Mackie 1402VLZ4 Vs. Midas MR18: Compared And Rated

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: Mackie 1402VLZ4 vs. Midas MR18.

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 Mackie 1402VLZ4 and Midas MR18. 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.

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.

Midas MR18

After thoroughly testing the Midas MR18 for a few months, I'm ready to spill all the details – the good, the bad, and the not-so-pretty. This mixer is a powerhouse in a compact package, perfect for both live sound and recording. Here's the full breakdown for anyone eyeing this mixer.

Sound Quality and Performance

Right off the bat, the sound quality is top-notch. The MR18 delivers a pristine audio experience with impressively low latency. Whether you're mixing live or laying down tracks in a studio, the clarity and warmth of the sound are remarkable. Plus, the variety of outputs offers immense flexibility, making it a versatile choice for various audio setups.

Build and Connectivity

The mixer is built tough with Neutrik connectors, ensuring robust and reliable connections. This is a big plus for anyone who's had to deal with flimsy ports in the past. The MR18's ease of configuration is another high point. It offers numerous signal routing options, catering to both planned and spontaneous audio needs. The price-to-quality ratio is exceptional, putting it ahead of competitors like the X-Air 18, especially with its superior Midas converters.

User Interface and Software

The software is intuitive and musician-friendly, not overly complicated like some gear designed with tech whizzes in mind. There's a wealth of online resources and user communities, which is a godsend for troubleshooting and getting creative with your setup. As an audio interface, it boasts 18 inputs and outputs, offering ample connectivity for most studio and live situations.

Challenges and Considerations

However, it's not all smooth sailing. While the MR18 is user-friendly, there's still a learning curve, especially if you're not used to digital mixers. It might take a bit of time to fully grasp all the features and make the most out of this mixer.

Also, while it works great as an audio interface, those who are looking for more integrated DAW control might find its capabilities a bit limited. It's more suited for live mixing and straightforward recording setups rather than complex studio productions.

Final Verdict

All in all, the Midas MR18 is a solid investment. It's especially great for live sound applications and straightforward recording needs. The sound quality is exceptional, and the flexibility in routing and connectivity is a major win. Just be ready to spend some time getting to know this mixer inside out. For its price point, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck. Just remember, while it excels in many areas, it might not be the perfect fit for those needing advanced studio integration.

Head 2 Head: Mackie 1402VLZ4 or Midas MR18

Mackie 1402VLZ4: Compact and Capable

The Mackie 1402VLZ4 is a sleek, compact audio mixer that doesn't skimp on performance. This 14-channel analog mixer is intuitive to use, making it a solid choice for beginners and professionals alike. Its slim design makes it a good fit for smaller spaces, whereas some soundboard equipment can feel like they're hogging all the real estate. Sound Quality and Performance

Let's talk turkey: sound quality. The 1402VLZ4 delivers the crisp, clear audio Mackie is known for. This mixing console makes setting up monitor mixes a breeze, with its first monitor mix linked to the monitor master and the second paired with the slider control. Perfect for managing different vocalists or instruments during live performances.

Design and Durability

The Mackie 1402VLZ4's design is both eye-catching and functional, though there have been some changes from previous models. The move from metal to plastic casing might raise eyebrows among those who favor sturdier live sound equipment. Similarly, the glide knobs don't feel as robust as they could be.

Quality Over Time

While the overall performance of this analog mixer is commendable, there have been reports of volume trim pots becoming scratchy or cutting out prematurely – not exactly what you want in your studio recording gear.

Midas MR18: A Powerhouse in a Compact Package

On to our second contender: the Midas MR18. This digital mixer is a real powerhouse, delivering top-notch sound quality and performance in a compact package. Whether you're mixing live sound or recording in the studio, the MR18's audio fidelity is hard to beat.

Build and Connectivity

The MR18 is built tough with Neutrik connectors, ensuring robust and reliable connections—a must in any professional audio setup. Its configuration options offer immense flexibility, catering to a range of audio needs. It's also priced competitively, making it a great value pick.

User Interface and Software

The software that comes with the MR18 is intuitive and easy to use. There's also a wealth of online resources available, perfect for troubleshooting or getting creative with your setup. However, while this digital mixer might be user-friendly, there is still a learning curve—especially for those new to digital mixers.

Potential Challenges

While the MR18 excels at live mixing and straightforward recording setups, those seeking advanced studio integration may find its capabilities somewhat limited. But don't let that deter you: for most users, this mixer will meet (and possibly exceed) their needs.

And the Winner Is…

After careful consideration (and much head-scratching), I've got to hand it to the Midas MR18. This digital mixer simply outperforms Mackie's 1402VLZ4 on several fronts: it offers superior build quality, more flexible connectivity options, exceptional sound quality, and excellent value for money. Don't get me wrong—the Mackie 1402VLZ4 is a solid piece of kit. But if I had to choose one piece of live sound equipment to take with me to a desert island (with electricity, of course), it would be the Midas MR18. The Mackie 1402VLZ4 would be an excellent choice for those new to sound mixing, or those looking for a compact, easy-to-use mixer. But for those seeking a more robust, versatile piece of studio recording gear that delivers exceptional audio fidelity and flexibility—the Midas MR18 is your go-to.