The U.420 is a 4-channel stereo line mixer geared towards musicians, DJs and producers. It gets its name because it's shaped like a "U."
Mackie tells us that the micro-master section was purposely placed in the center of the unit for easy access, and full-sized features really accentuate the accessibility of necessary components like the enlarged master volume knob and high-resolution meters.
The four stereo line channels each feature their own 3-band "full-kill" active EQ. Instrument signals are handled by a built-in DI box. An RIAA phono preamp was designed to allow for turntable playback and providing interfacing options for digital transfer of LPs via FireWire.
The FireWire interface operates at 24-bit/96kHz, compatible with PCs and Macs. The headphone output control is wired before the main volume knob, so you can overdub via headphones when you don't want to pick up noise from your monitors without any routing changes.
For live applications, you can mix in software such as Ableton Live while playing a synth or turntable through the analog ins. The sources will mix at the main output. A FireWire "loop-thru" button sends your analog inputs and your DAW feed back to the computer for recording live stereo mixes.
According to Mackie, the U.420 is a great submixer for keyboardists working with multiple keyboards and even software simultaneously. It's compact and can handle four stereo line inputs easily. Mackie has also released the U.420d which is pretty much the same unit catered more towards DJs.
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