The goal for Mackie's flagship Onyx series of small-format mixers was to bring premium analog sound, expanded features, and streaming FireWire connectivity to both recording and live sound environments. To pull all this off, we started with a team of veteran audio product engineers from the great Pacific Northwest (aka Woodinville, Washington). The Onyx team quickly set out by specifying the highest-quality analog components--from premium op-amps to IC chips costing exponentially more than previous designs. In many cases, we developed components completely from scratch. With Greg Mackie himself steering Onyx mixer layout and design, we took a "real world" approach to the entire process.
ONYX MIC PREAMPS
Because a great mixer starts with great mic preamps, we invested significant R&D efforts into developing our new flagship Onyx mic preamps. These preamps build upon our already-impressive XDR design to meet or surpass expensive esoteric standalone mic pres in terms of fidelity, headroom and transparency—as well as improved radio frequency (RFI) rejection and wider dynamic range. Read more.
PERKINS EQ CIRCUITRY
When it was time for the Onyx EQ section, we turned to veteran audio engineer Cal Perkins to develop our new Perkins EQ circuitry—a "neo classic" 3- and 4-band design based on classic "British EQ" circuitry from mixing desks of the '60s and '70s. Cal devised a way to give Perkins EQ that sweet "British console" sound, but with greater filter control and minimum phase shift. Read more.
LISTENING TO OUR CUSTOMERS
We rounded out the Onyx 1640 feature set by answering some common requests from our compact mixer customers: adding individual 48v phantom power and balanced direct outputs on every channel; a full Auxiliary section with Pre/Post control; and a new Talkback section with a convenient built-in mic. We even developed a "Planet Earth" switching power supply for worldwide use. Read more.
FIREWIRE I/O OPTION CARD
In the category of "Why didn't someone think of this sooner?", we gave the Onyx 1640 an optional FireWire I/O card, which bridges the analog-to-digital gap by providing up to 18 independent channels of high-quality 24-bit/96kHz audio that you can plug right into your FireWire-equipped Mac or PC. And bring a stereo mix back from your computer for monitoring purposes. Read more.