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which mixer would be best sounding for live performance or recording elec bass/guitar rig ? (mostly using line or mic outs from from preamp and FX outputs going into the mixer channels) . Is the sound quality of the Allen Heath MixWizard3 or Mackie Onyx pretty much equal?

I like the Onyx 1220 because it may be portable enough to serve as live rig mixer and small home studio mixer. The MixWizard3 12-2 is as big as a Mackie 1604 - so not so portable for me.



KurtFoster Fri, 12/31/2004 - 18:01

I can tell you that many people seem to prefer the AH stuff over most of the Mackie gear ... however, there's not much scuttlebutt going around in regard to the ONYX yet.

For my money, they are apples and oranges ... different features, different layouts and different sound ... but still not equal to the task of high quality recording ... The mic pres IMO, are just not up to the task of recording quality audio and there's no reason to expect them to be, for what they cost.

As a live mixer either one is fine ... I think you need to listen to them both and see which you prefer ... it's very subjective and what I prefer, you may hate.

Massive Mastering Fri, 12/31/2004 - 18:22

Normally I wouldn't get into this issue, but today I installed a new AH MixWizard3 14-4-2 to replace the Mackie 1604 VLZ-Pro at a performing arts center I work at.

Hands down, the Allen Heath. I'm not easily impressed by pint-sized mixers, but whoever put this thing together has my respect. Very well thought-out. 100mm faders - spaced well, 6 aux KNOBS (not 4 with a flip), dedicated talkback, 2-way matrix (I'm going to use that so much it'll make your head spin... Something I always wanted on the Mackie or the AH 2200's.

Sounded great, too. Smooth, un-"Mackie-like" EQ, quick-swappable and combinable stereo inputs... Left AND right master faders...

No idea about the self-noise, etc., but this is just for light-duty live use. Maybe 300 events per year, mostly indoors. So, it doesn't need to be "studio-quiet" by any means. Although, it certainly didn't seem noisy...

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

anonymous Fri, 12/31/2004 - 18:33

thanks for the input. Ideally , I'd just like one mixer that could serve my small home studio and live.

I have a 1604-VLZ and didn't want to haul it, so I was thinking of getting a used mackie 1202 for live. But then I'd have two mixers, when I'd rather just have one.

So that got me looking for a really nice sounding 12 channel mixer. The Onyx is supposed to be nicer sounding than the VLZ's, and its got the cool firewire connectivity.

But I like the AH 12-2, I just am not sure I'd want to haul it along with the already hefty rig and cabs that I use.

hmmm... any one else care to offer comparisons of Onyx to AH ?


zemlin Sat, 01/01/2005 - 07:27

I recently picked up an A&H Mixwizard 16:2DX. Most of the FOH work I've been doing for the last few years (all very small venue) has been on Mackies of one sort or another (SR24, or 1604, or 1402). I've only done a couple of shows with the A&H board, but I'm very happy with it. Next time I'm asked to do sound, I'll bring my A&H with me - they can leave their mackie in the closet.

Yes, I know it isn't the Onyx - but it's what I know. When Mackie was promoting the XDR Preamps in their VLZ-Pro gear they were supposed to be so much better - NOT! - The older VLZ models are better sounding. So the jury is still out on whether the ONYX pres are as good as A&H (I suspect it will be splitting hairs on the low end regardless, so it probably isn't a big factor). They have at least given 2 sweepable mids on the larger ONYX boards - that's a step in the right direction.

I also record through the A&H, and 16 direct outs makes that real easy. I had to spend a couple of evenings with my soldering iron moving jumpers to make the outputs pre EQ and pre FADER.

anonymous Sat, 01/01/2005 - 07:51

Hi Zemlin, and everyone , for sharing you experience. Happy New Year also.

If we assume for the moment that the mic pre's are about equal on both, then for for my application (rig mixer , plus small home studio) the Onyx 1220 - smaller , lighter , has Dig out option, could serve both my purposes.

AH MixW3 12-2 has better EQ (4bands, rather than 2). more sends, mono out, more flexibility. - so it comes down to form factor and features. I'm just afraid that if I get the AH, I won't ever feel like hauling it with the rest of my rig. Then I'd still need a small mixer for my rig - perhaps a used Mackie 1202 Pre-VLZ

regarding the jumpers on the AH, is yours a MixWizard3 ? I didn't realize you have to solder them. I thought you'd be able to simply move the jumpers (plastic blocks)


zemlin Sat, 01/01/2005 - 08:33

qveda wrote: is yours a MixWizard3 ? I didn't realize you have to solder them. I thought you'd be able to simply move the jumpers (plastic blocks)

Mine is the Mixwizard 2 - got it cheap when they were clearing the shelves for the new models.

I actually wired DIP switched in place of the jumpers so future changes will be easy. It was PITA, but it's done now.

A quick look in the user guide for the WZ3 reveals that they have changed these to PC-Card-style jumpers where you just move a cap from one pair to the next.

Big_D Sat, 01/01/2005 - 09:06

Wow Karl, I'm impressed. Nice Job!

I like the A&H 16:2 better than my Mackies also. I'm going to order one in a few weeks (after paying of the last of the Xmas bills). It just suits my needs better and sounds better to boot. I currently have a CR1604 (in my live rig) and a 1604 VLZ pro (in the studio). I'm going to sell the VLZ and keep the CR for live work since the VLZ and A&H cost the same I should break close to even. As I add good pres the A&H will be used mostly for monitoring but in the meantime I'll have what is IMO a better sounding board.

J-3 Sun, 01/02/2005 - 10:38

I have a 16:2 I use daily in the studio and it's great IMO. Yes I use the Great River Pre when I can but other wise its the A&H for pre's and eq going into the DAW. I like the sound quiet a bit . THe eq is SOOO much better than Mackie/Behringer any other lower end brand that I have messed with. Hell, I even use the built in FX for headphones. I think it can't be beat for the $.

Guest Sun, 01/02/2005 - 12:17

A&H vs Mackie ONYX

I have owned a Mackie 1604, a 1642 and I have used a Mackie 8 BUS on 4 or 5 sessions.
Last month I bought a A&H MixWiz3. The A&H was a cheaper board (price wise) but it does have a little better EQ (IMO)
As for the pre-amps, neither the Mackie or the A&H are anything to rave about. Get out board gear if you need good pre-amps.
One thing very different about the two is the feel of the faders...the mackie ONYX are very tight (50mm), and the A&H are quit the opposite (100mm)
As for the size of your mixer on stage....I hope you dont hate me for saying but..."12-2 or 16-2 whats the difference? Either one will fit under your arm and you can still hold a beer in the other hand as you set up or load up"
Regardless...good luck
Holy shit Zemlin!!! that is some dynamite looking sodering!

anonymous Sun, 01/02/2005 - 13:14

thanks for sharing your experience. as far as portability goes, I think the AH 12-2 and 16-2 and a mackie 1604 VLZ are all about the same size and weight. Since AH doesn't make one smaller than the MixWiz3 12-2, I was considering the Onyx 1220 (about 2/3 as big as the AH).

Or even an older mackie 1202 for the stage. lugging another flight case with a 23lb mixer (AH) would not be my preferrence, but I also would rather just have one mixer and not compromise on the rig mixer too much.


zemlin Sun, 01/02/2005 - 13:26

Re: A&H vs Mackie ONYX

its that guy again wrote: Holy shit Zemlin!!! that is some dynamite looking sodering!

:oops: shucks - twern't nuthin' - thanks for the compliments though. It was one of those projects that didn't seem to bad in the planning stages, but once I got all the pieces and started doing things like cutting all the (192) little bits of heat-shrink and thinking about 384 solder connections ... :?

Like I said - it's finished now and I doubt I'll ever regret doing it - but I'm damn glad I don't have to do it again (I hope!)