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Are Mackie Pre's that much better than Tascam?

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by AwedOne, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    Hi Everyone.

    I'm using C4 with a Tascam Fw1082 for I/O and DAW control. The funcionality and workflow is fine and the EQ, compression and limiting in C4 seems adequte, but I'm not getting the depth of sound I want, particularly from vocal mics. I've read a lot of posts here about mics and pre-amps and I get it that quality sound comes from high-end ($$) electronics. But since I'm just a hobbyist, I can't justify spending $1500 - $2K for a single Neve, or Vintech pre-amp. For now, I would just like some opinios on the Mackie Onyx 800R 8-channel pre-am. Is it significantly better than the Tascam pre's, or would I be better off spending $800 for a UAD-1 DSP card?

  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Yes, the Mackie Onyx preamps are significantly better than the Tascams.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Second that!

    Yes, the preamps are MUCH better in the Onyx! I used them extensively beside much more expensive Grace and Millennia pres and only gave up just a LITTLE in performance and mostly on ribbons.

    I wouldn't hesitate to put much of anything through the Onyxs. On the other hand, I owned the FW1884 before. The pres were usable at best. The AD was surprisingly good, but that's the only positive memory that I have from these units.
  4. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hijack this discussion a bit ;)

    But how’s is the build up with the ONYX pres?

    I have the old the 24-8bus and the on the occasional track its ok, but if I put too many things through it, I get mud in the upper mids. Its so annoying I bought the Avocet to bypass the monitor section, now I only use the board if I run out of pre’s.
  5. AwedOne

    AwedOne Guest

    Thanks Gentlemen.

    Yeah, I got the Tascam dirt cheap and I really like the analog style transport controls. It came with Cubase LE which gave me an intro into DAW's, plus I was able to upgrade it to C4 for 1/2 price! I've been looking at older high end analog consoles with automation as well as newer digital ones, but I really don't have the skills yet to justify going into debt for one. For now just adding some decent pre-amps and upgrading mics should hold me for a couple of years.

    Regarding the UAD Neve channel strip plug-ins, I assume that without the hardware transformers the sound would not be very close to the original. Anyone with any experience with them?

    thanks again.
  6. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    They're MUCH better than the previous VLZs (and other iterations of the similar design). Tons of headroom, wide open! Good stuff!
  7. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Interesting- I always prefered to orginal 1604 pre to the VLZ's- but that may be comfort food like thing. My first board was the orginal 1604. Thanks for the input, I will have to 'try' to give them an unbaised test drive.
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Oh, I agree! I have a MS1202 (pre "VLZ" and "VLZ-Pro") and I dig it. I still use it from time to time.
  9. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I'll throw my hat in the ring here as well for the Mackie Onyx pre's; I've been using them since they first came out; couldn't wait to get my hands on it when I learned about the firewire interface. Great stuff, indeed. I eventually upgraded all of my VLZ systems to Onyx, they're wonderful. They more than hold their own against the big boys, and I too have done sessions with both Grace m802 pre's and Onyx, and really don't find much of a difference for most work. In some cases, where I need more than 8 mic channels, I'll go with the Grace for the first or most important 8 mics, then use one of my Onyx boards for the rest. (I have all three of the small format onyx mixers: 1220, 1604, 1640, depending on the size of the gig.)

    I've also run the 1640, the 1604 and the Grace m802 together for a total of 24 inputs on some dates, including larger orchestral stuff, as well as a big Jazz live mix. "Build-up" is a non issue, at least in terms of the pre's. (I track straight out of the pre's to my DAW, then mix it "in the box" afterwards.) Perhaps you'd get some build-up when using the EQs in-circuit, but I tend to doubt it. I suspect any noticeable harshness or increase in a certain tonal range may be due to other factors?

    As for ribbons, I still prefer the Grace (or the AEA TRP) for overall ribbon mic gain, but the Onyx pre's will do in a pinch. You'll be running the trim pot almost full out, but it'll get you there in a pinch.

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