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Rating and Reviews: Mackie 402VLZ4 4-Channel

Get Mackie build quality in a small footprint with the 402VL4 mixer -- the perfect choice when all you need is 2 XLR mic preamps and 2 1/4" line inputs.

User Ratings
Ease of Use
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
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"Fantastic product, one total packaging fail" submitted January 16, 2014

By Dan Morris in Bellevue, WA
Ease of Use
Manufacturer Support
The Wow Factor
Musical Background: Primarily guitar and bass, tinker with keys and other strings
Music Style: Pop, rock
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Overall: I use this mixer primarily to route various sound devices on my DAW to monitors and headphones; I will also use it occasionally for small (vox+guitar) acoustic shows. Sound is as clean as advertised, new rubber dials feel as awesome as advertised. Basically as a small mixer, this is perfect. I also highlight the main reason I bought this over competitors: very few mixers have the headphone output pre-master-fader, making it impossible to mute the mains from the mixer and still have headphone output. This has truly independent main/phone volume, critical for the home studio application I'm using it for. And generally, it has a "wow factor" that I wouldn't think a no-frills small mixer could have; as much as it's possible, I totally want to own and play with this no-frills small mixer. And of course, Mackie writes the best manuals in the business, though I can't imagine why you'd need it; labeling is crystal clear. One thing I'm going to ding this for... I'm generally a positive reviewer and try not to be petty or unreasonable. But there was one packaging fail here that was really surprising for Mackie... inside the box, they decided to include an ad for the whole VLZ series on a little postcard. Fine, everyone does that. For some reason, they used an elastic string to attach it TO THE MAIN VOLUME KNOB ON THE MIXER. I don't know why they did this; it wasn't going to fall out of the box. Somehow (don't know if this is what they meant) that string was knotted TIGHT around the knob. Because of the tight seal at the bottom of the knobs that Mackie claims as an important new feature - there was no hope of getting the knot out. My choices were: (1) try to get a safety pin in and scratch up my beautiful new mixer, and (2) cut it, and leave a piece of elastic string forever on my beautiful new mixer. Ironically, I tried (1), which didn't work, so now I have small scratches AND a small piece of elastic string forever stuck to my master volume knob. Also ironic that the product itself is so awesome that OF COURSE if I needed a larger mixer, I would reach for the VLZ4 series. Sigh.
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