Mackie Onyx Firewire - Why not USB?

Continuing the discussion from //// pictures ////:

I echo the sentiments about the K-Mix mentioned in the linked thread.
At the same time, looking at the Mackie Onyx series and it’s arcane Firewire interface has me wondering why they are not using USB?
While I could adapt Firewire with an interface cable and connect to Thunderbolt on my current Mac, that already doesn’t work anymore on newer Apple computers and definitely not on Windows machines.
So, it doesn’t feel there is a good path forward for anyone buying into the Onyx Series, which otherwise looks very good.
Am I missing something?

In a pinch one can actually still get even Firewire 400 to work on the Thunderbolt 3 only machines. I have been successful using a Firewire 800 to Thunderbolt 2 to adaptor plugged into a Thuderbolt 2 to 3 adaptor.

…that said I do find it curious that there are still as many firewire devices on the market as there are. My only guess is that maybe the built in audio interface versions of Mackie product don’t sell as well as the simpler models so there isn’t enough revenue to absorb the engineering cost of switching to USB.

Allen & Heath and Yamaha both have mixers comparable to the Onyx that have USB interfaces.

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Thanks, @kisielk. Will look into these.

Edit: Just had a quick look at both A&H and Yamaha, and it seems both only offer stereo recording, not simultaneous recording of all channels. Is there anything besides Mackie (and the K-Mix) that’s able to do this?

Soundcraft Signature series has 2 models with USB multitrack option. Also they work as audio interface as well. Other than lack of inserts I find mine very flexible.

Highly recommended if you a have a hybrid setup and looking for an all-in-one solution.


woah, I had no idea these had multitrack audio interface connectivity, amazing feature!
(I wish some of these mixers had direct outs per channel, seems to be a unfilled niche currently)

to answer your question, onyx series seems to be outdated… as in, I couldn’t find it at several dealers here.

Behringer has some with usb soundcards allowing multitrack recordings. Don’t really have a good past experience with Behringer though…

Midas Venice F series has a multitrack firewire interface I believe.

According to the website: “All the consoles come with a 2-in/2-out USB interface.”

check the mtk version.

behringer mixers… oh je. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Oh great! Does anyone tried a Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK here? Might swap mine at the store for one as I’m not really liking the kmix.

The Soundcraft MTK Series seems to have a 14-in/12-out USB interface recording “up to 48khz, 24-bit audio.”
I’ve also found the Presonus StudioLive AR12 USB, which records up to 96khz, but only has a 14-in/4-out USB interface.
The Soundcraft seems to have good reviews. Have to dig more about the Presonus. In terms of specs, because I think that recording at 44.1 or 48khz would be good enough for me, the Soundcraft wins so far.

A&H Qu series offer individual channel recording, even to a USB stick.


How do you like the touch strip faders and “encoder” ring thingies? I tried the kmix somewhere once and they just seemed soooo imprecise - plus I didn’t like the feeling of the material at all. Seems like such a cool concept though (not the faders, the rest of the device) :neutral_face:

Sorry to hear the k-mix isn’t working out… It looks like such a cool idea but if it’s not precise and doesn’t have visual indicators for things like a compressor that’s a big problem in a mixer.

The one thing I haven’t ever like about any of the mixer/audio interface devices is the quality of the converters… It never comes close to a dedicated interface (i.e. Apogee, Metric Helo, RME, MOTU etc). I’ve ended up using the built in (and really nice) software mixer in my Apogee interface for recording, and using a compact Souncraft mixer for live. I’d prefer to have one unified solution for workflow, but I don’t want to sacrifice sound quality or recording flexibility.

My ideal would be a compact mixer with direct outs (pre/post switchable) so that I could use the mixer as a live device in the studio and on stage, while connecting it to a good quality dedicated audio interface for recording. Haven’t found just the right one yet though.

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Yeah, personally I found dedicated mixers too much trouble for studio use. I just use a MOTU 16A and mix using an iPad or my computer if I am just playing around live instead of recording to a DAW. I haven’t tried it yet but I think using the iPad would be okay for live use as well. The 16A has a built in EQ, compressor, reverb, etc available as well, though I don’t really use them.

The 16A is a great audio interface too :wink:

I’ve got a Mackie Onyx 1640i and use it on MacOS Sierra. It starts with serial number 003 and has native core audio support. No drivers necessary. It’s extremely flexible and converters are excellent.


Bit of grave-digging here…

I’m using a pair of Mackie Onyx 1620i’s on a 2018 MBP 15" running Mojave beta. It’s been fine - but - I am getting some unwanted digital artifacts and noise periodically. I’m not sure if this is the T2 chip audio bug or my mixers shitting the bed, but neither would surprise me.

At any rate, just curious if anyone else is in a similar boat.

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Reviving this too as these older Onyx mixers are being sold for quite little nowdays and if they do work up to Mojave, I’ll be curious to look into them!

i think my onyx does this too and come to think of it …

i thought the mixer connected to it was failing too

using my onyx with usb streamer as an aggregate device and its amazing the options and worth considering even these days
my two cents


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Back when USB audio interfaces were buggy, FireWire was stable if you were willing to pay for the infrastructure around it.

My band has a 1220i, which we unboxed and then recorded an album that weekend. It worked perfectly, and continues to serve daily duties in my home studio.

We also have a 1640i, which we unboxed and recorded the start of an album over a long weekend. Worked great, and still works great. It is bulky though, and I challenge you to find the dang rotopod or rack mount kit anywhere on the Internet. These standalone kits seem to now be unobtanium.
I still use the 1640i for projects or large improv recording sessions.

Stability wise, in 2019, they work pretty well. As well or better than any USB interface I have, including the SoundCraft MTK Signature 12 and the k-mix. I need to reboot the soundcraft once a week. The kmix has a stuck rotary out of the box that I’m too lazy/busy to fix. I need to reboot the 1220i a few times a year, otherwise it stays on. I have it connected to a MacPro 5,1.

Now that USB interfaces and the chipsets used in audio devices are more reliable, I’m looking at an MTK 22 to possibly replace the 1640i, or maybe that 16 channel zoom. Or not. I will probably use them as long as I have a Mac that supports FireWire, or the mutant $100 worth of dongles that allows a thunderbolt 3 Mac to connect to them.

They also work great as live mixers, but there are no built in effects which is why I now use the MTK 12 for small live shows where the vocalists want a little reverb. The soundcraft also saves some desk space in an already small mixing space.

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@nojay: Could I ask what serial numbers are your Onyxs and which Osx version are you on?

@spqr6510: how do you connect the Onyx to usb streamer?