Welcome to my audio-blog!
Here I'll post shootouts, some personal audio-research and more. Studio-related stuff mostly.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mackie Onyx 800R

I've just got an Mackie Onyx 800R
8 preamps with converters. Feature, specs and photos here.

I've done some testing. Preamps:
  • Mackie Onyx 800R
  • Mackie 802-vlz3
  • Art Mpa
files here.
Se also: Gearsluts - Onyx vs. Art Mpa
And: Gearsluts - Onyx vs. vlz3

I was originally going for a one-channel preamp, the Gap-73, but had an opportunity to buy the Onyx for the same price. A deal I couldn't resist.
I expected the Onyx to be as detailed and transparent as the vlz3, but not having the sterile sound that made me label the vlz3 as useless. But I got some surprises..

My conclusions:
- The Onyx and the vlz3 is quite different in sound
- The Onyx is a little darker, richer in the low mid/bass, than the other two.
- The vlz3 sounded good for the guitar-recording.
- The Mpa felt a little warmer than the Onyx, the Onyx maybe a little clearer.
- The Onyx did not feel hyped in the high-mids as the vlz3.

So, to me, the Onyx seem quite suitable for all sources, but not always better then the other two (I'll have to test the DI for bass-guitar as well, expecting the Onyx to be a good choice).
I did a test with vocal and an SM58, and the Onyx did quite well, turning the SM58 into a usable vocal-mic for me (it wasn't before).

So, the Onyx to me: Very well featured, and allround good sounding, but it didn't make me go running around singing hallelujah :)

31/7-10: I'll just add that  I've tested the preamps with bassguitar and DI, and the onyx was again richer in the bottom than the vlz3, and maybe a little more balanced in the mids. The onyx will be my go-to for Bass and DI.
(I'm not using the mpa much for bass)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Choosing the right audio-interface

There are very many audio-interfaces on the market.
How to choose the right one?
RME Fireface UC, a good USB audio interface with many options

Here are some important considerations:
  • What's your budget?
  • Pci, Pcie, Firewire or USB? Built in or external box?
    Pci and Pcie is Pc only. Mac goes with Firewire. For lowest latency: Pcie, Pci, Firwire, Usb (fastest first). For easy portability: Firewire and Usb
  • How many inputs (converters) do you need?
    • How many will you max need in the future?
      This is how expandable the unit is. Adat? SPDIF?
  • Do you need onboard preamps? How many?
    The quality of the preamps is a main factor. Are you really gonna use them for studio-grade work, then they better be good. However, if you're new or on a tight budget, some ok built in pres does the job well.
  • How many audio out?
    Just 2 out to your speakers/headphones, or do you need more?
    • Flexibility with more headphones/ monitors?
  • Converters: What kind of quality are you aiming for?
    Most interfaces have decent AD and DA converters, but if your aiming at studio-quality, you might go for pro ones like RME, Lynx, Apogee.
  • Midi in/out is typical standard for every interface, but be sure it's included.
  • Do you need to operate on very low latency? (Good for monitoring software- instruments/effects)
  • DSP (fx, eq's and stuff).. nice, but how much do you need it?
    A DSP-mixer is another story, be sure a flexible DSP-mixer is included.
  • Look and feel: Is it gonna be at your desktop? In your rack? Just some breakoutcables from your Pc? Fancy? Solid? Portable?