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Ok, I just picked this guy up from L&M on the weekend and I haven't had much time to play around with it yet (2 hours) but I've noticed something that kind of bugs me. I plugged in an SM57 to record acoustic guitar with, just as a quick little test. I also plugged in a direct line from my guitars active pickup. Both lines were into pre-amp channels 1 and 2 on the 400f respectively.

On the front of the Onyx 400f there are LED indicators to show sound level. I need to crank up the gain on both of the chanels in order for the LEDs to even light up, if they are cranked and I have the vol on my guitar turned all the way up and I am within 4 inches from the mic, then I get a decent level (not clipping yet) on both channels. Any less and the level is too low for my liking. There doesn't seem to be a situation where I could even get an instrument to clip. The line from my guitar's pickup is going into the pre-amp on the 400f, if I plug it into the line in, I don't get a level reading at all on the front LEDs.

I did not expect this to happen with this unit, it seems that I cannot really push the volume if I wanted too; I'm doing everything I can to get ENOUGH volume.

I played around with the DSP mixer settings and everything is turned all the way up, no mutes or solo buttons or anything like that.

I'm wondering if anyone else who has this unit has had this problem or might know anything about it. Any help at all would be appreciated.

I'm using Windows based Cubase SX, but I don't suspect the DAW has anything to do with this.


anonymous Wed, 02/22/2006 - 17:17

Im really interested in what some people might have to say about this because I seem to be having the same problem with the same setup but im using a mackie onyx 1620. I can't seem to get the channel to peak at all using an sm57 and trying it with an acoustic. I know this is not a really proper mic for an acoustic, but im sure I should be able to get it to peak.
Any ideas?

baslotto Wed, 02/22/2006 - 17:42

Ok same thing here with the ONYX 800r and it's pissing me off. It happened on 2 units that I tried.

I noticed that the output level from the ONYX is way lower than other pres and if I crank the levels up I end up clipping the ONYX but not the levels in ProTools.

Also I just noticed that when on Unity the ONYX attenuates 7.3 dB. I've run a test that you guys are welcome to do and post your results:

I used a Digi 002 and ProTools 7.

Steps to recreate:
1. Create a session (I use ProTools)
2. Create 3 tracks
3. put a signal generator on the first track (plugin that comes with ProTools)
4. Set the output from Track 1 to OUT 3-4
5. Connect the output 3 from the DAW into a Mackie 1 and output 4 from the DAW into another preamp or Audio 1 on the 002.
6. Set the inputs accordingly for Track 2 and Track 3.
7. Run the Signal Generator and check the levels.

My results where the followings:
the 002 pres start from above 0, which means that the 002 preamps are set to amplify even all the way down (good, they are amplifiers).
the ONYX 800r set on Unity (all the way down to the left) attenuates 7.3 dB the original signal coming from the generator. This is not what they say on the manual, U stands for unity. On the Manual they say that there is a -20dB attenuator for LINE IN, not for MIC IN.

Let me know what you guys experience and in this case: why is the ONYX a good pre?


stickers Wed, 02/22/2006 - 18:52

Baslotto and company,

you sillies.

boaslotto told me about this low level issue on AIM. I called sweet water they didnt know what the issue was. They said to call mackie. I told Baslotto this and he said to call them and I did. Only to come find the product specialist on the other end asked me if I called the other day and I didnt but come to find out, Baslotto did the previous day stating pretty much the somethingI had just said to the Thanks to baslotto, I felt like a total tool. :shock:

I would have thought Baslotto looked at the initial gain input or rating or what ever the hell its called but I dont think he did. :?

If you guys looked at the damn freaking manual for the 800r and the digi 002r, you will realize that 002r pres start at 18db of gain output and the 800r pres actually start at 0db of gain.

There's nothing wrong with your pres. And they sound great!!!! Well if not great than better than any other 8 ch. light pipe unit!!!!! (especially presonus)

baslotto Wed, 02/22/2006 - 22:53

stickers read before you write:

I'm saying that what is stated on the manual as 0 dB gain as unity is actually -7.3 dB on MY unit :evil:

When you say that it starts at 0 dB you are talking for what you see on your unit. Good for you! I see that when I put a signal at 0 dB the ONYX gives me a -7.3 dB level on PT. Now call them again so you can blame me for feeling like a moron. :shock:

I don't wanna get personal on the forum, I've allways thought that people that come up with AIM chats in a forum are weird...


baslotto Thu, 02/23/2006 - 11:25

Here is a picture of my results.

[ url ] http:// [ /url ]

Anyone can tell me what's going on?
I heard about a difference in the converters, but could it be that much difference? 7.2 dB is a lot and I see signals very low in PT. If I have to record voice I have to crank the gain all the way up even with a condenser and the result is often distortion (always at low levels though).
Is there an answer? I hope you tell me that my unit is broken... :)

stickers Thu, 02/23/2006 - 11:44

I did the test. I had a difference of 4.3 db.

-20 db out (sin waze @ 1k)
returned through mackie pre -24.3.

Although, I doubt anyonein this forum will offer an answer for the difference in level.

(btw Baslotto is using my web space to host the pic in case anyone is wondering about the url)

stickers Fri, 02/24/2006 - 07:41


I ve been reading your post at the mackie forums. Im not trying to pull a told you so here but like I said the post is too long and people wont read it carefully.

This how the post should have been:

"When I send a -20db sine wave @ 1k to a line output channel on my digi 002 to a XLR input my onxy 800r mic with gain set all the way counter clockwise and then send the signal from said mic input back into Protools via lightpipe, I only recieve -27.3 db not -20db, a difference of -7.3. Shouldn't the returned signal be same in PT? Please look at screen shot below for a visual."

and then place pic link here"