MACKIE 1202VLZ4 any thoughts?


Thanks! The monitoring info makes sense and I’m not too concerned about the scratch you noted.


I also had this mixer for many years without trouble. I now use the Yamaha MG12XU which is also a good mixer however the USB integration with DAW is lacking so I never use it.


Love my 1202. I’m only moving on because I’ve run out of routing options. Here’s couple of tricks I’ve used to maximise my 1202:

  • Alt 3/4 can be used for two group insert effects. Plug the Alt 3 and Alt 4 outputs into each effect’s input and route the FX outputs back into the 1202 (use the tape return if you don’t have any channels left). Now you can send channel outputs to insert FX by pressing the Alt 3/4 button and the using pan to control which FX you’re sending the channel to. Effectively this gives you three insert FX (if you include the pre-fader Send 1).

  • set up self oscillating delays (even on units that don’t self oscillate) by plugging the delay’s input into a send, then routing the delay’s output back into a channel. Channel level now controls self oscillation.

  • Master FX using tape return - take the master output and plug it into stereo FX (e.g. looper, compressor etc). Then take the FX output and plug it into the tape return. Now select the tape return as the control room source. Control room output is now post-master FX output.


Wish I had known all this and I would have not sold mine.


Alt3/4 is a great option for sure, but if you wanted to keep the setup that you have, one option would be aux 1 as pre fader. Aux1 level would control the send to Digitakt and you could turn the channel level all the way down and monitor from DT. It would only use one input of DT and if stereo be summed to mono in the mackie instead of DT.:large_blue_diamond:


Great tips! Out of curiosity, what mixer have you upgraded to?


I needed (well, wanted) more pre-fader send fx and happened upon a well looked after Studiomaster Trilogy 206 for cheap. It’s certainly not high end, but it’s got fourteen mono channels, two stereo channels, six sends, four stereo returns, four busses and sweepable mid eq. A lot bigger than then 1202 though…


Nice. What I really need to research is if there are any older Japanese mixers worth searching for. I live in Tokyo and lots of older gear shows up on the auctions, and on the used market, but I really don’t know what to look for.


agree, zed 10 sounds great, low noise great eq and preamps. usb connectivity. with two more stereo ch would be perfect, but i find it useful as is, mostly because great sound and build quality. Small footprint…


I was in the same boat, so I wrote down a little table with all my outputs (synths, drum machines, fx returns and an old laptop running rebirth), the fx I wanted as inserts (mostly stomp boxes) the fx I wanted in parallel (delays and verbs) and master fx (looper and filter via an iPad). When I tallied it all up I needed something analog with 12 inputs, four inserts, 2 busses for cross fading and a master insert. I don’t really care about preamps because all my gear is line level. The 206 fits the bill but a Mackie 1642 would probably do as well.

One thing to look out for is mixers that have sends but no (or limited returns), which means you have to use channel tracks instead. Some of the Yamaha and A&H mixers are like this. Not an issue for some, but it was for me.

For me it’s about routing options, as I’m basically trying to get a dub style setup where the mixer is the instrument conducting my sequenced gear. I saw Underworld a couple of weeks ago here in Melbourne and got inspired by Rick Smith’s approach to using a mixing desk as a live instrument. The insane PA and venue acoustics certainly didn’t hurt the experience…


This makes perfect sense since the DT only samples mono anyway


How to use the Aux sends is covered in the manual that comes with the mixer - I got the 1202VLZ4 a few months ago, sat down with the manual for roughly 20 minutes, became pretty comfortable with using aux sends/returns, and am currently using a sherman filter bank and empress reverb fx unit on the two aux chls.


And you’ll have another input free on DT for whatever… :large_orange_diamond:


I’m so happy with the 1202VLZ4 over the 802 I used to have, I’m saving up for either the 1402VLZ4 or the 1640VLZ4.

Long story short, for gain staging, I need more channels with gain adjustment.


I’m definitely in the same boat. I have added up everything I’m planning in the near future and it looks like the 1202 will do what I want with a little room to grow. The other advantages the 1202 has over everything else I’ve looked at is size and cost. Space is a big issue for me since I live in Tokyo. If the 1202 can handle everything for me it is a huge plus. I figure at the price, I can afford to use it until I outgrow it, and by then I should have a much better idea about what I want to upgrade to. At this stage, I don’t want to throw extra money at something that takes up a lot of space, especially if it’s unclear if it is the best option.

But, yeah, I too am interested in dub style mixing using external effects. Hopefully the 1202 will be a good board to get a bit of experience on.


I’m also curious what people’s thoughts on about the 1604 vs 1642. The inputs in the back on the 1604 seem like it would make for a much cleaner setup and all mono channels seems like it would give the most flexibility.


Yeah - the 1202 is a great sandbox with plenty of routing options for such a small unit. Plus it’s really cheap.

The 1642 should be cheaper than the 1604 as it has sweepable eq and inserts only on the 8 mono channels, whereas the 1604 has 16 mono channels each with inserts and sweepable EQ. As you can could use the sub mix outputs to get around the lack of inserts on the 1642’s stereo channels I’d probably go with the 1642 if you don’t need the sweepable eqs, inserts or 16 mic inputs on every channel. Stereo channels are also less cumbersome when mixing stereo devices like MachineDrum. Maybe worth tallying up your input devices to work out how many stereo channels you need (if any) and let that guide you.


Alt 3/4 and panning is a great idea, thanks.


Thanks for all the info everyone! I decided to order a 1202 (and a Digitakt). I can’t wait! I’ll let you guys know how it goes.


Really I feel the size to feature ratio is perfect on this thing. Sure I could maybe tinker with a few more routing options but the size jumps up a lot from the 1202, which does everything I really need, and more routing options for me tends to lead to overly complex experiments which while fun usually don’t get me any further towards my live set… :smile_cat: Its a real nice size mixer for taking around with you…