Review: Mackie ProDX8

Surprising versatility in a small digital mixer
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Surprising versatility in a small digital mixer
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Weighing exactly one kilogram, the ProDX8 audio mixer looks like an odd-shaped portable radio with one knob, eleven buttons, and a 15-segment LED meter. Its modest appearance, however, belies its impressive functionality. Using only the easily scratched and smudged front panel, you can create and control three independent 8-channel mixes with reverb and delay. Mackie also offers the free MixerConnect app to control additional functions from your Android or iOS device, which you can prop on top if it isn’t too heavy.

The ProDX8’s back panel has six XLR/TRS combo inputs and a 3.5mm stereo line input mounted below two TRS main outputs, two TRS aux outputs, and a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack. One mix is routed to the main outputs, and you can switch between two other mixes routed to the aux outputs. Combo inputs accommodate microphones, guitars, or line-level sources without input gain adjustments.

The rotary encoder controls all levels, depending on which button you press. Separate buttons select the six mono input channels, main output pair, or headphone output. A seventh channel button selects either the 3.5mm stereo input or streaming Bluetooth audio. An additional button selects whether the knob controls effects depth or one of the aux mixes, and another switches between two reverbs and two delays.

Although Mackie’s MixerConnect app gives you complete control over all ProDX8 functions, you can create complete mixes using only the front-panel knob and buttons.AN APP FOR THAT

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You can make level adjustments using the hardware alone. The ProDX8 remembers whatever settings are current when you switch it off, but you’ll need the app to store and recall any of three mix presets or to enable EQ, compression, and additional effects.

MixerConnect communicates wirelessly with the ProDX8 over Bluetooth. After the initial pairing with my iPhone and iPad, reconnecting was usually immediate, though I occasionally had to cycle the ProDX8’s power to re-establish the connection.

Onscreen buttons maneuver through numerous views. All views let you access the main fader and alternate between the main mix and two aux mixes. Mixer view displays faders for every input and an effects channel, with adjacent meters to indicate level in dB. Channel view displays level faders for effects, compression, a low-cut filter, and 3-band EQ for the selected input. The only way to pan signals left and right is to link any two adjoining channels as a stereo channel. Main view accesses a 7-band graphic EQ for the outputs, whereas System view lets you store three presets, adjust headphone gain, and open support documents on the Web.

All channels share the onboard effects processor, which offers eight reverbs, three delays, slapback, doubler, chorus, reverb with delay, and reverb with chorus. Delay times are fixed at 300, 380, and 480ms.

PIECES OF EIGHT

Mackie designed the ProDX8 for small ensembles, solo performers, and commercial installations, but it also serves as a versatile submixer when main mixer channels are scarce; for example, mixing down drum mics or keyboards.

The sound quality is accurate and clean, thanks to its 24-bit, 96kHz resolution. The effects sound quite good, too, but the ability to specify only the effects type and level restricts their flexibility. All in all, though, the ProDX8 is handy to have around.

STRENGTHS
Balanced I/O. Six combo inputs. Three separate mixes. Three mix presets. Onboard effects, EQ, and compression. Good sound quality. Affordable.

LIMITATIONS
No individual channel panning. No phantom power. Limited effects parameters. Placing larger iPad Pro on top makes it unstable.

$300 street
mackie.com