A look at the specs of the 1622 show that the mixer hardly suffers from the new technology. The specs are actually quite impressive for such a low cost mixer. Frequency response is 20Hz to 20kHz. Crosstalk is at a low -91dB channel to channel at 1KHz. The signal to noise ratio is 100dB on a single channel at +10dB, and residual output noise is reportedly -104dB. In plain English, the 1622 specs stand up well to mixers priced much higher.

There is one obvious dissimilarity between the faders of the 1622 and the faders of a console which doesn't employ the monolithic design. You don't get that smooth, quiet slide of a conventional fader. The feel is more like that of plastic sliding against plastic, and there is a definite scraping sound that could prove to be a problem if you were laying a voice track with a mike over the console and had to quickly move any of the faders during the recording. The faster you move them, the noisier they are. Please note that this is mechanical noise, not electronic noise. This mixer is plenty quiet from a technical point of view. Similarly, the EQ pots, trim pots, send and return pots, and pan pots all have a rough "feel" to them, and they will make that "plastic against plastic" sound if turned quickly. These mechanical characteristics of the monolithic technology take some getting used to if you're accustomed to handling expensive faders and pots, but this is not to say that the controls are cheap. They handle the audio just as well as conventional pots and faders; it's just that the "ride" can be compared to that of a Corvette versus a Mercedes.

Enough of the integrated surface stuff. When you get past the initial impression of the 1622, you find a sixteen channel mixer with quite a few features. Taking a look at the back panel of this 16 X 2 X 2 mixer, the 1622 offers sixteen unbalanced line inputs using ¼-inch phone jacks. Channels one through eight, however, also offer balanced XLR inputs. The XLR inputs are defeated when the ¼-inch jacks are used. Channels one through eight also have direct outputs that are after the fader and EQ section. These could be sent directly to an 8-track machine, and you could then select your inputs to each track by patching that signal to any of the first eight channel inputs. This bypasses a lot of circuitry and offers the cleanest signal to the multi-track.

The next stop on the back panel is the row of channel inserts. All sixteen channels have their own insert point accessed via a stereo, ¼-inch jack. The tip of the stereo plug is the send, and the ring is the return. There are three stereo outputs: the master output, the sub-master output, and the monitor output. The master and sub-master outputs also have insert jacks.

At the bottom of the back panel are the jacks for the sends and returns. The 1622, having been manufactured on For-The-Musician Avenue, comes with quite a set of sends and returns. There are six sends and eight returns, more than you'll need for that pawn shop commercial, and plenty if you plan to use the 1622 to mix a band in your spare time.

Finally, on the back panel, you find a stereo "tape" input, ideal for inputting your 2-track mastering machine. This input is quickly routed to the monitors via a "tape/master" switch on the front panel. There is a headphone jack, a power switch, and another switch that selects the main output level between -10dB and +4dB.

Moving around to the front (or top) of the 1622, we find a very nicely laid out mixer. The sixteen channel faders are full length and fit snugly in their individual, recessed and partitioned cavities. Above each channel is a pan pot with a detent for dead center. Above the pan pots are the on/off switches for each channel. The top switch assigns the channel to the stereo master bus. The second switch assigns the channel to the sub-master bus. The third switch is the mute switch which shuts the channel down with the exception of any signal on sends 1 and 2. The bottom switch solos that channel. The white switches are on when moved to the right and off when left. There are no on/off LED's on these switches, and if you have quite a few things going on, it's a little difficult to see what is on and what is off. It wouldn't be a surprise if present 1622 owners have already used some Day-Glo fingernail polish to paint over the part of the switch that is exposed when it is on. This could really help one know what's on and off at a glance, and it's strange that Alesis didn't slap some brightly colored paint on these switches in the first place.