I previously used a 1604-VLZ Pro to run sound for my cover band. It was in an SKB Pop-up case which was handy but still bulky and somewhat heavy to transport. After studying the manual for the ProFX22 I sold the 1604 and bought this. I'm very happy with the upgrades.
First, the layout is simpler with the AUX's now placed after the EQ section, AUX 1&2 marked as "Monitor" sends, and a separately colored control for the FX. (The 1604 obviously didn't have built-in FX so AUX 3/4 was typically used for that.)
There are fewer routing switches which reduces the learning curve.
I was also looking to cut back on the additional racks that I would have to use for compressors and was intrigued by the "one-knob" compressors built into 4 of the channels. They have a fixed ratio of 6:1 and seem to be okay, but I still bring out a 4 channel compressor as a back-up.
I really like the USB connector which I use to record our performances (I have Pro Tools on a Mac Book) and to play back iTunes during breaks.XLR and 1/4" outs on the mains is an upgrade from the 1604 which only had 1/4" outs.
Some of the disappointments which prevent a 5-star rating include:
1. The EQ's remain identical to the previous mixers (12k, 80Hz, and a sweepable mid) which still invite the use of an outboard graphic EQ on the monitor chain because I find SM58's feedback at 2Khz and 8KHz. On this mixer you have to choose one or the other of those frequencies to cut. (Incidentally, I traded in my Crown Poweramps for the Behringer DSP models that are less than 8lbs and have fully parametric EQ's that are programmable with a lap top. I've saved various settings for each of the microphone setups we use.)
2. No BNC connector for a goose neck lamp. Since it's designed to sit on a table I suppose there's an assumption that you're not mixing outdoors at night. Probably a wrong assumption. Bring a flashlight.
3. While it's lighter (I'm always looking to lighten my work) it's still 28" across and therefore won't fit in any rack-size cases. Cases that will hold it are heavy and comparably expensive ($250 minimum) for a $650 mixer. I ended up just buying the soft case sold by Mackie. So I carry it on a shoulder strap and I"m real careful with it.
4.The compressor channels are 11-14. I thought that was a little weird but maybe not everyone puts drums and bass on the first channels like I do. If you want to have the snare, kick or bass on a compressor, you'll need to move them to the middle channels. Also, the compressors are rudimentary. I suppose they can squash a signal but their attack times don't seem all that fast and I can't find any specs to know what the settings are. I think I'll keep bringing outboard compressors.
On the whole, don't expect $2000 worth of quality for $650.00. It's a Mackie and that means it's built better than something like a Behringer. For the price, it does what I need and I like it a lot better than the 1604VLZ Pro that it replaced.