As a Senior Producer, my role revolves around the dynamic world of audio production — from orchestrating our in-house podcast to meticulously creating content for our diverse clientele. In this dynamic world of audio production, I’m always on the lookout for gear that not only elevates our sound quality but also fits seamlessly into our diverse recording environments. That’s why the Mackie DLZ Creator XS has captured my attention. Compact yet brimming with features, this mixer seems tailor-made for creators like us who are juggling studio-quality demands with the need for space efficiency. Join me as I delve into its capabilities, comparing it with industry favorites like the Rode RodeCaster Duo and its larger counterpart, the Mackie DLZ Creator. Whether you’re a podcast pro or just starting out, let’s explore why the DLZ Creator XS could be the next big thing in your audio toolkit.

Key Features

  1. Compact and Portable Design: True to its name, the XS (Extra Small) model is designed for space efficiency, making it perfect for mobile setups and small studios.
  2. Two High-Quality Onyx Mic Preamps: Ensures professional-level audio quality for your microphones.
  3. Automatic Gain Adjustment: Automatically sets optimal levels for your microphones, a standout feature for ease of use.
  4. NDI® Audio Networking: Offers robust network-based audio handling, allowing for versatile setups and integrations.
  5. 4 Programmable Sound Pads: For instant triggering of sound effects, music, and more, enhancing the dynamic nature of your podcasts or live streams.
  6. Auto-Mixing: Simplifies managing multiple microphones by automatically adjusting levels to minimize background noise and prevent audio clipping.
  7. 7” High-Resolution Touchscreen: Provides easy and intuitive control over your mix and settings.
  8. Onboard Recording: Directly record your podcasts or streams to an SD card.
  9. Bluetooth® Connectivity: Allows for easy wireless connection to your devices.
  10. Studio-Quality EQ, Compression, and Effects: Enhances the audio quality with professional-grade processing tools.
  11. Multiple I/O Options: Includes USB-C, ¼” headphone output, 1/8” TRRS, and more for versatile connectivity.
  12. Easy Integration with Popular Streaming Software: Compatible with software like OBS, Ecamm Live, and more for seamless live-streaming setups.
  13. Robust Construction: Built to be durable and reliable for frequent use.

These features highlight the Mackie DLZ Creator XS as a powerful, yet user-friendly device, suitable for both novice creators and seasoned professionals. The combination of high-quality audio components, advanced connectivity options, and user-centric design makes it a versatile tool for a variety of audio production needs.

Technical Specifications Overview

The Mackie DLZ Creator XS is a powerhouse packed with state-of-the-art features, reflecting Mackie’s commitment to high-quality audio and user-friendly design. At its core are innovative DLZ control modes, DLZ Mix Agent, and Auto Mix technologies, ensuring seamless audio mixing and management. The mixer boasts a 7” high-resolution, full-color touch display with an anti-glare coating, offering crystal-clear visual feedback and effortless navigation.

Audio input versatility is a key strength, with 2 discrete XLR/TRS combo inputs, a stereo channel with dual 1/4” TRS inputs, and another stereo channel with a 1/8” TRS connection. Additionally, it includes a stereo bi-directional Bluetooth channel for wireless connectivity. The DLZ Creator XS functions as a robust 14×4 USB-C audio interface for seamless integration with Mac/PC.

Recording options are versatile, allowing users to record directly to microSD or USB flash drive. The mixer doesn’t skimp on audio processing capabilities, featuring professional tools like 3-band parametric EQ, noise gate, de-esser, compressor, Atomizer reverb, and Chronotronic delay. For a creative twist, it offers fun and interactive voice-changing effects.

User interaction is enhanced with customizable pads for triggering samples, toggling effects, and executing commands like fade and duck. The renowned Onyx80 mic preamps provide up to 80dB gain, ensuring pristine audio quality. The interface includes 4 dynamically color-coded rotary encoders and 5 potentiometers with dynamic LED level indication, along with backlit mute, solo, and navigation buttons.

For monitoring, it comes equipped with 2 independent headphone outputs, catering to collaborative environments. The DLZ Creator XS supports 9 languages, making it accessible to a global user base. And for a bit of fun, yes, you can even play Pong on your DLZ during downtime!


The Mackie DLZ Creator XS excels in its connectivity options, tailored for the modern content creator. The standout feature here is the NDI® Audio Networking, which revolutionizes audio sharing over a network, ideal for complex or multi-room setups. This opens up new horizons in audio routing, making it possible to integrate the mixer into various production environments seamlessly.

Bluetooth® connectivity is another key aspect, allowing for wireless connections with devices, adding a layer of convenience for streamers and podcasters. The inclusion of USB-C ensures high-speed data transfer and compatibility with contemporary computing devices. Additionally, the variety of inputs and outputs, including ¼” headphone output and 1/8” TRRS, makes the DLZ Creator XS a highly versatile tool, ready to handle a wide range of audio sources and outputs.

Comparison with Mackie DLZ Creator

The Mackie DLZ Creator XS is essentially a compact, more streamlined version of its predecessor, the Mackie DLZ Creator. This distinction is crucial for users deciding between the two, based on their specific needs and workspace constraints.

Size and Portability: The most notable difference is the size. The DLZ Creator XS, with its smaller, more manageable form factor, is tailored for users with limited space or those who require a portable setup. In contrast, the original DLZ Creator, being larger, might be better suited for fixed studio environments.

Input Channels: The DLZ Creator XS offers two mic inputs, ideal for solo creators or two-person setups. The original DLZ Creator, on the other hand, provides more input options, which could be beneficial for users handling more complex audio setups or larger podcasting teams.

Screen Size: While both models boast high-resolution touchscreens, the original DLZ Creator features a larger screen, which could be a preference for users who prioritize ease of navigation and visual feedback.

Professional Audio Processing: Both models share similar professional audio processing capabilities, ensuring high-quality audio output. However, the DLZ Creator XS stands out with its automatic gain adjustment feature, simplifying the setup process, especially for less experienced users.

The choice between the Mackie DLZ Creator XS and the original DLZ Creator largely hinges on the specific requirements of the user. The DLZ Creator XS, with its compact design and user-friendly features like automatic gain adjustment, is an excellent option for those seeking a balance between performance and portability. The original DLZ Creator, with more input channels and a larger screen, caters to users with more extensive audio needs and a dedicated studio space.

Comparison with Rodecaster Duo

When comparing the Mackie DLZ Creator XS with the Rode RodeCaster Duo, several key differences and similarities become apparent, especially considering they are positioned at a similar price point.


  1. Input Options: Both units offer multiple input channels, accommodating various audio sources.
  2. Touchscreen Interface: Each comes equipped with a touchscreen, although the DLZ Creator XS boasts a larger 7” screen.
  3. Recording Capabilities: Both mixers allow for direct recording, offering flexibility in capturing audio content.
  4. Sound Pad Functionality: Each unit features programmable pads for triggering audio samples and effects.


  1. Networking Capability: The DLZ Creator XS stands out with its NDI® Audio Networking, offering sophisticated network-based audio routing, a feature not present in the RodeCaster Duo.
  2. Automatic Gain Setting: The DLZ Creator XS offers an automatic gain adjustment feature, simplifying the setup process for users, which is a unique advantage over the RodeCaster Duo.
  3. Audio Processing Tools: While both offer professional audio processing, the specific tools and effects might vary, with the DLZ Creator XS featuring tools like Atomizer reverb and Chronotronic delay.
  4. Voice-Changing Effects: The DLZ Creator XS includes voice-changing effects, adding a layer of creativity to your audio production, a feature that might appeal to a specific user base.
  5. Build and Design: The compact size of the DLZ Creator XS is specifically designed for space-saving and portability, which might be a determining factor for users with limited space.

The choice between the Mackie DLZ Creator XS and the Rode RodeCaster Duo largely depends on specific user needs and preferences. The DLZ Creator XS excels in its network audio capabilities, automatic gain setting, and unique audio processing tools. In contrast, the RodeCaster Duo is known for its user-friendly interface and solid performance. Both are excellent choices at their price point, but the DLZ Creator XS might edge out for users looking for advanced networking capabilities and automatic audio adjustments.

Future Speculations

With Rode’s recent acquisition of Mackie, the future of products like the DLZ Creator XS is an exciting prospect. This amalgamation could lead to the integration of Rode’s and Mackie’s technological strengths, potentially creating new products that combine Rode’s user-friendly interfaces with Mackie’s advanced audio processing and networking capabilities.

It’s conceivable that future iterations or new products might emerge, offering the best of both worlds – Rode’s intuitive design with Mackie’s robust and professional audio features. This acquisition could mark the beginning of a new era in audio mixer technology, particularly in the streaming and podcasting domain.


The Mackie DLZ Creator XS is more than just a compact audio mixer; it’s a testament to Mackie’s innovation and understanding of the modern content creator’s needs. Its blend of professional audio quality, advanced connectivity, and user-friendly design make it a top contender in its category.

Whether you’re a podcasting novice or a seasoned streamer, the DLZ Creator XS offers a range of features that cater to various production needs. Its compact size, combined with powerful capabilities, positions it as a highly desirable tool for anyone looking to enhance their audio production setup.

In a rapidly evolving market, the DLZ Creator XS stands out as a forward-thinking device, promising to be a valuable asset for creative professionals and enthusiasts alike.

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