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Mackie Onyx 1200F Studio Recording Preamp and 192kHz FireWire Interface
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The Mackie Onyx 1200F FireWire Audio Interface is quite simply a monster. It boasts 30 total inputs (yes, 30!) and 34 outputs. Twelve of these inputs...Click To Read More About This Product
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12 premium Onyx preamps, 30 inputs, 34 outputs, and mastering-quality conversion.
The Mackie Onyx 1200F FireWire Audio Interface is quite simply a monster. It boasts 30 total inputs (yes, 30!) and 34 outputs. Twelve of these inputs are premium-grade Onyx mic/line preamps, enough to track a complete live band all in a single pass. On the output stage, you've got 8 discrete analog outs for surround mixing, or to mix down discrete mix "stems." The 1200F also boasts the most fully equipped monitoring and signal-routing architecture you'll find in a recording interface, with 4 individual headphone outs, flexible control room options, and a fully customizable signal routing matrix. The Onyx 1200F is also loaded with comprehensive digital I/O (AES/EBU, S/PDIF, 16 channels of ADAT Optical), WordClock, dual MIDI I/O jacks, Talkback, balanced sends/returns... pretty much anything you can imagine--and everything you'll need--is there.
It's a multi-media, multi-platform, multi-format, multi-channel world. You never know what new challenge will walk through your studio door. The last thing you want is to say those dreaded words: "I can't do that." You need to be ready for anything. So Mackie gives you everything.
While the 1200F preamp's specs may be ambitious, that's only half the story. The Onyx also has to sound phenomenal. In addition to its pristine Onyx signal path, the 1200F is fully HD ready, with mastering-grade AKM 24-bit/192 kHz digital converters. Of course all this wouldn't mean a thing if the Onyx 1200F didn't have that signature Mackie legacy of quality craftsmanship, reliability, affordability, and intuitive ease of use.
The Onyx 1200F FireWire audio interface brings everything together into a single, harmonious system to meet any challenge that comes your way.
Full Studio Integration
Take a look at the back of the Onyx 1200F and you'll see just how much power Mackie packed into the thing. Thirty total inputs. Thirty-four total outputs. Twelve Onyx mic/line preamps. Word Clock, ADAT I/O, AES/EBU, S/PDIF, MIDI, FireWire, Talkback and monitor footswitches, dual control room outs, balanced inserts. The whole enchilada.
Flip it back around to the front panel and you'll see the real magic of the 1200F. Rather than just give you the universe and leave it up to you to master it, Mackie made things easy. Nearly every back-panel feature is matched by an easy-to-use front-panel control. Not only do you have power at your fingertips, you've got the ability to make sense of it in the blink of an eye.
Despite its easy operation, there is some serious depth at work with the Onyx 1200F. Underneath the hood is a powerful onboard DSP Matrix Mixer that allows you to connect any input to any output with near-zero latency. This true 64-bit, floating-point DSP matrix is an industry first that results in fantastic sound and massive routing flexibility. Even better, this powerful routing architecture is stored into the 1200F itself. When you flip on the 1200F, you have total recall of all your custom settings. This means you can also use the 1200F in standalone mode, without the need for a computer. Your whole studio is right there, inside the box, which means that your recording system can go anywhere you do--whether that's in the studio or out on the road.
This combination of capability, customization, and intuitive use is important in meeting the demands of today's vast recording possibilities.
Room to Spare: The Ins and Outs of the Onyx 1200F
With any other recording interface, you'll be lucky to get eight individual analogue input channels. While this might work if you're overdubbing everything, let's say a band or producer tells you he wants to track the band live. With some other interface, you may only get as far as the drumkit before you realize you've run out of mic channels. At this point, you're talking about going direct with the guitar and people are giving you that polite sneer, thinking about where else they can go to do what they need to do.
With the 1200F's twelve Onyx mic preamps, you're in good shape. Mic up that kit, the guitar cabinet, the percussion player, the sax, even the bassist if he doesn't want to go direct. You're ready. If you find you do need direct signals, channels 11 and 12 also have front-panel Hi-Z instrument jacks. No direct boxes required. With the 1200F, not only do you have the channels you need, you've got flexibility as well.
Mackie has gone similarly overboard on the output stage. The Onyx 1200F houses eight discrete analogue output channels on 25-pin D-Sub connectors. These balanced output connectors conserve valuable real estate and help to keep the cable spaghetti to a minimum. Multiple outputs have a variety of uses. If you're a surround mixer, you can use the Matrix Mixer to store custom output path assignments all the way up to 7.1 mixing. You can also send analogue signals via stems to do an analogue mixdown. Or you could send these outs to different recorders and other devices.
Any serious recording studio is probably going to have a couple of outboard boxes, whether it's a favorite valve compressor for vocal tracks or classic EQ unit. Rounding out the 1200F are two separate balanced insert sends and returns, specifically designed to integrate these units seamlessly into your workflow. These TRS inserts are post gain, but pre-A/D-conversion, which means that your outboard signals will be treated with loving care in the digital realm.
Monitoring control is another area where less-capable interfaces fall short. Mackie held nothing back. In an effort to bring mixer-like functionality to a hardware interface, Mackie made things both easy and flexible. The Onyx 1200F is loaded with control room and headphone monitoring capabilities that will boost your workflow to truly professional standards.
Most respectable recording studios are equipped with a pair of monitors--perhaps a nearfield set and a midfield set--so that you can check your mix for different playback environments. To streamline your monitor swapping, Mackie supplied the Onyx 1200F with two separate control room outs for A/B monitor switching. Mackie even took the next step by throwing in a dedicated footswitch control for jumping back and forth between them. Incidentally, you'll also notice an additional footswitch control for Talkback, plus a dedicated XLR input for your talkback mic.
In many ways, the project studio revolution has liberated the way music is made. The fact that any musician can sit in a bedroom and record his or her own songs is a dream come true. Any off-the-shelf interface can meet this need to varying levels of success. But if you're a serious recording engineer who works with clients and bands, you've got bigger concerns. You're not the only one listening to the music. You've got to account for the needs of individual artists. This is where the 1200F's headphone monitoring features come into play.
While most interfaces have one or two headphone jacks, the Onyx 1200F features four individual outs, each with its own level knob. These go beyond simply controlling volume levels. When you consider that you have full signal flow routing power with the Matrix Mixer, you'll be able to give your artists exactly what they need. Finally, no more splitters, no more fighting over what goes into a single monitor mix--every musician is happy. Headphone mixes are the inspiration for the musicians on the session, so we've done our part to make sure they'll hear everything they want to hear in crystal clarity.
The Hub of Your Digital Universe
Once Mackie packed the 1200F with massive I/O and made sure you have the monitoring options you'll need, Mackie decided to go overboard on the digital connectivity options. The goal here was to ensure that you'll be prepared for any scenario and that you'd have the flexibility to expand your studio long into the future.
To start, the 1200F comes with Word Clock I/O. This is the professional choice for synchronizing recording and playback to additional digital devices in your studio. This comes in handy for video and film post-production if you need to sync playback to a digital tape deck, or for overdubbing to ADATs, DA-88s, or any other device that may come your way.
Your investment in the future is a staggering 16 channels of ADAT Optical I/O (16 discrete ins, 16 discrete outs). This is important for two reasons: High-definition throughput, and additional input channels. Simply put, more ADAT Optical channels means more signal throughput at high-def quality. Most boxes out there--if they even support the protocol--limit you to eight channels. The Onyx 1200F has doubled that. This means you'll be able to send and receive more signals at higher-quality sound.
The second benefit is future expansion of your studio. Many standalone microphone preamps utilize the ADAT Optical protocol for converting and sending additional analog signals to the 1200F. This is the preferred option for increasing your studio's input channels, since the signal will remain in the digital realm rather than going through another conversion process.
In homeowner terms, this is like adding a whole new wing to your mansion. It opens up your recording real estate considerably. Let's say, for example, you're getting requests to record comprehensive orchestral sessions. You'll need additional microphone preamps to handle all those classical instruments. Take Mackie's Onyx 800R standalone eight-channel mic preamp, for example. Because it features ADAT outs, the 800R is an ideal way of expanding your studio to effectively handle these orchestral recordings. If you add two Onyx 800R units to the 1200F's 12 built-in Onyx preamps, you've got 28 premium-quality Onyx input channels available to you.
And Mackie didn't stop there. The 1200F also includes a host of additional connections. First is a pair of two-channel interface options for integrating digital effects processors, mastering devices, and recorders at high-definition sound. First is the AES/EBU I/O protocol for the ultimate in digital throughput quality. Second is S/PDIF I/O for DAT machines or other recorders.
And MIDI? Yep, Mackie's got that covered too. But rather than the obligatory single MIDI I/O, you get two of each. Finally, you get not one, but two FireWire connectors. This is your main computer interface jack, but you can also use it as an additional hard-drive interface.
Onyx Preamps - Premium Sound
By now, you've seen just how powerful the Onyx 1200F FireWire Interface is. While it gives you everything you'll need to function in a professional studio environment, there's one other vital need to address: If you want professional results, you have to begin with professional-quality sound. As well-endowed as the 1200F is, the real genesis of the F-series is stellar sound.
So where does premium, professional-grade sound come from? It all starts with the input stage. Mackie put its finest preamps, the Onyx, into the 1200F interface. Onyx preamps deliver truly boutique-quality, premium sound, the kind only rivaled by the most expensive and esoteric preamp strips on the market. The overall Onyx design aesthetic is one of transparency--a pure, open, and detailed character with massive headroom and extremely low noise. They exhibit precise transient response, exceptional low-end depth, and a natural character all across the frequency spectrum.
Transparency is also about keeping noise under control and increasing the dynamic range. This is accomplished by keeping the crosstalk between components down and improving the shielding and grounding within the circuit topology. As a result, the Onyx boasts superior RF interference rejection, and an extremely low 0.0007 THD rating. What does this mean from a practical standpoint? Less noise means you've got more signal to work with-- whopping 123dB of gain in fact. The Onyx allows you to seriously crank the gain without introducing any hint of artifacts into your signal.
The often forgotten component affecting sound quality is the analog-to-digital (A/D) conversion process. When analog signals get converted to digital information, the result is a representation of the original acoustic signal. And while A/Ds have come a very long way over the past 10 years, it's important to keep in mind that digital sound is still a representation of that signal. Put simply: The better and more accurate the conversion, the better the sound.
The Onyx 1200F uses mastering-grade AKM AK4358 (8-channel) and AK5385 (stereo) A/D and D/A (digital-to-analog) converters operating at up to high-definition 24-bit, 192 kHz resolution. Using a proprietary dual-bit, delta-sigma design, AKM converters achieve ultra-low jitter and superior signal stability. This results in outstanding conversion without the aperture, non-linearity, and quantization errors found in inferior converter electronics. The signal remains clean and accurate all the way through the chain.
Into the Great Wide Open
On the computer software side of things, the 1200F is a wide-open system. Mackie;s software drivers work with stable, standardized audio protocols, which means you won't be tied down to any particular computer platform or any niche software application. The Onyx 1200F supports CoreAudio on the Mac side and ASIO, WDM and GSF on the PC side. This wide-ranging implementation enables you to choose from the full spectrum of audio software titles out there. Additionally, the Onyx 1200F ships with Mackie's evolutionary Tracktion 3 Project Bundle Hardware Edition--a user-friendly yet incredibly deep composition, recording, editing, mixing, and mastering application. Right out of the box, you've got a powerful music production system.
In fact, you don't even need a computer at all to operate the Onyx 1200F. It functions fully in standalone mode, including all Matrix Mixer routing assignments. Your whole studio can come with you anywhere you need to take it. This opens up a whole world of additional options: Bring the 1200F into an all-analog recording environment, use it for multi-track recordings of concert tours, give yourself a portable recording system. You could even use it as a portable mixer for rehearsals or jamming sessions, an A/D converter, or any number of scenarios that might come your way.
You can also couple the 1200F with Mackie's Control Pro control surface. The combination of the Onyx 1200F plus full tactile mixer capabilities results in a comprehensive digital mixing system whether in the studio or out on the road.
- Premium 30 input x 34 output FireWire audio interface
- 12 flagship Onyx mic preamps with class-leading fidelity and dynamic range
- 8 balanced line outputs via 25-pin d-sub connector
- 16 x 16 ADAT I/O @ 96kHz (8x8 @ 192kHz, 4x4 @ 192kHz)
- 4 headphone outputs with volume control and discrete stereo feeds
- Superb AKM 24-bit/192kHz A/D and D/A converters
- Powerful Onboard DSP Matrix Mixer: connect any input to any output at near-zero latency
- Built-in control room functions include A/B Monitor Switching, Talkback, plus stereo and up to 7.1 surround output main volume control
- Balanced TRS send and return insert jacks on Inputs 1 and 2
- Dual FireWire ports for daisy chaining and direct connection to Mac or PC
- 2x2 MIDI I/O plus Word Clock, stereo AES/EBU and stereo S/PDIF I/O
- Stand-alone mixer functionality for field and studio use without computer
- Includes Tracktion 3 Project Bundle Hardware edition music production software
Next time somebody asks you if you can record an entire band with one interface — you say, "Yes!", provided you have a Mackie Onyx 1200F.
- Mic Input to Control Room Output (Gain @ unity):
- @48 kHz: +0, ”3 dB, 10 Hz to 23 kHz
- @96 kHz: +0, ”3 dB, 10 Hz to 45 kHz
- @192 kHz: +0, ”3 dB, 10 Hz to 75 kHz
- Mic Input to Digital Output (AES, 192 kHz sample rate, Gain @ unity): +0, ”1 dB, 10 Hz to 86 kHz
- Mic Input to Digital Output (AES, 192 kHz sample rate, Gain @ max): +0, ”3 dB, 15 Hz to 70 kHz
- Hi-Z Instrument Input to Digital Output (AES, 192 kHz sample rate, Gain @ max): +0, ”1 dB, 10 Hz to 86 kHz
- ADAT Input to ADAT Output (48 kHz sample rate): +0, ”0.01 dB, 17 Hz to 23 kHz
- Digital AES Input to Headphones Output (192 kHz sample rate): +0, ”1 dB, 10 Hz to 55 kHz
- Mic Input to Line Output (@ +4 dBu output): THD+N: < 0.006%, 10 Hz to 22 kHz BW, 1 kHz input @ +12 dBu, preamp at unity gain
Mic/Line Input to Digital Output (AES, 48 kHz sample rate): THD+N: < 0.004% @ 1 kHz, +12 dBu input, gain at unity, 150 Ohms source
Hi-Z (Instr) Input to Digital Output (AES, 48 kHz sample rate): THD+N: < 0.01% @ 1 kHz, 100 mV rms input, gain at ”5 dBFS, 150 Ohms source
Digital Input (AES) to Analog Outs, (48 kHz sample rate): THD+N: < 0.004%, 10 Hz-22 kHz BW, ”5 dBFS input, +12 dBu output
- 113 dB (Mic/Line In to Digital AES Out, A-weighted)
- 101 dB (Hi-Z Instr In to Digital AES Out, A-weighted)
- 103 dB (Digital AES In to Headphones Out, A-weighted)
- 107 dB (Digital AES In to Control Room/Line Outs, A-weighted)
- >81 dB (ref. +4 dBu, Mic In to Line Out, 150W source, 10 Hz-22 kHz BW, Gain @ unity, 48 kHz sample rate)
- >82 dB (ref. +4 dBu, Mic In to Control Room Out, 150W source, 10 Hz-22 kHz BW, Gain @ unity, 48 kHz sample rate)
- >90 dB (ref. +4 dBu, Mic In to Digital AES Out, 150W source, 10 Hz-22 kHz BW, Gain @ unity, 48 kHz sample rate)
- >88 dB (Digital AES In to Analog Out, 10 Hz-22 kHz BW, output level set to +4 dBu, 48 kHz sample rate)
- Equivalent Input Noise (E.I.N.), 20 Hz to 20 kHz BW, 150Ohms source impedance: ”129 dBu @ +60 dB gain (Mic In to Control Room Out)
- Residual Noise:
- ”113 dBFS (Digital AES Out, 10 Hz-22 kHz BW, 48 kHz sample rate)
- < ”90 dBu (Control Room Out, Gain @ max, 10 Hz-22 kHz BW)
< ”86 dBu (Headphones Out, Gain set to 0 dBu out into 600 Ohms, 10 Hz-22 kHz BW, 48 kHz sample rate)
Mic Input to Digital AES Output: < ”76 dB @ 1 kHz, ”50 dBu signal on adjacent input, maximum gain, 150 Ohms source impedance
Mic Input to Digital AES Output: < ”110 dB @ 1 kHz, +10 dBu signal on adjacent input, unity gain, 150 Ohms source impedance