Mackie 1402VLZ4 Vs. Tascam DP 32SD: 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. Tascam DP 32SD.

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 Tascam DP 32SD. 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.

Tascam DP-32SD Digital Portastudio

Now the Tascam DP-32SD, let me draw some comparisons to its cousin, the DP-24SD, and delve into what makes it stand out. The DP-32SD steps up the game with its enhanced preamps and 32-track recording capability, minus the hard drive noise, since it runs on an SDHC card.

Key Features:

First off, think of the DP-32SD as a 20-track recorder with 8 mono tracks and 12 additional stereo or mono tracks. The absence of MIDI and S/PDIF inputs (found in its predecessor, the Tascam 2488Neo) might limit some, but it's not a deal-breaker for those focused on analog inputs. Its punch-in and out functions are tight, and the layout of the menu and LED buttons has been thoughtfully improved from the Neo model.

Tascam DP 32SD Review

Recording Quality

The recording quality is a massive win for the DP-32SD. Users rave about the stellar job it does, especially in multi-musician setups. With its ability to record at 24bit 48kHz without clicks, pops, or stutters, it’s a reliable choice for those seeking to avoid the complexities of a DAW.

Usability and Workflow

In terms of workflow, this machine is a powerhouse. For those who prefer to record up to 8 tracks simultaneously without a PC or MAC and don’t need MIDI sync, the DP-32SD is your go-to. It’s great for live band recordings too, being easily portable and capable of handling numerous simultaneous inputs.

Learning Curve

There’s a learning curve, especially if you're transitioning from a simpler recorder or a different brand. However, with resources like YouTube tutorials, you can get up to speed relatively quickly.

Build Quality

The build quality of the DP-32SD is impressive. It feels heavy and sturdy, indicative of a machine built to last. Though some knobs might feel a bit flimsy, this doesn’t detract from the overall solid construction of the unit.

Integration with DAW

While it's primarily a standalone recorder, the ease of transferring files to a DAW for further editing and mixing is a major plus. It's an excellent solution for those looking to blend analog recording with digital editing.

Head 2 Head: Mackie 1402VLZ4 or Tascam DP 32SD

Mackie 1402VLZ4: Compact, User-friendly but with a Few Concerns

First up is the Mackie 1402VLZ4, a compact 14-channel audio mixer that offers a sleek design and top-notch sound engineering. From its first impression, it's clear this studio equipment is made to fit in your space without dominating it. The design is user-friendly, though the feel of the knobs may leave you questioning its quality.

Usability and Features

Its functionality can't be understated. The monitor mix setup is intuitive and makes managing different vocalists or instruments a breeze. It delivers good, quiet sound – an essential quality in both recording consoles and live settings.

Worrying Durability Issues

A significant shift from metal to plastic casing raises some questions about longevity. For those frequently transporting or heavily using their mixers, this might be a bit off-putting.

Declining Quality?

While the Mackie 1402VLZ4 performs well overall, there seems to be a dip in durability compared to older models. Scratchy volume pots and early cut-outs are frustrating issues for any sound engineer.

Tascam DP-32SD: A Standalone Powerhouse

Now let's switch gears to the Tascam DP-32SD. Imagine this as your multitrack recorder extraordinaire – with enhanced preamps and 32-track recording capacity all running noiselessly on an SDHC card.

Key Features

Despite lacking MIDI and S/PDIF inputs, the DP-32SD is a digital recorder that stands out for those focused on analog inputs. The punch-in and out functions are tight, and the menu layout has been thoughtfully improved from previous models.

Recording Quality

The DP-32SD shines when it comes to recording quality. It handles multi-musician setups like a champ and records at 24bit 48kHz without any annoying audio glitches.

Usability and Workflow

If you're looking for a machine that can record up to eight tracks simultaneously (without a PC or MAC) and doesn’t need MIDI sync, this is your jam. Plus, its portability makes it perfect for live band recordings.

Learning Curve

Yes, there's a learning curve if you're new to this model or brand. But with handy resources like YouTube tutorials, you'll be spinning tracks in no time.

Build Quality

The Tascam DP-32SD feels heavy-duty – like it's built to withstand some serious use. A few flimsy knobs don't detract from the overall sturdiness of this unit.

Integration with DAW

One of its strongest features is the seamless transition from analog mixer to digital editing. If you’re looking to blend analog recording with digital editing, this recorder has got your back. After carefully weighing both options, I'm declaring the Tascam DP-32SD as the clear winner here. Its superior recording quality, impressive build quality, easy integration with DAW, and powerful standalone features outperform the Mackie 1402VLZ4. While the Mackie mixer is a decent piece of studio equipment and offers good sound quality, concerns about durability and declining quality make it fall short. The Tascam DP-32SD, on the other hand, seems like a more reliable investment for any serious sound engineering enthusiast.