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there was a study done by some recording engineers a while back to see what mic preamp was the best all around pre (i cant find the link to save my life). they tested api's, avalons and quite a few others. during mid experiment one of the engineers brought a Mackie onyx board just for sh*ts and giggles. they tried it and were amazed. by the end of the experiment they concluded that the onyx pre's are compariable if not better than all of the high priced pres they tested.
i wish i had the link. (not quite sure this experiment wasnt payed for by Mackie in a pathetic adverising scheme)
anyone care to comment on thier experience with the onyx board?

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JoeH Sun, 01/22/2006 - 00:00

I think you're talking about this article: "A Stranger Rides into Town."

You may also want to check out this month's MIX magazine (February 2006). There's a great article about preamps and testing in the "Tech's Corner" column by Eddie Ciletti. It might surprise some, vindicate others.

For uncolored, "straight wire with gain" type of pre's, the ONYX (and the VLZ XRR pro's before it) are hard to beat at any price. When it comes to pushing them harder like a tube preamp for "warmth," compression, coloration, etc., then it's a whole nother ball game, and that's not what the ONYX Pre's are about. It really depends on the sound you're going for, and what you're willing to spend on an arguably "Better" sound. (Or, different sound, anyway....)

JoeH Sun, 01/22/2006 - 11:04

Some of these claims are so ludicris

Hey ladies "I am the best lay in the world"
And much like Mackie, you will have to let me FU*K YOU to find out if it's true.
Great way to sell something, hugh?
I do hope the Mackie's are nice, but to me it sounds like marketing

First of all, Ludicris is a rapper.

Secondly, of course they have great marketing. Success will do that to a company. Same as any other desirable product on the market; that's how it works in a commerce-based free society.

The review was done by independents, not Mackie, as far as I know.

Mackies are all but omnipresent, so it's not like you'd ever take a risk buying one of their products. Just about any music vendor in your area no dout has something you can demo before buying. Mackie has extensive online forums with good and bad comments from end-users. As long as things are on topic, anyone can say anything they want about a product. Might be worth a look see if you're sceptical.

Besides, everyone knows the drill on this already: For under $1k, you can get 16 killer mic pre's and more in a 1604 VLZ. For about $1200 with the ONYX 1640, it gets even better, with better specs and EQ (and firewire option if you want to add that, too.)

I'm not sure what your gripe is about with Mackie per se, vs. any other vendor selling an equally desirable product for so many happy customers.

anonymous Sun, 01/22/2006 - 19:18

JoeH wrote: First of all, Ludicris is a rapper.

No kidding
O.K. second of all, it's a joke, it's supposted to funny, not a spelling bee contest

JoeH wrote: they have great marketing

I agree Mackie does the best marketing, and writes the best manuals of all the companies out there. And much like you, have a great sense of humor.

JoeH wrote: that's how it works in a commerce-based free society.

Wow! What other things do you know about? You are amazing

JoeH wrote: The review was done by independents, not Mackie, as far as I know.

as far as you know? What is that suppost to mean? I guess you and Greg Mackie were hanging out today for the NFL playoffs?

JoeH wrote: Mackies are all but omnipresent. Might be worth a look see if you're sceptical.

I have owned at least 10 different products made by Mackie, so I am well qualified to speak about their products, as far as I know

JoeH wrote: Besides, you can get 16 killer mic pre's and more in a 1604 VLZ. For about $1200

I have 32 channel Ghost, I don't want to downgrade, thankyou very much.

JoeH wrote: I'm not sure what your gripe is about

What the f*!# are you talking about? Whose griping? It's a pro audio forum, people type thoughts, and other people reply. Maybe if you had a sense of humor then...well as far as you know, you do.

JoeH Tue, 01/24/2006 - 23:43

Wow.... such anger and negativity...

I'm flattered you took the time to take my response apart line by line, but the fact remains - you've clearly got deeper issues going on there.

I agree that this is a forum for professionals asking serious questions about gear and performance. Someone wanted to find the link to the article, and I provided it.

"As far as I know" means exactly what it means: I'm no last-word authority on this subject, I'm merely passing on what I've read, what I've heard so far. (YMMV, in other words) It's a fairly standard disclaimer most folks use when passing on information that may - or may not - be totally accurate.

Not knowing your experience with Mackie products, and in an effort to ease your scepticism, I pointed you to their forums for more information on their products. (Maybe that's too much effort, I suppose you'd rather waste your time ranting at ME instead...)

Look, I really don't care WHAT you think of me, my humor, or Mackie's marketing techniques - or WHATEVER it is really bugging you. And no, Greg doesn't know me from Adam; I don't know any more about that article than what's written in it and the people quoted therein. Anyone working in this biz and using those products can certainly draw their own conclusions.

YOU took the low road with your comments about forced sex and marketing techniques; YOU made the analogy, and I challenged the sophomoric "Humor" in it (not to mention your grade school level spelling.)

You want to make groundless accusations, pick fights and spout obscenities? Knock yourself out. You're doing a great job at it.

anonymous Wed, 09/20/2006 - 12:14

Interesting Thread

I was doing a keyword search on something else and this came up in the yahoo list. I know this thread is probably 5-6 years old now, but the observations and points made are very good, so I’m dropping in for a quick cup of Joe and I'm out.

For the contributor who has the Ghost, keep it after you've had the Burr Brown mods done, otherwise its a slow mixer. The routing is very good for recording, and the PEQ is quite decent to cut many good records on.

The diff observations on the VLZ series are entirely correct for CLEAN mic pre work. The two problems you run into are lack of headroom (not discussed at the 'Stranger Rides' shootout:

Isn't it strange how critically important stuff like that is always omitted or failed to be mentioned in articles like that?

Problem 1 .... lack of VLZ headroom vs. dedicated channel like Neve - API - PAFOUR - Chandler -A Designs - Focusrite ISA - Helios stuff, and


Problem 2 ... the issue of strip PEQ if it has it in the strip and the quality and utility of that.

I have never liked early Mackie EQ, and that is what kills their product. It is bland and non-exciting, and that’s what made so many albums cut on Mackie Mixers in the 90s sound all the same. Case in point: Queenryche. Every single mix on every single song on every single album sounds exactly the same. It caused me ear such fatigue listening to their CDs, even more than three of their songs in a row, that I completely stopped listening to the band after that, and these are an extraordinarily talented bunch of guys. Too bad.

No doubt, the Onyx Perkins line is a step up in the clean in that regard. Better headroom than the VLZ? Yes probably. But I would not buy their mixers for what again? Oh yeah -- MIXING! Not enough headroom for a hard pumping rock mix with only 24 HOT channels loaded. Imagine 32 or 40 or 48 ... talk about mush and loss of headroom and clipping. All of the above, and anybody who says otherwise, guess what? Are full of SHIT!

I will however buy two of this highly anticipated Onyx 1200Fs sans PEQ coming out DEC 2006 and so long anticipated. This is 8 extra channels per unit for me duplex 8 Ch at 24/96 SMUX or 8 Ch 24/192 direct to laptop to put into my field rack for location recording into HD24XRs or laptops on the run. I am NOT anticipating very good headroom for distorted guitars (not my intent here), but I anticipate great headroom for clean orchestral, documentary, filed military news coverage etc.,.

Will also double as laptop output to external monitoring as does my studio RME Firewire 800 in lieu of any piece of shit soundcard in the PowerMac laptop.

Coloration IS not only a causation by mic pres. There are many other ways to color sound and that’s where engineering skills come in. Remember gang, this isn't about rocket science ... its sound science ....

And as always ...
If it a'int fun, faak it!


Scoobie Tue, 10/10/2006 - 14:27

FWIW.......there is a mod that can be done to make it post eq and sends.
I'm not sure but i think Mackie will do the mod also. Do a key word search and i'm sure you'll find the information.

Myself, I use my Onyx all the time. I always Eq ITB , So i like recording the dry signal.


Scoobie Tue, 10/10/2006 - 16:26

I record small live shows with the Onyx. So it is used for live and for recording. I record small live shows so i want the dry signal, because what works for the FOH sound usally don't work for the recording.

I still think that there is a Mod to do what you want. The cost i'm not for shure. But it can be done. I know someone that has one Mod. The 24 channel Onyx.


anonymous Thu, 10/19/2006 - 05:52

I'm getting ready to send my 1220 to them for the mod. I figured that I paid for the PEQ, I might as well have the option to use it, right?

The mod does NOT void the warranty from Mackie, which was a good selling point to me. I also checked around and frontend seems to be doing a good job with the mods 8-)