MACKIE 1604 VLZ4 Mixer Review

by | Mar 13, 2014 | Best Studio Mixers, Live Mixers

PROS: Well built, great sounding EQ, useful in several formats.
CONS: Might be overkill for small bands.
PRICE: $899

Not too long ago, the quality-to-price factor in compact mixers was pretty sad. When Mackie came on the scene, they were able to make a high quality mixer for a fair price, and the pro audio world hasn’t been the same since. Their VLZ series mixers have been around for a while, and their newest incarnations still could be called the gold standard for mixers.

This is pretty much the bread and butter of mixers, with 16 channels, super easy connections with 1/4” and XLR ins and outs; nothing out of the ordinary there. Each channel sports Aux sends and a 4-band EQ, the ability to submix 4 separate groups, as well as a tactile fader. Headphone and tape in and outs are here as well. It’s definitely a step up from most table top mixers, as it can be configured to be mounted in a rack system, with the patch bay being mounted facing front. No onboard effects, but considering the price, and at this point, using external effects will give better overall performance.

So who’s this for? For a small club this would make an excellent front of house mixer, or even a monitor mixer, due to its construction and mud-free, transparent sound quality. As a home studio deck its equally exceptional, considering the ample amount of channels and the superb preamps, which deliver crystal clear audio on each channel without fear of clipping or unwanted signal noise. For most bands in a practice studio it may be a bit of overkill, but the fact it can be used for several formats really give it a decent value for the money.


  • 16 great-sounding mic preamps
  • Balanced main outputs
  • Inserts per channel
  • RCA and 1/4″ inputs
  • Sweep mid EQ
  • Six AUX sends