Mackie 1402VLZ4 Vs. Rode Rodecaster Pro II: 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. Rode Rodecaster Pro II.

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 Rode Rodecaster Pro II. 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.

Rode Rodecaster Pro II

Real Talk: The RØDECaster Pro II Experience

High Expectations Met

When I first got my hands on the RØDECaster Pro, I was expecting something phenomenal. The multi-track recording with polywav files, one-button Bluetooth, USB in/out with mix-minus, and soundFX banks – it seemed like a complete package. It's like having your own audio production studio.

Initial Shortcomings

Lacking EQ Adjustments

However, it wasn't all perfect. The lack of basic three-frequency EQ control was a letdown. I thought the beautiful touchscreen would be perfect for this, but no luck. Not having these fundamental adjustments was a bit of a disappointment, especially considering its user-friendly design.

Microphone Compatibility

Not Just for Rode Mics

I don’t use a Rode mic – I’ve got Heil PR40s, which sound incredible with a Mackie mixer. So without onboard EQ, I had to tweak things in post-production. It’s a workaround, but not ideal. I’m curious to see how a Rode mic would fare, given their tuned presets.


Still Worth It?

Would I recommend the Rodecaster Pro? Absolutely. Despite some quirks, its potential is undeniable. It's a bit frustrating that I have to spend more time in post, which I hoped to avoid. But, I'm planning to test it with a Rode mic eventually.

Update: After Extended Use

Impressed by the Updates

After several months of use and with the release of the new software update, my view has shifted. The update addressed my concerns, adding controls for the onboard compressor, noise gate, de-esser, and more. It’s become a reliable workhorse for my podcast.

Power and USB Issues

A Frustrating Experience

However, it’s not all smooth sailing. There were power and USB issues that were quite troublesome. At one point, I couldn’t get the USB 1 to connect to anything, which was incredibly frustrating. This kind of issue is not what you expect from a premium product.

Final Thoughts

Great, But With Caveats

Overall, the RØDECaster Pro II is a powerful tool, but it comes with its own set of challenges. It's packed with features that any podcaster or content creator would love, but be prepared for some potential hiccups along the way.

Head 2 Head: Mackie 1402VLZ4 or Rode Rodecaster Pro II

Breaking Down the Mackie 1402VLZ4

I have to say, when I got my hands on this Mackie 1402VLZ4, I was initially taken in by its compact and sleek design. It's not often you find an audio mixer that can fit effortlessly into smaller spaces without sacrificing sound quality. This little piece of podcasting equipment delivers that classic Mackie sound – crisp and clear, just the way we like it.

Usability and Features

For anyone who's ever struggled with overly complicated live broadcasting gear, you'll love how intuitive the monitor mix setup is on the Mackie 1402VLZ4. The distinction between the first and second monitor mix controls makes managing different vocals or instruments a breeze. Plus, it's quiet enough for both studio recording equipment setups and live settings.

A Few Missteps with the Mackie

However, as much as I like this audio interface, I can't ignore a few concerns. For starters, the switch from a metal to a plastic case may raise some eyebrows about its durability. Is it robust enough to handle constant transportation or heavy use? Only time will tell.

And while we're on the topic of longevity, there have been reports of volume trim pots getting scratchy or cutting out prematurely – not exactly what you'd expect from a brand known for its durable mixers.

Sizing Up The Rode Rodecaster Pro II

Now onto the Rode Rodecaster Pro II. From one-button Bluetooth connectivity to polywav file recording, this audio mixer is like a mini audio production studio. It's packed with features that make it an enticing piece of podcasting equipment.

Initial Hiccups with the Rode

But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. For one, the lack of three-frequency EQ control is a letdown. With such a beautiful touchscreen, you'd expect more flexibility in this area. Also, if you don't use a Rode mic (like me), you might find yourself spending more time tweaking things in post-production due to the lack of onboard EQ.

Updates and Issues

Despite these initial issues, several months of use and a software update have added much-needed features like controls for the onboard compressor, noise gate, de-esser and more. But let's not forget the power and USB connection hiccups – definitely not something you'd want from your premium studio recording equipment.

The Verdict

So which one takes the cake in this battle of audio mixers? It's a tough call but if I had to choose one…I'm going with the Mackie 1402VLZ4.

Sure, it has its shortcomings like any piece of live broadcasting gear. The change in build quality from previous models is noticeable and could be problematic for those who are rough with their equipment. However, it offers stellar sound quality that's hard to beat at its price point.

The Rodecaster Pro II is undoubtedly feature-rich and powerful but comes with its own set of challenges such as having to spend more time in post-production tweaking settings or dealing with potential power or USB issues.

In short, for those who need a reliable, compact audio mixer that delivers on sound quality and ease of use, the Mackie 1402VLZ4 is your go-to. It's a stalwart piece of podcasting equipment that won't let you down.