Mackie DL1608 review/thoughts

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by rlogborn, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. So I have been harping on our band leader (the drummer) to invest in a new soundboard. We were running an analog board that was super heavy/big and since we don't have a dedicated soundguy, it was usually standing right beside our guitarist. He could adjust things during our sound check but it required him to be playing, walk out into the audience area, listen, walk back and make an adjustment, repeat. During our sets, he could make minor adjustments but it was difficult. We have in-ears, and asking him to make adjustments to our mix was always secondary and usually didn't happen.

    Just two weeks ago, I came across this Mackie DL1608 - a completely digital board that requires an iPad as the interface. Paired with a wireless router, the iPad can then be mobile. Up to 10 iPads, iPhones, iPods can be connected, hello personal in-ear management. During our last two gigs sound check - he just takes the iPad out and can make any adjustment he wants. It has a build in gate/compressor, it has effects (delay/reverb) on any channel and it just plain and simple rocks.

    Drummer guy is pissed that he didn't buy it and now wants to grab one for himself once he sells the equipment this thing has replaced. I can honestly say after two gigs this thing is worth every penny. Just wanted to share and say that if you are in the market to get a soundboard or upgrade, I would consider this piece of equipment, as a small cover band (or even a larger outfit I think) this thing is perfect.

    Disclaimer: I am not a Mackie dealer, or anything like that - I don't have 'an ear' for the tiny things - digital vs analog and all that stuff. I just wanted something that drunk people can listen to and makes my gig easier and better. A quick search on ebay - and these can be had for $750 (refurbished) or $999 brand new from any reputable dealer.

    Does any one else use this and what has been your experience?
  2. jimfist

    jimfist "Cling tenaciously to my buttocks!"

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boston, MA (USA)
    yes, there are a bunch of Dl1608 users here. I'm one of them. I use the mixer regularly for everything from acoustic duo pub gigs to 5 piece rock band with everything sent through a decent sized PA & monitor system. In terms of available features vs. size vs. cost, IMHO it's a nice little setup. At times the user interface can be a little awkward, but it's rarely been a problem. I usually am mixing from the stage, and sometimes running 5 aux sends for monitor mixes. It's great being able to accommodate a lot of configurations and NOT having to lug around a processing rack of any kind.

    If I were buying now, it is worth considering some of the other digital mixers with some slightly more robust features for recording (Soundcraft, Allen/Heath, Behringer) , and the big feature I miss on the Mackie: memory of channel input trim, which is a purely manual setting (that can be easily knocked off position). Of course, they are a bit more $$$. All things considered, I find the DL1608 to be a very good sounding little mixer, and am happy with the purchase (made 2 years ago).
  3. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    very happy Presonus 16.4.2 owner here. I took a hard look at the Mackie and for me, spending up made sense.

    I think the little bro Mackie. 806? is a very intresting piece for small ensemble.
  4. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    A great board for small, self-mixed gigs. Of the wi-fi digital boards, the 1608 packs a lot of capabilities into a tiny footprint.

    If you regularly record your live shows, though, it's probably not the ticket.
  5. I looked at the Mackie too, and the Presonus range. I mix our band 'from the stage' so the ability to be able to go out into the venue during the soundcheck and tweak the mix with an iPad, was far more important to me than having a control surface.

    So after a lot of umming and erring, I wound up with a Behringer X32 rack. The form factor is great, the mixer, a DEQ2496 and a couple of 1U power amps all sit in a 6U rack, along with an 8 way snake (stage front) and a 12 way snake (stage rear). Setup is as easy as a mixer amp, just take the rack lids off, roll out the snakes plug in the power and the speakers...done. Unlike a mixer amp I get more flexibility, effects, 32 channel recording capabilities and even RTA with the next firmware release.

    Mackie, is all good, and don't be put off by the B word, the X32 is chalk and cheese with any other Berry device I've had.
  6. oddeotek


    Mar 28, 2010
    Sammamish, WA
    I've had my DL1608 for a year and a half and I have found it to be a wonderful piece of technology. I use it in my job in live television, with my band, mixing from the stage and running FOH for other bands. Although I have the dreaded issue of losing sync with a docked iPad, I run all of my iPads wirelessly using an Apple Express and that link has been rock solid. I have also been playing with The Behringer app for the X32 rack and, while it has some great advances and features over the DL, I feel that the Mackie software is a far easier app to get around on and understand.
  7. You're right, it's quite a learning curve, more so than the DL... but starts to click into place with practise.
  8. TimmyP


    Nov 4, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    The iPad app is very good, but the connection problems are scary.
  9. What connection problems???

    the iPad is only a controller, if it looses its wireless connection audio keeps passing, and there is no audio dropouts when the iPad/Phone re-syncs. if you happen to screw up the ipad and it fails horribly worst comes to worst you can try and mix from the gain pots...not ideal but its doable...
  10. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    you're losing the docked ipad but not the wireless ones? now that's weird.
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