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Mackie Onyx Blackjack & Blackbird audio interfaces
Old 15th July 2010
  #1
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dickiefunk's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Mackie Onyx Blackjack & Blackbird audio interfaces

New Mackie USB and Firewire Onyx interfaces!!

http://www.mackie.com/products/onyxinterfaces/
Old 15th July 2010
  #2
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Goliath|Audio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I noticed that they didn't say that it was compatible with PTMP. The marketing on the mixers said all major DAWs. I wonder if they are going to release this or if Avid told them to not do it again.

Quote:
Compatible with most major DAWs, including Logic, SONAR, Cubase, Ableton Live, Final Cut Pro and more
Old 15th July 2010 | Show parent
  #3
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rumleymusic's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
The previous firewire consoles sounded great, and worked well also. But I am now cautious because Mackie has a history of discontinuing products quickly and not providing driver support.
Old 16th July 2010 | Show parent
  #4
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
The previous firewire consoles sounded great, and worked well also. But I am now cautious because Mackie has a history of discontinuing products quickly and not providing driver support.

Ditto. I'll never buy another Mackie product that requires drivers and after owning the Satellite I no longer trust Mackie as smart design engineers. I guess they lost that talent after Greg sold the company.
Old 16th July 2010 | Show parent
  #5
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Big_Bang's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Got to love marketing hype...

Quote:
The Onyx Blackbird uses Cirrus Logic® converters offering 114dB dynamic range (A-weighted) – a specification other companies sometimes charge thousands of dollars to achieve
Sometimes?
As in a lottery draw?
If the meeting goes well and you bring in young virgins as offerings?
Because "other companies" don´t know any Jedi mind tricks to draft off better sub-"thousand dollar" deals ?
The same as found in Native Instruments Audio DJ 2 interface, except in this case they are good because it doesn't say DJ on the Mackie ??

Oh pleeeease!

FF800 uses

Quote:
Analog technology of the ADI-8 converters... with 128 times oversampling achieve 117 dBA true dynamic range ...and reach 119 dBA dynamic range on playback
and its been around for ages !!

If only the FF800 had them Onyx pre's (oh wait, the 800r lol)... Still, drivers and support, no brainer for RME.

Quote:
That means Blackbird is also an ideal standalone 8-input preamp unit for integration into a larger studio or digital live setup.
ahh... this is (expected yet) nice!

What is the price tag on this?

Could be a 800r with the bonus of added connectors and funcionality, like extra monitoring paths. The Totalmix in RME would easily manage 2 extra independant cue's to the Mackies' headphone outs, which is very cool setup indeed. If the price is right, I might pick this up instead of a used 800r !

EDIT: But then, reading things like this make me seriously doubt the seriousness in this company...

Quote:
And with a full 60dB of available gain, would-be competitors are left in the dust.
such untrueness and arrogance in just one sentence...
Old 16th July 2010 | Show parent
  #6
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Goliath|Audio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Bang View Post
Got to love marketing hype...
So they give you the spec for the converter, but not the whole signal chain before it? It isn't completely dishonest, but I don't see how S/N can relate to sounding good. As David Bock once said, if they are touting a spec and pushing the limits to get there, what are they giving up to get it?
Old 18th July 2010 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_Bang View Post
Could be a 800r with the bonus of added connectors and funcionality, like extra monitoring paths.
That's what I was thinking (except the 800r had better pro features like the analog outs and extra channel functions). I think the list price is $500.

I wouldn't trust Mackie with longer term driver support either. Just wish they'd bring back the 800r...
Old 18th July 2010 | Show parent
  #8
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Ha, the 2 input one is the same as my Satellite!

Only difference is my Satellite has more features once it's in it's base (which works, but is really noisy...so I don't use it).

Looks like they just streamlined the satellite. The drivers for it sucked, I had to get them from CEntrance (which work flawlessly). It has good pre's for what I paid for mine. I had a lowly EMU 1212M before the Satellite, and the converters were better, but not much.

For a small project studio like mine, the Mackie is a pretty solid unit...but a waste if you have good pre's already and an interface with a better converter. If you are putting a small home studio together I think it's a great value...since it has direct monitoring, good pre's, a headphone jack, and a monitor control. The only dumb thing about it they haven't changed; it has no midi jacks. It's nice to not have a bunch of extra hoohah, but the midi jacks would seem like a no-brainer.
Old 21st July 2010 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 10 years
WHAT ??

$629.99 ?

that's just 490€ !

tutt

I dont get it, that is like 15% cheaper than a second hand 800r... what gives?
Something is not right here... I have no clue where, nor have no basis do judge, but something smells fishy
since the first time I read up on it... Got psyched, then got fed the mumbo jumbo prosumer crap.

EDIT:

Right... I really hate marketing !! What does this mean to you?

Quote:
Two front-panel “Super Channels” also offer dedicated low-cut switches, phantom power and true hardware monitoring options for quick zero-latency tracking.
So I go check the hi-res picture, I was really saddened not to see a red cape on those "Super Channels"...

Saying it has the Onyx pre's... I believe the pre actually is. But no dedicated low-cuts, no impedance switch, phantoms is grouped 1-2, and 3-8 , it sure seems the rest of the analog stage is a serious downgrade, right up to the AD, which also does not inspire great confidence...

And this impllies only 1 and 2 have true HW monitoring.
Old 21st July 2010 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
They should've just re-issued the 800r. Better features/value.

IMO, Mackie should stay out of the software driver business.
Old 25th July 2010 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
pocketcalc's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
"Acclaimed JetPLL™ jitter elimination technology"

Well, it is probably based on the dice II firewire chipset. Incredible how dice based devices now are the majority of mid range interfaces (mr816, 2626, saffires etc). Drivers may benefit of this broader adoption, as programmers learn how to better implement the software side for this thing.

I wonder how it compares to mr816's acclaimed-on-every-forum-out-there preamps and conversion.
Old 28th July 2010 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
[QUOTE=pocketcalc;5620286]"Acclaimed JetPLL™ jitter elimination technology"

Well, it is probably based on the dice II firewire chipset. Incredible how dice based devices now are the majority of mid range interfaces (mr816, 2626, saffires etc). Drivers may benefit of this broader adoption, as programmers learn how to better implement the software side for this thing.

I wonder how it compares to mr816's acclaimed-on-every-forum-out-there preamps and conversion.[/QUO



it looks to good to be true and at 5 bills i might just get two with a side order of curly fries
Old 9th August 2010 | Show parent
  #14
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haryy's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Anyone heard a unit yet?
Old 9th August 2010 | Show parent
  #15
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ludwigvanlee's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I also advise anyone who values support to NOT buy mackie..

If you check their forums, they have terrible support, and the customer support will give you deceitful comments like "drivers will be available, please be patient..)

The forum moderator Mike Rivers gave a blanket statement saying, "stop worrying about windows 7 drivers.. downgrade your OS or stay with XP and just make music.."

Severely dissatisfied with their support and the two Mackie products I have...
Old 10th August 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Oh yeah, product support over there is poor. They aren't going to be able to compete in a market that depends on things to work.
Old 15th August 2010 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
anyone has it or heard it and can give us a review?
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #18
GS Community Manager
 
Whitecat's Avatar
If you're running it on a Mac you don't need any drivers at all... and thus I am interested in the Blackbird as a tough-as-nails portable box... looks like a tank, anyway.
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
i always found the drivers for the old onyx1220 to be greaton pc, low latency and reliable, not quite as stable as my motu, motus tech support is worse than mackies tho
Old 16th August 2010 | Show parent
  #20
Jax
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Looks like a good solution as a cheap 2nd interface (assuming a good 8 channel interface is already in the rack) for recording the "less essential" sources in a session needing 16 inputs. For $500 I ain't gonna rag, especially if it's true that it doesn't need drivers if running on a Mac.

For a project studio front end it might even be good. Let us withhold judgement until a reasonable amount of people use it and share their experience. I might be one of them in the near future.
Old 17th August 2010
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Man! I'm so glad I was introduced to this forum! I've come accross a lot of gear that I haven't heard of. Thank you guys!
Old 21st September 2010 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
bumpeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Old 27th September 2010 | Show parent
  #23
pro
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pro's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
blackbird

I gotz one on pre-order...

an 8-banger with ADAT straight into a mac with no drivers at $500...done deal.

I would have liked just 8 'super channels' with soft phantom buttons...but whatevea
Old 6th November 2010 | Show parent
  #24
pro
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pro's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This thing is pretty solid so far...and useful.

I gotta say I really like the way the pres distort when you crank them full tilt!
Old 6th November 2010 | Show parent
  #25
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
preliminary thoughts...

just got my Blackbird a couple of days ago. Haven't spent a whole lot of time with it yet, but will share a few initial impressions.

My rig - Macbook 2.0GHz, OSX Snow Leopard 10.6.4 - 4GB RAM - WD Scorpio Black 7200rpm HD - Reaper, Ableton Live 8 and Logic 8, etc., etc, blah, blah....

I'm a drummer/percussionist. I do tracks for various clients, along with my own percussive - midi creations. My 'modus operandi' is to spend time on mic placement and instrument tuning, and performance - so I spend less time trying to fix sounds in or out of the box.

Previously, I used the Presonus Firestudio 2626. I am glad have it out of my studio. It honestly had a mind of it's own. And frequently not in a good way.

Tried the Steinberg/Yamaha MR816 CSX for a couple of days. More on that in a moment.

First impression of the Blackbird? It has that solid, Mackie "built like a tank" feel to it out of the box. Interfaces now have a pretty common aesthetic to them. (imo). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Layout is sensible, the Gain knobs are typically small and cheap feeling, though they don't feel like they'll snap off in my hands anytime soon.

Setup was a breeze. Yes, I did have to download drivers. 3 pairs of outputs for monitoring are available, in addition to 2 headphone outputs on the front of the unit. A cool feature available on the headphone outs is the ability to switch between a headphone o/d mix and the studio's mix (what the engineer hears) at the push of a single button. A quick way to go over elements of previous takes, without having a player put down their guit or whatever and come into the control room to listen.

But I digress... I have one room

I'm currently working on drum and percussion tracks for an artist with a rootsy blues, Dr. John slimy-almost-T-Bone Burnett vibe.

I had the luxury of comparing tracks done on the Firestudio, then the MR816 CSX and now, the Blackbird.

Basically, both the Blackbird and the MR816 were a noticeable step above the Presonus. Forgetting the pres for a moment, imo, A/D converter quality at the 'prosumer' and home studio product 'low-end theory' levels are getting better and better, and are evening out the playing field in interface world even more than before.

I will say that the MR816 sounded great to my ears! Honestly, the pres were nice and clear with much better detail than I ever got out of the Firestudio. Tons of gain available and I didn't hear any noise... My snare drum had that delightful smooshy low-mid 'thwack', that normally required me to use my JoeMeek 6Q channel strip into my Firestudio to achieve.

Bass Drum was full and punchy, overheads were more sweet than I've ever managed out of a 7'6" high ceiling basement studio. The 'cheapo' overhyped harsh high frequencies were absent.

Oh, but this is about the Blackbird, isn't it?

Alas, I couldn't keep the MR816 CSX. It really needs to be loved by a Cubase addict. All of it's advantages are designed for and aimed towards Cubase users. Think M-Audio/Pro-Tools and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Too bad... I'm not switching DAW's. Three is enough.

So what do I think of the Blackbird? Overall, the pres are exactly what you would expect from Onyx Pres - They sound much more expensive than they cost. They are very, very neutral to my ears. So, what you put in is what you're going to hear. (that's the idea generally, isn't it?). a good start, because that means that tuning, mic placement, performance becomes significant to the end product. My understanding is that you can't bypass the Onyx pres. I am using an ART Pro MPA (with better tubes of course) for my overheads. To my ears, I'm hearing the MPA's sound and not the Onyx, so maybe they are bypassable?? Anybody know for certain?

Am I happy? so far, yes, I am. The Blackbird, though it didn't delight me as quickly as did the MR816 CSX, so far is better suited to my needs overall. It kicks serious ass over the Presonus Firestudio!

Oh, as for value for money? well, it cost almost half of what the MR816 CSX does and it sounds pretty close to as good as. That part is no-brainer to me.

If you're choosing an interface under $1,000 that sounds like it costs much more, go get a Blackbird. Presonus? Meh, I'll never spend another penny on their products.
Old 7th November 2010 | Show parent
  #26
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks for the review! I actually have a MR816X as well and I love it but I'm thinking of adding a Blackbird as well. Also, with the MR816X, I turn off the supposed "integration" features even though I use Cubase.
Just a thought, if you want to use your external pre, try hooking up to the return on channel 1 or 2 of the Blackbird (unbalanced unfortunately), this should bypass the Onyx pre.
Old 8th November 2010 | Show parent
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by beatpete View Post
Thanks for the review! I actually have a MR816X as well and I love it but I'm thinking of adding a Blackbird as well. Also, with the MR816X, I turn off the supposed "integration" features even though I use Cubase.
Just a thought, if you want to use your external pre, try hooking up to the return on channel 1 or 2 of the Blackbird (unbalanced unfortunately), this should bypass the Onyx pre.
Thanks. I will try this for sure. Gotta go buy a couple of TRS -> 2xTS plug cables first.
Old 11th November 2010 | Show parent
  #28
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
what's the latency like on Logic pro and blackfire?

Also - am I right in thinking there are 8 analog inputs, but only 2 analog outputs on Blackfire? So if I need more outputs, I need to use the adat and get another 8 channel box?
Old 24th November 2010
  #29
GS Community Manager
 
Whitecat's Avatar
a little review

Been using a Blackjack for a few weeks now. Needed a nice little portable box and it won out because it's rugged - I quite literally toss it in a rucksack with my Macbook Pro and show up at client's places to work, it gets knocked about on trains & tubes and no big deal.

My goodness, it's a fun little box. For me it's almost on par with the Duet - sans the nice Logic integration of course, but that doesn't even matter, because I almost never use Logic - plus, it has balanced I/O all the way through which the Duet does not. And it's about a third of the price of a Duet, too!

Wish the pres had a touch more gain - ribbons are out and the SM7 is even a bit of a challenge (not impossible though). I'm used to 75 & 80db or so on my "studio" pres - although my DAV BG-1 only has 59db... so this is in that ballpark.

That said, I've not recorded a tonne of mics through it yet... just played around. I've been using it for monitoring/DAC purposes on post jobs where I've been at the clients, and I've also been setting it up in my lounge to record some direct guitars, just for a change of scenery from my "studio" room. The DI isn't bad (prefer my ISA One DI, but at what cost?) - but I am putting a Waves/PRS GTR box in front of it which I tend to do with most rigs anyway. I suspect the line ins go through the preamp circuitry but I'm not the sort that's eminently bothered by that - if you are, you may have to look elsewhere but I'm not sure how many small, portable, cheap boxes have discrete line-ins.

Clients like it... I think it's the sloped top - "oooh, look who brought a console from home!!" was one of their smart-a**ed observations.

Anyway, hard to go wrong for what it's selling for, the conversion doesn't bother me at all (since the days of the 002/Mbox it rarely is a problem, but this one seems very good) and the pres blow away anything under £500 (and probably most up to about £1k) - they're Onyx pres, we all know they're utility but completely useable, and compared to the likes of pres on other sub-£200 interfaces, well, no contest really. Overall, recommended!
Old 23rd December 2010 | Show parent
  #30
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Fruit's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thread subscribed!
Actually ONYX BlackJack seems a bargain for 150€
What about drivers/latency under Windows and Mac?
More opinions about pres? Are bypassable?
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