Mackie 1402VLZ4 Vs. Tascam Model 12: 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 Model 12.

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 Model 12. 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 Model 12

The Tascam Model 12 is going to require you read the manual a few times, for sure! But once you get past the initial learning curve, you'll find it's a versatile machine, capable of multi-track recording, interfacing with a DAW, and even Bluetooth connectivity.


It's a great choice for those who need an all-in-one device. The Model 12 acts as a smaller sibling to the 16 and 24 channel versions, offering a good balance of functionality and size. Its dual inputs (1 – 10) that accept both XLR and 1/4 inch TRS are particularly handy.


When it comes to connectivity, USB hookups work best when connected directly to the motherboard USB 2.0 sockets, as recommended in the manual. Some users have reported issues when connecting to USB 3.0 ports, so it's something to be mindful of.

Sound Quality

The sound quality is a big plus for the Model 12, with users noting its clean output over headphones or monitors. The Midi In and Out are a great addition, expanding its utility for various setups.

Phantom Power

A slight downside is the global Phantom Power option, which could be more useful if managed by software for each channel. It's crucial to ensure the Phantom Power is off before powering a new unit to protect any connected mics that don't require it.

Software Integration

For those using DAWs, the Model 12 functions well as an interface, though it requires some initial setup. It leaves a lot of room for experimentation and finding a workflow that suits individual needs.

User Tips

Some user tips to consider: the Sub Button on each channel arms the Headphones bus, essential for monitoring. The effects only work if all the Solo buttons are disarmed. And remember, you don't need to press the Play button alongside the Record button when making a track, which is a departure from older tape-based systems.

Overall Impression

While the Tascam Model 12 might have a steep learning curve and some quirks, it's a solid piece of equipment offering great value. It's an excellent choice for anyone looking to step away from complete reliance on a DAW, offering a more hands-on approach to recording and mixing. Just be ready to spend some time with the manual to unlock its full potential.

Head 2 Head: Mackie 1402VLZ4 or Tascam Model 12

Mackie 1402VLZ4: Compact, but Is It Mighty?

Let's start with the Mackie 1402VLZ4, a 14-channel compact mixer that fits quite nicely in smaller studio spaces – a definite win for urban dwellers who are tight on room. This audio mixing console has a sleek design that's easy on the eyes, but I have to say, the quality of some components, like the glide knobs, felt a bit cheaper than previous models. As an analog mixer, it's got an intuitive monitor mix setup and delivers clear Mackie sound – perfect for live sound mixer duties or recording sessions. But there's a plasticky elephant in the room; Mackie has switched from metal to plastic casing. Sure, it might help with portability and weight, but it also raises some durability concerns. Especially if you're lugging this unit around from gig to gig. The other point of contention is the volume trim pots. They've been known to get scratchy or cut out prematurely – not fun when you're in the middle of a recording session and your audio interface decides to throw a tantrum.

Tascam Model 12: Learning Curve Included

Now let's turn our attention to Tascam Model 12. Right off the bat, this digital mixer requires you roll up your sleeves and dive deep into its manual. Its multi-functional capabilities as an audio interface mean there's more than meets the eye (and ear). This studio mixer can handle multi-track recording, DAW interfacing and even Bluetooth connectivity – talk about versatility! It also features dual inputs that accept both XLR and 1/4 inch TRS, making it a recording console that plays well with others. The Model 12's USB connectivity can be a bit finicky, so steer clear of those USB 3.0 ports and stick to the motherboard USB 2.0 sockets. And let's not forget the global Phantom Power option – a feature that could benefit from individual channel management. When it comes to sound quality, this model doesn't disappoint. You'll enjoy clean output over headphones or monitors, and the Midi In and Out are a welcome addition for various studio setups. Now, hold onto your hats because this digital mixer also serves as an audio interface for your DAW. It does require some setup though, so be prepared to get cozy with that manual again.

And The Winner Is…

After weighing up the pros and cons of these two contenders, I'm crowning the Tascam Model 12 as the winner in this audio mixer showdown. While both mixers have their strengths and weaknesses, the Model 12 stands out for its versatility and sound quality. Sure, it has a steep learning curve and some interesting quirks (global Phantom Power anyone?), but once you get past those hurdles, you've got yourself a solid piece of equipment that offers great value. Whether you're stepping away from complete reliance on a DAW or looking for a more hands-on approach to recording and mixing, this is your ticket to audio nirvana. The Mackie 1402VLZ4 is still a great option if you're after simplicity and portability in an analog mixer. But if you're willing to invest time in learning how to maximize its potential, the Tascam Model 12 offers more than just an audio interface – it's practically an entire recording studio packed into one compact unit.