IK Multimedia iRig Pro Vs. Mackie 1402VLZ4: Head To Head Comparison – READ BEFORE YOU BUY!!

Choosing the right mixer when there are so many on the market these days isn't easy.
Especially when many of them are built for one specific need but being marketed as an all-rounder 🙄
But not to worry, I've got ya!
I have taken a deep dive into two beasts in the audio-mixing game and gone head to head with them: IK Multimedia iRig Pro vs. Mackie 1402VLZ4.

We're looking at things like:
  • Sound Quality: This is the heart of the matter, right? How each mixer holds up in delivering crisp, clear audio. Are we talking about a mixer that makes your tracks sound like they're live from the garage, or are we hitting studio-quality sound?
  • Ease of Use: Nobody wants to spend hours figuring out which button does what. I’ll break down the user interface of both IK Multimedia iRig Pro and Mackie 1402VLZ4. Are they plug-and-play easy, or will you need a PhD in mixology to use them?
  • Features and Functions: Ie. What's under the hood? Let's find out what sets them apart.
  • Durability: No matter your reason for buying, you want something that's gonna last, not fall apart after a few light sessions.
  • Price Point: Yep, money talks. When it comes to prices, we need to see which mixer gives us more bang for our buck. Is the higher price of one justified by its features, or is the other a hidden gem at a bargain price?
  • Customer Reviews and Feedback: What's the word on the street? Sometimes real-world use tells a different story than what the sales page says.

IK Multimedia iRig Pro

Unboxing and First Impressions

The IK Multimedia Quattro I/O is a compact yet feature-rich audio interface that stands out in its class. It's impressively lightweight and efficient, making it a versatile choice for musicians and audio engineers alike. When I first unpacked it, its intuitive control surface, reminiscent of other IK Multimedia devices, immediately struck a chord with me.

Recording and Input Quality

Crystal Clear Recordings with Zero Lag

My initial tests involved recording simple tracks into Logic using a microphone and guitar direct line. The input levels were a breeze to set, resulting in crystal clear recordings with no noticeable lag. The device was instantly recognized by Logic, offering seamless integration. The onboard phantom power efficiently powered my condenser mic, though it required some fine-tuning to achieve the perfect level.

Build and Connectivity

Sturdy Design with Versatile Connection Options

The build quality of the Quattro I/O feels durable, and its provision of MIDI in and out, high-end XLR output, and a variety of power options (battery or USB) add to its versatility. Its compatibility with computers and mobile devices is a significant advantage, making it a great choice for both studio and mobile use. The inclusion of all necessary cables and a tripod attachment is a thoughtful addition, enhancing its usability in live settings.

Standalone Mixer Functionality

Limited EQ Controls, but Stellar Sound Output

As a standalone mixer, the Quattro I/O performs admirably. While it lacks EQ controls on the surface, the quality of sound output when paired with external mic preamps or effect pedals is outstanding. This capability makes it a valuable tool for live performances.

Portability and Power Efficiency

Battery Life and Mobile Device Compatibility

The device's portability is enhanced by its ability to run on battery power when used standalone or with mobile devices. While I haven't fully tested the battery life limits, its performance in this mode has been reliable. The quick response from IK Multimedia support regarding a missing serial number/registration card was impressive and speaks volumes about their customer service.

Pros and Cons

Deep Feature Set with Room for Improvement

Pros: The Quattro I/O excels in its compact and lightweight design, making it easy to transport. Its deep feature set, including excellent mic pres, flexible input/output options, and compatibility across devices, sets it apart. Its functionality as a standalone mixer and inclusion of 48-volt phantom power are also noteworthy.
Cons: Despite its many strengths, there are some limitations, particularly for specific uses such as DJ'ing streaming, as some users have reported issues with sound quality and device freezing. Additionally, some users have found difficulties in processing effects on iPads.

Mackie 1402VLZ4

I'll be honest, I only bought the Mackie 1402VLZ4, a 14-channel compact mixer, to test it out and review, but here's what I think…

First Impressions

Right out of the box, the mixer's design caught my eye. It's sleek and not as bulky as some of its counterparts, making it a good fit for smaller spaces. The build, however, felt a bit different compared to the older VLZ3 models. The glide knobs, for instance, seemed a bit on the cheaper side. Despite this, the sound quality didn't disappoint. It's that clear, crisp Mackie output I've come to expect from their mixers.

Usability and Features

Functionally, this mixer does its job well. The monitor mix setup is simple and intuitive. Especially useful was the way the first monitor mix worked with the monitor master and the second with the slider control. This distinction is great for managing different vocalists or instruments. The mixer’s sound is good and quiet, which is a plus for recording or live settings.

Durability Concerns

A notable change from previous models is the move from a metal to a plastic case. This shift might raise some durability concerns. I can't shake off the feeling that it might not withstand the rigors of frequent transportation or heavy use.

Quality and Longevity

While the overall performance of the Mackie 1402VLZ4 is commendable, it's hard to ignore the change in quality over the years. There have been some issues with the volume trim pots becoming scratchy or cutting out prematurely, which can be frustrating. It seems like a step down from the legendary durability Mackie mixers used to boast.

Head 2 Head: IK Multimedia iRig Pro or Mackie 1402VLZ4

IK Multimedia iRig Pro: Light, Tight and Outta Sight

Say hello to the IK Multimedia iRig Pro, a pocket-sized powerhouse of an audio interface that's just as comfortable in a music production studio as it is being the star of your on-the-go recording equipment. Just don't lose it in your jean pocket.

Mackie 1402VLZ4: Analog Mixer with Digital Dreams

On the other side of the ring, we have the Mackie 1402VLZ4, an analog mixer with dreams of being a digital mixer when it grows up. It's sleek, compact, and has a sound quality so crisp you'd think you were biting into an apple fresh from the orchard.

Now let's get down to brass tacks.

iRig Pro: The Chameleon Audio Interface

What sets the IK Multimedia iRig Pro apart is its ability to adapt to any situation like a chameleon in a bag of Skittles. It’s not just an audio interface but also moonlights as a standalone mixer when required. Though it could use some EQ controls, this little dynamite delivers stellar sound output when hooked up with external mic preamps or effect pedals. And yes, it does come with MIDI in and out, high-end XLR output, making this portable interface more versatile than a Swiss Army knife.

Mackie 1402VLZ4: Reliable Old Faithful

The Mackie 1402VLZ4 is like that sturdy old truck that keeps chugging along no matter what you throw at it. The usability is simple and intuitive, making this analog mixer perfect for managing different vocalists or instruments during live sets or studio sessions.

While the move from a metal to a plastic case might raise some eyebrows, it doesn’t take away from the reliable music production quality that Mackie is known for. Sure, the design might not be as robust as previous models (I'm looking at you, VLZ3), but it's still a workhorse.

And The Winner Is…

Drumroll, please… After careful deliberation and multiple cups of coffee, the winner has to be – IK Multimedia iRig Pro.

So why does the iRig Pro take home the golden microphone? It's all about versatility and adaptability. Whether you're in your home studio or on a cross-country tour bus, this portable interface delivers outstanding sound quality while also being compatible with both computers and mobile devices.

Its ability to function as a standalone mixer gives it an edge over the Mackie 1402VLZ4. And let's not forget its onboard phantom power and high-end XLR output – features that make this audio interface a must-have piece of studio gear.

So whether you're an aspiring musician or an established audio engineer, if you want studio-quality recordings with zero lag, then IK Multimedia iRig Pro is your ticket to ride. Just remember where you put it because this little beast is easy to misplace!