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Mackie Onyx 800R

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by maintiger, Jul 31, 2004.

  1. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Just saw the ad in tape op- 8ch of preamps with AD converters. Sounds cool. Maybe some of our members will buy one soon and will let us know how they like it... anyone knows the price...?
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I have a line in with Mackie to get one for review. Keep in mind that it is a Mackie and they have been saying for years now that "this next generation of pre amps we have is world class ... "since the first 1604 hit the market. As we all know, Mackie pres are ok but not world class. I am always on the lookout for mic pres that are affordable and really sound good ... so far, no luck. But hope springs eternal!

    I also dislike pres that are coupled to firewire or orther converter technology. Sure , it's convinent! But what if the pres's are ok but the converters suck? What happens in the future if sample and bit rates change? Then you are sitting on a pile of mic pres that are worthless.
  3. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    If the pre's are good but the converters suck, just use the analog outs! My ASP008 has line level analog i/o on db25's with DA88 pinouts. Not sure what the Mackie has, but I can't imagine that there's a whole lot of real estate on the back of that 1RU box.
  4. bcarr

    bcarr Guest

    I just ordered the Audient ASP008! I can't wait till it gets in. I've been researching 8 chanel preamps for months. I did get the adat out card with it but it does still have the analog out's like you said. I think most units do both these days.

    How do you like your Audient ASP008? What do you use it on?
  5. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member


    Anyone have any real-world experience with the Mackie 800R 8-Channel Mic Pre+A/D converter (w/ADAT out)? I would think it is a FAR better option than the Onyx Mixers since the Mic Pre goes direclty into the A/D, and channels 1 and 2 have variable impedance, too!

    I'm just looking for something to compliment my RME AID-8 Pro and 96/36PCI card. I already have descent outboard pre's and conversion, but an extra 8 channels of OK pre's and conversion is needed for large drum kits (for Toms), and other "live" tracking scenarios. This would NOT be used as the "main" pre/interface, and certainly not be used on Vox.

    Any opinions on "utility use" of this unit? Is it worth twice the cost of the M-Audio Octane w/ a simular feature-set?

  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    From what I understand, the mixer is not even shipping yet .. so most likely it will be a while before we see this 8 channel mic pre ADAT interface hit the market.

    I am curious but after researching it more since this thread originated, I am less enthusiastic. Mostly seems to be more of the same from Mackie at about the same price ...

    Actually, it seems to me that the more Mackie "improves" it's mic pre, the worse it sounds. The folks at Mackie must have a completely different idea of what makes a good mic pre than I do ..
  7. dasbin

    dasbin Guest

    I saw some Onyx 1640's on sale at a local music store a couple weeks ago.
    Pretty cheap actually. If this stuff lives up to the hype, all the Onyx gear will be great value.
  8. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    I just called my local GC, and they appear to be "Avalible" from Mackie, but GC does not show any on order (that's odd). The Mackie Website indicates "Shipping in 2nd Qtr of 2004" - yeah Right ;) ! Tons of websites are already advertising them at $999 with no mention of avalibility, so I dunno...

    I wonder why they didn't offer a FW option for the 800R? I'll be using the ADAT anyway, but it would be a cool option (like the FireFace 800 that includes ADAT I/O as well). I guess the FW card for the Mixers is the A/D conversion AND FW interface on one card, where as the 800R already has A/D built in as standard (the A/D's in the FW card would be 100% redundant). That's my only guess.

    I'm still curious in the difference betwen the 800R and an M-Audio Octane. For occasional utility use, I bet there is not a whole lot of difference, eh? (Both being in the "budget gear" segment).

  9. badbear

    badbear Guest

    Have you heard these pres yet?
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    No I haven't and I do not think too many others have either. I look forward to reviewing one when they do become available .. I will go down to the local GC and see if they have the 1602 available for a test.

    I anticipate the response to that is going to be, "Well then, how can you say you don't like them, if you haven't heard them?" ... First I didn't say I don't like them ... I am not hopeful they will be the breaktrough that the hype says they are.. If there's one thing I have learned, it is hyperbole is what Mackie is best at. My answer is "I don't have to eat a crap sandwich to know it's going to taste like crap."

    I researched the design of the ONYX as much as I could and from what I could glean from the Mackie press releases, which I get because of my position as RO Reviews editor, the ONYX appears to be pretty much the same thing as the past Mackie pres ... electronically balanced (ugh!, no transformers ..." the sound is in the iron") surface mount LSI chips (double ugh!) off the shelf op amps (what can I say?) .

    The hype from Mackie is that this is an ongoing development of their exsisting mic pre, not a departure. I personally think the pres in the older Mackies, although pretty harsh and strident, sounded better than the newer "improved" VLZ Pro pres do ... so this is what I am leaning towards.

    Everyone keeps looking for the magic bullet when it comes to preamps ... hoping that something inexpensive like the ONYX or the PreSonus M80 will come along and sound as good as the big boys ... I don't think that will ever happen ... but the manufacturers of mid priced gear sure do love to exploit this want for an audio "free lunch" ... "Only a con, can be conned" ...

    The best advice I can offer is, get what you need honestly, don't look for short cuts or cheap out when making these purchases ... Bite the bullet and get some good front end .. It will last a lifetime.
  11. Randyman...

    Randyman... Well-Known Member

    I'm just looking for something to allow tracking a full drum kit with room mics and tight mics, and the 8 Channels of A/D on my RME AID-8 Pro are not enough (I also have descent outboard pre's, just not enough for a whole 6 pc kit and room mics).

    I am looking for something that will work in a pinch on Toms, or possibly on a few more instruments if I'm tracking a "Live" session with 16 tracks (not too common for me). The RME's A/D's will be used first, and this secondary unit's pre's would be used ONLY on an "as needed" basis (and probably ONLY for Toms). Lead instruments and VOX would NEVER touch this secondary unit.

    Do you think something like the Mackie 800R would be ANY better than the M-Audio Octane? The pre's would likely get used for Toms, but the converters may get used on other stuff, too (with external pre's driving the A/D Line Inputs).

    Considering the Mackie is $1000, I may just up the antie, and go to the RME FireFace, but the M-Audio Octane at $499 is looking VERY tasty (for use on TOMS!!!!). I realize I will not be getting any extra D/A's with the Mackie 800R or the Octane, but I already have 8 D/A's on the AID-8, and I will have 2 more from a Flying Cow if need be (via SPDIF on the RME 96/36 - for a total of 10 analog outs).

    I KNOW it's not an API 3124 with an Apogee, but for use on Toms only, do you think the 800R is worth twice as much as the Octane? I'm not thinking so, but I have not heard the Octane, but I am familiar with Mackie's older pres. For toms, the older Mackie Pre's are sufficient IMO, but I have no idea how Mackie's conversion sounds. I can't expect every pre I own to be fully Transformer Balanced and fully discreet - at least not at this point in my "career" (If you can call it a career).

    Any other ADAT options I am totally missing (besides the AI-3)? Useable Pre's are a big plus FWIW. I am also scouring eBay for another AID-8 Pro (I paid $600 for mine!!! :D :D :D). That would surely seal the deal, but they don't come up too often. The Rasma ADAT AD converter (with or without mic pre's) is another option, but again they don't come up too often (and I lost the last auction I bid on :( ).

    Thanks a TON! :cool:
  12. badbear

    badbear Guest

    Nope. nothing like that. I didn't kmow if maybe you had reviewed one.
    I agree; good preamps, like converters just don't come cheap.
    I remember when I used to think that my Delta 1010's were the cat's ass. Then I heard the Benchmark. Like night and day.

    BTW, this is a great forum.
  13. dasbin

    dasbin Guest

    Well, all that means is that the pres are shooting for clean and economical versus coloured and expensive. I wouldn't expect anything different for any product in this price range. Transformers - especially transformers that don't sound like crap - are very expensive per channel. I can understand if clean is not your thing, but consider that the Grace 101 is based on a design similar to that which you mentioned - if it comes close to that sound, it will for sure be a great value, if not exactly your taste in pres. That's fine, but if/when you review them, please don't judge them on such a matter of taste.

    I generally agree that the VLZ Pro was a waste. I have an original VLZ 1640 which I still use the pres (in insert-send mode) for tracking drums and such. It does a perfectly fine job. I dare even say that the difference between it and my API 312, especially on condenser mics, is not particularily huge. The API just tends to take EQ better and sounds "larger" on dynamic mincs.

    I think most people are just looking for a good deal, not necessarily something that's up to world-class standards.

    I mostly agree, but sometimes it's good to have "more" gear versus "better" gear. Functionality can be even more important than quality in some situations. I want to be able to handle every problem that every band in my studio throws at me - and right now, in a way which I can afford. Fufilling those needs makes more financial sense than pleasing my ear's lust.

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