Mackie Onyx Blackjack by kojak
This is sort of a 2-sided review...because in many ways this is a great product, but in one very large way it isn't. (At least not yet...read on.)
The good: Mackie built a great little 2x2 box that's compact, built like a Brinks truck, and featuring their killer-for-the-dollars Onyx preamps. USB bus powered, so no need for an external power source, intelligently laid out, with phantom power and Hi-Z available on both channels. Also has an input monitor for zero-latency monitoring of your sources while recording (I found this to be a little on the quiet side, so you have to crank it right over to get a usable volume, but otherwise worked great). Perfect for use in a portable rig, and the Onyx pres continue to be the hands-down best in class for their price range. Also should be noted that it comes packaged with Mackie's Tracktion 3 recording software, which has received positive reviews. (I have no personal experience there, as I use SONAR, but most reviews I have seen of Tracktion paints it as an easy to use and straight ahead platform.)
The not so good: A few nitpicky things I would have liked to have seen would be a 4 or 6 segment LED for input metering rather than just the single light on each channel (lights green when signal is present, and turns red when overdriven)...useful enough, but a larger meter would have been nice. XLR outputs would have been nice as well, although the size of the chassis would not have allowed both the 1/4" inch outs it sports now AND XLRs; however the 1/4" can accept a balanced or unbalanced plug, so one only needs a simple adapter to go from 1/4" balanced to XLR.
The thorn in my side: The ONLY reason this wasn't an absolute home run for Mackie was the massive and total screwup with the ASIO drivers for Windows. (Evidently Mac users have reported very few issues.) The initial driver, as well as at least one (if not two, if memory serves) update to said driver were completely useless, and most users were forced to use a third party (ASIO4ALL) driver to make the unit work. This is *apparently* finally being addressed in the first quarter of 2012, according to Mackie. (Keep in mind, this unit has been on shelves for something like a year.)
Conclusion: Amazing bang for the buck, and assuming Mackie comes through with a driver this year, this is an ideal unit for anyone who wants to record themselves, or a board mix of a band with the bare minimum of gear.