As with all gear in my Road Tests, I hooked up the DL1608 in my shop to play around with it before taking it out on a gig.
I did note one small drawback – the lack of a stereo input. To hook up a CD player or iPod, I needed to use two of the combo inputs, and this also requires using the two channels for control as there is no way in the software to link channels together.
The counter to this, however, is the built-in iPad audio channel that fosters the use of iTunes or another audio program for walk in/out music or cues. The drawback is that to control the music, you have to exit the Master Fader app and open up another program.
While it doesn’t take long for the Master Fader to open, those few seconds leave the operator without any control over the audio.
And when in the Master Fader app, there is no access to the playback controls on the audio app. This is certainly not a deal breaker for me because I normally have a dedicated external audio playback unit on gigs when I need to play cues during a performance, but it would be nice to have a dedicated stereo channel.
In The Field
Following my shop evaluation, I took the DL1608 out to help me handle audio for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of a new business.
Apple AirPort Express provided the option of moving around or staying at the console – I did the latter, but unlocked the iPad during setup to make adjustments while walking the coverage area. I also had a playback unit with me but felt comfortable enough to play back songs directly from iTunes on the iPad for the walk in/out music.
The next gig was a typical corporate meeting breakout room where I normally would deploy one of my Mackie DFX12 mixers. The inputs were a pair of podium microphones and a wireless mic system, as well as an audience Q&A wireless mic and computer audio.
The DL1608 review unit with the author’s Mackie DFX12 analog mixer. (click to enlarge)
Normally I would run a small snake from the podium area back to a console at front of house, but instead, I placed the DL1608 at the stage and sat at FOH with just an iPad and laptop, running a mic to the mixer for audio from my laptop. The wi-fi worked great and saved me from running an 8-channel snake.
With tons of great features in a compact, well-built package, as well as great sound and great software, Mackie has a real winner with the DL1608.
U.S. MSRP for the DL1608: $1,249
Note: To check out comments from the community as well as to ask questions about the DL1608, go to the Road Test Forum here on PSW.
Craig Leerman is senior contributing editor for Live Sound International and ProSoundWeb, and is the owner of Tech Works, a production company based in Las Vegas.