Friday, March 4, 2011

Mixing It Up: A Mackie 402-VLZ3 Review

Are you a solo musician?  Podcaster?  Ever wanted to just make a simple recording at home?  Sometimes expensive interfaces and large mixing boards don't really make things easier.  Enter Mackie's 402-VLZ3 micro mixer.

There are quite a few direct-to-USB mic adapters and USB Podcast kits available if you just need one mic. But what if you want to record in stereo?  Or just need a simple, but high quality mixer for a couple of mics during a live gig?  And maybe have an iPod as a backing track?  A lot of micro mixers just come with one microphone input...and a whole lot of line-in/stereo ins.

Mackie has offered a very different solution.  A micro mixer with 2 high quality XDR pre-amps, and 2 (if you count the Rec-In) pairs of stereo inputs.

This is great for home studio recordings, live solo gigs, or basic podcasting needs.

The 402 is part of Mackie's VLZ line which means that it comes with their higher-end XDR preamps.  These sound fuller and quieter than the ones found on their CFX boards.

It doesn't have pan-controls for the mics however, they're either center/mono, or a full left-right split.  Depending on your needs, this may or may not be a deal-breaker.  There are no mid-eq controls either, but the mic ins do come with a high-pass (lo-cut) filter, as well as built-in DI switches on both mic inputs for instrument connectivity.

It's a great little mixer, and you'd be hard pressed to find anything that can match it in terms of flexibility, price, quality, durability, and size.  It would be a great addition to any music production setup, whether it be as an on-stage monitor control, home studio mixer, or just to add 2 more preamps to an existing board.  If only they could've made it battery powered like the Peavey RQ200... this would've been a killer mobile rig as well.


**Hallo, ich lerne Deutsch und ich kann ein paar Fragen zu beantworten.
Je parle un peu français aussi. Je peux répondre à des questions sur mes messages.**

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