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Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface  

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Mackie Onyx Blackjack-If you could fit one of Mackie's flagship Onyx 1640i consoles into your workspace and budget, you probably would do it. But tha...Read More

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OVERVIEW

Boutique-quality preamps and industry-leading AD/DA converters deliver unmatched fidelity, headroom, and transparency.

Mackie Onyx Blackjack-If you could fit one of Mackie's flagship Onyx 1640i consoles into your workspace and budget, you probably would do it. But that shouldn't mean you have to settle for the cheapest, plastic 2x2 interface available. Mackie has spent serious time and research creating the Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface. It delivers the same proven Onyx preamps as Mackie's other flagship Onyx products in an ultra-compact, ergonomic desktop design perfect for your home studio. Other professional features include high-end AD/DA converters, built-in DIs, phantom power and true analog hardware monitoring of inputs for hassle-free zero-latency tracking, in either mono or stereo. The USB connection provides bus-power to the Blackjack, eliminating the need for another cable run. Plus, it's Mac/PC friendly and ready for most major DAWs right out of the box. So, don't settle. Be smart and check out the Onyx Blackjack - the utmost in sonic quality and simplicity.

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.

Zero-latency recording
Latency is evil and must be punished. If you have recorded with digital gear, chances are you feel the same way. It's a pesky computer-induced delay that can quickly kill the vibe of any recording session. Blackjack puts this issue to rest once and for all, featuring a true analog monitoring path directly from the preamps to your studio monitors and headphones. This means you can track while listening to the direct analog source with zero routing. Not only that, it also means you can adjust your buffer settings to maximize your computers processing ability. Oh yeah, Blackjack also allows you to track with zero latency in either mono or stereo, so you can get the right vibe when recording stereo signals like acoustic guitars and keyboards.

Professional tools
No other ultra-compact desktop interface delivers as many professional features as the Onyx Blackjack. Both channels double as built-in DIs for direct connection of guitars, basses, keyboards, drum machines, etc. Both channels also deliver 48V phantom power, so you can use studio-quality condenser mics with no problem. The studio monitor and headphone outputs have independent level controls for maximum flexibility. Plus, the Onyx Blackjack is bus-powered via USB, so there's no power supply to lose or another cable cluttering your workspace. It also comes with Mackie's Tracktion 3 Music Production software, so you can get started recording right away.

Ergonomically inclined
Most desktop interfaces have a serious flaw: their construction. First off, most are made of cheap, breakable plastic. Onyx Blackjack features a sleek, powder-coated all-metal chassis that is truly "Built-Like-A-Tank". You could literally use it as a hammer to smash the competition (not recommended at your local store). Second, when they are sitting on your desk, the competition lies flat, with no way to read the markings on the front panel. Have you ever accidently turned the wrong knob during your session? Not fun. The Onyx Blackjack sits with a 25-degree inclination, allowing for full view of all controls at all times, meaning more recording time and less hassle. A good idea - right?

The Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface is an extremely simple, but very powerful desktop interface that delivers all the features you want in a design that could fit in your man purse. Small studio. Big solution. Onyx Blackjack.

FEATURES
  • Two boutique-quality Onyx mic preamps with class-leading fidelity and dynamic range
  • High-headroom design with ultra-low noise and distortion
  • Professional 24-bit recording/playback via 2x2 USB
  • High-end Cirrus Logic AD/DA converters with 114dB dynamic range (A-weighted)
  • True analog hardware monitoring of inputs, in mono or stereo, for easy zero-latency recordingCompatible with most major DAWsLogic SonarCubaseAbleton LiveFinal Cut Pro And MoreBuilt-in DI on each input for direct connection of guitars, basses, etc.
  • 48V phantom power for use with studio-quality condenser microphones
  • USB bus-powered, eliminating need for separate power cable
  • Separate studio monitor and headphone outs with independent level control
  • Sleek, ergonomic "Built-Like-A-Tank" desktop design
  • Includes Tracktion 3 Music Production Software for Mac or PC

Work smarter and sound professional with an Onyx Premium Recording Interface.

SPECIFICATIONS

Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface

  • 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 10.4.11 - 10.6.2
  • G4 processor
  • 512 MB RAM
Reviews
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Review Snapshot®

by PowerReviews
MackieOnyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface
 
3.1

(based on 19 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (6)

43%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Compact (4)
  • Durable (4)
  • Good audio (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Home studio (4)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Professional musician (5)

    Most Liked Positive Review

     

    Yup, Asio4All FTW. Great interface, stupid drivers.

    Drivers are this unit's downfall. The 1.9 driver needed to be reset if the ASIO buffer filled even briefly, as it would continue to create glitches in the audio afterward. The 2.0 driver...Read complete review

    Drivers are this unit's downfall. The 1.9 driver needed to be reset if the ASIO buffer filled even briefly, as it would continue to create glitches in the audio afterward. The 2.0 driver worked well on my laptop but produced no sound at all on my desktop when using ASIO (directsound worked fine). The only thing that has worked consistently well has been Asio4All. This is fine, as I've generally found Asio4All to be slightly more efficient than most manufacturers' own ASIO drivers, but it's rediculous that Mackie's own drivers fail so completely in this regard. Support will give you the runaround about using the DPC Latency checker, trying different USB ports, looking for IRQ conflicts, etc., but I've never had to go through this much trouble to get an audio driver to work properly. An updated driver is supposed to be coming by March, but who knows. Another issue is that the download link for the driver on their website is (at the time of writing) unavailable, which means you have to call tech support to have them email you the driver, as there is no driver CD included in the box.

    Infuriating as all this is, I'm still keeping the Blackjack, because I'm convinced after using it that it's the best 2x2 USB interface for the price, and maybe even regardless of cost. A firewire interface is still a better option, but most are much more expensive and likely aren't a significant improvement in fidelity.
    There are few interfaces in this price range with decently-speced preamps, and I was down to the choice between this and the Scarlett 2i2, so I bought both to try out. I found the Mackie bests the Focusrite in almost every respect (except for drivers... more on that later). The preamps on the Blackjack were clearly better. I couldn't say how good they are in their own right as I don't have a lot of experience with pres, but I know my V67g sounded dull and lifeless on the Scarlett, whereas vocals sounded much more natural and detailed through the Mackie. The headphone output is stronger as well, able to drive a pair of DT880s without issue. There were other things I appreciate about the Mackie that I wouldn't have otherwise considered without comparing it to the Focusrite, like having markings around the knobs that made it easier to remember where I set the gain for a particular instrument / microphone, and being able to adjust the monitor level in the headphones (the 2i2 only allows you to adjust the monitor level for speakers via that big silver knob).
    While it's not the prettiest-looking interface, it's impressively heavy for it's size. There's no give to the jacks or any other part of the interface, and no paint to wear off of the knobs. By far, it's the best build quality I've seen in an interface.
    It's hard to think of another interface that offers this level of sound quality at this price. The only other USB interface I would have considered (aside from the Scarlett) is the Steinberg CI1, which is cheaper and has the same 60db of gain on the preamps but lower-quality ADC/DACs and a cheaper build. If I could use a firewire interface I'd jump at the TC Electronic Desktop Konnect 6, though it is slightly more expensive.

    VS

    Most Liked Negative Review

     

    MACKIE IS MILKING THIS MARKET

    I am a recording engineer/producer with my own studio. I bought this to supplement my rig and replace a cheap Lexicon Alpha (great interface btw). This is so much worse than the...Read complete review

    I am a recording engineer/producer with my own studio. I bought this to supplement my rig and replace a cheap Lexicon Alpha (great interface btw). This is so much worse than the Alpha. The only thing good is the durability. The monitor knob is set to "blend" instead of "pan", meaning that you can never solo the input monitor over the DAW output, only mix it in, which is useless because you can never hear yourself in the headphones when you try to monitor. To turn up your input level in the headphones turns up the DAW output too. Also, the drivers must be downloaded (no disc included) and they don't work on Windows 7 (32 bit OR 64 bit), nor on any decent software for that matter. It also randomly shuts off on a number of different nice PCs. DO NOT BUY THIS SUPPOSED MACKIE PRODUCT. A lot of companies are putting out USB sound cards even though its not their forte, and they fail miserably. Mackie, leave this market niche to someone who cares.

    Reviewed by 19 customers

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    Displaying reviews 1-10

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    4.0

    Great hardware, but use 3rd party driver

    By SReams

    from Sacramento, CA

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Clear Sound
    • Compact
    • Durable

    Cons

    • Poor Native Drivers

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Home Studio
    • Performances
    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

    To clarify a few things about this interface:

    It is probably the most rugged and reliable audio interface available at this price point.

    It -does- work on Windows XP/Vista/7/8 32/64bit wonderfully, so long as you use Asio4All instead of Mackie's own drivers. I use mine for live performance of softsynths and run the latency at 96 samples (2.2ms at 44.1KHz). It works flawlessly. The Blackjack is well worth every penny if you simply take this step.

    The Input Monitor knob works just fine as a "blend" knob. The trick is to turn down the main output in your audio software in order to get more of the relative input signal. Very simple, but many people simply don't think of it.

    Bottom line: -Great- interface, so long as you do a couple of things to get it there.

    Comment on this review

     
    1.0

    No Windows Support

    By lil wayne

    from Santa Barbara, CA

    About Me Professional Musician

    Pros

    • Works On Mac

    Cons

    • Does Not Work On Windows

    Best Uses

      Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

      Been working on a mac the past 2 years, and this interface works fine. However this thing is completely useless on windows! Drivers are trash, completely do not work with Windows 7. I don't know what testing Mackie did with the audio drivers for this product. I can use it with windows drivers as a line out but the latency is pretty bad. Do not buy this if you run windows

      Comment on this review

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Sounds Great!

      By Stephen Dawson

      from Tennessee

      About Me Professional Musician

      Ask me a question

      Pros

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

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Amateur Recording
        • Home Studio
        • Performances

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

        Operating System latency is a big factor in the performance of an analog/digital converter. Driver, latency, all solved by bailing on Windows and Mac.

        Preamp sounds wonderful, much like my VLZ Pro mixer. XDR pre-amp is very nice.

        Comment on this review

        (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        Worst purchase I've ever made

        By Matt

        from Denver

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

        This doesn't work, period. I have a brand new computer running Windows 7 and this won't work at all. The driver download from Mackie fails 30 seconds into every recording I attempt. I've tried Cakewalk, Tracktion, Nuendo, and Pro Tools. I've been trying different I/O options for 4 hours. Nothing works. If you want static, distortion, and over 300ms of latency, this is the unit for you.

        Comment on this review

        (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        2.0

        Does NOT support Windows 8 as of 5-2013

        By Range

        from Antelope Valley California

        About Me Professional Musician

        Pros

        • Clear Sound
        • Compact
        • Durable
        • Easy To Use

        Cons

        • Unreliable

        Best Uses

        • Home Studio

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

        Purchased this to use with Reaper DAW only to find that the Windows 8 default USB drivers incur a nearly 1 second latency when attempting to use VSTi amp simulations.

        So, I go to the Mackie website recommended in their literature documentation that came with the device:
        www.onynupdate.com - and get a TIME OUT error returned from the web address.

        So, I go to Mackie.com --> locate Onyx Blackjack --> go the it's support page ---> download and install the zip file ---> run the Setup application and it reports back "Can't load drivers. This operating system is not supported".

        Contacted Mackie support via email – they advised to "Watch this page closely for when they may support Windows 8 in the future" CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!!!!

        Behind the curve for Windows 8 support? Ah, YEAH... BIG TIME.

        Now... to the credit of Musicians Friend, in the Specifications, they do not list support of Windows 8 32/64bit - the Windows 8 DEFAULT USB drivers work but, as stated before, there is a major latency issue when using a VSTi which renders the whole unit worthless.

        I have a lot of Mackie hardware but... the Customer Support has changed. They don't support me? Well... then I don't support them any more.

        This unit gets returned.

        Comment on this review

        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        MACKIE IS MILKING THIS MARKET

        By Goku

        from Lafayette, IN

        About Me Professional Musician

        Pros

        • Brand name
        • Compact
        • Durable

        Cons

        • Drivers Lack Thereof
        • Inputdaw Balance Knob
        • Limited compatibility
        • Limited Functions
        • Poor Sound Quality
        • Pricey / Poor Value
        • Random Power Failure
        • Unreliable

        Best Uses

        • None

        Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

        I am a recording engineer/producer with my own studio. I bought this to supplement my rig and replace a cheap Lexicon Alpha (great interface btw). This is so much worse than the Alpha. The only thing good is the durability. The monitor knob is set to "blend" instead of "pan", meaning that you can never solo the input monitor over the DAW output, only mix it in, which is useless because you can never hear yourself in the headphones when you try to monitor. To turn up your input level in the headphones turns up the DAW output too. Also, the drivers must be downloaded (no disc included) and they don't work on Windows 7 (32 bit OR 64 bit), nor on any decent software for that matter. It also randomly shuts off on a number of different nice PCs. DO NOT BUY THIS SUPPOSED MACKIE PRODUCT. A lot of companies are putting out USB sound cards even though its not their forte, and they fail miserably. Mackie, leave this market niche to someone who cares.

        Comment on this review

        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great Interface

        By Rockin' Rod

        from Texas

        About Me Experienced

        Ask me a question

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Home Studio

            Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

            Highly recommended. Great product.

            Comment on this review

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            3.0

            blah

            By Goku

            from Lafayette, IN

            Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

            I'm disappointed. The Lexicon Alpha I was using was perfect, but it was just too old.
            Everything is there and in good taste for the price point-- two inputs, 48v combination jacks, etc.. but the direct monitor is a real shame. It's set up as a "blend" knob instead of a "pan", which basically means you would always be turning up the main mix along with the input. I can never achieve a comfortable direct monitor, as the backing tracks get turned up no matter what, and I like some headroom on my mic channel.
            "Built like a tank"... indeed. But the drivers don't work! Sound quality is so-so but latency isn't great, that is if I'm lucky enough with a stable third party driver.
            Honestly I expected more out of Mackie, and until now the brand's aesthetic alone has stood for something worth the money. This is not the best card I've owned, but it is the most expensive.

            Comment on this review

            (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            Mackie is NOT What They Used To Be!

            By Dennis J Barela

            from Temecula, CA

            Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

            I have been struggling with this unit for almost a year now. I have over 30 years of pro audio experience. My computer was brand new when I purchased this unit and is very stout as well as being optimized for audio production. Mackie techs keep telling me that they are working on the issues with this unit and that updated drivers will be available in the next month but I hear this from them all the time. I can't even use the Mackie ASIO drivers because they create noise, do not function properly or fail outright. 355ms of latency is absolutely unacceptable in this day and age for a product of this caliber. "Signal chain" is very important in getting your mix perfected in the pro audio industry and a decent mix cannot be achieved with this product. Constantly having to readjust the settings and driver for audio anomalies and latency issues is extremely unproductive. Since they have strung me along for months I'm sure that they will no longer honor their warranty at this point. I will probably end up trashing the unit, buying another manufacturer's product and never purchasing another Mackie product ever again. In my eyes a product functioning this poorly over such a long period of time is "misrepresentation" pure and simple.
            The Onyx preamps are appealing but the overall quality is appauling.
            Appears to be very good construction but if it doesn't work, what does it matter?
            I am never buying Mackie again!

            Comment on this review

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2x2 USB Interface - The best for Vegas editing work.

            By JBird

            from Tampa Bay area (Florida)

            Comments about Mackie Onyx Blackjack Premium 2x2 USB Recording Interface:

            I changed from my old analog video edit system to a new 64 bit Windows 7 ultimate computer & system with Sony Vegas, and I needed an interface to run audio into a USB input for use in Sound Forge/Vegas. The Mackie works beautifully for this. Whether I give it the output of my Mackie 1402 mixer or feed a mic directly into it, it does the job transparently. Phantom power works for my condensor mic. This is a solid little interface for the price. I would recommend this to a friend
            .This is a no frills unit, and the best feature is it works transparantly.
            The Blackjack is built like a tank (a small tank). I don't thisk you can hurt this interface.
            For the money it is just fine. It does what it is supposed to do with no hassles or problems.

            Comment on this review

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