Mackie's Onyx mixers

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Bard2dbone, Feb 8, 2005.

  1. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I saw an ad for Mackie that said they had made some firewire mixers. On the website, if I am understanding properly, it says that all you need is the mixer and a firewired PC. That sounds like a pretty simple rig. You can't beat that. But wait. They use Tracktion2, of which I know nothing.

    My guitar player already has the mbox and digi001 version ProTools at home. And he has the big Control24 version at work. So it's pretty convenient to do our recordings in ProTools.

    But I want to have a decent studio at my house and I would like to be able to record more channels than just two at a time. So I was thinking 'Wow 16 channels at once via firewire. That sounds like a real winner.' But will it utilize a software that won't mate with what we already have available? Or could I get the digi002 rack with its inadequate control surface, AND get the Onyx 1640 with its much more user friendly control surface, and use them together.

    So I guess I'm saying :

    1.) First and best choice; Mackie Onyx 1640 and a computer-Tracktion2 works with ProTools so we can record at both places and have it workwith no extra costs.

    2.) Next best choice; The 1640 and a computer and a digi002 rack set up- Tracktion2 WON'T work but the Mackie mixer sends enough infor to work as the control surface like the digi002, but with more channels.

    3.) Keep looking choice; The Mackie won't talk with the digi002. Neither system will work with the other. Find some other option.

    Tell me which is most likely true. Help me. Please. :help:
  2. Onyx are pretty new boards. I'd write tech support and ask just what you did here.

    From the site:

    "Works with any Windows XP ASIO/WDM host (Cakewalk, Cubase, Sonar, Nuendo, Live, Tracktion, etc.) or any compatible Mac OS X Core Audio host (GarageBand, Logic, Cubase, Sonar, Nuendo, Live, Digital Performer, Tracktion, etc.)"

    Seeing how proprietary Pro Tools is, I don't think it'll work. But again I'm not certain.
  3. I think you'll find most compatability and a lot of convinience with working in Pro Tools considering your situation. What I would recommend is that you can get hte Digi 002 and then using something like a DigiMax or Focusrite OctoPre, basically a unit with 8 inputs and optical outputs, you can lightpipe the additonal 8 chanels into the Digi 002 and have 16 simultaneous inputs.
  4. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Well, if Pro-Tools compatability is a priority, you'd best go with an M-Box or a Digi002. The PT folks do not make it easy to import tracks from other software packages. It can be done, but it's a bit of a hassle. In case you didn't know, ProTools is basically one of the definitions for the word "proprietary". They make it a point to not be compatible with anyone elses stuff. If you want to use ProTools in any way, you're pretty much stuck with buying their hardware and software.

    Everybody else - Sonar, Cubase, Tracktion, Reason, Acid, etc. - pretty much plays nice together. No problems importing and exporting between these programs, and no problems importing ProTools files into these programs. But taking anything into ProTools is harder. Possible, but more difficult. PT does sell additional software that makes it a lot easier, but they charge an arm and a leg for it.

    No small wonder that many people have a love/hate realtionship with ProTools.

    Otherwise, the Onyx makes a pretty decent front end for a digital audio workstation, but that's all it'll do; you can't use it as a control surface. The FW is for audio only, and that is 16 channels (depending on model) out, not in/out - you get 2 return channels, essentially just for monitoring. And, the digital audio is tapped pre- eq and effects. That said, it's still a pretty good deal for the price. I've heard the preamps are pretty darn good, a lot better than previous Mackie stuff. And you really shouldn't be recording eq and effects anyway. Just get good clean audio into the computer, then do your eq and effects there.

    I think the Onyx 1640 is a great deal if you need a front end for DAW and a mixer for live sound. That's pretty much what it's built for - a decent quality live sound mixer that has the option of plugging into your computer via firewire and recording 16 tracks at a time. It'd be really nice for recording your gigs.

    It's nice that it comes with Tracktion, but don't place too much value on that. You can buy Tracktion for $80.

    If you really want a control surface more than a live sound capable mixer, look at a Tascam FW1884. Fewer mic pre's, so fewer tracks can be simultaneously recorded, but if you're just tracking in a studio it'll work. Full control surface capability for most digital audio software, except of course ProTools.

    You also might want to check out a Tascam DM-24 with FW option. It's a full-blown mixer you can use for live sound, it's fully automated, plus it'll do 24 tracks of audio in AND out via firewire. That lets you use the mixer to mix down tracks, freeing up your computers resources to process more effects. Not a whole lot more than an Onyx 1640 with a firewire card last time I looked.

    Lotsa options many channels do you want to record simultaneously? And do you really need a mixer? If you need one for live sound, fine, but keep in mind that mixing recorded tracks is best done in the computer; you can get tons of great effects in software - compressors, eq's, reverbs, you name it - for very little $$$ compared to the hardware world. And you can do all your mixing with a mouse; a control surface isn't a necessity at all, but some folks do like them. For a "mixer-less" digital recording set-up that's got a little more simultaneous track capability than an M-Box, you might consider a Presonus Firepod. Basic 8 channel digital audio firewire interface, ships with Cubase LE, gets good reviews for sound quality......about $550-$600 street price.
  5. Droog


    Aug 14, 2003
    Don't let the whole PT compatability scare you off. If just want something for home recording, practice and brainstorming then I think an ONYX with a decent PC/Mac would be great. If on occasion you really need to get something into PT, its not that hard. Just import the raw WAV files you recorded at home into PT and you are good, just takes a little longer.

    If you really need a control surface, then get a Mackie controller to go along with whatever software you choose. ONYX should be compatible with em' all. Though an 002 with an 8 channel pre-amp with ADAT out would be a prettly slick system, kinda what I am thinkin about getting. Or you could get an ONYX without the digital card and just use the direct outs into the line inputs on an 002. Then you would have a good mixer and good pre's for your 002, then couple it with one of the ONYX 8 channel mic pre's and you could be doing 16 channels simultaneously.

    OK I'll stop now.
  6. I just wanted to add that the only reason Pro Tools is so proprietary is because Digi is not a software company but a hardware company. And in that, in order to make many of the claims and advancements that they have, they need to work their software through their hardware and their hardware only. I just wanted to throw that out there so people understand where Digi is coming from.
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