Monday, November 11, 2013

Mackie CR-1202 Micro Series audio mixer

This new addition to the stable promises to be a worthy newcomer, even as it's getting up in age (but showing zero signs of wear):

The Mackie CR-1202 came out in the early 90's to fill a void in the pro audio market. Sound men operating PA's for hire need a reliable, inexpensive solution to do their job well, and home recording buffs needed the same solution for their application. Hence the diminutive but powerful 1202.

This market leader features 4 mic inputs across the channel strip, and 4 stereo line inputs. Left channel inputs are designated for stereo, and the mic inputs feature high-quality preamps with tons of headroom. It wasn't Greg Mackie's first foray into pro audio gear, he'd started building tube guitar amps in the 70's. Leaving Boeing to pursue his own business, he created TAPCO and sold millions of his first pared-down, high-quality mixers under that brand. Years later, the demand for solid components were still in demand, and he filled that need with the 1202 and it's bigger brother, the CR-1604 (16 channels of XLR inputs with the Roto-Pod accessory, and 4 aux sends, as opposed to the 2 included on the 1202).

The aux sends can be used, alternately or separately, as effects sends or monitor mixes, in conjunction with amps/wedges. The EQ section features simplistic bass/treble controls, neither sweepable. The sweepable mids feature would be added to the VLZ series, and was definitely welcomed for the guys in the trenches trying to tweeze a serious sound mix from an unruly rock band or a finicky jazz combo.

Rotary pots replace conventional faders to save space, and reduce cost. The internals were not to be skimped on, and the overall build quality is superb ("built like a brick" is how they describe it: solid and very sturdy in every way). The 1202 has an internal power supply (unlike Behringer mixers' wall wart supplies of this size class). This thing could get knocked off a rack and still work fine.

Dumbo-ear rack mounts make this mixer roadworthy, and for small groups on a small budget, the diminutive CR-1202 more than proved itself in the field, and quickly set the standard for budget- to midrange-priced mixers. Soon they parlayed their early successes by going into other audio products (SS power amps, studio monitors, etc.) and larger-format consoles.

Before selling to LOUD Industries in the 2000's, they were briefly owned by St. Louis Music, who also manufactured the Crate and Ampeg brands.

Here's the techie stuff:

S/N Ratio:  99 dB ref: +4 dBu working level (all channels assigned, 1-4 panned alternately left/right, 5-12 set at center, main line out single-ended, 20 Hz to 20 kHz)

Mic Preamp Equivalent Input Noise (EIN): -129 dBm @ 150 ohms, 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Maximum gain (mic in to main out): 86 dB (to balanced out), 80 dB (to unbalanced out)

Frequency response: 20 Hz to 40 kHz, +/- 1 dB (mic in to main line out)

Distortion: Less than 0.25%, 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Pan attenuation: -67 dB

Adjacent Channel Crosstalk (at insert outputs): -85 dB @ 1 Hz

EQ: low +/- 15 dB @ 80 Hz, high +/- 15 dB @ 12 kHz

Maximum Output Level: +28 dBu balanced, +22 dBu unbalanced (using TRS plug with ring disconnected)

Weight: 7 lbs.

This little jewel came in at a steal... $65! That's less than a quality stomp box, or high-end cables!
Timing is everything when purchasing pre-owned gear, and my timing was perfect this time! It took me less than 5 minutes to unhook my old mixer from my PA rig, swap out the wiring, and mount the board in my SKB Gig Rig! Killer sound on a budget, a definite win-win!
Keep your gear on and your ears open! Later!

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