Mackie Onyx? Opinions?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by TheAngryFedora, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. What do people think about it? Heard it's loverly. But, what the hell do I know. I've also heard that it's a piece of crap.

    I'm so confused! My whole life has been a lie!
  2. denythyself

    denythyself Guest

    I would also love to here any comments on the Mackie Onyx. I am interested in getting one myself. How are the Pre's? Can you make a good sounding record to sell with them.
  3. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Haven't tried it in the studio yet, but live it was a noticable improvement over the VLZ.
    The main downfall I can see in the studio is that the direct outs are pre eq. This sucks, because the eq is IMHO the best feature.
  4. soundsbig

    soundsbig Guest

    I think the Onyx mixers are a great value and yes you could make a good sounding recording with one. As Markd said we also noticed a great improvement live.
    They are built like a tank and I think the pres sound great. Maybe not $2000 a channel great but great nevertheless oh and and super quiet.
  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    It all depends on what you want to do with them. They're a great value for live use, and the pre's are fantastic, a whole level better than the VLZ series.

    I use my 1640 constantly - 3 - 4 times per week for live tracking at events, and I monitor my DAW back at the studio now, through a 1220. I have tracked several "soon to be released" professional CDs with it, as well as dozens of live broadcasts, archival CDs, and flat-out live sound reinforcement gigs. The "Sound" (as such - there is NO sound to it) is superb. I get constant compliments on the transparancy and clarity of sound. (Maybe it's ME? Hehehe)

    They've made considerable improvements in the "Swiss Army Knife" approach of the VLZ Pro series (Talkback sections, Firewire interface, etc.) Probably the only drawback is the pre-EQ digital sends.....everyone seems to be evenly divided 50/50 on this issue. You either love it (and don't need post EQ digital sends) or you HATE it, because that's how you want to work. it's probably THE deal breaker for those that need it. (I prefer to EQ after the fact, in the studio).

    It's really an analog LIVE board with a 24/96 digital I/O for tracking; don't be thinking it's a real DAW, or you'll be disappointed. The digital part is ONLY the Firewire I/O card.

    I wrote a review on it for MIX magazine back in April; you can read more about it here, and maybe draw your own conclusions:
  6. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    I got over the no-EQ bit quickly, my main beef, and what will probably keep me from getting one is the lack of returns other than a stereo mix back from the computer. I was hoping to have it multitask as a small live board and a decent front end (16 matched channels to compliment some decent outboard pres) but the inability to have any sends to other outboard gear has me looking at a motu interface for now.

    I may still get the 8 channel pre pack for drums and run it into the adat on the motu.
  7. Markd102

    Markd102 Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    Another thing that annoyed me in the live situation was that there are no insert points for the master outs.
  8. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Lowell MA
    Home Page:
    i have the onyx 800r. the pres are very quiet which is the most important feature to me. I can record soft sound sources with a low output mic and not worry about operation noise when turning the pre up. Sonic wise ive been happy as well. Much better than the prosonus digimax i had before it.
  9. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2004
    Quakertown PA
    And pre insert so serial devices don't print to tape.

    Another gripe of mine also.

    I also hate the fact that the fader markings are the same width as the fader (covering the marks) making it almost impossible to align with the unity marking when setting levels.

    OK, my complaints are done. On the positive it definitely sounds better. The highs are smoother than the VLZ actually closer to my CR in that respect. Very quiet. Better EQ although I doubt I would use the EQ in the studio anyway. I like the individual phantom switches on each channel. Talkback is a nice feature.

    I got the 1620 after my faithful old CR 1604 crapped out. It's used for monitoring, HP mixes and overflow pres when tracking. I really like it and as far as the pres go their not Seb's, Neves or API's by any stretch of the imagination but they do sound good and you could produce a very respectable recording with them.
  10. killersoundz

    killersoundz Guest

    I plan on purchasing the 1640 in the near future. I read the manual and I think its pretty fool proof besides a few little things. I'm one of the 50% that doesnt care about the pre-eq firewire send. I wouldn't EQ while recording anyway. Save that for later.

    I plan on using it both live and in the studio, so mines going to see a lot of moving around. Is it built pretty solid?
  11. and-mart

    and-mart Guest

    I want to know something about the onyx´s. The direct outputs are through a parallel port, how could you record into pro tools (eg:through a digi002 rack) if the direct outputs arent through line output? Specially for multitrack recording? I think it´s not possible to do this, am I right?

    The Firewire output/input seems to work with a software coming with the mixer, will it work with other software/hardware?
  12. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.

    That's a great review. I'm impressed. A real internationally published writer here on our humble forum!

    I was wondering about the EQ and the lack of a Q control on the mid bands. That's the main deal breaker I see ... plus I think the EQ should be in the digital path. That way everyone's happy ... don't want EQ, bypass it.

    I suppose in orchestral settings that would not be such an issue but with pop and rock production, I have not been able to get by without that kind of control, especially for bass and kick drums.

    I was wondering if you had any opportunity to track some Rock and Roll or Country music while you had the ONYX and if so, what were the results like?
  13. vividsonics

    vividsonics Guest

  14. I downloaded and read the manual so I understand that when tracking the preamps are pre eq, so this might be a stupid question, but... when you're monitoring/mixing the tracks (via Fire Wire) you've already recorded can you use the eq's then? If so, would you only be limited 16 of them? For instance if I had 24 tracks recorded would I only be able use the Onyx eq's for 1-16 and have to use my software eqs for the other 8 or could I use the Onyx eq's for all 24? Hopefully I am making sense, I am just trying to get my head around the whole Fire Wire option.

  15. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    The answer is No to everything. the firewire can send 18 channels TO the computer (16 faders + master stereo mix) and 1 stereo mix BACK to the mixer. It doesn't send any other audio back to the board. This is why I probably won't be getting one soon (later probably, but I need returns). If you had another interface you could use that to feed the mixer, but that's about it.
  16. skycave

    skycave Guest

    Mackie Onyx? Opinions?

    Hey, I'm Jeff and this is my first post, though I have been reading for quite some time and love this forum.

    I own a Presonus Digimax LT. I use it as a front end for my MOTU 828mkii. I am curious as to the difference in sound quality between the Mackie, the Presonus Digimax series and the Focusrite Octopre series and if anyone has A/B'd them. I know that the Mackie has a ton more features and its converters are *very good*.

    I've used the Presonus for one recording session and I felt that it was a step up compared to the XDR preamps in my 1604 VLZ (which is soon to be exiting my studio).

    I am interested in any feedback.


  17. Hemmick Reef

    Hemmick Reef Guest

    I was interested in adding a Mackie onyx 1220 mixer to by DAW.

    McCheese replied to starscream2010

    I haven't really looked into how to attach the 1220 to my computer via my Edirol 8in/8out card yet(don't want to use firewire at this stage, but I was hoping that I could record through the onyx to cubase then send my tracks back out for summing/mixing to use eq and also process through one or two pieces of external processors.

    Is this possible or is the onyx only used for tracking or live mixing?
  18. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    You can only send 2 channels back to the Onyx via it's own firewire. I don't think they can be routed to anywhere but the main outs or control room (monitoring) outs. You could use your edirol 8x8 to send them out though, and just wire the outputs to channel line-ins on the mixer or whatever else.
  19. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    All these issues people are having can be resolved by not opting for the Fire Wire interface.

    IMO it's always better to keep different pieces / functions of a recording system separate and dedicated anyhow.

    All the "one box solutions" I have come across represent some type of compromise. By getting separate converters in and out, the user can tailor the system to their needs and go for the quality where they think it's most critical.

    Not worried about pres but you do want the best conversion ... no problem. Are you like me and think that pres are more important that converters? Go for it. Want EQ and multiple ins and outs? You got it.

    A lot of people are looking at the convenience in an all in one solution like the ONYX. Others like the approach because it appears to be more affordable. But if that's what you want, then you have to live with the compromises it brings with it.

    To me what really matters the most is does the ONYX sound better than its predecessors and do the mic pres compare to boutique and other high end offerings? To both questions, I suspect the answer is .... uuummmm, well maybe, .... sort of.
  20. Alright, I see what Kurt is saying regarding the "compromise" factor in all-in-one solutions and after seriously considering my "needs" I can see how this could benefit me so here's my second question. Let's say you used this also as a summing mixer of sorts but wanted to utilize the eq. Does anyone know/think that using the hardware eq's would sound 'better' than using a plugin? I mean if the preamps are as clean as everyone is saying, getting 16 of them seems like it would be a deal on that alone but if the eq's are any good and with the possibilty of it doubling as a decent summing mixer then I think that I've found a new front end for my daw 8) .

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