Is this the Firewire interface we've been waiting for?

Tom CT

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Mackie has just released (or at least announced) what appears to be exactly what I've been looking for in a stand-alone audio/MIDI interface, the Onyx 400F. Four quality preamps with XLR and TRS inputs, flexible internal patching matrix, MIDI in/out and more. I'm getting ready to sell my Pro Tools MIX system, as I can't keep up with the upgrades in both hardware and software (and I'm really just a hobbyist that went overboard). With advances in computer horsepower, I'm ready to go native. Well, maybe a Powercore card...

Any thoughts on this? I haven't seen a published price, but I'd imagine it's in the $1k-1.5k range.

http://www.mackie.com/comingsoon.html#ONYX_400F
 

aleclee

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I'm no recording savant but I'd think it would be preferable to keep the preamp functionality separate from the digital stuff. That way, when firewire becomes passe, you don't need to pony up for another preamp.
 

Tom CT

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aleclee - That's a valid concern, but I think the Mackie will function as a stand-alone box too. It has analog ins and outs, as well as S/PDIF connectors. If only it had AES/EBU, then I'd really be sold.
 

jzucker

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All depends on who writes the drivers. Hardware companies deciding to get into the firewire/usb audio business have very mixed results.
 

Tom CT

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jzucker - Another valid point, but since Apple has integrated Core Audio into OS X, I think that's not as big a concern as it once was (I'll be using this with a Mac). As long as Mackie adheres to Apple's guidelines, there shouldn't be any major SNAFUs to speak of.
 

jzucker

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Originally posted by Flavum
jzucker - Another valid point, but since Apple has integrated Core Audio into OS X, I think that's not as big a concern as it once was (I'll be using this with a Mac). As long as Mackie adheres to Apple's guidelines, there shouldn't be any major SNAFUs to speak of.
I'm not talking about the firewire drivers. Those are built into the OS on windows and XP. I'm talking about the audio/firewire interface drivers.
 

Tom CT

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Isn't that what Core Audio is all about? A standard for audio and MIDI communication over firewire and/or USB? It's built into OS X.
 

FlyingVBlues

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Originally posted by Flavum
Isn't that what Core Audio is all about? A standard for audio and MIDI communication over firewire and/or USB? It's built into OS X.
Core Audio and the Windows 2000/Windows XP USB and Firewire interfaces do not preclude either design or implementation errors when writing drivers to support a manufacturers hardware. Drivers are hard to write and debug because most of the development tools commonly available are focused on higher level application programs. Special purpose hardware-assisted development tools are available, but in practice you don't see them being used frequently in the audio industry.

FVB
 

jzucker

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Originally posted by Flavum
Isn't that what Core Audio is all about? A standard for audio and MIDI communication over firewire and/or USB? It's built into OS X.
That just providers a standard foundation similar to ASIO for Windows. The companies selling the hardware then have to write a thunking layer to take the functionality of their card and have it talk to the core audio layer (or ASIO in Windows).

It's this driver that is typically buggy. You'd be surprised at the number of companies that sell firewire or usb audio cards who do not even have developers on staff. They farm the development work out and when there's a bug, the company has to pay to get it fixed. Some companies such as m-audio have many developers on staff working on drivers. Don't know about mackie but i'd guess being new to software development they probably farm their stuff out.

I'd be wary about jumping onboard with them just because they make good mixers.
 




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