Product Profile: Mackie Showbox

Mackie’s new Showbox is an all-in-one portable PA or as Mackie calls it, Performance Rig. 

Mackie has considerable experience designing portable battery powered PA’s going back to the Mackie Thump and they have taken all that experience into account in designing the Mackie Showbox. Let me say right up front that the Mackie Showbox is a veritable Swiss army knife of a portable PA. It’s packed with far more onboard features and as good or better specs than any other portable PA price in its price category. 

The Mackie Showbox is designed to combine all the functionality of a portable PA, Acoustic Guitar Amp, six-channel mixer, effects rack, a USB-C interface, combined into a single, rugged and portable device. Mackie Showbox can be mounted on a pole plus the shape is wedged, so you can lay it on the ground. The Mackie Showbox has a recessed handle making it easy for just about anyone to move around with one hand. Mackie Showbox is designed to comfortably fit in the backseat of your car and can be carried in a padded backpack which Mackie sells separately. The Mackie Showbox is built very sturdily and is designed to withstand daily bumps and grinds you might encounter. At just under 20” tall and 12” wide and weighing just under 21 pounds the Mackie Showbox is designed for easy portability.

Mackie Showbox has two XLR, and two guitar inputs plus a stereo input. It also has an effect send for looping in an effect pedal such as a reverb compressor or delay. A 1/8-inch aux jack is provided to plug in devices like a phone or an iPad, it also has a USB-C interface built in to live stream your gig or record the audio onto your phone. There is also an XLR balanced mix out, so you could connect to another speaker without any noise through longer cable runs. 

The heart of the Mackie Showbox is an on board Class D digital amplifier that is rated at 400 watts peak, which makes it perfect for small indoor or outdoor gigs. Its lithium-ion battery takes about three-four hours to fully charge. An on board battery charge indicator keeps you advised on your remaining battery time. Per Mackie, you should get five-six hours of continuous use off a single charge, more than enough for a typical gig. For larger venues, or if you’re using Showbox as an onstage amp or monitoring system you can plug into the IEC mains outlet and connect to the front of house via the XLR Mix output.

Showbox features a unique breakaway mix control panel which can be mounted on a mic stand. The control panel connects to the Showbox via an included Ethernet cable and gives you full hand on control. The breakaway panel can be mounted on a pole or Mic Stand and connects to the main unit via an included (Mackie green!) Ethernet Cable. 

The Mackie Showbox has six inputs (five 1/8-inch TRS Mono inputs one Stereo inputs for a total of six inputs). You get six effects as well as an effects loop for connecting your own effect pedals, amp sim, etc. 

Mackie Showbox allows you to connect two individual effects to run each channel. You can select from a list of available effects including chorus delay fuzz, flanger, phaser, tube amp emulation, tremolo or acoustic guitar. Reverb options include plate, room, hall or spring. The onboard three-band parametric EQ available on each channel has high, peaking mid and low pass shelving controls.  

To address most of the common feedback related issues you might typically encounter on your gigs, The Mackie Showbox has selectable indoor and outdoor modes and a built in feedback eliminator which will address most common feedback related issues.

Another cool feature is when the incoming signal exceeds the threshold exceeds the set gain level its automatically compressed which reduces the dynamic range and reduces the chance of unwanted distortion.

You can easily record your gigs by connecting a microSD card into the provided card slot, or livestream straight from your smartphone with the built-in USB-C interface. You can record the audio by itself. There is also a headphone output so you can monitor your mix. 

Showbox has a built in auto-gain feature borrowed from Mackie’s DLZ Creator podcast solution which is a great feature to have when setting your input levels. Whether you’re a beginner or have experience in correctly setting gain levels, the auto gain feature is great to have especially if you are in hurry to get set up and start your gig.

The Mackie Showbox has built in Bluetooth I/O which makes it easy to hook up your backing tracks to playback during your gigs. It also has switchable PA and switchable indoor and outdoor amp voicing modes as well as Internal effects for processing guitar and vocals. 

The takeaway here is that with the Showbox, Mackie has designed a well thought out portable PA that really does deliver what many musicians or singer songwriter will need on a typical gig. Like all the other Mackie products I’ve reviewed over the years the Mackie Showbox offers a substantial value proposition. The Mackie showbox is very much a real world solution and is designed to simplify your live setup and includes a host of on board useful extras you will not find on any other portable PSA in this price category. If you are a singer-songwriter or solo gigging musician, the Mackie Showbox is a worthwhile investment.

The Mackie Showbox is available now for MAP $799. Find out more at mackie.com/en/products/battery-powered/live_sound/showbox.html