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Midas Venice F16 vs. Mackie Onyx 1640i (Comparing Consoles)
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2nd February 2012
Old 2nd February 2012
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Midas Venice F16 vs. Mackie Onyx 1640i (Comparing Consoles)

Hi! I just bought the Midas Venice F16 console to replace my Mackie Onyx 1640i, but before putting it up for sale, I'm playing around and doing some shoot outs between the two.

I play multiple instruments and sing, so I've done a quick cover of the song "Trouble" by Ray Lamontagne, tracked separately through both consoles.

This is not a scientific test...

I've done this for fun, and for my own comparisons. The idea was to do a simple recording, quickly, through both consoles to see if there was any major differences in sound/tone/depth/etc. Yes, it's two different takes, so there will be some variation, but I wanted to go through the entire process with each console to see what the end result would be.

The Process...

Basically, I would set up microphones for an instrument, play the part through the Midas, then hook up the Onyx and do a 2nd take through that making sure to match gain as best I could, and leaving the microphones in the same spot. Everything was straight through the pres in the boards, then recorded directly into Pro Tools via each consoles onboard converters through firewire.

No EQ
No Compression
No Processing at all

Drums:
Beta 52 about 1" away from the center of the outside of the kick drum, and then a Little Blondie mic over the top of the kit pointing to the snare.

Guitars:
Little Blondie about 1-2 feet away from my Martin acoustic, pointing around the 12th fret.

Bass:
Bass was run direct through a Radial Pro DI then, then into each board and straight to Pro Tools. I did put the Softube Bass Amp room plug on each bass track, and matched everything up.

Vocals:
JJ Audio modded v67g (Neumann u87 mod)

Again, there is no processing at all. I wanted to hear the complete sound of each board from the pre's, to the summing, to the converters in each.

Let me know your thoughts. More to come...
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Midas Acoustic Dry.mp3 (690.3 KB, 3719 views)
File Type: mp3 Onyx Acoustic Dry.mp3 (690.3 KB, 3295 views)
File Type: mp3 Midas Bass Dry.mp3 (1.32 MB, 2317 views)
File Type: mp3 Onyx Bass Dry.mp3 (1.32 MB, 2078 views)
File Type: mp3 Midas Kick Dry.mp3 (724.0 KB, 2039 views)
File Type: mp3 Onyx Kick Dry.mp3 (724.0 KB, 1734 views)
File Type: mp3 Midas OH Dry.mp3 (1.03 MB, 1751 views)
File Type: mp3 Onyx OH Dry.mp3 (1.03 MB, 1636 views)
File Type: mp3 Midas Vocal Dry.mp3 (674.0 KB, 2359 views)
File Type: mp3 Onyx Vocal Dry.mp3 (665.9 KB, 2224 views)
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2nd February 2012
Old 2nd February 2012
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Full Mix:
I did a quick 10 minute mix of each song after tracking. I level matched each individual instrument, for example, the Onyx drums and Midas drums were both level matched with each other, then grouped together for mixing to keep levels the same. I then summed through each board. All Onyx takes were summed through the Onyx board, all Midas takes were summed through the Midas board. Summing was like this:

Out 1-2: Drums
Out 3: Bass
Out 5-6: Acoustic
Out 7: Vocal

I did it that way to keep the panning exactly the same between each take (drums panned to about 75 right and acoustic about 75 left in the DAW, vocals and bass up the middle). When mixing, I decided to pan the drums right, acoustic left, then vocal and bass up the middle so you could hear them each clearly, but also see how they are all working together in a mix.

Thoughts? I'll give mine in a bit. I'm working up more tests with the eq's as well...more to come.
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 Midas Mix.mp3 (4.32 MB, 4306 views)
File Type: mp3 Onyx Mix.mp3 (4.32 MB, 3930 views)
#3
2nd February 2012
Old 2nd February 2012
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I am listening on earbuds on my iPad....will listen in the studio on monitors tomorrow....but the Midas sounds real nice....really interesting tea...thanks for posting


Cheers

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2nd February 2012
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Both are completely fullfilling. I mean I'd be happy with both. You really notice it's up to the musician and the mixer to get the best of the mix.

That being said. I notice the Midas being somewhat fatter sounding.

I think the difference could be stronger when using 32 channels.... But maybe the slight difference remains. Meaning I would not care what to use.

From a secondhand selling point of view. Midas desks allways sell well. Though The Verona desks were never really appriciated like their earlier desks did.
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2nd February 2012
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Thx for putting this up man
F16 back in my console search...by god it's ugly though
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2nd February 2012
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They chose purple. What if they chose pink....
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2nd February 2012
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I see you use mid heavey microphones. You allso should test the topend of both consoles. You can do that either with a reverb tail test (stretch the tail, compress and eq it heavily UP and listen to that. See what is nicer. (nice condenser on fast highhat. Tracked at 96khz). Or with a X-Y set with two omni's. Look at best stereofeel.

Take a drumtrack or nice guitar (both can be done too. Guitar in front, drums 3 m behind, soft drumming, then nice piece by the two musicians and the XY microphoneset in front of it. Now look what console produces the strongest stereo image and what has the nicest 15khz range... (DPA 4006 or 4090's recommended)


I'm betting the Midas is the best...

Enjoy.
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2nd February 2012
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Listening through cheap headphones the midas mix is more defined, has more space ( less "in your face" ) and there is less clutter in the mids. The vocals sit much better in the midas mix as well.
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3rd February 2012
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Nice work...!
It's good to know that the Midas is a step up from a Mackie!
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4th February 2012
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When you start adding more channels the difference will be even greater.
Here the Midas is so lovely. I seriously like the EQ on the Midas as well.
Really good sound for very little money!
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6th February 2012
Old 6th February 2012
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Ok, after listening on proper monitors ( focal 6) here is what I think.
The midas board has deeper bass than the onyx and somehow tighter. As I mentioned earlier the mids on the midas are much smoother and not cluttered like the onyx giving the mix a more "effortless" feel. Also the high mids of the onyx seem to be a little harsh compared to the midas. The ambience is more obvious on the midas mix as well, making the mix not as " in your face".

I own an f32 myself but I dont use the preamps or converters since I have better choices for pres and the alphalink for conversion. I did a couple of tests with the midas pres and, although they are not going to blow you away, they are very useable. If I had nothing else I would be perfectly happy.

The eq on the midas is really really good. It is very responsive ( some might describe it aggressive for this reason) and a great sculpting tool.

Cheers
AvS
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8th February 2012
Old 8th February 2012
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I am surprised by how huge the difference is. I even heard the difference on my laptop speakers. Listening with my monitors (NHT pro-20) now. Midas sounds great. Bigger lowend and a lot more smooth in the mids and hi's. I am surprised how much the onyx seems to push the hi-mids forward. The S' sounds in the vocals sounds horrible on the onyx but nice and smooth on the midas.
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8th February 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AvS View Post
I am surprised by how huge the difference is. I even heard the difference on my laptop speakers. Listening with my monitors (NHT pro-20) now. Midas sounds great. Bigger lowend and a lot more smooth in the mids and hi's. I am surprised how much the onyx seems to push the hi-mids forward. The S' sounds in the vocals sounds horrible on the onyx but nice and smooth on the midas.

Even my wife heard the difference, on a macbook coming through the laptop speakers. I assume the difference would be even greater the more tracks that are built up. I plan to give a more in depth review, can't right now though. Thanks for the replies everyone!
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14th March 2012
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Loving the sound of the Midas. Am I correct in understanding that this console can work somewhat like an inline console to tape? As in once I record to channel 1-24, I can send channel 1-24 back to the console to use the eq and insertion on each channel into the master buss?
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15th March 2012
Old 15th March 2012
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I'm always envious of the golden ears people on this board have. I hear no difference between these files. I listened on Grado SR80s through my mackbook pro headphone output. I even put the two files in Logic and switched back and forth between the tracks solo'd.
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15th March 2012
Old 15th March 2012
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Funny thing is - we did a quick comparison between the new and old Midas Venice and we actually preferred the sound of the old version...
Anyway, the Midas - old or new - is sooooo good for the money.
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16th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Withnail View Post
Funny thing is - we did a quick comparison between the new and old Midas Venice and we actually preferred the sound of the old version...
Anyway, the Midas - old or new - is sooooo good for the money.
care to elaborate on that? what were the differences?
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25th March 2012
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I agree that the midas sounds better on the mix, but I was surprised at how similar that were actually. I guess thats why it costs so much to get that extra 2-3%.
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26th March 2012
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Levels are not mached, especially in the mix. OH's are louder in the onyx mix and that definitely accounts, at least in part, for the lack of perceived low end.
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13th April 2012
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Thanks for this test
I heard midas a bit better and with more presence than onyx
#21
15th April 2012
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Some of the files dont load and what do work, I didnt hear any difference. But the Midas has only 8 pres vs. the Mackie's 16 preamps. I hate it when manufacturers state channel info that way. Even their 24 channels is actually 16 channels. Sure there are other non preamp inputs, but those dont count !!!
#22
12th June 2012
Old 12th June 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BushmasterM4 View Post
Some of the files dont load and what do work, I didnt hear any difference. But the Midas has only 8 pres vs. the Mackie's 16 preamps. I hate it when manufacturers state channel info that way. Even their 24 channels is actually 16 channels. Sure there are other non preamp inputs, but those dont count !!!
Actually the 4 stereo channels have dual mic inputs, so yes, it does have 16 mic preamps. It's next on my queue of gear to buy.
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12th June 2012
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Thanks for taking the time to post your test results. I wish you would have named your files A and B rather than id the consoles. It is difficult to listen objectively when you may have a preconceived notion that one console should sound better, fatter, more defined because it costs more. Nothing against either console from me. I only have experience with the Mackie. I heard little difference between the two in terms of A is better than B ... but I am probably biased by my love of my 1640i (which I very recently acquired.)

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12th June 2012
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Just realized I was responding to a stale thread ... doh!

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14th June 2012
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Midas v Mackie Onyx

I've used both over a number of years as a live pro sound engineer and studio owner. Here's my take... The Midas will make sources sound deeper and bigger than they actually are. ( great for bright / nasty tones, bad for deep tones or where you want truth from the mic ) BTW.. You never see a Midas in the world's great studios, but always on the world's best tours. The onyx is more "honest" IMHO, and is probably the best low- dough mixer ever given to man. I'd take the Midas for a "Live" gig, and the Onyx for recording every time. ( I'd prefer a Neve ( they aren't honest either ), but an Onyx can make a smokin' recording! (grammy winning recordings were done on old Mackies nobody wants anymore!, and these Onyx desks are a million miles ahead of those)
A thought... If it doesn't sound good through a Mackie or a Midas, maybe you need better converters.
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21st July 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lestermax View Post
I've used both over a number of years as a live pro sound engineer and studio owner. Here's my take... The Midas will make sources sound deeper and bigger than they actually are. ( great for bright / nasty tones, bad for deep tones or where you want truth from the mic ) BTW.. You never see a Midas in the world's great studios, but always on the world's best tours. The onyx is more "honest" IMHO, and is probably the best low- dough mixer ever given to man. I'd take the Midas for a "Live" gig, and the Onyx for recording every time. ( I'd prefer a Neve ( they aren't honest either ), but an Onyx can make a smokin' recording! (grammy winning recordings were done on old Mackies nobody wants anymore!, and these Onyx desks are a million miles ahead of those)
A thought... If it doesn't sound good through a Mackie or a Midas, maybe you need better converters.
I totaly agree with what your saying. I made some great mixes with the older Mackies. In my case it was teh SR range I preferred and the small 16 channel ones. I just traded in a Mackie 24/4 Onyx for the 1640i and guess what. It doesnt sound as good. Its a little more harsh/cold reminding a little of that awful 8 buss mixer they made still do maybe?. This not so good sound as the 24 must be the converter. Im pretty disappointed in this as I really liked the sound I was getting from the 24 and even the built in compressor gave tracks a vibe Its nasty but it has vibe. I get no vibe at all from the Onyx and that is not what Im looking for. But the 24/4 had some stupid flaws and was built in mind for a live gig type deal only (loud built in fan is one of them). Not a thought went in to anyone who may wish to use it in the studio as far as I could tell. For example you couldnt send any of the FX returns to any of the 4 sub groups and record parts with fx unless they were directly inserted in to the channel there by making my outboard FX pretty redundant.

Im not sure about this Mackie I just bought. Ive only had it a few days but I am no geliing with it at all. I used to have an ALlen+Heath Zedr16 FW but I hated its cold sounding EQ. However it was a much easier desk to use, so much more logical when using it with a Daw. This ONYX 1640i just seems far to over complicated and I can see no reason why they have needed to do this. Sending subs to other channels to record them and so on on?? Whats that all about. Ill figure it all out eventually I hope, but a nooby little mixer this is not. Its the most complicated mixer Ive ever used, and Ive used far bigger and much more expensive mixers than this. There's just no logic to whats going on at times with the Onyx. As of yet I havent even figured out how to send the main out put in to my Daw to record the whole stereo mix. But I think for some reason I have to assign the main fader to channels 15 and 16. But Im using them. Why the need for that?
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4th November 2012
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I prefer the 1640i, I like the in your face sound. I own the mackie so I might be a little biased.
#28
19th January 2013
Old 19th January 2013
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Thanks for doing this test! I'm in the market for my first board, and I'm considering the Midas Venice F24, the Toft ATB 24, and there is a DDA AMR 24 available in my neighborhood. IMO the Midas sounds better. It seems the highs are less harsh and the lows a bit tighter than the mackie board. I would also like to hear this on more than 3 instruments though to see how well things hold together. For example, I have a presonus FP10, and if it's just vocals and guitar, the preamps sound just fine.... but add drums, bass, violin, cello, accordion, backups, and a piano, and they fall apart, it sounds like sludge no matter what you do. I would be interested to hear some bigger mixes done on the Midas Venice before I make the decision to purchase one.
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19th January 2013
Old 19th January 2013
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Quote:
I have a presonus FP10, and if it's just vocals and guitar, the preamps sound just fine.... but add drums, bass, violin, cello, accordion, backups, and a piano, and they fall apart, it sounds like sludge no matter what you do.
Exactly. Lots of channels on a Mackie and the result becomes mushy and edgy.
On the Midas it always sounds great, lots of headroom.
Also - I much prefer Midas to the Toft.
#30
21st January 2013
Old 21st January 2013
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Well, I just took the plunge and purchased a Midas Venice F32 firewire. I'll let everyone know what I think when I get it and do some mixing on it, and I will also post some mixes! FWIW I called Midas and talked to them about the mixers. To clear up confusion - they are now all manufactured in China. They said that the design and components have not changed. Just being built somewhere else now. I don't think quality will diminish, just look at Apple and a billion other products that are made in China.
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