I'm telling everybody how cool this board is
I did a lot of research on medium-sized mixers. I found myself in the market after my Mackie classic CR1604 stopped working after abusing it for over 20 years. During that time, I also used a huge Behringer 32 channel Eurodesk but, found it hard to dial in the sound. It was too much and the components weren't impressive.
It was also time to start recording direct to my Mac. Even though I work with myself or maybe one other player at a time, the idea of being able to zap 16 channels at once was very appealing. I didn't fully realize how easy and convenient recording this way made the entire process. Ideas were recorded on the fly, inserted into the mix (because I could). I had studied the manual prior to purchasing, so I hit the ground running with little effort.
There were specific reasons I chose this mixer:
1) Latency. It drives me crazy. The 1620i sends the mix back to the board through channels 15/16 (a stereo pair). When you overdub, there is NO latency whatsoever.
2) Overdubs in general. I mix using Tracktion 4 DAW on the computer. I didn't need to have my hands on an actual mixer to mix down. But when the entire mix is routed back through 15/16 it's a nice little subgrouping of the whole thing so if you need the recorded tracks less hot while you're overdubbing, you just adjust one slider. Very convenient way to dial in the overdub mix.
3) Computer performance/multitracking. This was a leap of faith. My computer is an unmodified, out-of-the-box iMac from Best Buy. I had concerns that it could handle a lot of tracks without choking. The first song I made was about 17 tracks and it recorded and played back perfectly. No problems whatsoever. And I was recording stereo tracks on everything at 24 bit/96kHz.
4) The preamps and Perkins EQ. I think anything above that Eurodesk is a step up for my ears. These preamps are warm and musical. I'm using very little EQ and when I do, a little goes a LONG way. The option of running dynamic and condenser mics side-by-side is perfect with the 49V phantom power button on each of the 8 XLR inputs.
5) Overall sound. You don't know until you record YOUR music. When I get equipment that works right, it makes me more creative because I'm not spending time figuring out problems. I love the sound. The preamps make capturing an acoustic guitar or vocal very musical because it's not harsh. With some mixers, I've had to dial back the high end because it was too brittle (digital) sounding. The mixes are smooth and full.
I do recommend this mixer. Grab it by both hands and pick it up -- feels very solid. I've heard a lot of internet crap about Mackie hype but, I used my Mackie for 20 years so I know they last. That's fact, not hype.
Now the CONS:
1) It comes with a Firewire cable but it's the regular pin on both ends. They also included an adapter for the mini connection but, my iMac needed something else. Radio Shack - $23.
2) The signal before using gain could be hotter for my taste. I have to turn the sliders up high to get a hot enough signal. I use gain sparingly but find myself using more of it to get what I need.
Everything else is perfect. If you're evaluating mixers, include this one because I love mine.