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Converts Mackie onyx i mixers vs digi 003+
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DJSaul
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#1
29th March 2010
Old 29th March 2010
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Converts Mackie onyx i mixers vs digi 003+

I am currently in the market for a new interface to use with pro tools and I want to get a interface with decent converters. (I currently use a mbox 2 which sounds pretty bad)

I think that since the digi 003+ is just an interface and the same price as the mackie onyxi 1620 that the 003s converters would sound better.

I like the mackie but I feel like it is a shortcut that I would regret in the long run.

Any advice?

Thanks
#2
30th March 2010
Old 30th March 2010
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toddbel is offline
Hi
I have an Onyx 820i- I'm not sure if the Cirrus converters are identical to the ones in the 1620i. I have not heard the digi's converters, so I can only compare to the AKM converters used in previous interfaces (M-Audio 410, MOTU 828). All I can say is the converters have a slightly different sound, not better or worse. The Cirrus converters are natural sounding, with nice detail, with perhaps less depth to the soundstage compared to the MOTU (this is still a first impression-). I previously used a Mackie VLZ Pro mixer using the effect inserts to tap out directly to a separate soundcard, and this gave a cleaner signal path (better S/N ratio) when doing many track layering. The Onyx preamps are very nice, which is why I bought it. If unsure, buy from someplace with a liberal return policy
#3
30th March 2010
Old 30th March 2010
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I've got the Onyx 1640i and its a great board. Been recording and mixing on it for a few months now and know it inside and out. Great preamps for the price range and being able to record 16 channels down one firewire and then bounce all 16 back out for mixing is phenomenal.

Don't know about the Digi converters, but I would tell you that regardless of how they "sound" which is up to everyone's personal preference and opinion, get something you know how to use well and that will allow you to make GREAT music.

I've heard amazing stuff recorded on VERY low tech gear. It's all about what you are trying to achieve. There's no such thing as bad gear. Don't let the snobs tell you otherwise.

Matt
DJSaul
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31st March 2010
Old 31st March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by projektio View Post
I've got the Onyx 1640i and its a great board. Been recording and mixing on it for a few months now and know it inside and out. Great preamps for the price range and being able to record 16 channels down one firewire and then bounce all 16 back out for mixing is phenomenal.

Don't know about the Digi converters, but I would tell you that regardless of how they "sound" which is up to everyone's personal preference and opinion, get something you know how to use well and that will allow you to make GREAT music.

I've heard amazing stuff recorded on VERY low tech gear. It's all about what you are trying to achieve. There's no such thing as bad gear. Don't let the snobs tell you otherwise.

Matt
Thanks for your post. I want the 1640i that is the one to have and its the only new one with direct outputs. the fact that you can return all 16 channels back to the mixer from your DAW is worth the money right there. I i know that I want to work in Pro Tools LE so I think I am gonna go with the digi 003+ and buy a nice mixer later with direct outs. I currently have a mackie 1202 vlz3.
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31st March 2010
Old 31st March 2010
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He anyone have any experience with using outboard gear with the new Mackie mixers? Is that something that can be routed? I have the original version and there are no direct outs. :(

Would be great if that was possible with the new ones.
DJSaul
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31st March 2010
Old 31st March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obliterations View Post
He anyone have any experience with using outboard gear with the new Mackie mixers? Is that something that can be routed? I have the original version and there are no direct outs. :(

Would be great if that was possible with the new ones.

Which mixer do you have? Any mixer with auxs or inserts can be used with outboard gear.
#7
31st March 2010
Old 31st March 2010
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I haven't used the Onyx i series of mixers, but I did have the top of the line Onyx 1200F 12 channel firewire interface (now discontinued) and it was AWESOME! And I now own the 003R+. The converters in the Mackie were definitely pleasant sounding but really what I think is going to make the biggest difference in terms of the sound you get between the Mackie and Digi interfaces are the pre's. In most cases I'm using some nice outboard pre's so I don't often use the pre's on the Digi, but when I do, I'm sometimes reminded of why I liked my Mackie Onyx so much! The pre's were very open and transparent and they handled transients and harmonics like nobody's business! Granted the 1200F that I had was a 2,000 unit when I bought it and the pre's on the new, less expensive mixers probably aren't as nice, if the pre's on the new Onyx boards are anywhere close to the older Onyx models, they'll still sound pretty nice (but maybe not as nice as the 003+).
Now there are a couple more things to keep in mind: firstly I know this thread is about the converters and I've been talking about the pre's, but for what you're doing I'd put getting good pre's higher on the list of what's going to affect your sound quality that great converters. Don't get me wrong, having good converters is important, but at the stage you're at, I don't think it's as important as having some great pre's IMHO.
Second, keep in mind that if you get the Onyx and you want to use Pro Tools, you're going to be limited to using Pro Tools M-Powered and while it's an ok program, It's more limited than pro tools LE (which can be expanded with more tracks and options with the Music Production and DV Toolkits). Thirdly, while Pro Tools LE is included with your 003, you'd have to go buy M-Powered on your own and that's another $200 you'd have to spend right there.
To me, if the 003+ is in your budget, I'd probably go for that. Even though my Mackie had great pre's, I'm gonna guess that they're not as nice as the ones that are currently on the new lower end Onyx line. Honestly, some of the lower end Mackie pre's don't really sound as good as the Digi pre's.
And I think you'll be happy with the conversion on either!
Just my $0.02
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31st March 2010
Old 31st March 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJSaul View Post
Which mixer do you have? Any mixer with auxs or inserts can be used with outboard gear.
Sorry, I should have been more specific. I was referring to the firewire interface. The previous versions of the Onyx mixers have a ton of firewire ins, but only 2 lines out. So it is impossible to send a recorded track to a firewire channel and then out to outboard gear and then back in.

The press releases state that the aux sends can be sent to a VST/AU fx so you can use your plugins live. As far as I can tell it says nothing about sending tracks to outboard gear.

So, with the new Onyx mixers can you send a direct out using firewire routing?
Is it possible to send a track out to send and then back in?

TIA
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1st April 2010
Old 1st April 2010
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With regard to Pro Tools compatibility: You can get a $50 driver from Mackie that lets the 1640i work with pro Tools M-Powered. Boom! You've got a 16 in/16 out front-end for Pro Tools for less than $1700 MAP with 16 mic pres and all kinds of routing possibilities (that sounds like a much better deal than the 003). PTMP 8 is out @ $250 and I presume it's better than LE.
It will also stream 16 tracks in and out via firewire (unlike the original version with the add-on FW card) and has 16 direct outs via DB-25.
I'm seriously considering dumping my current home recording rig for one of these and a lunchbox.
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4th April 2010
Old 4th April 2010
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For what it's worth - both made in China. At least the Mackie is "open" and you have software choices. Open and choices are good!
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4th April 2010
Old 4th April 2010
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fwiw I'm 'upgrading' from my huge Mackie 32x8, Tascam DA38 & Apogee Rosetta to a Mackie 1640i. Still will be used with Logic 8. The old Mackie Onyx fw add-on only gave 16x2. Mixdowns are not really possible without an extra output source.

The fact it has full 16x16 and is basically an analogue desk (hardware eq, pan & summing) makes it a better choice than say a Presonus Studio live. One thing to note is that I really wish it was 18x18, the master 2-buss is switched with channels 1&2. Also the auxes and subs are switched with fw channels as well. I don't use ANY plugs (totally hardware) so this is not a problem for me. The Studiolive may be a better choice for itb people.

No midi or digital connectors though
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#12
4th April 2010
Old 4th April 2010
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Love the Onyx pres, and I'm not sure why. They just have some kind of sound, rich, sweet.
DJSaul
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6th April 2010
Old 6th April 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musicjohnny View Post
I haven't used the Onyx i series of mixers, but I did have the top of the line Onyx 1200F 12 channel firewire interface (now discontinued) and it was AWESOME! And I now own the 003R+. The converters in the Mackie were definitely pleasant sounding but really what I think is going to make the biggest difference in terms of the sound you get between the Mackie and Digi interfaces are the pre's. In most cases I'm using some nice outboard pre's so I don't often use the pre's on the Digi, but when I do, I'm sometimes reminded of why I liked my Mackie Onyx so much! The pre's were very open and transparent and they handled transients and harmonics like nobody's business! Granted the 1200F that I had was a 2,000 unit when I bought it and the pre's on the new, less expensive mixers probably aren't as nice, if the pre's on the new Onyx boards are anywhere close to the older Onyx models, they'll still sound pretty nice (but maybe not as nice as the 003+).
Now there are a couple more things to keep in mind: firstly I know this thread is about the converters and I've been talking about the pre's, but for what you're doing I'd put getting good pre's higher on the list of what's going to affect your sound quality that great converters. Don't get me wrong, having good converters is important, but at the stage you're at, I don't think it's as important as having some great pre's IMHO.
Second, keep in mind that if you get the Onyx and you want to use Pro Tools, you're going to be limited to using Pro Tools M-Powered and while it's an ok program, It's more limited than pro tools LE (which can be expanded with more tracks and options with the Music Production and DV Toolkits). Thirdly, while Pro Tools LE is included with your 003, you'd have to go buy M-Powered on your own and that's another $200 you'd have to spend right there.
To me, if the 003+ is in your budget, I'd probably go for that. Even though my Mackie had great pre's, I'm gonna guess that they're not as nice as the ones that are currently on the new lower end Onyx line. Honestly, some of the lower end Mackie pre's don't really sound as good as the Digi pre's.
And I think you'll be happy with the conversion on either!
Just my $0.02

Thank you for your reply I appriciate the depth. I am actully not concered about the pres since I will not be doing much recording at my home appartment I will be using it mostly for tracking out music from my MPC which is all line level signals that is the only reason I am more concered about the converters. The Onyx pres probably sound better than the 003s but my guess like you said the 003 might have a little better pres and I can use it with LE.
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