Mackie 1402VLZ4 Vs. Tascam Model 16: 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 16.

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 16. 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 16

I picked up one of these used to review for a few hundred. Here's the lowdown:

Initial Impressions

Right out of the box, the Tascam Model 16 felt like a good deal. Even though I got it ‘Used-Acceptable', it appeared brand new and functioned perfectly, saving me a significant amount. It's a testament to Tascam's build quality that a used unit can still perform like a fresh piece.

Usability and Versatility

The Model 16 is incredibly user-friendly. Its intuitive design blends low-tech ease with high-tech versatility. For someone who finds computer software a flow-breaker while recording, this Tascam is a dream. It allows recording directly to an internal SD card and then mixing on a computer, offering the best of both worlds.

Quality of Sound and Inputs

The sound quality is fantastic, making it perfect for both recording and live sound. However, I was initially taken aback by the “virtual” tracks 15/16 and the designated Bluetooth channel, limiting its effective input channels. It's a minor issue but something that should be clearer in the product description.

Recording and Playback Experience

When it comes to recording, the Model 16 shines. The process is straightforward, and playback quality is impressive. I especially appreciated the analog summing and HDDA preamps, which add a warm, rich tone to the recordings. The unit’s simplicity in recording makes it ideal for capturing live performances.

Software and Connectivity

A drawback is the mixer's limited software side. Unlike its smaller sibling, the Model 12, the 16 lacks MIDI connectivity, making time syncing with external gear a bit of a hassle. Additionally, the absence of FX return means using external effects requires sacrificing tracks, which can be limiting.

Overall Performance

Overall, the Tascam Model 16 is a solid performer with great sound and build quality. Its drawbacks are mostly in the finer details of software and input/output flexibility. It's a great piece of gear for those looking to record live performances or who want an easy-to-use interface for home recording. Despite its limitations, the Model 16 offers enough features and quality to justify its price.

Head 2 Head: Mackie 1402VLZ4 or Tascam Model 16

The Mackie 1402VLZ4: A Sleek Compact Mixer with a Twist

The Mackie 1402VLZ4 is a sleek, compact audio mixing desk that fits neatly into smaller spaces. Its design has a certain charm that's hard to resist, even if the glide knobs seem to have taken a bit of a quality hit. But hey, it's the sound that matters in an audio production equipment, right? And this little guy doesn't disappoint on that front. It delivers the clear, crisp Mackie sound you'd expect from this veteran brand. Usability and Features

This 14-channel analog mixer sports an intuitive monitor mix setup. Its dual monitor mix system is great for juggling different vocalists or instruments. The sound? Smooth and quiet – just what you need when recording or in live settings.

A Question of Durability…

That being said, there's one aspect of this audio interface I'm not entirely sold on: its durability. The shift from metal to plastic casing raises some eyebrows and doubts about how well it would fare under frequent transportation or heavy use.

Quality and Longevity

There’s also been some chatter about the volume trim pots becoming scratchy or cutting out prematurely – definitely not something you want in your studio mixer. So while the Mackie 1402VLZ4 delivers when it comes to performance, there are concerns over its long-term durability.

Tascam Model 16: A Blend of Old-School Ease and High-Tech Versatility

Let's switch gears now to the Tascam Model 16. This digital mixer immediately gives off good vibes. It's solid, looks and feels brand new, even when bought used. A testament to its build quality, wouldn’t you say? Usability and Versatility

This audio interface is like a dream for those who want to keep things simple. Its design is user-friendly with an intuitive layout that keeps the flow going while recording. Best part? It allows you to record directly to an internal SD card and then mix on your computer.

Quality of Sound and Inputs

The sound quality of this audio mixing desk is top-notch; perfect for both recording and live sound. Though I gotta be honest, the “virtual” tracks 15/16 threw me off a bit initially – felt like a bit of a bait-and-switch.

Recording and Playback Experience

But where this live mixer truly shines is in its recording capabilities. The process is straightforward, and playback quality? Impeccable! With analog summing and HDDA preamps, your recordings will boast a warm, rich tone.

The Software Side…

On the downside, the Model 16 falls short on the software side of things. Unlike its sibling – the Model 12 – it lacks MIDI connectivity (a bummer if you need to sync with external gear) and FX return (which means sacrificing tracks for external effects).

Overall Performance

Despite these drawbacks, this Tascam Model 16 is still a solid performer that delivers great sound and build quality. It's ideal for capturing live performances or as an easy-to-use interface for home recording.

And The Winner Is…

Drumroll, please… The winner of this mixer showdown is the Tascam Model 16. Despite its minor software limitations, it offers a more dependable build quality and superior sound – key factors in any audio production equipment. It's the perfect tool for recording live performances or for those who want a simple, yet high-quality home recording console. The Mackie 1402VLZ4 puts up a good fight but falls short in the durability department. Sorry Mackie, maybe next time!