Studios, regardless of size, can’t usually afford to buy all the gear they want at once. That’s why investing in gear designed with performance, flexibility and expandability in mind is critical. Mackie’s Onyx Blackbird Premium 16x16 FireWire Recording Interface delivers industry-leading recording quality via eight boutique-quality Onyx preamps and high-end 24-bit/96kHz conversion in a sleek, rackmount design. Two front panel “Super Channels” provide quick access to crucial recording tools and feature true analog hardware monitoring, in both mono and stereo, for hassle-free zero-latency recording. The additional mic inputs, onboard 8x8 ADAT and word clock I/O provide easy integration into any digital or analog setup. For more complex sessions, the powerful Blackbird Control DSP Matrix Mixer allows for quick mix creation and routing of any input to any output. Plus, since Blackbird works as a standalone 8-channel preamp rack, you’ve got a single box solution ready for integration into your studio or digital live setup.
Great recordings start with high-quality preamps and you will simply not find preamps at this price range better than Blackbird’s Onyx preamps. We invested significant R&D efforts into developing Mackie's flagship Onyx mic preamps. Found on our most expensive studio consoles, Onyx pres are designed to meet or surpass expensive, esoteric standalone mic pres in terms of fidelity, headroom and transparency – as well as improved radio frequency (RFI) rejection and ultra-wide dynamic range. And with a full 60dB of available gain, would-be competitors are left in the dust.
Quality doesn’t stop at the boutique Onyx preamps. The Onyx Blackbird uses Cirrus Logic® converters offering 114dB dynamic range (A-weighted) – a specification other companies sometimes charge thousands of dollars to achieve. Our preamp circuitry is aligned precisely with the onboard analog-to-digital conversion to always provide you with the most headroom and the lowest noise and distortion possible, a real sonic benefit that is often ignored on interfaces.
Studio growing? Blackbird can work into your studio in a number of ways. It’s the perfect front end to your DAW using the FireWire connection. Plus, if you get more preamps later (like another Onyx Blackbird), you can simply connect them via Blackbird’s integrated 8x8 ADAT I/O, delivering a full 16-channel 24-bit/96kHz resolution recording solution. There’s also onboard word clock I/O perfect for any scenario incorporating multiple pieces of analog/digital gear. That means Blackbird is also an ideal standalone 8-input preamp unit for integration into a larger studio or digital live setup.
Even though there’s tons of available I/O on Blackbird, the two front-panel “Super Channels” offer extremely useful features, right within your reach. First off, both channels utilize combo inputs, allowing you to easily swap between mic, guitar, keys, drum machines or whatever comes up during the session. Dedicated 48V phantom power is perfect for any studio-quality condenser microphone. And because these inputs feature true analog hardware monitoring, in either mono or stereo, you can route the signals directly to your studio monitors or headphone, bypassing the need for a matrix mixer, so you and your artists can get right to work. Zero-latency overdubs have never been easier to setup or control.
The Onyx Blackbird is powerful all on its own. However, for more complex applications, Mackie provides you with the custom-designed 18x16 Blackbird Control DSP Matrix Mixer application. This powerful graphic user interface (GUI) allows for customization and ease-of-use that the competition is simply unable to achieve:
Route any input to any output at any volume and pan orientation
Apply custom names to all channels and output mixes for quick, at-a-glance reference and control
18x16 design, offering a stereo playback stream routable to all monitoring paths
All DSP mixer I/O is fully customizable in this powerful, one-click solution
This intuitive software looks and operates just like an actual mixer, with the ability to pan, solo, mute and control various output levels. Each stereo output is controlled by a dedicated 18x2 mixer, with each output mixer accessible at the touch of a button. Blackbird Control also indicates input levels and peaks, allows for mono/stereo linking of adjacent channels…and more. It not only simplifies the engineer’s job, it is powerful, sleek and fun to use.
In true Mackie tradition, Onyx Blackbird features a “Built-Like-A-Tank” design, with a powder-coated, all-steel chassis that can get bumped around with the best of them. It’s ultra-compatible, working with any DAW that supports WDM/ASIO (PC) or Core Audio (Mac). This includes popular applications like Logic®, SONAR™, Cubase®, Ableton® Live, and Final Cut Pro®. It also comes with Mackie’s Tracktion 3™ Music Production Software to get rolling right out of the box.
So, if you are looking for a new mothership for your studio, or want to expand upon the setup you already have, consider the Onyx Blackbird. Tons of boutique-quality pres, unmatched AD/DA conversion and a host of flexible, professional features…it’s the perfect solution for any studio.