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Should I keep my Mackie Onyx 1220i?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by MattLactose, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    I'm in the market for some gear to get a small project studio going with intentions on recording other artists.

    Right now I have a mackie onyx 1220i and enjoy it because it's use as a mixer and firewire interface are good for my band with live use/home pa mixer/firewire interface. I also like the pre amps in this model, and have had great results with going straight into the mackie using a rode nt1a. I like the warmth and natural tone I get from them on both acoustic guitar and vocals. So far that's all I have used it on. I'm using Logic Express and like everything except the reverb.

    I am also going to purchase mics for recording drums. The mackie 1220i only has 4 xlr inputs, but has 12 channels total. Would it be worth it in the long run to go ahead and sell the 1220i and get an interface that has more xlr inputs or go another route and use the 1220i and get another mixer/preamp unit/upgrade a few things on my macbook/??? I'm really new to most of this and need an opinion on what to do. I also need to get monitors/upgrade from my rode nt1a(under $700)/small diaphragm mics/drum mics....trying to spend less than $3000.

    Budget wise maybe it'd work out to keep the mackie and get something to be able to use more mics for drums. Not really sure how often you'll need more than 4 xlr inputs, but it seems like you have a lot more control over the sound when you have more individual tracks. Thanks for anyone who feels like taking this question on.
  2. djmukilteo

    djmukilteo Well-Known Member

    If you like the Mackie, maybe sell (or keep the 1220i?) and get the Mackie 1640i.
    That would be a perfect next step.
    16 XLR mic inputs for more mics and mixing!
  3. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    that would solve my input problems. it doesn't seem like this unit is used a whole lot but after talking to several people they all have said that the mackies pre's are better than other similarly priced units. it is kinda big compared to a smaller rack mount unit, but not that big of a deal. I like having physical controls on the mackie too. this would cut into my budget though with needing monitors/mics and computer upgrades.
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I like the Onyx 1640 and have it in an SKB Mighty Gig Rig rack (14 space on top). The other three similar options are the Presonus Studio Live and the Allen Heath ZED-R16 and Yamaha 01v96.
  5. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    What other mics do you have?
    The Rode will do fine for LDC applications, and you still have your other mics.
    So you really only NEED to purchase some SDCs and 57/58s, if you don't have them.

    Good monitors will cost $1000/pair. Serviceable ones $500/pair.
    You can get a pair of SDCs anywhere from $200-$1000.
    You can easily pay TWICE the above numbers, for the good stuff.

    Plus you're going to want headphones for musicians and an HP amp, unless you're only recording one musician at a time.

    Yeah, this gets expensive, fast.

    Maybe start w/ some 57s and a pair of SDCs? 4 channels is enough for drums, but not drums + anything else. Then, add the new interface and monitors as your budget allows and your input needs develop. Personally, I would add the monitors last.
    They may be the most important part of your setup, but they won't mean squat if you can't record what you want/need.
  6. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    an 8 channel pre (presonus,foucsrite,mackie) + some 57's + a kick mic + pr. SDCs should do fine for your needs, and allow you to keep your current mixer. don't forget about room treatment, good monitors/mics can't operate their full potential, if they're picking up a shoddy room. Some 'quilted' moving blankets are a dime a dozen online, and a couple fluffy couches can help a little in the bass end of things. it's not an elegant solution, but effective nonetheless. check out yamaha, mackie, and krk for monitors in your price range. The advantage you have w/ a mixer over an interface is you've got all those channels of eq, and sends/returns. Also most interfaces only have a maximum of 8 pre's anyway, although i think tascam makes one w/ 12.
  7. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    I have a beta 87c and one sm57. I had planned on getting at least three more 57's and I like the beta 52a. I see a lot of used 57's around town so that could save a little bit rather than getting new ones.

    Do you think that even getting a cheaper pair of monitors just to be able to mix what I have now would be worth it? Or better to just save, because with my budget I might be limited on the quality I could afford, plus the fact that I could totally fail at this whole thing and be stuck with a bunch of nice equipment that never gets used. But I've always been able to sale my old music gear...lots to think about.

    Thanks a lot for the info, helps get the ball rolling.
  8. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    would it be worth it have both though? it seems like it might be a bit much to have both and one would be used more than the other. I just saw they have the mackie 1620i which is $900 new and has 8 xlr pre's.
  9. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The 1640 is your best bet. The 1620 is second but more distant in capabilities. The 1220 is not what you want. The L/R input on the 1220 is not the same as having individual inputs like a regular sized board. An extra 8 pack of preamps becomes useless in this situation. The 1640i also gives you the ability to do analog mixdown because the firewire will return back to the board. The ZED R16 is similar and has additional benefits of ADAT I/O but is slightly pricier than the Mackie. Basically I'm advising the Onyx 1640i or the ZED R16. Less than that will just frustrate the crap out of your in the end.
  10. MattLactose

    MattLactose Active Member

    Good point about the 1620. Do you use your 1640 for recording mainly or more as a mixer?

    I'm wondering if it would be better to just sell my 1220i and get something like a presonus fp and have the 8 xlr inputs and save some money...or if the 1640i is really that much better and worth spending the money.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I don't do any live sound anymore. I am strictly classical chamber music. That said, I have used the 1640 for both PA and as a recording board. After I got out of PA work I used the 1640 as a summing mixer for my current setup until I bought a dedicated sum box. Mine is the older version without firewire returns. My current setup involves RME Fireface800 x2 and outboard preamps as well as Alesis HD24XR. I do miss knobs and faders but my more modular setup is better for me now as well as better converters.
  12. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    Sorry, don't mean to derail this thread, but I was also looking to switch from my 1640 onyx to a rackmount system (I love my mixer, but all I ever use on it is the gain knobs on the channels and the main/phones part of the board), and I was looking at just going to the Onyx Blackbird rackmount. I do also have access to RME gear though - how much improvement did you see with the fireface800's over the onyx? Compared to the blackbird they're about triple the price, so I might be better just going with the blackbird anyways and focussing on my mic collection for now, but figured I should ask anyways!
  13. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    There is a noticeable improvement moving to the Fireface 800 from the Onyx. That said, the Onyx line is actually pretty nice. I don't like the VLZ XD preamps personally but again the Onyx is very usable. The biggest advantage to the RME other than conversion is the routing via the TotalMix gui. The amount and flexibility of the input/output is phenomenal (wish it had more AES but that's just picking nits). I also wanted something completely functional as a stand alone unit and the FF800 has the added advantage of being able to aggregate (chain) three units together. Presently I only have two FF800's but they function admirably as a linked pair. I intend to purchase a third FF800 at some point but the prices have not dropped like I had thought they might when the UFX came out.

    My ultimate goal for now is to move to a rackmount desktop and PCIe solution for my base rack since it rarely leaves the house, and leave my fastest laptop for remote work with the FF800's. Again, RME was the best option for me personally but the Onyx line is very viable and functional and I would have no qualms making recordings with it again. In fact one of my preamp boxes is the Onyx 800R so even if I do resell the 1640 I'll still have a bit of Mackie hanging about.
  14. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    Thanks, I'll maybe stick with the side-grade rather than upgrade then and go with the Blackbirds (I can buy 2 or 3 of em for what I'll sell my mixer for most likely) for now, and focus my budget on mics for the time being. Then one day I can make a bigger jump up in quality when the budget justifies it.
  15. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If you mean to aggregate two Blackbird units in the true sense of the word via the firewire, you might do some research. The "daisy chain" version in the manual shows one unit in stand alone mode which is not the same thing. The Onyx mixer has been waiting for aggregate ability since the beginning without result. If standalone is groovy for the second unit (basically an extra set of preamps w/AD conversion) then yes that would work for you. I know full well the advertising says four Blackbirds can be baked in a pie....er....I mean chained together.
  16. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    I know they cannot be combined with the mixer (I asked) but could you clear up for me what "in the true sense of the word" means? AD/DA tech is largely greek to me, I just want to get 16 or 24 channels into my DAW at once, beyond that I'm not too picky what happens (I do also like that they have the built in headphone amps and digital mixing for those amps, one less thing to deal with when tracking a band).
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    If you aggregate a device via firewire you should see ALL of the inputs and outputs of the combined devices within the DAW program. That's means exactly double. On the Fireface I can simultaneously track 10 line inputs, 2 SPDif, 16 ADAT at 44.1K/48K. With both FF800's connected via firewire I get double that so a total of 56 simultaneous inputs. They all show up within the DAW as discrete mono options.

    If you have one Blackbird functioning as a standalone analog to ADAT converter, you will only get 8 channels from it (@ 48k) and it those 8 channels of ADAT will then come into the first Blackbird in it's ADAT port. That is not device aggregation and it is not through the firewire connection.

    The Mackie propaganda states up to four Blackbirds can be aggregated via firewire. I have no information to dispute that. The Mackie forums are full of people trying to aggregate the original Onyx mixers and Onyx i series mixers but so far I haven't read anything regarding two or more Blackbirds. For all I know, when you open the pie the birds will begin to sing.
  18. AToE

    AToE Active Member

    Ah, I understand. I would really only ever be using the 8 mic/line inputs from each unit anyways, so that might work fine for me, at least for the forseeable future.
  19. BushmasterM4

    BushmasterM4 Active Member

    I have both the older 1640 and the new 1640i. I bought the 1640i for the added features it has over the older model. If you go the 1640i route you have the option of using the 6 aux channels to feed 6 individual mixes to the musicians your recording. You have the option of sending the 16 channels back through the mixer to utilize the Perkins Eq on the mixer. Or you can tap the signal post Eq to begin with. You can also use the mixer as a summing mixer for your mix. Alot of option compared to the Presonus. And the preamps are just so clean !!!!
  20. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Given my unfamiliarity w/ the new mackie stuff i can't say much more, same w/ the RME (which i am considering very strongly). If you need to have a house or PA mix, while recording too, you cannot do well w/out an eq section,faders, for the house.
    Feedback control w/ a mouse...? what do i do w/ the rest of my fingers? (eat, drink, text, RO, lead guitar?)
    If you just need channels into a DAW, motu 2808 may be a consideration. It offers a 24 channel interface + pci card for $1000. the 24ch expansion units, are about $650. You are limited to 96ch. The 2808 has only 8 analog ins, outs, plus a L/R headphone output. 8ch lightpipe units are critical in the maximum channel count of this unit.
    Also, the almost 'not there' of latency of an analog 'board', is super critical for monitor/main mixes. i'd bet RME has this 'direct monitoring' issue covered. But, total mix doesn't support control surfaces.
    VLZ pres are as plain as jane, but do work, i've use them on some national acts, with acceptable, not stellar results. that said, i don't know if the 500 person, nightclub crowd would've noticed a difference if it was a super duper boutique chain. Energy goes a long way. so does 20,000 (clean/properly distributed) watts in a 52'x80x14 area! (So did modest eq/trim levels)
    The studiolive presonus deal maybe just what you want too.? It's building a good reputation.

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