Over the past few years, Mackie has introduced some profound new wireless mixing solutions for the live sound marketplace, originally marked by the debut of its DL Series. Just as Apple’s iPad is the key third-party component of DL Series products, either an iPhone/iPod or Android OS device can be an equally functional CPU of the latest wireless mixing line from Mackie, the ProDX Series. (ProDX supports various iOS products and versions plus Android OS v.4.1 through 4.4, v.5.0 and greater). While the audio latency inherent in Android devices continues to remain an issue for some key processes (see http://www.prosoundnetwork.com/androidvoid) savvy manufacturers like Mackie have sought ways to best utilize the ubiquity of the Google-managed OS where such small latencies don’t matter much: e.g., for live mixing rather than for recording and/or comprehensive DAW apps.
The ProDX4 paired with an Android smartphone.
The ProDX Series is currently comprised by two models, the eight-channel ProDX8 and, reviewed here, the four-channel ProDX4. Both operate similarly, differing only by number of inputs and outputs. The ProDX8 offers six mic/line combo XLR/TRS inputs and one stereo eighth-inch line-in jack while the ProDX4 offers dual mic/line combo XLR/TRS inputs and one stereo eighth-inch line-in. The ProDX8 provides two quarter-inch aux outs, while the ProDX4 offers one. Both are equipped with a mini-USB port for firmware updates, an eighth-inch headphone jack, and dual quarter-inch main outs. Around front, these ProDX mixers closely resemble the mix sections of two other innovative Mackie products I’ve recently reviewed, Mackie’s FreePlay personal PA and Reach portable PA, both of which also feature built-in mixing and Bluetooth playback and control capabilities.
The free-to-download ProDX Series’ MixerConnect app closely resembles MackieConnect, the app for FreePlay and Reach products, featuring the same 16 effects parameters but with some subtle differences, such as expanded EQ per channel and a graphic EQ for the main mix. Like MackieConnect, MixerConnect is so intuitive that there’s really no need for a manual, and the effects are nice and well chosen. I downloaded both the iOS and Android versions of MixerConnect to my personal and work mobile phones, respectively; both connected via Bluetooth and subsequently performed without hitch or hesitation. As I alluded earlier, as this app simply controls Mackie hardware parameters, any inherent latency of Android OS won’t really matter in practical use.
As I often focus on reviewing pro audio products for house-of-worship, small theater, schools, and other “volunteer operator”-dependent environments, the ProDX Series stands out to me as an ultimate problem-solver in many small and budget-restricted churches, clubs and other places where comprehensive adjustments can be made untethered, with a pocket device via Bluetooth. At $199 for the ProDX4 and $299 for the ProDX8, the ProDX Series will prove to be a winner in the marketplace, count on it.
COMPANY: Mackie | http://mackie.com/products/prodx-series
PRICE (STREET): $199 and $299 (ProDX4 and ProDX8, respectively)
SAMPLE RATE/BIT DEPTH: 48 kHz/24-bit
SYSTEM LATENCY: <2 ms
FREQUENCY RESPONSE: 20 Hz—20 kHz
INPUT TYPE: Female XLR balanced/quarter-inch and eighth-inch unbalanced
OUTPUT: Female quarter-inch balanced and eighth-inch stereo headphone
BLUETOOTH: Audio streaming and user interface control
SIZES (H X W X D): 3 x 6.3 x 5.5 inches and 3 x 9.1 x 5.5 inches (ProDX4 and ProDX8, respectively)
WEIGHT: 2.2 and 3.2 lbs. (ProDX4 and ProDX8, respectively)
Strother Bullins is Technology Editor for NewBay Media’s AV/Pro Audio Group. email@example.com