned only with matching or exceeding the performance of $500 to $2000-per-channel esoteric preamps. They went through hundreds of iterations and revs and spent countless hours subjectively listening (and arguing). They started all over again several times. They scoured the world for rare parts. Then they spent more time critically listening and evaluating the design with every high-end microphone you can think of. Then they brought in veteran recording and live sound engineers for more exhaustive listening tests.

What they ultimately ended up with is not just an awesome sounding design. XDR is also a) highly resistant to damage caused by "hot patching" (caused by routing a phantom powered mic through a patch bay); b) remarkably independent of cable-induced impedance variations; and c) able to reject extremely high RF levels without compromising high frequency response.

Because a mic preamp must amplify faint one millivolt input signals up to a thousand-fold (60dB), its rectification components can also pick up radio frequency interference (RFI) from AM and FM stations, cell phones, and pager transmitters - even microwave ovens - and amplify them to audible levels.

Mackie assaulted RFI on 3 fronts. First, they incorporate bifilar wound DC pulse transformers with high permeability cores that reject RFI but don't attenuate the sound at 15kHz and above. Second, they use carefully matched, high-precision components for critical areas of the XDR preamplifier. Third, they direct-coupled the circuit from input to output and used pole-zero cancellation constant current biasing (which also avoids increased intermodulation distortion at high common mode signal levels).

Bottom line for the non-technical: you can use the new XDR mic preamps at the end of extremely-long cheap mic cables in an RFI-saturated urban environment while talking on your cell phone...without hearing a trace of RFI.

If a mic preamp isn't designed right, it will actually sound different depending on the impedance of the microphone and the cable load! XDR's Controlled Interface Input Impedance system accepts an enormous range of impedances without compromising frequency response.

0.0007% Total Harmonic Distortion. The lowest ever in any compact mixer.

Flat response. Not only are XDR mic preamps flat within a tenth of a dB across the bandwidth of any known microphone, but are also only 3dB down at an astonishing 192kHz!

Super-low intermodulation distortion at very high operating levels thanks to instrumentation-style balanced differential architecture, linear biasing, and use of DC-coupled pole-zero-cancellation constant current that frees the mic preamp from power supply fluctuations.

Think of the 1604 as an ultra-premium, esoteric mic preamp... that just happen to have really excellent compact mixers attached.

Features
Ultra-low noise, highest headroom in its class

16 new precision-engineered XDR Extended Dynamic Range premium studio-grade mic preamps with: Ultra-wide 0-60dB gain range, 130dB dynamic range for 24-bit, 192kHz sampling rate inputs, +22dBu line input handling, distortion under 0.0007% (20Hz-20kHz)

Advanced DC pulse transformer RF rejection

4 subgroups with left and right assigns and direct outs

16 line inputs, 16 channel inserts

60mm long-wearing logarithmic-taper faders

Constant-loudness pan controls

Switchable AFL/PFL Solo

6 aux sends per channel with 15dB gain above Unity

Aux 1 and 2 pre/post

Aux Send 1-2 Master section with level controls, Solo switches, and Solo LEDs

Level, pan; -20, Solo and OL LEDs on each channel

RUDE solo light doubles as a mini-tanning booth

4 stereo aux returns, 8 direct outs

3-band active EQ with sweepable midrange

18dB/oct. 75Hz Lo Cut filter on each channel

Control Room/Phones outputs with multi-input source matrix

RCA tape inputs and outputs

Tape input level control and Tape To Main Mix switch

Balanced 1/4 in. inputs and outputs (except inserts)

Switchable phantom power for condenser mics

5 physical configurations via rotating I/O pod

Rugged steel main chassis, sealed rotary controls

Built-in power supply, rack mount kit included

zZounds is an authorized dealer of Mackie products.
Main Mix Noise
20Hz-20kHz bandwidth, 1/4 in. Main Out, channel Trims @ unity gain, channel EQs flat, all channels assigned to Main Mix, odd channels panned left, even channels panned right

Main Mix faders down, channel faders down: -100dBu

Main Mix fader unity, channel faders down: (90dB Signal to Noise Ratio, ref +4dBu) -86.5dBu

Main Mix fader @ unity, channel faders @ unity: -84.0dBu

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)
1kHz @ +14dBu: 20Hz-20kHz

Mic in to Main out: below 0.0007%

Attenuation (Crosstalk)
1kHz relative to 0dBu, 20Hz-20kHz bandwidth, Line in, 1/4" Main Out, Trim @ unity

Channel Mute switch engaged: -84dBu

Channel fader down: -84dBu

Frequency Response
Mic input to any output

20Hz to 60kHz: +0dB/-1dB

10Hz to 100kHz: +0dB/-3dB

Equivalent Input Noise (EIN)
Mic in to insert Send out, max gain

150 ohm termination: -129.5dBm unweighted

Common Mode Rejection (CMR)
Mic in to insert Send out, max gain

1kHz: better than 90dB

Maximum Levels
Mic In: +22dBu

All other inputs: +22dBu

Main Mix 1/4 in. TRS outputs: +28dBu

All other outputs: +22dBu

Impedances
Mic In: 1.3 kilohms

Channel Insert return: 2.5 kilohms

All other inputs: 10 kilohms or greater

Tape out: 1.1 kilohms

All other outputs: 120 ohms

EQ
High Shelving:
If you have additional warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer at 800-898-3211 and 425-487-4333
Customer Reviews
4.5 out of 5 (171 ratings) Rate and Review This Product
This review has been selected by our experts as particularly helpful. "If you do small concerts and hall shows, LOOK HERE!!!"
Sound: I love this frickin thing. I used to do a tonne of hall shows and small concerts. Honestly, I never had any problems with it, the mix is great and once you learn the board, it is just as powerfull as Mackies high end mixer. The clip head is great, the sound is great, its just a really sweet mixer if your going to be doing small concerts and hall shows. Feature: Standard 3 band EQ with sweepable low frequency rangs, low range cut, amazing aux in out abbility for a small board. Ease of Use: Like any mixing board, you get used to it and its still a little trouble getting around quickly when you need to. It does take a little while to learn how it likes to work, it can be touchy at times but once you figgure it out your golden. Quality: Well lets put it this way, you can stand on it, you can jump on it, you can drop it (caseless!) and you can smack it when you get angry because your mix aint working and she keeps workin. I never had any problems with its durability, its made to last the extreems of long road trips and those days your too tired to care how you handle your gear. If your just using it local itl live longer than you will! Value: Its pricy, but you get what you pay for, and in this case your getting a lot for what you paid for. There are a few little things that would be nice if it had but are simplie 5 dollar external fixes. In comparison to other equipment out there at the same or twice the price, it blows it away. Manufacturer Support: Mackie not only makes the best products but have an excellent customer support department. If you have technical questions, how to use questions, anything, you get someone who knows what their talking about and will help you until your problem is fixed. No general answers or standard response steps. Each problem is analised on an individual basis to give you the most informative answer. The Wow Factor: To a seasoned pro who works concerts all the time, hell look at the board and say "yeah thats a pretty good board." Its a 16 channel mixer, its not exactly desirable by any large company but to who do hall shows often, thel see this thing, try it and get addicted. Those who dont do it often find the board too confusing and hate it but I find with anyone who knew what they were doing, they wanted to steal it from me! Overall: If your going to be doing small small concernts and hall shows, this mixer is perfect for you. 16 Channels will start limiting you if you get into too big of a concernt but for hall shows, nothing compares to it. I only used mine for hall shows and recording, and I never ran out of channels or good quality. Its tough, its good and its got a competative price tag
Style of Music: Rock and punk
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"Neither I, my children, nor their children will purchase any Mackie device, ever."
Sound: Some channels drop out, some would sound tinny, and others would mysteriously get quieter over time. This is my 2nd 1604vlz pro that's done this over the years. I've been an avid Mackie user until last Sunday. I should've known better after the first one did this (fool me once..). My local music store keeps pushing a VLZ3 on me saying it has fewer problems but I'm done with Mackie. [ Please read the Quality section below ] Feature: The rotopod in the back offers great connectivity options, so I can standardize my gear and simply carry a ton of TRS to TRS patch cables and be pretty sure I can have every effects box covered. At first, I figured the routing options simply added more complexity than was necessary. But each plug filled a niche that would randomly pop up. It's well planned, that's for sure. Ease of Use: The mixer has a series of compromises to make it smaller and more portable. So I ended up needing TRS to XLR adapters on the outputs to support SRM-450s and SR1530's. This is pretty minor though. Quality: This is where this device really gets bad. The first 1604VLZ Pro I bought came out of the box with a channel that had weaker output than the others on a pink noise generator test. I attributed it to manufacturing variances and thought nothing of it. About 3 months later, that channel started to drop out randomly. I did another test and noticed that 2 MORE channels were now weak. After a year, those channels started to drop out randomly (DURING PERFORMANCES). This was an absolute disaster. I had to pull out my backup mixer (an old 1404VLZ Pro) and a handful of channel preamps and wire this up in a few minutes. Not fun. Warranty repair isn't an option if I'm going to be out a mixer for a few weeks. I sold this one on craigslist as a parts unit and the guy who bought it told me that 1604VLZ Pros had this problem and that the fix was fairly easy. Sure it is, if you have a 1000 dollar soldering/desoldering iron and a few hours to unscrew 100 nuts and 2 dozen screws, a 500 dollar tester to test, desolder and resolder new caps, desolder and resolder flex connectors and then inspect these under a microscope to make sure there were no bridges and the joints were good quality. I've worked in SMD repair and these non-specific fixes are a crap shoot at best. Google searches revealed that the flex connectors in the rotopod frequently developed problems. Look it up for yourself. Value: Having replaced two of these in as many years, this is a particularly bad value. The machine sounds good when it's new, then it progressively gets worse until it randomly begins to cut out channels. Manufacturer Support: This is what really irks me. Mackie wanted me to pay shipping to send it to them under warranty. This would've cost over $100 in shipping overnight. But they wouldn't ship it back overnight...and it would take weeks to repair. I would need a mixer the following weekend, so this wasn't a good option to begin with. See, if the mixer was cheap, I would chalk it up to experience and buy something better. This is sold as a premium product but it doesn't include the premium quality or support. The Wow Factor: Slick marketing, shiny brochures and good technical specs. Overall: This was BY FAR the worst review I've ever given to any product. But that's because it covers two that went bad THE SAME EXACT WAY. I'm actually done with Mackie products. I have this joke I told people last Sunday, that neither I, my children nor their children will ever purchase anything from Mackie, ever. Out of the box, their products are really good. But they all seem to go bad fairly quickly. I've got an SRM-450 that's been buzzing since a week after I got it. It's noticeable but I just deal with it because return shipping is sooo expensive. Little things like that.
Style of Music: rock, pop
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