So, as a practicing live sound engineer, I decided to exchange my Yamaha 01v96v2 for the DL1608 in order to get rid of the heavy lifting of multicore cables and the dirty job of rolling them up after a gig.
I have done three gigs with it so far (same group every time: vocals, string quartet and spanish guitar) and the impression is generally very positive. Saves a lot of time on smaller gigs by not having to set up a FOH area/booth. Just leave the mixer on stage, connect everything directly into it and just take the iPad and go.
I have been using a Zyxel router for the wireless control and it has worked pretty darn well. Only on the first gig I lost the connection while moving to the back of the audience but that was just for a moment and the drop out didn't have any effect on the sound. So, by the topic:
Small, compact, easy to carry. The only handling you'll really be doing with the mixer itself is adjusting gain and headphones level with some fairly standard knobs. However, I feel that the turning of the knobs should offer a bit more resistance but it's not a big concern. The iPad app handles very well. Very responsive, intuitive, and manages to give you a lot of information at a glance. Since you can only view 8 faders (and input meters) at once, it's not quite as comfortable as having 16 physical faders at your disposal at all times, but it's very good, considering the restrictions of the iPad screen size. But contrary to the small loss in fader operation, the eq, compressor and really any other control interface is a joy to use, the touchscreen really enhances that stuff.
This is where the mixer's biggest shortcomings appear. First, no internal group buses. Yes, you can physically patch one using an aux send, but for a stereo group you will be giving away 2 channels and 2 aux sends. Same with stereo inputs for a cd player/stereo keyboard etc, although that's really ok, the aux sends are more valuable than the input channels. Also, there are two internal stereo effect channels, but for some reason, on is fixed for reverb and other for delay. On my three gigs, I would have killed for 2 reverb channels, albeit I think that for most occasions, one is fine. Of course, you can always opt for an external fx processor, but again, you'll lose 2 aux sends and 2 inputs. In conclusion, it's would be a hell of a lot versatile, if it had 2 more aux sends, if both fx channels were assignable to either delay or reverb, internal group buses and a stereo in, or at least six channels with xlr/trs combo inputs instead of the current 4. Other than that, it has got everything: compressor and gate on every channel, hpf, 4-band eq, graphic eq, mute groups - the whole nine yards.
No complaints here, sounds excellent. The effects can be tweaked to sound very good too.
Generally well made. The plastic feels a bit cheap, but with a case and the price point, a minor concern.
All in all, it's a great digital mixer for a good price that serves most of my gigs very well. With up to 16 channels, you can probably mix most standard-size bands with ease. I suppose you could always extend it with an analogue mixer, but that route obviously has it's limitations. Certainly recommended! I only wish they'd make a bigger one, 2410 for example.
Edit: Some time has passed since writing of the review. Mackie has released a software update for the console, and it adds 4 VCA-s subgroups and digital input gain trim among other features, so a lot of my issues are resolved.
Also, got a chance to compare it to the similarly priced Behringer X32 Rack: Sound quality wise I'd say they are both very good.
The Master Fader app is imo a lot better than the Behringer counterpart. Objectively, you get more bang for your buck with the X32 when it comes to features, but the Master Fader app is imo a lot better than the Behringer counterpart and for everyday mixing in small to medium venues where you don't need all the digital networking and routing, or multi-track recording capability, I think the Mackie is more comfortable to use, especially with the recent software update.
Also, it is a lot more compact and it is easy to set it up as a regular desk in mixing booth, if needed.