The September/October 2014 issue of Pro Audio Review (published by Pro Sound News) features the new Mackie 2404VLZ4 mixer housed in Gator’s GMIX-TSA series road case. Columnist, Strother Bullins, gives us an in depth review on this hot new console and it’s matching Gator case.
Mackie 2404VLZ4 24-Channel 4-Bus Analog Mixer with USB
I was up and running with the four-buss, 24-channel 2404VLZ4 in minutes no manual required, really. When I did look at the manual, I was pleased to see some extra treats, such as the 4×2 USB interface, thus making the 2404VLZ4 a great-sounding four track recording/stereo playback rig, too just add computer.
The VLZ4 Series Mackies latest incarnation of the successful VLZ mixer range finally features the companys superb Onyx preamps. For the 2404VLZ4 (at $1,150 street), that means 20 Onyx preamps offering 60 dB of gain coupled with plenty-good three-band EQ with sweepable mids and six aux sends per channel. Two solid 32-bit RMFX+ effects processors are available per channel (via aux 5/6).
The aforementioned USB port allows 24-bit, 44.1 kHz audio via its 4×2 interface. This allows recording subgroups 1-4 or alternately Groups 1-2 or the Main mix to output channels 1-2 and Groups 3-4 or Aux 5-6 to output channels 3-4.
Analog I/O is comprehensive. I especially appreciate the channel inserts (more on that later) and the mono main mix output (XLR or TRS with rotary level control), perfect for detailing one-subwoofer mixes or adding extra, single speaker dart and pool room mixes. Further, the main outputs offer TRS inserts, too.
Once again, Mackie has included four one knob channel compressors (on 17-20) in this VLZ4, and then doubled the pleasure by adding four more identical comps on each subgroup very useful, indeed.
Cosmetically, Mackie has given the VLZ Series an attractive makeover, overwhelmingly black with bright primary color accents utilized for various parameters great for making adjustments in the semi-dark and a notable change in its fader knobs, moving from the blocky white Mackie fader of the past to a thin black one. Upon first use, I still preferred the old white faders, but I quickly got over it.
In all, the 2404VLZ4 represents a notable leap forward for the VLZ Series if, for nothing else, getting the better Onyx preamps. However, improvements abound elsewhere, making the VLZ4 Series worth top consideration for those in need of a simple multipurpose analog mixer.
Gator Cases GMIX Mixer Case Series
I had previously experienced the overbuilt nature of Gator Cases via their GKPE Keyboard Cases line very similar in both materials and construction to the GMIX-TSA Mixer Case Series. A pianist/band member of mine used one for years; she raved about it and I carried it, thus I was intrigued.
The GMIX Series features TSA-compliant latches, meaning that airport security can use TSA keys to quickly check contents while no one else can: a perfect solution for traveling audio pros. It offers a thick polypropylene exterior build, one-inch EPS foam interior protection throughout and an inner mixer secure fit system. The latter is essentially a thick center rectangle with Velcro on one side and egg crate foam on the other and two carpet-wrapped, plywood L-shaped spacers; the rectangle attaches to the cases inside top, pressing against the center of the console, while the L spacers attach to either side of the cases interior top, near the latches, pressing against the consoles scribble strip. Together, the secure fit components effectively keep the console movement-free when in transport.
My only complaint is that the GMIX opens like a clam; you cant leave the mixer in the bottom half and simply pop the top without staring at the underside of the lid while in use. For a removable lid, the answer is Gators G-TOUR Series built of 9 mm plywood and featuring recessed steel twist latches as well as a justifiably larger price tag (approximately 25 percent more than a comparable GMIX).
At around $300 street, this GMIX case is worthwhile protection for any significant investment in a mixer (padded bags need not apply). Not only does it keep its contents in good working order, it will hopefully increase a consoles resale value upon upgrade time.
Read the full review here: http://www.prosoundnetwork.com/article/par-live-reviews-mackie-2404vlz4-and-gator-cases-gmix-case-series-with-joeco-blackbox-recorder-by-strother-bullins/18454