Mackie DL1608 Review

Mackie DL1608 ReviewIt’s amazing to think how far the iPad has come in its short existence. No longer a device to merely check email and play Angry Birds, a few short years has seen the iPad transform from a novelty item into an indispensable tool and Mackie is right there spearheading the way.

In October 2012, Mackie released the first mixer to be entirely controlled by an iPad: the Mackie DL1608.

>> Read more reviews for the Mackie DL1608 on Amazon <<

It essentially combines a 16 channel digital mixer with the mobility of an iPad—a revolutionary idea that impacts both amateur and professional sound engineers alike.

With the Mackie DL1608, the iPad replaces most of the hardware of previous mixers which means fewer real faders and knobs. All the standard mixer adjustments are controlled by swiping, pinching, and tapping your iPad screen instead. Each channel on your iPad is loaded with tons of plugins (e.g., 4-band EQ, gate, compression, limiting, reverb, delay) which eliminate the need for additional outboard gear.

[wp-review] PROS:
First mixer to be entirely controlled by an iPad; Wireless connection allows for roaming while mixing

CONS:
Only stereo mixes can be recorded, not individual channels; Lack of built-in WiFi access point

The audio is still processed by the hardware mixer via 16 Onyx mic preamps and 24-bit Cirrus Logic AD/DA converters—assuring us that Mackie’s stellar sound quality remains intact. 12 of these 16 inputs are XLR plus 4 combo mic/line ins. The outputs consist of 6 aux outputs, stereo XLR master outs, and a headphone jack with level control. 16 physical knobs—each with its own LED clip signal—are also included for manual control, probably to serve as a backup for iPad-related problems.

The Mackie DL1608 includes an ethernet port to connect the mixer to a wireless router. This means that you’re no longer confined to a mixing desk to check levels and settings. By undocking the iPad, a wireless connection allows you to roam wherever you like to make adjustments to your mix. That said, the user experience could be improved if Mackie were to include a built-in WiFi access point in future iterations.

The mixer and router are connected by the Mackie Master Fader app (available at the iTunes App Store) and the setup process seems pretty straight-forward. The newly upgraded app also now enables you to store and recall presets for every plug-in. Unfortunately, the DL1608 doesn’t include recall input gains like those included with some Yamaha boards.

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The front panel of the Mackie DL1608 easily allows you to slide in/out your iPad (each iPad generation is accommodated) and the included Padlock feature makes it possible to install your iPad as a permanent fixture. The DL1608 also comes with a Kensington lock to help prevent your iPad from being stolen.

>> Read more reviews for the Mackie DL1608 on Amazon <<

Mackie DL1608 Review Another standout feature of the Mackie DL1608 is its ability to support up to 10 iPads. This means that multiple engineers can control the mix and each musician can monitor his/her own mix while on stage. While a great idea, Mackie overlooked potential security issues with this setup. Imagine every musician turning himself/herself up in the main channel and you start to get an idea of where things can go wrong.

In future iterations, Mackie should include a password control feature that restricts band members/multiple engineers to monitoring their own mix. Another complaint we have with the DL1608 is its inability to record individual channels; currently only stereo mixes can be recorded. Still, these are minor gripes when considering the massive value this mixer provides.

The introduction of the Mackie DL1608 to the marketplace has changed the game as far as live sound mixing is concerned. The iPad connectivity alone gives Mackie a distinct advantage over other mixers because it makes the mixing process that much easier. And the fact that the unit is also ergonomic, compact, portable, and affordable makes it even more powerful. The Mackie DL1608 therefore gets our highest stamp of approval.

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