GEAR REVIEW: Mackie ProFX16 Mixer

Pros: Easy, useable features. Small footprint. Flexible for live applications and recording.

Cons: Lack of handle for portability. Abridged manual in the box.

It’s hard to find a mixer that will work live, and as part of a decent recording system, but Mackie is bridging the gap between those two worlds with their ProFX16 mixer.

Like their entire mixer line, this one is beefy; however, with the portability factor that’s suggested, I’m a bit bummed there’s no real “handle” for it. Mackie does offer rack ears (not included) to mount the mixer in a rack for safe transport, though. An abridged manual was included which gives enough information to get started. A complete manual wasn’t included with our test unit, but available on Mackie’s website.

This unit has a lot to offer. It’s very sleek with 10 low noise microphone preamps, a 3-band EQ section with a sweepable midrange control. Channels 5-8 have dedicated inline compression, as well. There are the standard 1/4″ and XLR inputs, as well as outputs. Phantom power is there so any recording devices requiring extra juice, like condenser microphones, should be all set.

One feature that is amazing to see on a board of this size (and price) is the ability to group and sub mix channels. Ever wanted to lower all of the backing vocals together? Well now you can, with ease. A 7-band stereo graphic EQ rounds things out. For effects Mackie is included their “gig ready RMFX effects” section. They’re not radical sounding, more in the “fire and forget” area, no parameters or editing. The effects are concentrated in the ambience enhancement area, no reverse reverbs or quad flanging or such, just effects that are usable and musical. For additional control, there is a 1/4″ connection for a footswitch (not included) allowing the effects to be shut on or off on the fly. The graphic stereo EQ offers up a lot of sound sculpting, allowing the mix to be “tuned” to the room, without messing with the individual levels or EQ. Tape ins and outs are available for connections to any other item such as an iPod (via RCA Cables) or out to a recording device such as a CD burner or hard disk recorder.

On the rear there is a USB connection, allowing connection to a computer, and included with the ProFX mixer is Mackie’s Tracktion 3 software. The ability to use the mixer as a live tool and a recording tool is VERY nice. Bring a laptop to your rehearsal space, and the ability to multi track a band practice is no longer a chore. Using the mixer as a DAW interface is quite easy as well. The USB port can also be use to send audio from a computer to the mains, if desired.

Overall it’s got a lot going for it: plenty of channels, simple EQ, an easy effects section, inputs and outputs galore, and a low price. The flexibility to use it live or in your home studio gives it extra value.

FEATURES:

Mac and PC compatible

16-channel 4-bus mixer with onboard effects and USB I/O

10 low-noise, high-headroom Mackie mic preamps with +50dB gain range

Precision 7-band graphic EQ for tuning mains and monitors

3-band EQ with sweepable midrange on mono channels

16 high-headroom line inputs (8 mono, 4 stereo)

60mm faders for input channels, subgroups and mains

48V phantom power with LED for use with condenser mics

Rugged steel chassis

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1 Comment

  1. Barry

    October 2, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    There is no doubt that Mackie makes a useable product at a reasonable price but…..Since repair services have been given over to third parties, it’s a “use it ’til you lose it” company. I had a VLZ1604-Pro for years and it worked great. Until the day the right channel became intermittent. I took it to one of the “authorized” repair shops in the area who told me they couldn’t reproduce the problem but the trim pots, all of them, were bad. I NEVER had a problem with the trim. $300 I have a board that the right channel, immediately after bringing home, cut out in the first 10 min of use. I notified Mackie of this by e-mail and a letter sent to the president of the company. I never received any reply. Now I have a $1000 door stop. It is useless in it’s current state and if I have to spend another $300 I’ll look at a new board. This time though not Mackie. If it can’t be repaired for something that simple it’s a throw away. Not what I would expect from the company that constantly shows how “road worthy” their product is.

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