The 1604VLZ4 Review: A Comprehensive Mackie Mixing Console with a Long-Standing Tradition

When it comes to Mackie mixing consoles, there is one thing that everyone knows: They’re tough. Whether you are a professional sound engineer or an amateur who just wants to be able to mix your own music. You can rely on a Mackie mixer.

The Mackie 1604VLZ4 is a high-end mixing console with a long-standing tradition of quality and performance. This review will take you through some of the features as well as how it compares to other models in the Mackie lineup.

So what makes this particular model so special? What sets the 1604VLZ4 apart from other Mackie mixers?

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the 1604vlz4 review a comprehensive mackie mixing console with a long standing tradition

Our Mackie 1604VLZ4 Review

When you’re mixing a live show, you need to focus on the music and not worry about your gear. 

That’s why Mackie built the 1604VLZ4 mixer with high-quality components and rugged construction. It will take whatever abuse life throws at it without missing a beat. 

With its incredible performance, rock-solid reliability, and affordable price tag, the VLZ4 is one piece of gear that can truly make a difference in your sound quality – and your bottom line.

What Is the Mackie 1604VLZ4?

When it comes to analog mixers, Mackie makes some of the best. These very low-noise (VLZ) mixers are reliable and versatile, and their rock-solid construction means you can put them through a lot of abuse and still count on them to work right. The wide dynamic range, as well as the 60dB gain range on the Onyx mic preamps, mean you get a very clean, professional sound every time. This mixer can be used by houses of worship, corporate entities, professional musicians, and so many others. It is simple to use and you can learn it quickly even if you have very little experience in this industry.

The 1604VLZ4 also has RF rejection that is better than average, which results in excellent performances in all broadcast situations. The sealed rotary controls keep out dirt and other debris, and the high-resolution meters and generous I/O make this one of the best mixers Mackie has ever created. The fact that the controls keep out dirt and debris means they’ll work properly for many years to come, but you get much more than that with this mixer. The incredible sound quality is something everyone loves, and the sturdiness of the mixer means it can withstand some very harrowing situations, which can give you great peace of mind every time you use it.

What Mackie has done is combine tons of features that each contributes a lot toward the quality of the mixer, but which together make it a truly second-to-none device that you won’t regret buying. While it’s not fully waterproof, this mixer can withstand a certain amount of dampness, so if it starts to rain while you’re outdoors using the mixer, you’ll have time to take cover so the device is protected. This is a great advantage for people who use the mixer for outdoor gigs because they don’t have to worry about it being ruined in these situations.

Top Benefits of the Mackie 1604VLZ4

Some of the many benefits of using the Mackie 1604VLZ4 mixer include the 128.5dB dynamic range, which gives you the ability to achieve very full mixes; the Onyx mic preamps that make the best out of nearly all microphones, thanks to the 60dB gain range; and your ability to connect high-output sound sources without distortion of your inputs, thanks to the fact that the mixer’s line inputs can handle +22 dBu signal levels. In other words, each and every feature of the Mackie 1604VLZ4 mixer gives it the ability to become one of the best mixers you’ll ever use, and when taken together, the features make the mixer a high-quality device that you’ll love.

With this mixer, you get 16 mic preamplifiers, high-resolution stereo meters for fast visual indication of your signal levels, and a four-bus design and intuitive routing so that creating submixes is a lot easier. Of course, all of these numbers make the mixer sound high-tech, but if you’re confused by the numbers, don’t worry because what they mean is this: the Mackie 1604VLZ4 sound mixer provides you with a clean, clear sound whether you’re recording a board meeting, a sermon, or a live performance. It is clearly an excellent sound mixer that is very versatile and can be used reliably in all types of situations.

Some of the statistics associated with the mixer include:

  • Analog mixer with 16 channels
  • 21 x 60 mm throw faders
  • Inputs: 16 TRS lines, 2 RCA (tape) inputs
  • Outputs: 2 TRS main, 1 TRS mono, 8 TRS direct outputs, 2 RCA (tape) outputs, 4 TRS (bus) outputs, and 2 TRS (control) outputs
  • 2 pre/post and 2 post AUX sends
  • 3-band, sweepable mid EQ bands
  • Size of 5.1” x 17.3” x 17”, weight of 20 lbs.

You also get four busses, channel inserts, one 1/4-inch headphone jack, and the ability to mount it on the wall if you like, provided you purchase the rotopod accessory that’s available on the market. This is indeed an awesome little mixer that is sturdy and powerful, not to mention built to last. You can use this whether you’re a musician or engineer in control of various productions. Schools and houses of worship especially love it because it does the job they need it to do and helps them stay within their budget. If you look online, you’ll find that as a general rule, this mixer is usually rated either four or five stars (out of a possible five stars), which says a lot about its overall quality.

Mackie 1604VLZ4 Review of the Pros and Cons

While this mixer is rated very highly by most users, it has advantages and disadvantages just like all other products do. Here is a look at some of those.


  • Small, lightweight, and compact so it’s easy to transport from one location to another
  • Has a total of 16 channels and 4 bus devices
  • User-friendly and easy to learn even for beginners
  • Has numerous inputs and outputs for convenience
  • High-resolution stereo meters allow you to see your signals clearly


  • Some didn’t like the new slider knobs
  • Some worry that the power cable connection might come out during a performance
  • Some think the overall sound quality isn’t that great

Customer Reactions

  • “Great levels on both channels, and you never know when you’ll need that extra loudness.”
  • “Clean sound and extremely low THD.”
  • “Thin and small, resulting in a very small footprint.”
  • “Volume adjustments are smooth and don’t slip or stick.”
  • “It’s sturdy and professional-looking; I love this thing!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use this mixer overseas at 220 volts?

A: The Mackie 1604VLZ4 operates at 110 volts, so you’ll need a transformer or adapter if you purchase it from the United States.

Q: Does the mixer overheat or get too warm?

A: All mixers will get a little warm, but if this one starts to get too hot, all you have to do is use the on/off switch on the back of it and turn it off.

Q: Can you use this mixer to record to a USB device?

A: No. This is an analog mixer only and to record to a USB device, you’ll need a digital mixer.

Q: Can you control this mixer through an iPad?

A: You cannot control it through an iPad, but you can record to the iPad through the USB interface.

Q: Does the mixer come with a power cord?

A: Yes, it comes with a 3-prong power cord, which is all you’ll need to make it work. In fact, the package has everything you need to start using the mixer right away.


Mackie VLZ4 Series, 16-channel, 4-Bus Compact Mixer with Ultra-wide 60dB gain range and 16 Onyx Mic Preamps (1604VLZ4)

The Mackie 1604VLZ4 mixer is compact and lightweight, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it doesn’t have the power you need for your specific projects. It can be used by musicians and engineers, as well as corporate businesses, houses of worship, and so many others. It is a user-friendly device that anyone can learn to use quickly, yet its features are high-tech and therefore all you’ll need regardless of the project at hand. This high-quality analog mixer is versatile and multipurpose, and with all of its features and sturdiness, you’ll be able to enjoy it for numerous projects for many years to come.

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