A Full-Fledged Analog MixerEven if it didn't have a built-in 16x16 FireWire interface, the 1640i would still be an awesome analog mixer. For starters, it's a Mackie -- a company known for tank-like build quality. Mackie boards have long been indispensable in can't-fail environments like broadcast studios, live venues, and mobile recording rigs. Plus, the Onyx name means you're getting Mackie's flagship mic preamps -- 16 of them, in this case. Onyx mic pres are designed for accuracy, transparency, and detail -- no matter what kind of mic, instrument, or line-level source you're plugging in. And then there's the Perkins EQ on each channel, named for the veteran engineer that developed these "British-style," natural-sounding filters to sweeten any source. The 4-band, sweepable-mid EQ section has a true hardware bypass, of course. And because the 1640i is a full-fledged analog mixer, it's an excellent real-time monitoring solution: just use its six aux sends to build headphone mixes in the analog domain with zero latency, regardless of what is going on in your DAW.Capture 16 Channels With Flexible RoutingThe Onyx 1640i really starts working its magic when you plug in a FireWire cable. Your 16 channels sail through high-end Cirrus A/D converters and into your DAW at up to 24-bit, 96 kHz resolution. Because it's a 16-in/16-out FireWire interface, you can capture 16 simultaneous channels -- or, choose to capture 4 channels along with your 4 mono subgroups, 6 aux sends, and stereo mix. It's all about routing flexibility with the 1640i. Each channel on the 1640i has a pre/post button, so you can record your tracks with or without the Perkins EQ and inserts applied. For example, if your bassist needs lots of low-end punch in his headphones during tracking, you can kick on his EQ, but press the "pre" button so only the clean, un-EQ'd signal is sent out through FireWire and into your DAW. Or you can insert your trusty hardware reverb for the vocalist's headphones, but still record the vocal track "clean." However you set up the routing, FireWire is fully integrated into the Onyx 1640i -- making external interfaces or converters completely unnecessary.Plays Nice With Outboard Gear -- Or Plug-insGot outboard gear? With 1/4-inch insert plugs on every channel and on the master stereo bus, you can easily insert your favorite hardware compressor on the 1640i. And with six aux sends, there's plenty of room to patch in your hardware reverbs and return them to the four stereo channels. Now, if you're of more of a plug-ins processing person, that's where the 1640i's FireWire integration comes in handy. Let's say you're overdubbing vocals through the 1640i into Pro Tools, and you want to add reverb from a plug-in. Just call up the reverb plug-in on a Pro Tools aux channel, and assign its output to, say, FireWire channel 2. Then just press the FireWire button on the 1640i's channel 2, and there's your reverb. Now you can balance and EQ the "dry" channel with the "wet" channel, right on the 1640i's faders. Want to print that reverb sound back to Pro Tools on a separate track, while you capture the vocal dry? Just assign channel 2 to a subgroup by itself, and press the "subs to FireWire" button. That's the flexibility you get when you use well-thought-out hardware like the Mackie Onyx 1640i.16 Channels of Real Analog Summing for your StudioYou may have heard a lot about digital recording setups with an "analog front end." Indeed, it's important to run your signal through great mic preamps and converters on the way into your DAW. But don't forget about the analog "back end": the process of sending individual channels back out of your DAW to an analog console, to be mixed on real faders, using real EQs, through a real analog summing bus. While many home studios invest in the front end, they forget about the back end. That's where the Mackie Onyx 1640i comes in. After you've recorded your session and done any in-the-box editing and processing, you can send up to 16 channels back to the 1640i to mix and tweak with its smooth 60mm faders and musical EQ. Because this board has a 16-in/16-out FireWire interface, you may choose to capture each channel back into your computer individually, post-fader -- with the EQ and mix level applied. It's like using the 1604i as a hardware insert for your DAW: push your tracks through the fat Perkins EQs and saturate them with analog warmth, then send the discrete tracks right back to your hard drive. Even better, you can take advantage of the Onyx's high-quality analog summing bus, and capture the 1604i's stereo mix (and your six aux sends and four subgroups, too) back into your DAW. That's a true tape-style mixdown -- and it's what the professional analog-meets-digital studio is all about.Ideal For Live Shows, TooBecause it's so perfect for integrating with DAW software, people think of the Mackie Onyx 1640i as the heart of a home recording setup. But the 1640i is equally capable as the brain of a live PA. If you run sound at a venue, and you want to record shows digitally to a laptop, the 1640i lets you capture up to 16 tracks individually -- completely independently of the house mix. And with six aux sends with pre/post-fade switches, you've got six flexible stage-monitor sends. There's an input for an external talkback mic (since live shows are bound to be too noisy for using the 1640i's built-in talkback mic), and a BNC connector for a gooseneck lamp in dark venues. Plus, you can fatten up those live vocals with smooth Perkins EQ (just engage the low-cut on each channel, so you don't blow your subwoofers every time the vocalist utters the letter "P.") The 1640i is even perfect for playing music between bands: hit the "Assign to Main Mix" button to play a playlist from your FireWire-connected computer. Mackie Onyx 1640i FireWire Recording Mixer Features
- 16 Onyx mic preamps with individual phantom power
- Hi-Z instrument inputs on channels 1 and 2
- Musical, 4-band Perkins EQ section on each channel
- Integrated 16-in/16-out FireWire interface at up to 96 kHz/24-bit resolution
- Real analog summing for your DAW
- Flexible FireWire routing: 6 auxes, 4 subgroups, or all channels
- Built-in talkback mic plus external talkbalk mic jack
- Tough Mackie build quality throughout
- Includes free download of Tracktion software
Why invest in a premium analog mixer like the Mackie 1640i for your home studio? Pro studios use DAWs to record and edit music, just like the typical home studio. So what makes pro studios sound so "pro"? Often, it's the analog mixer -- on the front and back end of their digital system. Try this mixer and hear what true analog summing can do for your signal path.
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