Trying to choose the right audio mixer can be a difficult choice.
If you’re new to analog mixers, you might find yourself wondering how important certain features are, and how you’d even begin to determine which is the best value for money.
Thankfully, you do have a lot of options available to you, many of which can be bought without a huge investment.
One of these options is the Mackie 402VLZ4 4-channel Compact Analog Mixer. This is a handy piece of gear that can be used in a variety of different mixing scenarios.
But just how good is this mixer? Is it worth your time and money? If you’re wondering about this, then you’ve come to the right place!
In this article we’re going to give you a total review of this mixer, breaking down all of its features and seeing how it stacks up to other mixers around the same price point.
We’ve also included a short Frequently Asked Questions section to help break down some of the more technical terms used in this article.
So let’s get right into it and see how the Mackie 402 holds up!
Mackie 402VLZ4 General Overview
The Mackie 402VLZ4 4-Channel Compact Analog Mixer is a small and simplistic audio mixer that can be a great companion for new DJs or people working with audio that want something easy to operate.
The first thing you’ll notice about this mixer is its size. It’s been designed to fit in your hands and can easily be packed down for storage or transportation.
It’s nice to not have to deal with a giant mixer, so this is the first positive we can think of.
Of course, because of its size, you’ll probably be wondering how many options you get on the top of the board, so let’s take a look at what it includes.
First off it connects to a mains power supply, and you’ll be able to get it switched on without any hassle.
It has a simple mains outlet that plugs into the back, beside a large switch to turn it on and off.
As advertised, the mixer comes with four distinct channels. The first two have two different inputs – XLR and instruments – while channels three and four have two simplistic stereo inputs each.
This gives you a few different options depending on what you’re using the mixer for. Along the bottom, you’ll notice four distinct audio-level knobs that are sensitive and responsive.
Mackie 402 Build Quality
So before we get into who this mixer might be perfect for, we wanted to take some time to examine how well-built it is as a product.
The sound quality of this mixer is great for its price, and it has great usability.
With a simplistic design, responsive knobs and buttons, and bright LEDs to offer you information (even in the dark of a club setting), you won’t find much to complain about.
Buyers of this audio mixer generally say that it has been designed to last, and you won’t find any obvious degradation of its components or sound quality over time, especially if you take the time to look after it.
Mackie is a company that has a good reputation when it comes to building quality products, so this can be an audio mixer you’ll be able to keep and use for years to come.
What Are The Main Uses Of This Audio Mixer?
There are a few main uses for this audio mixer, and we’re going to break each one down for you so that you can get an idea of if it’s the right fit for you!
For A Beginner: If you’re in the beginning steps of your journey as a DJ or an Audio Engineer, and want something simplistic, then this is going to be a great fit for you. The simple 4-channels and few turning knobs and buttons will give you a great base to learn with.
As A Backup: So let’s say you’re DJing and your main mixer goes down. This is a great mixer to have as a backup as you can set it up in a matter of minutes and keep going without much of an interruption. Its small size allows you to store it somewhere without taking much room, so you can always bring it with you.
To Add Another DJ: DJing is a uniquely social and dynamic art form. Let’s say you’re playing a set and a good friend of yours shows up. You want to add them in, but you don’t have space on your mixing desk. This audio mixer allows you to easily swap someone else in if you need to!
For A Musician: The ports of instruments make this suitable for musicians who want a simple audio mixer to work with. You’ll be able to place two instruments, as well as a microphone and headphones into the 402 without much issue. We wouldn’t say it’s the best choice for a musician (say, for example, a singer/songwriter), but it is a great choice if you do this as well as being a DJ.
The Main Drawbacks Of This Audio Mixer
The Mackie 402’s biggest strength is also its greatest weakness—and that’s how simple it is! A 4-channel mixer isn’t going to give you the wide options or versatility of a larger audio mixer.
If you’re looking to take DJing, for example, seriously, then you’re probably going to need to invest in a much larger setup.
However, it is important to temper your expectations when looking at a small mixer like this. What it does, it does well, and its only real drawbacks are that you can’t do more with it.
One thing you might find problematic is its size, which can make mixing audio on the go a little difficult, especially if you have larger fingers/hands; however, this all depends on the person in question.
Here are some alternatives to the Mackie 402VLZ4 4-channel mixer:
Mackie Mix5 – This is a 5-channel compact mixer with similar features to the 402VLZ4 but offers an additional channel, making it suitable for slightly larger setups.
Mackie Mix8 – The Mix8 is an 8-channel mixer, which means it provides more input options compared to the 402VLZ4. This can be useful if you need to connect more microphones or instruments.
Mackie ProFXv3 Series – These mixers come in various models, such as ProFX6v3, ProFX10v3, ProFX12v3, etc., offering a higher number of channels (up to 30) and additional features like built-in effects and USB audio interface connectivity.
Mackie ProFX8 – The Mackie ProFX8 is an 8-channel mixer, which means it offers more input options and flexibility compared to the 4-channel 402VLZ4.
Mackie 402VLZ4 4-channel Ultra-Compact Mixer – If you want to stick with a 4-channel mixer but want a different form factor, Mackie offers an ultra-compact version of the 402VLZ4, which is even smaller and more portable.
Mackie 802VLZ4 8-channel Mixer – This is a step up from the 4-channel mixer and provides more inputs, ideal for small band setups or more complex audio configurations.
Mackie Onyx Series – The Onyx series mixers come in various configurations like the Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2, . They offer premium-quality preamps, flexible routing options, and professional-grade audio performance.
In conclusion, this is a great audio mixer to buy on a budget, or if you just want something that’s high quality and simplistic.
It’s one of the smallest mixers you’ll find (even for simple 4-channel mixers) and nothing in its design is complicated.
While you might find it lacking as a piece of equipment if you’re a full-time DJ or audio engineer, it’s a great choice if you’re looking for something to use as a backup, to learn basic mixing techniques with, or for something to easily pick up and take with you while you’re traveling.
All in all, we’d say that the Mackie 402 is great value for money and will likely last you for a long time.
If you want to pick up a simple 4-channel mixer then there aren’t many better options for you at this price point.
We hope that this review has helped you understand the quality of this mixer and the type of customer it’s best for and that you’re now confident about whether or not it’s right for you.
If you still have some questions, check below for our Frequently Asked Questions section.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is An Analog Mixer?
An Analog mixer is a mixer that only uses analog sound transmission instead of digital. They are the older form of sound mixers and they are often chosen because of their simplicity.
They will only have one function per control, which mean they’re much more accessible to newer DJs, or to those who want something without all the additional options.
It’s worth noting that analog mixers are generally much less expensive than digital mixers. However, you usually get what you pay for.
If you’re looking for more complicated functions and options, a digital mixer is going to be the better option for you.
Is Mackie A Reliable Brand For Me To Choose?
Mackie is well known as a reliable brand, namely for its simplistic and compact audio mixers.
If you’ve been in the world of DJing or sound engineering for a while, you’ve probably noticed that they are quite common, and this is due to their low price points and high quality.
A Mackie sound mixer is a great starting place for a DJ, as it will be easy to use and affordable.
What Is The Difference Between A Mackie 402 And 802?
In many ways, you can think of Mackie 802 as the big brother of the 402. It has a lot more channels, is much larger, and has more options for you to work with.
The 802 is a great choice if you’re looking for a more elaborate analog audio mixer, but it might not be the best when compared to other larger mixers around the same price point.
How Long Do Mackie Products Last?
One of the main great things about Mackie products is that they are built to last.
You can expect a mixer like this to easily last you upwards of ten years, providing you take good care of it and don’t suffer any accidents.