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Mackie Mixers Hold Down Beyonce’s Backline

The humble 1402-VLZ Pro has long been one of Mackie’s most popular mixers, finding a home as centerpiece in many a project studio and live rig. So it was hardly a surprise for us to discover that not just one, but three members of Beyonce’s red hot touring band have been packing 1402’s in their racks.

Drummer Nisan Stewart, who divides his time between touring with the likes of Aaliyah, Ginuwine, Missy Elliot, Timbaland and Janet Jackson, and providing studio beats and songwriting chops for everyone from P. Diddy to Gwen Stefani, has been toting a 1402-VLZ Pro in his rack to provide his own monitor mix. “We’ve got a lot of keys and modules coming into the mix, and I bring it all up on the Mackie, along with my own mix. It sits right next to my kit, and I can set my own levels and make whatever changes I want quickly and easily.” Nisan has been building his own project studio in his home in southern California, and is looking at adding more Mackie gear there as well.

Keyboardists Jeff Motley and Jow Wilson also reportedly packed a couple 1402-VLZ Pro’s in their racks for the tour. Wilson, who has served as musical director for Natalie Wilson and SOP, and has toured and worked with artists like SWV, Joe, Dru Hill and Brandy, uses his 1402 to program the shows into his Digidesign 002- based system. “On stage I normally take four channels out of the Mackie – stereo drums, click and SMPTE. Not a lot of mixers have enough separation to run SMPTE through one channel without bleeding through, but I’ve always been able to do that with the Mackie. It’s got great headroom too.”

Between them, Wilson and Motley run a small battalion of keys and modules, including two MPC4000’s, three Korg Tridents and two more Trident rack modules. “We run all the outputs into the Mackies, which allows us to do our own mixes on stage,” explains Wilson.

“I love Mackie stuff - I’ve been using it for years,” Wilson continues. “I got my first Mackie mixer when I was working with Guy back around 1990. Being a keyboard player, I’ve tried lots of mixers, but none of them can compete with the Mackie stuff.” An active musician in the Gospel scene in his native New Jersey, Wilson is planning a national gospel tour later this year, with an eye toward Mackie’s SR-series live active loudspeakers.