Mackie DL32R Digital Mixer – Level Up!

Using the Mackie DL1608 mixer with my band has totally sold me on the benefits of digital mixing.  But the DL1608 has some shortcomings, and we’ve outgrown it.

Mackie recently released their new top-of-the-line digital mixer – the DL32R.  Back when I posted about their teaser announcement, I was just hoping that we’d get some DL software upgrades for our 1608. But after seeing how the DL32R will address our current issues, I decided to sell the DL1608 and put the funds towards the upgrade. 

One obvious benefit of the DL32R is that it has more input and output channels (32 in, 14 out).  We were nearly out of inputs and totally out of outputs on the DL1608.  This was preventing us from adding more sound sources (drum kit mics, guest keyboard, etc).

External Hard DiskThe most significant and exciting improvement with the DL32R is that we can do multitrack recording and playback to/from an external disk. This will let us record our live shows / rehearsals as individual tracks so that we can do post-processing/mixing after the show, and we can put together perfectly mixed and produced audio for our videos.  I had really been struggling with this on the DL1608- it only did two channel recordings (the overall L/R mix) – it’s pretty much guaranteed that the front-of-house mix will not be what you want to hear in post.


The multitrack recording feature also enables us to do a virtual sound check.  We can play back the multitrack recording from a previous gig or rehearsal through the mixer at the venue, and walk around the room fixing the mix without any of us having to play a note.  From the mixer’s perspective, playing back that audio is exactly the same as the band playing live (assuming that our mic’s and amps are set up the same as the previous gig, which they always are).  One of us (i.e. me)  can be doing a sound check before the rest of the guys have even set up your gear!
Other benefits:

  • the trim pots are digitally controlled instead of having knobs. On the current mixer, as I’ve posted about before- the knobs get bumped in transit and it throws off our entire mix.
  • the power supply is internal to the unit instead of using a wall wart. Less fidgety, less likely to fail.
  • the DL32R can act as a multi channel USB audio interface for a computer – not sure if we’ll need this, but nice to have the option
  • mounting the iPad to the front of the current mixer was always a bit of a problem. We’ve seen it overheat at a couple of our outdoor gigs
  • Our setup with the DL1608 was a bit hinky- I had it screwed to a board and sat it on top of our rack, and had to transport it in a separate case.  The DL32R will rack mount directly into our rolling SKB rack.

Here’s the new mixer in our rack compared with the old setup:

DL32R in the SKB rack D1608 Screwed to a board


DL32R Mixer On StageUpdate July 2015: Rehearsals with the DL32R have been trouble-free. It has been a very easy transition from the DL1608.

We just played our first gig with the DL32R, and it was great.  Here’s a picture of what my side of the stage looked like:

HD500X pedal board in front with my mic stand, and the mixer rack with the DL32R in back beneath my Blackstar Stage 60.

Next gig, we need to get this more off the side of the stage, as I was kindof tripping over it at times.