For 20 years, the Coconut Groove Band (CGB) has performed a huge repertoire of
well-known songs, ranging from easy listening to soul, R&B, Americana, rock, pop-
you name it. Until recently, they relied on a 12-channel, analogue, powered mixer,
and to some extent it did the job. “The old mixer was a workhorse,” recalls
guitarist/vocalist Rick McClanahan, “and it had effects, but it was big and heavy. We
use powered speakers, so carrying around a powered mixer was wasteful. More
important, we wanted to expand and move into the future. For example, I’ve always
wanted to record or shows in multitrack, and I’ve never been able to do that.”

Then a friend told McClanahan about the Mackie DL32R rack-mount digital mixer.
“We checked out the DL32R,” McClanahan continues, “and we got the bug and
picked one up. It’s a really cool tool! It sounds great, and it does everything we
wanted. My partner, David Harper, plays keyboards, sings, and mixes front-of-
house from his keyboard rig onstage. He can program synths backward and forward
but he had no experience using a digital mixer. It didn’t take long to figure out the
DL32R, though.”

Another advantage of the DL32R was having plenty of monitor mixes. “David and I
use wedge monitors-I’ve never been comfortable with in-ears-and I put guitar and
vocals in my mix. The other guys use in-ears. David sets up and controls the main
front-of-house mix using an iPad Air and Mackie’s Master Fader™ app. The rest of
us use iPads to control our monitor mixes but we’re locked out of the main mix so
we can’t accidentally mess it up.”

A four-piece band with guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, and strong four-part vocals,
the Coconut Groove Band maintains a busy schedule, playing a wide variety of local
and regional gigs. “We save mixer scenes for all of the places we play,”
McClanahan notes. “It’s a great time saver when we return to the venue.”

The DL32R’s size and weight are also important benefits for CGB. “We have three
different drummers we use at various times, and I own the drum kit, which is one
of those compact, stackable kits,” McClanahan explains. “Going with the stackable
kit and downsizing from the analogue mixer to the DL32R enabled us to get rid of
our trailer and save a lot of hassle, fuel, and money. The DL32R is in a small, road-
ready rack that’s light and fits in a small space. After all the years I’ve had to
unload that heavy mixer, carrying the DL32R is a beautiful thing.”