Mackie Onyx 1220i FireWire Production Mixer
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- 12-channel premium analog mixer with integrated 24-bit/96kHz FireWire I/O
- Compatible with Pro Tools M-Powered™ and all major DAW software
- 4 Onyx boutique quality mic preamps
- 3-band Perkins EQ with sweepable mids on mic/line channels
- 3-band Perkins EQ on stereo line channels
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The 12-channel Onyx 1220i delivers stunning performance in a size that is decidedly desk-friendly. Premium analog features like boutique-quality Onyx mic pres, smooth 60 mm channel faders and the proven tone-sculpting capability of Perkins EQ allows for performance that is unmatched in this category. The 16x2 built-in FireWire interface will simultaneously deliver all 12 channels, all auxes and the master L/R signal straight to your favorite DAW with zero routing. How easy is that? You can even return a couple of channels from the DAW right back into a channel strip for mix integration. It's easy, it's professional--it's the Onyx 1220i.
DAW-Friendly Doesn't Even Begin to Cover It
Mackie-designed gear is more often than not the result of customer interaction and suggestion. After all, we are making gear for you. For years, our customers have been asking for the freedom to work with any DAW they choose. So when we designed the Onyx-i series, we took this suggestion to heart. We are very proud that Onyx-i mixers are more DAW-friendly than any other interface ever. Onyx-i mixers are qualified by Mackie for use with all major DAWs, including Pro Tools M-Powered 8* Logic, SONAR, Cubase, and more. Now, dedicated Mackie customers can enjoy using their Mackie mixer with the world's most popular DAW. And Pro Tools M-Powered 8 users now have a variety of new--and different--tools to use with their favorite DAW. It's a win-win situation.
*Pro Tools M-Powered 8 users will need to purchase the Mackie Universal driver upgrade available at Mackie.com.
Deep FireWire Integration
The Onyx-i Series features deeper FireWire integration than any other mixer out there and offers immensely powerful routing capabilities:
- Wet or Dry?--Every channel on the mixer can be routed pre or post EQ to the computer, allowing you to choose whether to implement "EQ to tape" or not.
- Studio Quality Effects--All aux sends are routable to the computer, allowing you to utilize your computer as a powerful FX engine by implementing your favorite plug-ins in a live scenario.
- Preserve Your Mix--Master L/R is routable to the computer for recording your analog mix. Burn and sell CDs of the mix at the end of the gig!
- Mix Integration--Stereo return from the computer can be routed to either the control room for instant monitoring or to a stereo channel for mix integration.
- Latency-Free Overdubs--Having a "real" mixer has its benefits. Latency-free overdubs are simple since you are using an analog mixer. No more wasted time dealing with the complicated "DSP" mixers commonly used on standalone interfaces.
TThe 1220i delivers seamless, routing-free FireWire connection to your favorite DAW. All channels, auxes and (of course) the master L/R are simultaneously available to your DAW--with zero routing. The Onyx-i FireWire connection has amazing bandwidth, and the 1220i takes full advantage.
Premium Analog Mixer
When it comes to the high pressure environment of a recording session or live performance, you simply cannot beat the stability and reliability of an analog mixer. With features honed over 20 years of design by some of the legends in the industry, the Onyx-i Series mixers are simply the best sounding full-featured analog mixing boards available to the modern sound engineer.
The 1220i has a plethora of analog features that are sure to please. First off, there are four Onyx mic preamps which have been proven as some of the best boutique quality preamps available today. That is, without having to re-mortgage your house in order to pay for all the inputs you need. Then there's the Perkins EQ, which offers highly musical Q filter without sacrificing the precise control that Mackie EQs are known for. Four mono mic/line channels feature 3-band Perkins EQ with a sweepable mid and the additional stereo line channels have 3-band EQ. So, regardless of the type of signal you need to input, there is sure to be a channel with the right EQ for the application. Other analog tools include two aux sends with pre/post fader assignment, allowing for monitor mixes, effects loops or additional headphone mixes. There are built-in DIs on the first two channels for direct connection of guitars or bass and a dedicated talkback section with a built-in mic that lets you easily communicate with band members while on stage or recording. With all these proven, great-sounding analog features, it is easier than ever to create a memorable mix.
Smacks of Quality
The Onyx 1220i offers a tremendous collection of professional analog features and extremely deep DAW integration, but it is so much more than that. The sleek, modern design might even tempt you build a museum quality display for your engineer friends to admire. Plus, since it's a Mackie, you can be sure that it is "built like a tank" and will survive years of abuse.
Any audio company can cram a bunch of inferior components into a chassis and, believe us, a lot of them do. This is never the case with a Mackie mixer. Everything about the Onyx-i Series smacks of quality, because only the most quality, high-end components are used throughout the entire signal path. At the front end, you have the pristine signal boost offered by the Onyx mic preamps, which will likely get routed through the legendary Perkins EQ. The signal then passes through a series of sealed rotary knobs, which keep dust and grime out of the potentiometer. Then your mix hits the summing bus, which has been custom-designed to offer the highest possible headroom while preserving the sonic quality offered by the aforementioned components. Maybe you assigned the signal to stream across the FireWire outputs. If so, they had the pleasure of passing through the high-quality Cirrus analog-to-digital converter on their way to your computer. Or maybe you were overdubbing and streamed your backing tracks from your DAW and integrated them into the mix. In that case, you can thank the ridiculously high-end AKM digital-to-analog converter for the immaculate quality of the playback. These converters are extremely high-quality and easily rival the most esoteric (and expensive) interfaces out there today. From start to finish, no matter how you use it, the 1220i offers the quality demanded by industry professionals.
Included software: Includes Tracktion 3™ Music Production Software for Mac or PC.
- Microsoft Windows 7 32 / 64, Vista 32 / 64 RTM, or XP SP 2
- Pentium 4, Celeron, or Athlon XP processor
- 512 MB RAM
- Mac OS X 10.4.11 – 10.6.2
- G4 processor
- 512 MB RAM
Top Customer Reviews
Obviously you don't need something this fancy if you're just getting started. And indeed I've been producing my show, Otaku no Podcast, for almost 4 years using just a standard USB microphone. But I was beginning to outgrow that setup. Adding a co-host was one factor that pushed me to upgrade. Having each host on their own mic just sounds much better than having everybody crowd around one mic "jazz singer" style. But what really made me upgrade is dealing with group Skype calls. I have been using computer-based Skype call recording software until now, which worked well enough when I only had one other person on the line with me. But things quickly degenerated when I had more than one additional Skype caller. The way Skype call recording software works is that it puts you on one channel, and all other Skype callers on a second channel. Which is fine if you only have one other caller on with you. But if you have two or three (or more) people on a Skype conference call, then they all get mashed into one channel. Which means that, if one person coughs or sneezes while someone else is talking, or somebody's Skype connection goes haywire, or an ambulance/police car screams by in the background of someone's audio, you're in a world of hurt. There's just no way to edit around that.
What I really needed was a way to put each individual Skype caller on their own channel. Which meant that I needed a multi-channel mixer. The Mackie 1220i's four XLR mic inputs means that I can have up to four "live" cohosts, each on his or her own mic. But its two AUX buses means that, using a "mix minus" type setup, I can have two Skype callers each on their own channel. Mix minus means that the Skype callers can hear everybody else, both myself and my "live" cohosts as well as other Skype callers, but they don't hear an echo of themselves (which gets really weird and annoying). And all of these channels get sucked into my Mac where I can individually tweak or fiddle around with them to my heart's content. Finally I have a Zoom H4n solid state recorder plugged into the mixer's "main mix out," which serves as a backup recording in case the computer recording fails for some reason (it's been known to happen). This has turned out to be a very flexible setup, and the Mackie has performed like a champ. It's well built and rock solid.
Unfortunately, the way "mix minus" works is that you need one AUX channel for each Skype caller. So with this setup I can have up to two Skype callers. If I wanted more, I'd need to move up to a bigger board with more AUX buses such as the Mackie Onyx 1620i, which has four of them. Maybe next year.
Very good sound for price range, nice EQ
FireWire digital audio out & in
Instrument level input option on channels 1&2
No drivers for Mac OS Yosemite, must use work around
No light indication for Channel On/Mute
Mackie mixers have a well founded reputation for good sound and tough build. I found this Onyx unit to be no exception - it's a quality mixer, and the instrument level input is a nice touch, letting my passive pickup acoustic guitar to be plugged directly into the mixer and sound very good. My biggest complaint with the basic mixer (and all my previous Mackie mixers) is the lack of a light in indicate when a channel is on/not muted. You have to look carefully at the mute button to check it's position. Annoying in regular light, and downright awful in a dark club. Please fix this Mackie! However, I don't think the folks at Mackie are listening to their users much, as the reviews here and elsewhere are full of complaints about the driver support problems, which is the main reason for this review. Here is the bottom line on using the Onyx with the two Mac OS's I currently use:
Snow Leopard (10.6.8): Still my favorite Mac OS, but my Mac Pro running this OS wouldn't see the mixer. In spite of Mackie's claim that the Onyx mixers "work with Mac Core Audio out of the box", I had to install "Mac Driver V4.1.0 + CP V1.0.02" (from Mackie's web site) to get the OS to see the mixer. I was then I able to record multiple tracks simultaneously into Logic 8 with no issues.
Yosemite (10.10.4): There are no drivers available for Yosemite, and apparently no plans by Mackie to provide drivers. To get around this you have to install the driver I refer to in the Snow Leopard section above, then cheat using Terminal. Apparently Mackie doesn't want to pay Apple's fee to authorize drivers for Yosemite, and Yosemite has a new "feature" to verify all drivers before loading. If a driver wasn't approved by Apple, the driver won't load. To get around this problem, and if you're comfortable working in Terminal - knowing it's possible you could break your OS - then type this command:
Sudo nvram boot-args="kext-dev-mode=1"
You must include the quotation marks as above. If accepted, this will allow unauthorized drivers to load after re-boot. My first several tries at this did not work. I was copying the Terminal instruction from an internet site, and for some reason it wouldn't take. I had to type the command in manually to get it to work.
To see if the command was accepted, you can type:
sudo nvram boot-args
The Terminal response should include "kext-dev-mode=1". If the response doesn't include at least that string, the command was not accepted and you won't see the mixer.
Keep in mind that this Terminal command is defeating a security step in your OS designed to only allow authorized drivers to load, and could potentially open your system to damage.
That said, the mixer does work just fine in Yosemite once the command is accepted. You have to re-boot of course, and the system should then see the mixer. I have used it to multitrack in Logic X on my new (mid 2015) Macbook Pro 15" with no problems so far.
The "low digital audio output" problem: Many reviewers complained about the digital audio signal strength put out by the mixer, which is supposedly reduced 18db by Mackie's design. I haven't had a problem with this, and actually like it so far. When mixing live, I often find I'm pushing the levels pretty hard on the board, and it's about impossible to reach the digital clipping level with this FireWire output design. The signal I get in Logic from live recording is totally useable.
So I really like this mixer's combination of sound and the built in DAW interface. But I'm very annoyed by Mackie's lack of driver support to new Mac OS's, thus the 3 stars. I ended up returning the 1220i to Amazon (thanks Amazon - as always!). I wish I could say it was a "screw you Mackie and your lame Mac OS support" return, but it wasn't. I needed more mic channels, so i got a 1620i instead.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mixer is used in a live setting, and works well for that. The preamps are superb - very clean and full sounding.