Mackie 1402VLZ4 Vs. Presonus StudioLive 1602: 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. Presonus StudioLive 1602.

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 Presonus StudioLive 1602. 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.

Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB

After having a little play around with the Studio Live 16 from PreSonus, here's my verdict:

Setup and Software Integration

Straight out of the box, the setup was a breeze. There are tons of YouTube tutorials available that make configuring individual channels for various inputs like mics, drums, and guitars pretty straightforward. The recording software, Studio One, is a gem – intuitive and powerful. I even upgraded to the professional version because of a sweet 50% off deal they were running, and I'm glad I did.

Sound Quality and Recording Capabilities

The sound quality, both live and recorded, is top-notch. There's a certain accuracy in playback that makes the live music sound just as it's being played. The mixer does a great job in capturing the essence of live performance without any loss in sound quality.

Customer Support: A Mixed Bag

While I personally didn't run into major issues, I've heard some chatter about PreSonus' customer support being a hit or miss. One user mentioned an issue with warranty support on a unit just 45 days old, which is concerning. It seems like your experience might vary depending on the problem at hand.

User-Friendliness and Learning Curve

For beginners, this board and the accompanying DAW are a godsend. They're easy to learn and use. Even if you're at an intermediate level, like me, you'll find the Studio Live 16 to be quite adaptable. You can record jam sessions, concerts, and even phone calls with ease.

Remote Access and Portability

A standout feature is the ability to control the mixer remotely via a laptop and router, which adds a layer of convenience, especially in live settings. However, some users might find this setup a bit cumbersome, as it requires extra gear (laptop and router) for remote access.

Overall Experience

Overall, the Studio Live 16 is a great piece of equipment for semi-pro studios, small churches, and clubs. Its integration with Studio One DAW is seamless, and the mixer itself offers a great range of features. However, the learning curve can be a bit steep, especially if you're transitioning from analog to digital, and the remote access setup might not be ideal for everyone.

In short, if you're looking for a digital mixer that feels somewhat analog, has scene-saving capabilities, and offers remote access (with a bit of setup), the Studio Live 16 could be a solid choice. Just keep in mind the potential support issues and the learning curve involved.

Head 2 Head: Mackie 1402VLZ4 or Presonus StudioLive 1602

In this audio mixer comparison, we have two contenders: the Mackie 1402VLZ4 and the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB. Both have their merits, but we're after one clear winner in this Mackie vs Presonus mixer showdown. So let's dive straight into it.

Mackie 1402VLZ4: Compact but Compromised?

The Mackie 1402VLZ4 is a sleek little number that doesn't take up too much space. It's like that compact car you squeeze into tight parking spots – perfect for smaller spaces where an industrial-sized mixer would be overkill.

Usability and Features

It handles its job of mixing quite smoothly. The monitor mix setup, in particular, deserves a special shoutout for intuitive design and functionality. This live sound mixer could easily handle a band with multiple vocalists or instruments without breaking a sweat.

Not Quite Built Like a Tank

However, the move from metal to plastic housing might raise some eyebrows – especially those who like their gear to have that robust, road-ready feel. This change could potentially compromise the durability of this analog mixer.

Quality and Longevity

While it does offer the signature Mackie sound quality, there are concerns over longevity issues with volume trim pots becoming scratchy or failing prematurely.

The Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB: An All-Rounder?

On to the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB now! Setup is as easy as pie, especially with a treasure trove of YouTube tutorials that can turn a novice into an audio warrior in no time.

Sound Quality and Recording Capabilities

Speaking of sound quality, the StudioLive 16 really shines. It captures the essence of performances perfectly whether live or recorded. If you're a stickler for sound accuracy, this might just tickle your fancy.

Customer Support: A Bit Dicey

One area where Presonus could do better is their customer support. It's like that restaurant you love but has inconsistent service – sometimes it's great, other times not so much, which could be an issue for some users.

User-Friendliness and Learning Curve

Another feather in the StudioLive 16’s cap is its user-friendliness. It's like your favorite pair of shoes – comfortable and easy to use right off the bat. This board and accompanying DAW are perfect for beginners and intermediates alike.

A Touch of Convenience

The ability to control this mixer remotely is quite handy, but it does come with a caveat: you'll need extra gear (a laptop and router) to set up this feature. Imagine being able to adjust your mix from across the room without being tethered to the board – how cool is that?

The Verdict
So after this soundboard comparison showdown, who takes home the crown? Drum roll please… The winner is… The Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB! While both mixers performed admirably in this live sound mixer comparison, I'm leaning towards the StudioLive 16 because of its superior sound quality, ease of use, and additional features like remote access. The potential support issues are a concern but don't overshadow its overall performance. In the end, it boils down to what you value more in a mixer. If you're after that classic Mackie durability and simplicity, then the 1402VLZ4 might be your jam. But if you're looking for a mixer that offers flexibility, superior sound quality, and software integration, then the Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 USB would be a solid choice.