Mackie PROFX12 12 Channel Compact Effects Report
While researching this unit I was surprised at the limited number of online reviews available. Perhaps thats because until recently I didnt even know this mixer existed Mackie does not appear to be promoting this product line as heavily as its Onyx series of mixers and its wellknown VLZPro line. Thats a shame, because this really is a wonderful mixer that adds new features not found on their older VLZ series while maintaining Mackies high standards of product quality and durability. I have owned a Mackie 1402VLZ mixer for many years, and its been a versatile, reliable mixing tool throughout that time. But Ive pined at times (mostly when mixing live performances) for the convenience of a mixer with onboard digital effects. The ProFX12 is perhaps the ideal small ensemble live performance mixer. The similarities to Mackies VLZ series mixers are numerous the inputoutput section and channel strips are very similar, providing immediate familiarity for anyone whos used a Mackie before. A key difference worth highlighting the level setsolo function of the VLZ series has been replaced by individual level set LEDs on each channel input. I prefer setting prefader gain with the benefit of a multisegment LED indicator, but the single, channelspecific LED indicators are nonetheless perfectly serviceable. The mic pres on the ProFX mixers are not Mackies highly vaunted XDR design found on their VLZPro mixers, but they are clean, quiet, high quality mic pres that will satisfy just about any live sound reinforcement or recording application (unless perhaps youre an engineer in a professional studio mixing the next New York Philharmonic performance for a 64bit, 192kHz audiophile recording). One feature missing from the ProFX mixers is individual channel outs if you are doing multitrack recording and need this flexibility, youll need to look elsewhere. Also gone is the VLZseries ALT 34 routing for the mute switches. I never once used this feature in all the years I have owned my 1402, so I doubt its a dealbreaker for anyone pondering this purchase. The real prizes on this mixer are those new features missing from the VLZ designs onboard effects, a graphic EQ, and (drum roll) USB connectivity. Mackie really did their homework on their RM 32bit effects chip. Ten of the sixteen effects are reverbs, and they are uniformly warm, articulate, richsounding verbs that add wonderful ambience to your mix. The only effect editing here is more or less, so you pick the room size and turn it up or down. One nice related feature is a footswitch for turning the effects on or off during live performance. (And if you need the added flexibility offered by an external effects unit, the effects send mix is mirrored on a mono FX send that can be coupled with a pair of stereo returns.) The graphic EQ is another nice addition that offers more sound sculpting tools than Mackies very musical 3band channel strip EQ knobs. And finally, the USB connectivity makes this a fully modern mixer that can plug as easily into your computer as it can into a pair of powered PA monitors. Traction3 software can be downloaded for free if you dont already own recording software. This unit is made in China if that matters to you. My old Mackie was made in Woodenville, and Mackie took pride in that fact. I do wish this unit was USmade, but Im afraid its virtually impossible to find a mixer in this price range with these specs and features that is built domestically. Ill never get rid of my 1402VLZ, but its probably going to collect a lot more dust in the coming years now that I own the ProFX12.