mackie onyx800R

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by sammyg, Jan 21, 2005.

  • AT5047

    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Dec 12, 2003
    Hi all,

    has anyone had any first hand experience with the mackie onyx 8 ch pre, I know its still kinda new, thought I'd ask anyway, im gonna need an 8 ch pre soon, for the bucks it doesnt seem too bad, not the best, but not the worst!

    or, anyone got any recomendations for an 8 ch solid state pre?
    Nothing too over the top price wise.


  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    I have a feeling the Onyx pres will not be an improvment over the VLZ pros .... just more of the same from Mackie.


    This off the JLM site

    Features for each Channel
    1. 8x Transformer Input / Solid State Output Mic Pre
    2. Custom Made High Performance Transformer Inputs. (-1dB 10Hz to 400khz unloaded)\
    3. 2 x 1Meg Unbalanced Fet DI Inputs
    4. 6 x 1k Balanced DI Inputs
    5. 8 x 20dB Pad Switch.
    6. 8 x Phase Reverse Switch.
    7. 8 x 48v Phantom Power Switch and LED.
    8. 8 x 41 click positions Gain Control from 20 to 60dB.
    9. 8 x Soft Limiters that can be set so A/D Converters don't clip with external 3.5mm Jack for each channel.
    10. 8 x 3 pin Gold Neutrik XLR on Inputs & Outputs.
    11. Available with two sizes of External 110v / 240v Switchmode 48v Power Supply or will run from single 48v 300mA power rail.
    12. 1 rack Unit high in Stainless Steel less than 90mm or 3.5 inches deep including front panel knobs. (75mm or 3 inches rack depth)

    Sounds like
    This type of Mic Pre is very minimalist & pure with amazingly silky top end and extreme Signal to Noise ratio. The Low end is tighter and fatter which is amazing on drums. Once the soft limiters are set to match the A/D Converters they are being used with, they sound like the Apogee Soft Limit & Prismsound Overkillers do on all eight channels with a blue LED becoming brighter the harder they are driven. This allows you to use your digital like going to tape so you can use every BIT of your digital input giving you more clarity and no worries about clipping.

    It's a little pricey but your getting 8 channels of very good pre amps ... at a price per channel that is less than any other good pre amp I have come across.

    Anything less, is IMO not worth thinking about ... just go out and get a cheap table top mixer ... It will do just as good a job as any other mid level mic pre. IMO the absolute least expensive way to get quality mic pres, is the TMP8, no doubt about it!
  3. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Dec 12, 2003

    yeah, they seem impressive, I've been chating with Joe from JLM for a while to send one down to me to try!
    A while ago he was gonna come down to Melbourne for business and we were gonna hook up, fell through so we didnt get to catch up. Im gonna email him now!!

    Other than these two, do you think there're any others to consider?
    I am after rackmountable.


  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The next in line as far as affordable "real" pres would be the Sebatrons ...

    After that, the prices go up .... and anything less is IMO, a compromise in the design somewhere ...

    This is why I repeatedly recommend these two mic pres. I know it gets to sounding like a broken record but I have found nothing else that comes close at this price point. The Sebatrons and JLM TMP8's are the least expensive good pres available as far as I know ... If anyone has anything else to mention, I would love to take a listen. I'm still searching for that "free lunch" myself. BTW, I have already heard the RNPs and Syteks, close, but no cigar.

    I am very fond of my Great River MP2NV and the Millennia STT-1 ORIGIN but those are more like $1000 + per channel ... The Vintechs DW Fearns, Chandlers among others are very good as well.

    I look for large power supplies, I prefer transformers but I have heard pres without them that are very good ... I like discreet construction because it makes the pre amp serviceable long after it's out of production and sub assemblies are no longer available ... Tubes are great but there are some wonderful solid state designs too ..

    Mic pres that fit this criteria are not cheap to make. Construction is labor intensive and transformers and other quality parts are not cheap either ... In the end, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to mic pres. Since there is nothing else that can make as big a difference in quality, I think it is worth it to make an investment in pres that will last a lifetime, if you are really serious about recording audio. If you are not willing to make those kinds of expenditures, then don't waste you money on the mid level stuff because almost any small mixer will deliver just as good pre amp performance.
  5. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Dec 12, 2003
    I agree totaly, just thought I'd ask in case there was something out there that I wasnt aware of.

    Damn, I wish I could afford a millennia, I recorded some drums through an 8 ch millennia years ago, I was just getting into recording and it was a mates studio, I couldnt believe how good the drums turned out, even just off tape they sounded warm and fat. Cool experience, really opened my eyes to what "real" gear should sound like. I was hearing "that" sound.

    thanks Kurt,

  6. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Good preamps are certainly part of getting the sound you want, esp if it's a certain color or qaulity.

    If it's sonic purity your looking for, but "nothing over the top, price-wise" at least give the ONYX 800 a listen.

    The ONYX line is a huge step forward in every respect, and the preamps in the 800 are identical to what's in the 1640, 1620 and 1220 mixers. They are an exceptional improvement over the VLZ line (which wasn't all that bad to begin with, for the cost), and I doubt you'd find a better "Sound" for the cost of the 800. Again, assuming price IS a factor.

    If you've got the money to spend on the exotic stuff, SURE! Go for it. Just keep an open mind (and ears) before parting with your hard-earned $$.

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