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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.
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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 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 analogue 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. It’s 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.
While the Mackie Onyx 1200F’s specs may be ambitious, we know that’s only half the story. It 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 it 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.
Take a look at the back of the Onyx 1200F and you’ll see just how much power we’ve 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, we’ve 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.
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.
We’ve 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. We’ve held nothing back. In an effort to bring mixer-like functionality to a hardware interface, we've 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, we’ve supplied the Onyx 1200F with two separate control room outs for A/B monitor switching. We’ve even taken 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.
Mackie Onyx 1200F Key Features:
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