back to article Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB audio interface

In the early 1990s, the Mackie name became synonymous with project studio recording consoles that, while not the most sophisticated, offered a good deal of routing flexibility and mounting options. The CR1604 was the breakthrough product for the company – a mixer that is still in production in various guises. The idea behind …


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  1. Thomas 18

    Alesis IO|2

    Doesn't seem that different from the Alesis IO|2 I use which you can pick up for £80. It does 24bit recording, usb 1.1, stereo recording, phantom power etc etc.

    It also has midi in/out which came in handy for updating a pedal firmware.

    Though I did have to return mine for repairs once and after the preamp goes above 9 oclock it starts to hiss so maybe its worth paying twice the price.

    1. clanger9

      Re: Alesis IO|2

      Yes, I thought the same thing.

      The IO|2 has quite useful audio quality (and the Midi interface is handy as well).

      Only issue I've had is the USB interface very occasionally freaks out, which makes it a less-than-ideal choice for live effects and the like. It's fine as a recording device.

      It's hard to tell from the review how this unit compares to the Alesis. Being Mackie, I guess it's pretty solid.

    2. N13L5


      Alesis Mixers have never matched the pristine signal quality of Mackie.

      Not to mention the longevity of the pots and faders...

      I used to have that Alesis mixer once, cause it was cheaper than the Mackie my friend had... it was crap, sold it on ebay...

      So I have no reason to believe that an Alesis at half the price will have anywhere near the same quality mic preamps or for that matter any part of it being the same quality as Mackie.

      Unless the new owner Loud plans to just coast on Mackie's good name for a couple of years selling cheap crap, but that would be very foolish way to ruin an excellent franchise, so I doubt it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USB interfaces

    Looks an excellent choice for those starting out.

    I'm always wary of USB, though: with heavy CPU usage, such as you would get with multiple audio tracks and lots of VST/DXi effects or software synths, I'd be worried about audio drop out.

    Unlike USB, Firewire has a dedicated motherboard chipset to deal with I/O, which means it's less liable to conk out under load. I use a Profire 610 for professional work, which is pretty much bulletproof when it comes to recording. It's a touch pricier than the Mackie, though!

    1. Handel was a crank


      I think if that were a problem inherent with USB interfaces that there wouldn't be so many available. Certainly never experienced audio dropout on any I have tried. My overiding impression of audio interfaces over the years is that often the interface type is less relevant than the quality of the drivers. I get a similar level of performance with my Focusrite Saffire 6 USB that I used to achieve with a Terratec Phase 24 Firewire.

  3. Mad Hacker

    Expecting USB 3 or FireWire 800 or Thunderbolt

    Ok, so this is a solid product with quiet gain controls but really these types of devices have been out for years. I was hoping it would have more input channels and take advantage of something newer like USB 3.0. And for about the same price you could get a full blown mixer in the: Behringer XENYX X1204USB

    1. clanger9

      Re: Expecting USB 3 or FireWire 800 or Thunderbolt

      I'm not sure what advantage a high-speed interface would bring.

      Consumer audio is only typically 16 bit PCM at 44kHz. Even a bonkers-spec 24 bit, 96KHz stereo stream (i.e. way beyond what this little Mackie can do) is under 600kB/sec - that's well within the capability of USB 1.1...

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Indeed- USB1.1 bandwidth is easily capable of handling this load...

        I'm more worried about the power usage, myself, especially if the mics require phantom power. USB spec only specifies half an amp max, and while I'm ignorant of how much juice the typical phantom powered mic needs, that may be an issue on some cheaper USB setups that barely pass spec.

      2. Drummer Boy

        It's for more than 2 channels

        Higher bandwidth means greater simultaneous recording capability. I agree for 2 channels USB1.1 is fine, but try 8/16/24 and beyond and you need much more bandwidth.

        I am also an IO2 fan, and have the original version. It's been great for me, but from other reviews I've seen of the Mackie, the quality of the AD/DAs is where the money goes.

        1. clanger9
          Thumb Up

          Re: It's for more than 2 channels


          If you want 8/16/24 digital channels back from a multi-channel mixer then USB 1.1 isn't anywhere near enough. It's JUST fine for a stereo mixer with phantom power.

  4. Andrew Hart


    Phantom power spec is 10ma max at 48v so only 0.48w, well within USB..

    But if I were gonna spend £150+ I'd get the Roland Edirol UA25..

    1. mgumn

      Roland Edirol UA25

      Have to say that i have the Roland Edirol UA25 and use it with logic and a macbook pro and i wouldn't rate it. All sorts of problems including output clipping when i have my mac volume at maximum (no matter how much i turn down the device in audio/midi settings). The headphone output doesn't work either.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leyton C

    I thought a big problem with USb and audio was latency and its Horoors. I'm still looking for *Good usb pre-amp for recording my LP's to FLAC. good but cheap.

    1. clanger9
      Thumb Up

      Re: Leyton C

      Try an IO|2! :-) They're great for recording.

      I haven't noticed any latency on Mac OS and I think it comes with special low-latency drivers for Windows.

  6. N13L5

    would love one key thing answered about this unit:

    Are your monitors protected from loud pops when turning on or off the computer or the mackie unit itself?

    I had a Tascam firewire unit, way more expensive than this, yet it fried the tweeters on my old Alesis Studio Monitors due to unforgivably loud pops when the computer hooked up to it was turned on or off.

    I have no taste for a repeat on my new KRK's....

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