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Mackie Onyx Blackjack
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kmaaj
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#1
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
  #1
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Mackie Onyx Blackjack

I have taken a look at the previous threads on this box. I only need 2 good channels to plug my SDC's into to record solo classical guitar, and I have no need for midi or any other inputs. The specs on this box are better than the similar presonus and focusrite boxes in this price range. No one seems to be complaining about the quality of the pre's in this box, all of the complaints are driver related. Seems like when I search this board and others, the complaints about the Mackie Blackjack came in a frenzy and then died off about 6 months ago. Whatever box I get will be going into my laptop running Windows 7/64 bit. Has Mackie resolved the driver issues, or has the consumer base basically given up on this box?

I've also noticed Behringer has a new box coming out. Although it does have the extras I do not need, it also has pretty good specs and is in a similar price range.
#2
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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The onyx pre amps are decent at 60db gain. The units are solid with Mac's and hit or miss with PC concerning drivers/conflicts.
The digital converters are Cirrus Logic. It does 24bit up to 48k
I used to work in pro audio sales and always advised people of this and asked for feedback from PC users.

It does not come with any software which makes returning it easy because you can't get it working due to drivers/conflicts. Some PC users had no problems, some did.

For $150 I highly recommend giving it a shot. Do a few searches here and on google for "onyx pre amps"

Edit: it only does 44.1 or 48 sample rate.

http://www.mackie.com/Products/onyxblackjack/pdf/Blackjack_SS.pdf
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#3
31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
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onyx pres are great for the detailed side of acoustic guitars, cant fault them. the guitar and mic will be 90% of this equation if thats anything to go by
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31st December 2012
Old 31st December 2012
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I'm happy with mine under Win7/64. Have AISO4All installed along with the Mackie drivers and you should be fine. However at 60dB max gain pushing ribbon mics will pump up the noise/hiss levels (they generally needs lots of gain). Otherwise it's a clean, sturdy, no nonsense piece of kit for tiny cash. Recently considered upgrading from it but nothing else in this 2 in/2 out category touches it. My $0.02
kmaaj
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#5
1st January 2013
Old 1st January 2013
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses. Guitar Center actually has these in stock, so trying one is pretty much risk free. I ruled out ribbons a long time ago. My wife got me a nice pair of sdc's for Christmas, which I will name -after- I post some clips. I build my own guitars, so of course they are perfect ;-)
#6
1st January 2013
Old 1st January 2013
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And hey, HAPPY 2013!!!
#7
2nd January 2013
Old 2nd January 2013
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I recently listened to a recording I did a few years ago. Great guitar sound. Looking back at the notes I was surprised to see I had used an Onyx 800R for them, because they were intended to be scratch tracks and our better pres were all used up. Big win for that unit.

Now that my studio is vastly improved I've been poking around for an 800R for overflow pres for a remote rig.

Really solid unit.
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#8
5th January 2013
Old 5th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmaaj View Post
Thanks for the thoughtful responses. Guitar Center actually has these in stock, so trying one is pretty much risk free. I ruled out ribbons a long time ago. My wife got me a nice pair of sdc's for Christmas, which I will name -after- I post some clips. I build my own guitars, so of course they are perfect ;-)
keen to hear it then for sure. You can massage me the thread if you decide to post it
vxt
#9
1st February 2013
Old 1st February 2013
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vxt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmaaj View Post
Thanks for the thoughtful responses. Guitar Center actually has these in stock, so trying one is pretty much risk free. I ruled out ribbons a long time ago. My wife got me a nice pair of sdc's for Christmas, which I will name -after- I post some clips. I build my own guitars, so of course they are perfect ;-)
You really make your own guitars? Do you sell? Let me know your brand or store name/url!
asj
#10
12th February 2013
Old 12th February 2013
  #10
asj
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It looks to be good value but can the Pre amps be bypassed, I can't see any line in?
Could you use an outboard preamp before it without any problems?
#11
13th February 2013
Old 13th February 2013
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Yes. Set the Blackjack's levels at unity & hook up the preamp's outs to the Blackjack's ins. Balanced connections optimal; watch for overloading. Easy peasy
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asj
#12
13th February 2013
Old 13th February 2013
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asj
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Thank you Analok, So there would be no added distortion or noise?
kmaaj
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#13
17th February 2013
Old 17th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vxt View Post
You really make your own guitars? Do you sell? Let me know your brand or store name/url!
I have built to sell in the past, but the shop has been in limbo for a couple of years simply because I missed playing. They are classical guitars, and I just sign my own name to them. I'm thinking about firing the shop back up in the fall.

Ken Whisler, Luthier & Performer
#14
17th February 2013
Old 17th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asj View Post
Thank you Analok, So there would be no added distortion or noise?
At unity, no.
#15
22nd February 2013
Old 22nd February 2013
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Overload indicator in software?

I've just got a Mackie Onyx BlackJack and am using it with Windows 8 x64 without any special drivers - I just plugged it in and started using it with Audacity, Goldwave and Tracktion v4. I'm using it with a Rode NT3 mic to record spoken voice.

Something I've noticed is that I can never hit the overload indicators in my recording software using the Blackjack. The clip indicator on the Blackjack goes red, but with the record level set to max (100%) in the recording software peak is always -1dB or so away from 0dbFs. Zooming in to the recording shows the recorded wave is obviously clipped.

I've preferred not to install the Mackie drivers so far because I don't really need them, but is this issue resolved? Do the Mackie drivers introduce any problems?

Does anyone else see this issue?

BTW, regarding distortion or noise via the line ins, I've done a line-level loopback recording of a swept tone, and it looks very nice and clean
#16
23rd February 2013
Old 23rd February 2013
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I've witnessed the same results within Audacity (never exceeding 0dB levels and most often well below). I guess the final outputs are meek thus keeping the signals clean 'bumper to bumper'. As for the driver issues, initially there were heavy latency problems. To this date they seem to be resolved, but it was pretty ugly for Mackie's support group when Win7 was just rolling out. ASIO4All cured my latency hiccups. Glad you're liking yours!!
#17
23rd February 2013
Old 23rd February 2013
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Analok, so you don't use the Mackie drivers either then?
#18
24th February 2013
Old 24th February 2013
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I have them installed & merely for device recognition purposes. All the in/out duties are controlled by ASIO4All. The latest Mackie drivers may have cured my latency problems on their own, but ASIO has far more preference controls built within and is designed to be a universal portal for most (if not all) audio in/out devices. That alone makes it worthwhile to install (on the fly configurations are a snap & implemented instantly once the prefs window is closed).
#19
24th February 2013
Old 24th February 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Analok View Post
Mackie drivers may have cured my latency problems on their own, but ASIO has far more preference controls built within
What latency do you get?

The lowest I can go to is 320 samples in Tracktion v4, using the Windows Audio engine and no Mackie or ASIO drivers installed. Tracktion measured that as 24.8 mSec using a loopback cable across the Blackjack.

It surprised me that Tracktion seems quite fussy about the buffer size, because some larger buffers produced choppy sound!
#20
24th February 2013
Old 24th February 2013
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When I was using my BlackJack, I was able to leave the Mackie drivers set to 128 samples without any issues on Windows 8 with Studio One. I think it's a great little box.
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#21
9th March 2013
Old 9th March 2013
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I've been fixed at 128 with no issues. I lose paitence tinkering with prefs when trying to lay down ideas. And my platform is weak, so I can't tax it too hard.
#22
9th March 2013
Old 9th March 2013
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I love my blackbird as well. If you install the mackie drivers you get the mackie mixer and the zero latency direct sound capability. If you use that then you can mix pretty heavily on your DAW with a higher sample rate and still have no latency issues while recording (of course no effects that are loaded in the track on the daw will be included with the zero latency feed)
#23
10th March 2013
Old 10th March 2013
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I had an Onyx 400f interface that sounded pretty good, but it was very dodgy on Windows... I always had some sort of issue getting it to work right, and it kept randomly setting a different bit/sample rate without telling me. It always had some ground noise too, no matter what was in the chain or where it was plugged. Not sure how the blackjack compares though!
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