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Old October 20th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #1
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Which Mackie mixer to get?

I'm looking at the 1402-VLZ3 (Mackie | 1402-VLZ3 Fourteen Channel Mixer | 1402-VLZ3 | B&H), but I would kind of like a couple of extra mic inputs.

Has anybody used the CFX12MK2? (Mackie | CFX12MK2 12 Channel Mixer | CFX12-MKII | B&H Photo Video) Is it as rugged as the 1402?

Are there any features on one or the other that I will miss?
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Old October 20th, 2009, 09:38 PM   #2
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none. Crackie's have poor headroom. look at yamaha or G&L in the same price range
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Old October 21st, 2009, 12:31 AM   #3
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What's your application?

The CFX series are meant to be live mixers - they have some efx and graphic eq for that purpose.

The 1202 and 1402 and 1604 are meant for recording, but can also be used live.

I have used all of them, but not the MkII series. They're certainly OK for an inexpensive mixer. I use a 1202VLZPro as my monitor and source mixer for my NLE, a buddy who is running a small post house is using the 1402VLZPro for the same purpose. Likewise, another buddy using a 1604 for the same purposes, but when he wants to lay down narrative he uses an external preamp directly into his NLE, the preamp costs more than the 1604.

Mostly, we're using them as line-level mixers. Not great preamps, but certainly OK for many purposes. The CFX12 isn't something I'd use for recording, but only live sound mixing for pa work. My original CFX12 didn't seem as sturdy as the above mixers.

If you're looking for an inexpensive mixer with decent preamps that's a cut above Mackie, I'm a big fan of Soundcraft's mixers. Their latest preamp designs are darn good. You can, of course, spend way more than any Mackie or Soundcraft... and get a little more.

If you need as many as 16 preamps, the new Presonus StudioLive16.4.2 looks like a really interesting digital mixer, and has a firewire interface allowing you to bring it all into your favorite NLE to boot. Well, if your NLE/DAW can set up and arm 16 tracks for recording... Almost used one last week on a demo basis, unfortunately it wasn't available when needed, but I'm looking forward to seeing the thing in-person.
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Old October 21st, 2009, 08:49 AM   #4
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Basically I need to record lecture series. In some instances I would be feeding the PA system and in others I would just be splitting the existing microphones. I probably would not use the EQ much, if at all. I like the extra mic inputs on the CFX, extra outputs, and sub group outputs. It is however, much bigger and heavier, and this is something I would need to transport from gig to gig.
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Old October 21st, 2009, 08:52 AM   #5
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Just checked prices on Yamaha and they do indeed seem to offer way more bang for the buck. Are they as sturdy though? Client has specifically requested Mackie.
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Old October 21st, 2009, 09:28 AM   #6
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The 1402 is a very good mixer for this type of work, I've used two of them for the last 12 years. As you mentioned, having 6 mic inputs can be a limitation, but many wireless base-station receivers can output line-level signals too. As long as you set the input trims appropriately you shouldn't have any problems with headroom.
The 1402 doesn't have subgroups but you can use the Alt 3/4 outputs with appropriate pan control to route two fake subgroups back into other line-level inputs (or Aux Returns) that go to the main channels. Coupled with the aux sends, the split master faders and the pre-fade direct outs on channels 1-6, I can usually route everything as I need to, it just takes a little thinking ahead of time. Often I'm routing to the PA, multiple recorders and cameras, as well as the telephone feed. It gets a bit complex but I can always set up the mixer so I have independent level control to each downstream target, with some sources excluded from some targets. For example the high-sensitivity ambient audience mic that goes to the telephone input and recorders to catch an off-mic question is excluded from the PA or it would generate huge feedback.
One factor that is more convenient than you might imagine is the 1402 uses a regular detachable power cord. The power adapter for my Yamaha mixer is quite large and heavy. Despite the Yamaha's easier routing and subgroups, I usually don't carry it into the field because the Mackie and its rugged padded bag (optional) are much more easily and safely transported. The pocket on the Mackie bag also holds my Sennheiser phones that swivel flat. So they can't be left behind when I go out for a project, they are always packed and ready to travel.
As others have mentioned there are a lot of good mixer choices out there, I'm just elaborating on my experience with the 1402 (and also 1202's). I've never had a problem with mine.
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Old October 21st, 2009, 09:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Oakley View Post
none. Crackie's have poor headroom. look at yamaha or G&L in the same price range
Which Yamaha models would you recommend? Thanks! -JP
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 08:42 AM   #8
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I'm sure your client does not care which mixer you use as long as it sounds decent.
Yes, the Yamaha MG series mixers have a rather large line-lump PS.
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