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anyone have any comparative insights?

i'm familiar with the Onyx pre's and like them a lot. but what about PreSonus' XMAX preamps?

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JoeH Wed, 09/16/2009 - 19:46

who cares! :lol:

Seriously, I'd get one of each, and use 'em both on various gigs, side by side, if possible, and see if you get any real-world differences. Chances are, you probably won't. You may unconsciously like the operation of one, or color of the knobs or the ergonomic design of one vs. the other, but I doubt you'll "hear" much difference. (Don't mistake a level difference either....louder isn't always better, its' just....different.) once you've made your comparison tracks, put 'em on the timeline, adjust the levels for any differences between the two, and toggle back and forth between them, see/hear what you get. I'm guessing it won't be all that much different.

At that level - XMAX vs. Mackie Onyx, it's really more important to have better the best signal chain of mics, performers and/or performance space than the preamp itself. Trust me, it's much more important with those items than the "Sound" of a B+ or A- preamp.

rockstardave Thu, 09/17/2009 - 06:34

yeah i've already upgraded most of my mics... my old sm57s are now 421s, sm58s are now beta87s, etc etc.

but i have an Onyx 1640 and adore the sound. super smooth, clear, and clean.

working at a music retail shop, i am able to use my employee status to get a StudioLive for under $1400. obviously i could sell off the Onyx and all my rack gear (which will generate at least $1400). then all i need for a live gig is the StudioLive and no bulky rack box.

however - i really really like the coloration (virtually none!) that the onyx gives. i'd hate to step backwards into duller/thinner/colored preamps.

oh - i also have had a very easy time discerning pre's given the same source. i run live sound 3x/week and at some of the clubs they swapped out mixers (for example - a&h gl2200 became mackie 24x4) and all of a sudden the sound in the room changed. it is very important to me that i maintain nice preamps.

anyone know of a Preamp shoot-out website? i know there's a ton for different mics, but i'd really like to hear the preamps.


that said - the studiolive looks awesome! the sales rep came into our store yesterday and i got my hands all over the thing. seems to be built very well - solid - and relatively easy to use. i noticed that theres no subgroup inserts, but then i remembered: it's a digital mixer with comps/eq/etc built into every bus!

so really - it'll save me $200 or so, and eliminate the need for lugging around a rack box. but is it worth it to swap out my sexy Onyx pres for xmas pres?

thanks for the input everyone!