The Mackie DL1608: First Impression Hands-On

The Mackie DL1608: First Impression Hands-On

Audiophiles and composers really love their knobs and buttons. When it was first unveiled, the Mackie DL1608 live-sound mixer created a bang. It was inexpensive compared to other sound mixers and the most controversial thing about it was the iPad remote control feature.

This was quite a sore point for some musicians who preferred the old way of touching a button or knob to create music. However, the innovation that DL1608 brought was not “change for the sake of change”, instead it simplified the process of mixing sound, especially in live events.

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 29.21 cm (W) x 39.12 cm (L) x 9.4 cm (H)
  • Weight: 3.63 kg (without an iPad)
  • Integrated iPad Dock on Faceplate (compatible with most iPad generations)
  • 16 Onyx Microphone Preamps
  • iPad Mixing with Master Fader App
  • Cirrus Logic 24-bit A/D & D/A Converters

What Are Its Features?

I’ve had a chance to check out and use the new Mackie DL1608 digital mixer for a while, and if I had to use a single word for the review it would be “cool.”  The DL1608 combined a small package and great features and paired it with an iPad.

The DL1608 has 16 gain controls found above the tray area. Each of these controls has its own dual-colour LED which indicates signal and clipping. It also has a 3.5 mm headphone jack and rotary headphone level knob with front surface controls.

Meanwhile, the back of the mixer sports 16 XLR connectors for the channel inputs. The nice thing to know here is that the last four connectors accept both ¼ inch and XLR plugs. The connectors for the stereo left and right main outputs are located near the XLR connectors. While the power switch and global phantom power switch are located directly above the main outputs.

The mixer also has six 1/4-inch TRS jacks that are located beneath the inputs. Aside from these inputs, an ethernet port, a Kensington lock, and power connector, completes all the ports that the DL1608 has.

Speaking of power, Mackie has supplied a very nice universal 12-volt power supply with the unit. It’s of the “line lump” variety and will accept any voltage from 100 to 240 volts AC. A removable IEC plug connects to the “power block” (line lump), allowing an easy swap of the cable for one that will connect to local outlets anywhere in the world.

Like A Champ

Mackie has chosen to place all the mixer controls (with the exception of power, gain, headphone level, and phantom power) in the iPad. The iPad can also be used to remotely control the DL1608 (up to 10). You can leave the mixer on the stage and control the mix from the front using an iPad. You wouldn’t even need to worry about multicores!

What’s more, if you’re in a band but don’t have the luxury of a sound engineer, you can take the iPad out front during sound checking, to listen and make some adjustments, then dock the iPad and mix from the stage. Yes, working a touchscreen rather than physical faders takes a little getting used to, but it’s not that hard!

The DL1608’s Master Fader app is available free from the iPad App Store and, at least to me, is the nicest looking and easiest to get around software for mixer control that I have seen, providing quite a bit of information to the operator at a glance.

Where Can I Buy It?

The Mackie DL1608 can be found in many audio equipment stores in Australia. You can also find it on Mackie’s website and Amazon. However, if your budget’s tight and you just want to use it for a day or two, then renting one is the best option!