Mackie DL1608 16-Channel Live Wireless Mixer
PROS: Effortless wireless mixing, iPad integration, Onyx preamps, price.
CONS: None whatsoever.
Okay, let’s start with the negatives…there are none. So let’s get to all the good stuff, shall we? Mackie’s new DL1608 live mixer is the killer app for the touring band that wants great sound, and the ability to control and shape that sound, onstage, in any live setting. Featuring 16 Onyx preamps (plenty for most live acts), sound quality was exceptional at volumes across the board. At first, we were a bit wary of how well the iPad would integrate with the mixer, but once we fired up the Master Fader app and paired the units, usability was seamless and thankfully incredibly easy. In short, it just works. Whew!
The big selling point of the DL1608, though, is its wireless mixing capabilities. We ran a number of tests, including one where (with even a weak WiFi signal), we were able to mix a 4-piece band using the iPad clipped to one of the group’s mic stands. They performed several songs and were able to, on-the-fly, control the mixer through the iPad’s touch interface. Need a vocal boost? With the Master Fader app, simply slide that virtual fader and you’re good to go. No need to wait for the club’s sound guy to stop hitting on that girl by the door in order to actually pay attention to the board.
Now, the Master Fader app has a ton of controls and parameters that we don’t have the space for in this review. Suffice to say, however, that the software/hardware integration works perfectly out of the box, and the learning curve is basically non-existent if you’ve ever used an iOS app and/or live mixer before. We were pleasantly surprised at the unit’s ease-of-use, sound quality and the freedom the DL1608 affords bands and live sound engineers at the club level. The DL1608 gets our highest recommendation.
Mic Preamps: 16 Onyx (12 x XLR, 4 x Combo)
Line Inputs: 16 (12 x XLR, 4 x Combo)
Main Outputs: 2 x XLR
Send/Return I/O: 6 x TRS sends
Phantom Power: Switchable (one switch for all channels)
EQ: 4-band fully parametric per channel, 31-band graphic master bus
Aux Sends: 6
FX: Compression, Reverb, Delay
Rackmountable: Yes, with optional kit