MACKIE DL32s Digital Mixer REVIEW

In the studio, performers want every option, with the ability to fine tune every possible aspect. Live, that same performer wants simplicity and performance. Mackie’s DL32S brings the detailing of the studio to the live user, but can also bring the workflow simplicity of the live realm to the studio.

First off, this unit is well thought out physically, and with rubberized bumpers on all corners, it has a tactical/durable feel that should handle anything, including that “roadie” who insists on helping you load out in exchange for a ride home! 16 XLRs as well as 16 combo input jacks occupy the front, along with 10 XLR outputs. Headphones output and controls also reside here, along with the WiFi antenna. Yep this baby can go wireless! As there’s no control surfaces, the method of interacting with the mixer is through a computer (MAC or PC), via USB or through a tablet or smartphone (Android or iOS) wirelessly. If you need to go for longer distances, or line of sight is questionable, connect it to a wireless router for better connectivity. Setup was a breeze, by the way.

Mackie has long since had their Master Fader app/program that’s free to download, and that is what runs things here, as well. Now you CAN run it from an iPhone, but in this application, the bigger the screen, the better, and in most cases, a laptop is probably going to be the best choice. Short of that, an iPad should fit the bill nicely (and will likely be a bit more mobile-friendly, anyway).

We’ve had some experience with Mackie program in the past, and it offers up studio level sound sculpting at a very high level. The user can access EQ, high pass filters, compression and noise gates on every input with the touch of a finger. Need an effect? Reverbs, delays, modulations, all editable, and customizable. Bus sends and submixes, done! Let’s say you play a venue that’s huge, and doesn’t need a delay, but some EQ to deal with the odd shaped room. You can save these settings for when your band plays there again, which is a lifesaver. Have a regular gig at a little coffee house that needs some echo? Save those settings, and they’re ready to go, for the next gig there! Even for install scenarios and houses of worship, this can be the indispensable tool you’ve been looking for.

Master Fader also allows the ability for the players to control their individual monitor mixes via their smartphone or tablet. So many bands rely on the sound person to tell them how they sound from the front of house mix, but the Mackie has an on board hard disk. A great application is to do a song during sound check, and then play it back through the PA, and let the band tell the sound person to adjust levels during playback. With this option, the musicians on stage can easily run the mix on their own, without help from a sound person. Want to release that live album? Record your set, and it can be mixed and processed at a later date. Yeah this is the way to go!

Ok, now that the live situation is more than covered for pretty much anything, using it as a USB interface to a DAW is a great way for this to do double duty. Set it up like any other interface, with your software of choice, and it’s good to go. The ONYX preamps were really nice for both dynamic and condenser mics we tested, with no odd coloring, and since there are 32 inputs with them, there should be no bottleneck there!

So, is it a live mixer that doubles as a DAW interface, or is it an interface that can do live mixing? That’s entirely up to the user but considering the options it brings to both live and recording realms, it can solve a lot of problems you probably didn’t know could be solved.

PROS:

excellent track/channel to dollar ratio, app has plenty of control options and applications. Works great as DAW interface, and live mixer.

CONS:

None.

STREET PRICE:

$1299

Like this? Share this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *