My Behringer Xenyx 1204FX recently failed after 10 years of service. Not bad for cheap mixer. Replaced it today with a Mackie (Loud) 1202VLZ4. A few thoughts for those that may be interested in using one of these for AV production, podcasting, etc.
Both mixers have 4 mic preamps, 3 band EQ, 2 aux output, phantom power and internal power supplies. The Behringer is 12 input (4 line/mic, 2 stereo) whereas the Mackie is 12 channel (4 line/mic, 4 stereo). Mostly comparable although price wise the Mackie 802VLZ4 is closer to the X1204FX.
Mackie 1202 Pros
- Build quality is a step above the X1204. From the chassis to the knobs the overall construction is better.
- XLR + TRS main outputs whereas X1204 is XLR only
- 4 stereo channels vs 2 stereo channels on the X1204
- Dedicated inserts for channels 1-4
- Alt 3-4 submix to main option
- 12 segment meter vs 8 segment
- Oynx preamps > Xenyx preamps according to everyone I've talked to and everything I've read
- Noticeably quieter than the X1204 although the latest Behringer iterations may be better than my (now dead) unit
- Brighter, punchier sound than the X1204 (EQ TBD)
- No cheap plastic adornments
- Manual is laden with smartass comments, fun read
Behringer 1204 Pros
- Fader strips vs knobs on the 1202V
- Alt 3-4 fader whereas 1202V dumps a channel sum to Alt 3-4
- Per-channel mute/solo/clip LEDs
- Integrated effects. No comparison to outboard or DAW based effects but the reverb is good enough in a pinch
- 2 channel USB output
- Cheap. $278.00 vs $337.49 CAD
- Available in non-fx version for $231.00 CAD
- Excellent bang for the buck
The Mackie 1202VLZ4 is a spartan, no nonsense, analog mixer. It's a solidly built device that sounds brighter in a zeroed configuration than the X1204 to my ear.
Although I can't test the preamps side by side, the pecking order for this class of mixer is typically Allen & Heath > Mackie > Behinger. I would have gone with A&H ZED-10 but I prefer Mackie's connectivity and price point.
I prefer Behringer's creature comforts. I didn't realize how much I rely on mute/solo LEDs for at a glance status. I really like Behringer's Alt 3-4 implementation.
Back in the day Mackie relied heavily on their 'Made in USA' campaign. That rep has tarnished somewhat over the years. Quality decrease was correlated to overseas manufacturing. Bias perhaps, or it may have taken the factories some time into the swing of things. Not sure. I suspect the overall reliability of Mackie vs Behringer today may be close if my X1204 is any indication. QA has been improving across the board for many companies & products manufactured abroad. I'm optimistic.
Sonically the Mackie is superior to my old Behringer yet the latter's user interface is better in my opinion. For anyone shopping for a (mostly) analog mixer I wouldn't hesitate to recommend either depending on budget. For those with more cash Allen & Heath is worth a look.