The 1402VLZ is a general-purpose mixer suited to simple multitracking, 2- or 4-track live recording, PA or keyboard mixing. Unlike the 1202VLZ (reviewed in February's SOS), the 1402VLZ has faders for all input channels, Control Room output and the main mix. Featuring six mic/line channels plus four stereo line channels and two stereo aux returns, the 1402VLZ has global phantom power, plus phono connections for a 2-track recorder. Each mic/line input has a switchable 75Hz, 18dB/octave low-cut filter, a gain Trim control and an insert point.
There are two aux sends, and Aux 1 may be switched pre- or post-fade via a master control. A fixed frequency, 3-band EQ operates at 12kHz, 2.5kHz and 80Hz, and as with Mackie's original 1604 mixer, the routing comprises Main/Alt switching, which sends the channel signal either to the Main stereo buss or to the Alt stereo buss. If you don't need the Alt outputs, the buttons function as mutes.
The 1402VLZ has an AFL/PFL solo system with flashing master solo LED, and when one or more channels are solo'd, they're heard in isolation over the Control Room/phones output, with their levels shown on the meters. A fader controls the channel gain. The pan and EQ knobs are centre-detented, as are the aux send/returns, and the pan has a proper, constant volume law.
Faders are provided for the main mix and phones/Control Room levels; Aux 1 master and the two aux returns have knobs. A single button switches Aux 1 for pre/post operation, and the Solo mode may be switched between AFL and PFL.
Please read this next part very carefully, as I will write it only once! When the 'EFX to Monitor' switch is up, the two aux returns feed the main stereo mix as normal, but when the switch is down, Aux return 2 feeds into Aux send 1, which allows effects to be added to the foldback without adding them to the main mix. The two Aux returns are also normalised, so if you only have a single effects unit, you can plug it into Aux return 1, and it will feed both the aux 1 and 2 returns. If you now switch on 'EFX to Monitor', Aux return 2 will act as an Aux send control for Aux return 1. If just thinking about this gives you a headache, you don't have to use it!
The Control Room/phones source may be any combination of the main mix, the Alt output or the tape return, while the 'Assign to Mix' button routes the tape return and the Alt 3-4 buss signal into the main mix. Two 12-section, LED bargraph meters follow the Control Room source selection, though pressing any Solo button takes priority. There is sufficient headroom for -10dBV and +4dBu operation, and like the 1202VLZ, the meter scale is such that 0VU = 0dBu rather than +4dBu. The benefit of this method is that you always know the true output level.
Like all Mackie's smaller mixers, this model is particularly clean-sounding, with the benefits of a serious solo system, 4-buss routing and a decent EQ section. Surface-mount technology has been employed to keep both the size and cost down, and those who were put off Mackie's 1202 or 1202VLZ by the lack of faders need have no such worries here. This type of mixer is no longer unique, but they're not all as stylishly or ergonomically presented as the Mackie 1402VLZ.
Frequency Response: (any input to any output) 20Hz to 60kHz +0dB/-1dB
THD: @ 1kHz, (measured at +14dB) 0.0025%
Common Mode Rejection: (CMR) mic input to insert send better than -90dB
Equivalent Input Noise: (150(omega)) -129.5 dBu unweighted
Dimensions: 356 x 328 x 74mm
Weight: 4.5kg approx
The XLR mic inputs and TSR jack line inputs of the 1402VLZ are all electronically balanced, but the jacks may also be used with unbalanced leads. The aux returns will also accept balanced or unbalanced connections.
The Main and Alt output jacks are balanced, with the Main outputs being duplicated on both jacks and rear-panel XLRs. A mic/normal attenuator button allows the XLRs to be plugged into line-level gear, or into the mic inputs of larger mixers.
To obtain a direct channel output, plug in a mono jack. This will also mute the channel signal. To take a direct feed without muting the channel, plug a mono jack in half way, or make up a lead with a stereo jack where the tip and ring terminals are linked. For convenient connection to semi-pro and domestic recorders, the 2-track tape connections are phonos.
Fader gain control, 3-band EQ and 4-buss routing.
Clean, tight sound.
No external PSU.
First class manual.
No level controls on Aux 2 or Alt outputs.
No master insert points.
A well designed all-rounder with a good range of facilities for the price.
£ £549 inc VAT.
A Key Audio Systems Ltd, Unit D, Chelford Court, Robjohns Road, Chelmsford CM1 3AG.
T 01245 344001.
F 01245 344002.