MACKIE 1202VLZ4 any thoughts?


apologies, a bit of a n00b-ish/ignorant inquiry regarding the lower end Mackie mixers… I recently purchased a Mix8 on impulse, as I’ve got a fairly minimal setup and tend toward more impromptu live jamming and sketching sound art. Is the sound quality (noise) etc. markedly worse compared to the VLZ series? I understand that the features are far more limited on a Mix8 compared to the VLZ series, but I’m only using a small synth, with a Digitakt, along with other lo fi miscellanea, with very minimal effects… I’m just looking to blend elements, taking advantage of the basic eq’s etc. Would I have any use for the pre-amps besides for recording purposes? Do the pre-amps affect direct, line-in signals (1/4") ? Should I be considering the VLZ series for better, or cleaner, more transparent or tightened sound qualities? Appreciate any feedback, thank you.


Yeah, you got it right.

There’s also another two outputs, Control Room (#7 and #8) that can be set to either Main Mix (whatever is coming out of the master out), Alt 3/4 (whatever is muted) or Tape (tape input), or a combination of those 3, and it has its own separate volume control. So you have even more flexibility as to where your signal is sent.

The Aux 1 can be set to pre-fader if you like. So on this aux you can have a fully wet effect.

To top things off, the master output comes out of the jack outputs, but there’s also copies of it on two XLR outs as well. Comes in handy sometimes if you want to send your main mix to two different places.

This mixer really is awesome! I have the old, non-VLZ version which I picked up for around £70 and my only complaint is that it makes a little bit of noise in the room (internal fan?).


thank you very much! I really like the fact to be that flexible. Only the price is a bit high but I can understand that it is a high quality product. As an alternative I found out about the Soundcraft EPM6 with which I could also have like 6 seperate outputs. this one is 100€ cheaper – do you have a reason for me to choose one over the other? thanks


Can’t comment on the Soundcraft, sorry. The features of the Mackie have remained unchanged for the past like 15 years they’ve been making it (I think they made some slight upgrades to the preamps and aesthetics, that’s it) so you can always try to track down a used one for cheap.


Most small analogue mixers sound fine these days. The differences are more in build quality, knob feel, and features.


I’ve heard that the Onyx preamps are a pretty big step up, so it might be worth getting a new one if mics are important.


Mackie’s are totally reasonably priced. There will always be race-to-the-bottom makers who will try to bedazzle you with offers of comparable features and quality. But I have found it costs more in the end to take such bait. Being frugal is admirable, but at a certain point you are just buying disposable trash. Don’t do that.


To add to that, if this to be a studio-only based mixer, your money might be better spent elsewhere (the new Soundcraft Signature mixers come to mind.)

But if we’re talking about live use (as I was), then I don’t think in terms of reliability anything comes close to Mackie. My opinion is that for the build quality plus features, it’s amazingly priced.


well, it’s not for live-use but for an installation setup in art context.

got an offer for 150 € for a 1202 VLZ (first generation), mint condition. Still not sure if this one will be good enough or if I should get newest available mixer in terms of best build quality, preamps and stuff for future projects, too. Anyone with experience buying a second hand mixer?


Just like with other used gear, the only way to truly know is to test it out for yourself. Since that is often not possible, most of us are taking a leap of faith… or at least a calculated risk. And so it goes.

Another question to ask yourself: how much is the warranty on a new product worth to you? What’s the price difference for piece of mind?


Has anyone gone from using an Onyx to a VLZ4? Or been able to compare sound quality?

I need to make desk space & i’m thinking of selling my Onyx 1620i & getting a smaller VLZ4.

I tend to eq very little, & just find sounds that work well in the first place. So i don’t really use the finer eq on the Onyx. I’ve also cut down on the amount of send/return fx I use. So 2 is fine.

I really just need the overall mixer quality to be good, for studio recording.




I still want to have basic eq as an option, if needed. And a few extra channels are welcome. So the Split mix isn’t for me.

Good to know you’ve had direct comparisons.



Get the cheapest little Behringer that has the features you need.


Great Tip!


Switchmode, what mixer did you end up getting? I’m in a similar boat right now. Looking for a dub/dub techno setup style of mixer. Mackie 1642 is on my list of 4-5 potential purchases. Curious as to what you are using. Thanks!


i got 3 mackie mixers

1402 vlz3
1604 vlz3
802 vlz4

i have slight experience with the newer models,
but i‘m struggling hardly with overspeaking amps/channels.

my 1604 is nearly fully plugged and i‘m using the first 8 channels over direct out directly into the interface. the overspeaking is much too annoying to me :frowning:

flexibility is great, but for high quality, hot level multichanneling i‘m not advicing mackie boards!

in fact i wouldn‘t use a mixer if i had no sends …


Right, and the use case of pre-fader sends is pretty small. You’ll mostly want to use post fader anyway. You absolutely cannot go wrong with a Macjie VLZ mixer (if you need a mixer). They have a magic to them in how they mix the signals. Everything is clear and present compared to most everything else in their price range.


Inserts are unbalanced too so that may be why you’re experiencing issues with levels.


no level issues here,
i think u missunderstood …!?


Apparently I did :ooh: