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Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface  

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Overview

  • Eight boutique-quality Onyx mic preamps with class-leading fidelity and dynamic range
  • High-headroom design with ultra-low noise and distortion
  • Professional 16x16 24-bit recording/playback
Description & Specs
  • MSRP:
    $629.99
  • Your Savings:
    - $130.00
  • Your Price:
    $49999
1 Used From $439.99

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Mackie

With boutique-quality preamps, AD/DA conversion and a host of flexible, professional features.

Mackie's Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface delivers industry-leading recording quality via eight boutique-quality Onyx preamps and high-end 24-bit/96kHz conversion in a sleek, rackmount design. Two front panel "Super Channels" provide quick access to crucial recording tools and feature true analog hardware monitoring, in both mono and stereo, for hassle-free zero-latency recording.

Studios, regardless of size, can't usually afford to buy all the gear they want at once. That's why investing in gear designed with performance, flexibility and expandability in mind is critical. The additional mic inputs, onboard 8x8 ADAT and word clock I/O provide easy integration into any digital or analog setup. For more complex sessions, the powerful Blackbird Control DSP Matrix Mixer allows for quick mix creation and routing of any input to any output. Plus, since Blackbird works as a standalone 8-channel preamp rack, you've got a single-box solution ready for integration into your studio or mobile setup.

Boutique-quality Onyx preamps
Great recordings start with high-quality preamps and you will simply not find preamps at this price range better than Blackjack's Onyx preamps. Mackie invested significant R&D efforts into developing their flagship Onyx mic preamps. Found on Mackie's most expensive studio consoles, Onyx pres are designed 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 ultra-wide dynamic range. And with a full 60dB of available gain, would-be competitors are left in the dust.

High-quality AD/DA conversion
Quality doesn't stop at the boutique Onyx preamps. The Onyx Blackjack uses Cirrus Logic converters offering 114dB dynamic range (A-weighted) – a specification other companies sometimes charge thousands of dollars to achieve. Mackie's preamp circuitry is aligned precisely with the onboard analog-to-digital conversion to always provide you with the most headroom and the lowest noise and distortion possible, a real sonic benefit that is often ignored on smaller interfaces.

Professional Digital I/O
Studio growing? Blackbird can work into your studio in a number of ways. It's the perfect front end to your DAW using the FireWire connection. Plus, if you get more preamps later (like another Onyx Blackbird), you can simply connect them via Blackbird's integrated 8x8 ADAT I/O, delivering a full 16-channel 24-bit/96kHz resolution recording solution. There's also onboard word clock I/O perfect for any scenario incorporating multiple pieces of analog/digital gear. That means Blackbird is also an ideal standalone 8-input preamp unit for integration into a larger studio or digital live setup.

Two full-blown super channels
Even though there's tons of available I/O on Blackbird, the two front-panel "Super Channels" offer extremely useful features, right within your reach. First off, both channels utilize combo inputs, allowing you to easily swap between mic, guitar, keys, drum machines or whatever comes up during the session. Dedicated 48V phantom power is perfect for any studio-quality condenser microphone. And because these inputs feature true analog hardware monitoring, in either mono or stereo, you can route the signals directly to your studio monitors or headphone, bypassing the need for a matrix mixer, so you and your artists can get right to work. Zero-latency overdubs have never been easier to setup or control.

Powerful Blackbird Control DSP Matrix mixer
The Onyx Blackbird is powerful all on its own. However, for more complex applications, Mackie provides you with the custom-designed 18x16 Blackbird Control DSP Matrix Mixer application. This powerful graphic user interface (GUI) allows for customization and ease-of-use that the competition is simply unable to achieve.
•Route any input to any output at any volume and pan orientation
•Apply custom names to all channels and output mixes for quick, at-a-glance reference and control
•18x16 design, offering a stereo playback stream routable to all monitoring paths
•All DSP mixer I/O is fully customizable in this powerful, one-click solution

This intuitive software looks and operates just like an actual mixer, with the ability to pan, solo, mute and control various output levels. Each stereo output is controlled by a dedicated 18x2 mixer, with each output mixer accessible at the touch of a button. Blackbird Control also indicates input levels and peaks, allows for mono/stereo linking of adjacent channels and more. It not only simplifies the engineer's job, it is powerful, sleek and fun to use.

Tough but friendly
In true Mackie tradition, Onyx Blackbird features a "Built-Like-A-Tank" design, with a powder-coated, all-steel chassis that can get bumped around with the best of them. It's ultra-compatible, working with any DAW that supports WDM/ASIO (PC) or Core Audio (Mac). This includes popular applications like Logic, SONAR, Cubase, Ableton Live, and Final Cut Pro. It also comes with Mackie's Tracktion 3 Music Production Software to get rolling right out of the box.

So, if you are looking for a new mothership for your studio, or want to expand upon the setup you already have, consider the Onyx Blackbird. Tons of boutique-quality pres, unmatched AD/DA conversion and a host of flexible, professional features it's the perfect solution for any studio.

Features

  • Eight boutique-quality Onyx mic preamps with class-leading fidelity and dynamic range
  • High-headroom design with ultra-low noise and distortion
  • Professional 16x16 24-bit recording/playback
  • Flexible FireWire routing
  • 8x8 ADAT I/O for ultimate expandability
  • Onboard wordclock I/O for studio and live integration
  • Acclaimed JetPLL jitter elimination technology
  • High-end Cirrus Logic AD/DA converters with 114dB dynamic range (A-weighted)
  • Compatible with most major DAWs: Logic, Sonar, Cubase, Ableton, Live, Final Cut Pro and more
  • Powerful and flexible "Super Channels"
  • Front panel connectivity for easy access
  • True analog hardware monitoring of inputs, in mono or stereo, for easy zero latency recording
  • 80Hz low-cut switches
  • Dedicated 48V phantom power
  • Built-in DI for direct connection of guitars, bass, etc.
  • Inserts for outboard processing gear
  • Ideal eight input standalone preamp unit with up to 96khz ADAT (S/MUX II) outputs
  • 48V phantom power on all inputs for use with condenser microphones
  • Studio monitor, main and alternative outputs with independent level control and source selection
  • Two headphone outputs with independent level control and source selection
  • Includes powerful Blackbird Control DSP Matrix Mixer
  • Route any input to any output
  • Zero-latency tracking of all inputs
  • Quickly set up independent mixes for headphones and more
  • Easily aggregate up to four units on Mac or PC
  • Sleek, ergonomic "Built-Like-A-Tank" desktop design

Get an interface designed with performance, flexibility and expandability in mind.

 

Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface Specifications:

  • Software requirements:
  • For PC
  • Microsoft Windows 7 32 / 64, Vista 32 / 64 RTM or XP SP 2
  • Pentium 4, Celeron or Athlon XP processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • For MAC
  • Mac OS X 10.5.0 – 10.6.8
  • G4 processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • Dimensions (H x D x W): 1.8" x 10.2" x 19" (46 x 260 x 493mm)
  • Weight: 8.2 lb.
Customer Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
MackieOnyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface
 
4.1

(based on 9 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

75%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Compact (3)
  • Durable (3)
  • Good audio (3)
  • Lightweight (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Home studio (4)
    • Professional recording (3)

    Reviewed by 9 customers

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    Displaying reviews 1-9

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    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Professional

    By Bryan Bridges-uwXtj

    from virginia

    About Me Experienced

    Ask me a question

    Pros

    • Clear Sound
    • Compact
    • Durable
    • Easy To Use
    • Lightweight
    • Versatile
    • Works W Os X May 2013

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Home Studio
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface:

      No cons, professional sounding with Neumann, Rode, AKG and AT mics. While no midi, my maudio connects to Logic through firewire, and I don't feel like I'm missing out with no midi through the Blackbird. Strong in the chain.

      Comment on this review

      (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      Iffy

      By AndrewP

      from Glen Ridge NJ

      About Me Professional Musician

      Ask me a question

      Pros

      • Compact
      • Durability
      • Lightweight
      • Price

      Cons

      • Unreliable

      Best Uses

      • Home Studio

      Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface:

      I have had it for about two years. I use Pro Tools 9 on a MAC. The unit is unstable with it. It will run fine for months and then become unable to connect. Changing the clock settings in the MAC does not help. Right now I don't know if it will boot up immediately or if it will take 6 or 7 attempts to get it to work. Mackie (Loud Technologies) are useless to deal with. AVID was of more help. I am replacing it.

      Comment on this review

      (6 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Oynx Blackbird interface

      By ninja247

      from TN

      About Me Experienced

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • 96k Recording
      • Clear Sound
      • Durable
      • Record Full Drum Set

      Cons

      • No Midi

      Best Uses

      • Amateur Recording
      • Home Studio
      • Professional Recording

      Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface:

      I read a lot of forums on how to daisy chain two of these together in 96k and nothing worked. This is how I did it and works perfectly. Figured I would help someone out!

      The onyx blackbird is able to do 96k daisy chained together. This requires 2 optical cables and one firewire cable. The first unit acts as the master and connects to the computer through firewire. Then from the second unit you connect 2 optical cables coming from the two optical outs to the two optical ins of the 1st (master) unit. You must turn on the first unit first and sync to your computer. You need to change the sync source of the master unit (the only one connected directly to the computer through firewire) to "ADAT" instead of "Internal". You will need to change the sample rate to 96k. Once this happens the master unit power LED will start to blink. Then turn on the 2nd unit and after about 10 seconds the 2nd unit will go into standalone mode. You will then have 2 units daisy chained in 96k.

      I was able to mic my whole drum set with 10 mics in 96k and sounds great!

      This unit is compatible with pro tools 10. Pro tools is very picky with the sample rate with the interface so make sure they match up or it will crash.

      The only downside to the unit is that there is no MIDI input/output. If needed you would have to buy a different MIDI interface.

      Comment on this review

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      The Best at Any Price.

      By lectricguitarman

      from Sacramento, CA

      About Me Professional Musician

      Pros

      • Clear Sound
      • Compact
      • Durable
      • Easy To Use
      • Lightweight
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Home Studio
        • Performances
        • Professional Recording

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface:

        I have been playing guitar for over 30 years.
        I teach Guitar from my Home Recording Studio.
        Everything Has to Work Every Single Time.

        Any down time or slow setup is $$$$ walking out
        the door. I am extremely picky about my sound.

        I have tried out all kinds of recording hardware.
        By Far, Mackie is the Best. I also own an older Mackie 1620 Firewire Mixing Board. I love the board, but it is too darn big. Even though I am Not the origional owner, Mackie has always helped me out. my older Mackie worked with Windows XP. It worked with Windows 7. Mackie has earned my repeat businuess and reference to my clients.

        I needed more desk space and needed to consolodate my cords from my amps and mics. I decided to take a chance on the Mackie Onyx Blackbird.

        I was worried that I would not like it as much as my older Onyx 1620.

        I am Extremely Pleased with the Onyx Blackbird. You can control the Playback with the Master Volume on the Blackbird or on the Mixer Software.
        It works with or without the mixer software.

        Straight from the box, I had this thing fully hooked up, drivers installed and Recording in less than 5 miniutes.

        If you want the Best at any price, get a Mackie.
        If 8 channels is enough, Get a Mackie Blackbird.
        If you need 16 channels, get another Blackbird.
        The units can be plugged into each other so that it functions as a 16 channel.

        The best part, is it is only 1 Rack Space. I have more valuable desk space where I can put my USB keyboard.

        The unit sounds Great with Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Electric Guitar.

        I can record anything that walks into my studio.

        If you are looking for the Best for the least amount of $$$$, or if $$$$ is no issue, look no further.

        Get a Mackie USB or Firewire Recording Hardware.

        Comment on this review

        (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Just what the doctor ordered

        By Barry Oliver

        from Locke, NY

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface:

        I'm totally satisfied with my purchase of the Mackie Blackbird. A great piece of equipment I can rely on in my basement studio and not be afraid to take to on-site recording gigs.
        The Mackie Blackbird is everything it's advertised to be and more. I had it hooked up and working in a few minutes. I downloaded the manual and software prior to arrival so I was prepared, but even those who aren't won't have a hard time configuring this unit. I love the 2 super channels on the front of the unit, making it easy and quite handy for simple recording jobs. The mixer software is attractive, well layed out and simple to use. I also appreciate the ability to save the mixer settings for each and every session I desire.
        Plenty of headroom on the preamps and no noise until you reach the very top levels. I haven't run into a situation where I've needed to turn them up past 7 anyway. Controls/knobs are solidly built and well marked. I can't imagine damaging the unit unless you drop it from 10 feet onto concrete. Don't do that.
        I researched several diffent brands of interfaces. Though the comparisons weren't of the apples to apples kind.....I believe I got a ton of bang for my $$$. And....I have other Mackie gear that I absolutely love and have depended on for more than 10 years without problem 1. That speaks volumes to me.

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Good Deal

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface:

        I like it; I'm going to get a lot of use out of this unit.
        Good amount of I/O; I'm liking the sound so far (don't have any expensive mics).
        Latency seems to be good; I haven't recorded much at 92k+, but I'm able to record 7 tracks at-a-time (drum kit) with no problem.
        I kind of wish there were low cut filters on more than just the first two inputs, but I can get over that.
        I'm not able to simultaneously monitor WDM audio sources (e.g. Windows Media Player) for listening to "reference" mixes; the matrix doesn't seem to be as flexible as other units in terms of WDM audio integration (my old E-MU 1212 for instance).
        I've only had the unit for a few weeks, so I can't speak to it's long-term reliability or ruggedness. Based on the weight and feel of the unit, I suspect it's better than most at this price but could be tougher. No complaints, but time will tell.

        The matrix mixer software does the job, but it's nothing amazing. It's a bit clunky, and doesn't leverage any keyboard shortcuts (I use my PC keyboard a lot in my DAW and other apps).
        Overall, a good deal. Lots of I/O for less $ than other options.

        Comment on this review

        (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Bang For Your Buck!

        By Jordan Park

        from San Francisco

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface:

        Best interface for its class and price. If you're on the fence with other interfaces, land on this side.
        8 Pre's and 8 mo' in the back is awesome for recording a live band or simply live drum sets! I enjoy having the majority of connections in the back to conceal all the wires (opposed to the Focusrite interface(s)) I'm giving this a 9 for features for 2 reasons: 1) I was hoping the Alternative Mix was assignable - I was planning on using this for a LF feed for a subwoofer, so that would be user error.
        2) I had to get a separate firewire card because my AMD motherboard firewire was not recognizing the Blackbird (according to Customer Support, its a common issue that is fixable)
        It's pretty substantial but once you mount it, you dont haveta worry about it. but when unboxing it, you can notice the ruggedness of this unit.
        Compaired to any interfaces with the same sample rate, i/o's WITH cost, the Makie Blackbird takes the cake. You can spend the same and get half the i/o's (and even half of the pre's).

        Comment on this review

        (8 of 13 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        Note to Mac OSX Lion Users

        By Mark Vinson

        from New Orleans

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface:

        The drivers that are required to use this interface ARE NOT compatable with Mac OSX Lion. Got this a few days ago, and haven't been able to use it. I dug through Mackie's forums, and it seems like the only workaround is to install Snow Leopard on a separate partition, and then record in Snow Leopard. OSX Lion has been out for about 6 Months, you'd think Mackie could've updated their drivers by now. If this doesn't get fixed soon, I can't say I'll recommend buying any product from Mackie.

        Comment on this review

        (3 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        the bird

        By rds

        from memphis

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface:

        i puchased this interface online through musicians friend. it arrived quickly. i always have a good experience with musicians friend. you have to download the driver/mixer software from mackie as well as the tracktion 3 software. no big deal there. gave it a trial run and it works great. i had to read a few minutes and fiddle a few more to work with it. not long at all. i am building a moster PC to use with this interface. right now i have a pentium4 1.8 gig/windowsXP/380 meg of DDR ram/ and a cheap add in pci firewire card. it works great with this set up so far. this is the minimun set up they recommend too. no problems so far. i use reaper recording software and it recognised the mackie no problem. so did Ntrack studio. i can stream/record all eight mikes and play back multiple tracks with no problem with my minimun PC set up. over all i am pleased with the mackie. the case is built pretty good too. i wouldnt drop it to the floor or anything like that but it is built pretty well. i give it 5 stars.

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