Mackie ONYX 3280$1,999.99
As of today, that age-old tradeoff has gone the way of grunge and dial-up modems. Introducing the new Onyx 80 Series 2480, 3280, 4080 and 4880 Premium Live Sound Consoles—the best value in the history of live sound—from Mackie, of course.
A NO-COMPROMISE DESIGN
Priority one for the Onyx 80 Series was to create a live sound console that made absolutely no sacrifice in sonic integrity at any stage of the design. So the Onyx 80 Series engineers started with the highest quality analog components available—from premium op-amps to IC chips costing exponentially more than previous designs. By utilizing semi-discrete eight channel modular circuit boards, the Onyx series combine the flexibility of single PCBs for each channel, with the cost advantages and minimal cabling of large-scale integrated circuit boards.
No corners were cut; Every Subgroup, Left, Right and Center main bus is electronically balanced for an uncompromised signal from input to output. All-new summing bus circuitry was designed from the ground up to maximize master section headroom, while minimizing noise and crosstalk. And most notably, we developed premium Onyx mic preamps and Perkins EQ circuitry specifically for optimum performance within the total Onyx system.
We also went overboard on the "toughness" factor, even by Mackie standards, building the Onyx 80 chassis with beefy aluminum extrusions and steel bulkheads for over-the-top physical protection of the technology inside.
ONYX MIC PREAMPS
Creating our flagship Onyx mic preamps presented a unique challenge. On one hand, we wanted to deliver traits more commonly associated with boutique studio mic preamps: a tight, focused high end, superior ambience retrieval, detailed lower bass octaves, and highly textural midrange—no matter what you plug in. On the other hand, we knew Onyx mic preamps would have to function in the real world of live performance, which often includes high levels of radio frequency and microwave energy, long cable runs and the occasional “hot-patched” cable. Read more.
ALL-NEW PERKINS EQ CIRCUITRY
Before we tell you about the Perkins EQ section, we should probably introduce you to its designer—the legendary Cal Perkins. Along with Greg Mackie, Cal was the driving force behind Mackie innovations like XDR mic preamps, HR Series monitors and more... not to mention his 30-plus years of experience designing classic audio gear for other big names in the business.
To create his all-new Perkins EQ, Cal started with the Wien Bridge circuit topology—a very musical design inspired by the hallowed “British” desks of the 60s and 70s. This design essentially trades boost/cut capability for a wider, highly musical Q filter. But Cal, ever the perfectionist, decided that live sound engineers deserve a better bargain. Read more.
As important as great mic preamps and musical EQ sections are, they are only part of the reason we can confidently call the Onyx 80 Series a "premium" live sound console. Equally as important, though admittedly less sexy, is the Onyx mixers' proprietary negative-gain architecture and minimized signal path.
For those of us who don't speak electrical engineer, negative-gain architecture means that by running at internal levels of -6dB, Onyx mixers can handle up to four times the number of hot signals of regular mixers before clipping. Minimized signal path, on the other hand, is the reason the Onyx mixers' EQ section is above the Aux assignments - creating a linear signal path from the mic preamp to the EQ, through the Aux sends and on to the channel faders - resulting in a 50% shorter path (and less noise) than many of our competitors' mixers.
THE MOST FLEXIBLE FEATURE SET IN ITS CLASS
The Onyx 80 Series mixers break the “you get what you pay for” adage by offering more channels and features than any other mixer even remotely close in price. These features include eight pre/post-switchable, stereo-linkable Aux Sends for in-ear monitoring and effects routing—plus eight Stereo Aux Inputs (yes, that’s 16 line inputs), each with 4-band Perkins EQ. This means you’ll no longer sacrifice mic inputs to accommodate effects returns and playback devices. We’ve also added new features that any hardcore live engineer can appreciate, like a Monitor Flip function; a 10x2 Matrix Mixer; four Mute Groups; and an optional redundant power supply. Read more.
POWERFUL AUX/GROUP FUNCTIONALITY
Who wants run-of-the-mill Aux and Group sends? Not our customers; they’ve come to expect more value when it comes from Mackie. That’s why each of the Onyx 80 Series' eight Aux Sends become stereo pairs when the stereo switch is engaged, reducing the amount of head-scratching when asked to provide four stereo mixes for IEM (in-ear monitor) systems.
Aux/Group Flip switches “flip” the controls for the Aux Sends and the Group Sends, so that the Group Faders control the Aux Send levels, and the Aux Send GAIN controls adjust the Group levels. The Group signals still appear at the Group Send outputs and the Aux Send signals still appear at the Aux Send outputs. This allows you to use the 100mm long-throw Group fader to make more precise settings for the Aux Sends.
Extreme chassis rigidity is achieved in the Onyx 80 Series from the tough-as-nails modular monocoque design, then reinforced with beefy aluminum extrusions, plus strategically placed steel bulkheads. Then, the console is torture-tested for impact, shock, heat, vibration and humidity—it's even dropped repeatedly from a height of three feet! So a block of onyx stone is gonna flex before an Onyx 80 Series chassis does.
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