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  • #31
    Let me chime in with the chorus of "thank you's" for this review. I have been looking long and hard at the 400F, and it is wonderful to finally get a serious review on the product. I, too, am familiar with the seemingly infamous "brittle D/A" thread, so to get another qualified opinion on this will be great.

    (Side note on the "brittle D/A" thread: the poster compared side-by-side the 400F, RME FF800, a MOTU unit -Traveller, I believe?- among others. His general conclusion was that the 400F outshone all other units on everything but D/A, and that the D/A was so brittle that he sent it back, despite it's superior quality to the other interfaces in basically every way - ease of use, mic pre's, cost, A/D, etc... If this review shows the D/A to be of better quality, that will be a significant factor as to whether or not I purchase the 400F. Unfortunately I can't audition all the different interfaces before I buy )

    I anxiously await further posts!

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    • #32
      <<Unfortunately I can't audition all the different interfaces before I buy>>

      I have limited options for comparison here as well. I will be evaluating the 400F on its own merits and compare it to as many devices here as possible.
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      • #33
        Okay, got my nice new shiny digital camera working so here are some photos that illustrate what I've been talking about with respect to construction. As there can be only one photo per post, the next four posts will each have a photo.

        This one shows the FireWire interface and power supply modules. The power supply is toward the right. You can see all the insulation around the "live" AC connections.
        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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        • #34
          This photo shows what I mean about the mic pres (at the bottom) being as far away as possible from the power supply and FireWire interface cards.
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          • #35
            Here are the four rear panel mic preamp connectors, which accept XLR or 1/4" jacks.
            Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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            • #36
              The Onyx 400F has two mic preamps with front panel 1/4" jacks and a "Guitar" button for switching to a high-impedance instrument input. (Hey, thanks Mackie for recognizing that some instruments have stereo outs.) This photo shows the plastic ground sleeves used in the 1/4" jacks, which insulates them from the metal front panel and improves grounding (thus reducing the possibility for noise and ground loops). You can also see the instrument input button, metering, and sexy brushed aluminum know with setscrew.

              The other two mic pres don't have the instrument input option or front panel 1/4" jack.
              Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Anderton
                <<At a shootout on another forum, one user reported fantastic AD conversion but very thin, brittle, DA conversion.>>
                It seems like an odd statement, though, because DA is pretty much cut and dried these days; the hard part is AD conversion. I'm much more likely to hear differences between units on the AD side, not the DA side.

                I don't know that I agree that all DAs sound alike any more than all ADs sound alike. I have several DA converters and they all sound different. The fancy one sounds better than the mid-priced one which sounds better than the plain jane one.

                FWIW

                -PL&B

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                • #38
                  Yes, I think you're right. But I think the differences are far more subtle than with A/D converters.

                  As an aside, I was having a conversation with a manufacturer of AD converter products (not Mackie) and he said that in A-B tests of converters with zero jitter and with a slight bit of jitter, some people preferred the ones with a little jitter. He was kind of baffled, but figured it was something similar to how some people like sound with a little bit of distortion.

                  This is all so subjective...I guess that's part of what makes it fun.
                  Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Anderton
                    Yes, I think you're right. But I think the differences are far more subtle than with A/D converters.

                    As an aside, I was having a conversation with a manufacturer of AD converter products (not Mackie) and he said that in A-B tests of converters with zero jitter and with a slight bit of jitter, some people preferred the ones with a little jitter. He was kind of baffled, but figured it was something similar to how some people like sound with a little bit of distortion.

                    This is all so subjective...I guess that's part of what makes it fun.

                    Interesting - I know you've mentioned some similar points before regarding the old analog vs. digital debate.

                    Re AD vs. DA: perhaps since what comes out of the AD converter is the stuff of our work - our raw clay to mold into whatever we mold it into - maybe we care about it more than what comes out of the DA, which is what goes on the shelf.

                    Compounding that is that the differences in AD converters are something that can be more easily measured and appreciated "in the box" whereas the differences in DA are spit into open air by God knows what!

                    -Peace, Love, and Blips

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                    • #40
                      Can you please tell us more about the planet-earth supply? Mackie advertises this supply can be used anywhere in the world.

                      Does this mean it is safe to use a ground lift 3 to 2 prong plug with this supply? Electrically speaking and in terms of ac noise getting into the audio?

                      Thanks.

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                      • #41
                        <<Can you please tell us more about the planet-earth supply? Mackie advertises this supply can be used anywhere in the world.>>

                        Like many other supplies these days, the power supply can handle 100-240V at 50 to 60Hz. The unit itself has a standard IEC receptacle, and ships with two different AC line cords for different markets. The only issue for interfacing with power anywhere around the world is to have an appropriate physical adapter to match up with the physical socket.

                        <<Does this mean it is safe to use a ground lift 3 to 2 prong plug with this supply? >>

                        This is a separate issue that relates to safety. I highly recommend that you always use a grounded plug. If you have only a two prong socket, then you can get 3-to-2 adapters with a wire lead you can screw to a ground (like the faceplate screw on the socket, which typically screws into a grounded metal box).

                        Does that help?
                        Simplicity, my new album project, is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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                        • #42
                          Yes, that helps, thanks for the quick reply.

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                          • #43
                            Hi Craig,

                            Can you please tell me if the rack ears are removable? Seein' as you are so good at taking things apart on the 400f :-)

                            Thanks!

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                            • #44
                              In the "distance" jpg it looks like he has removed one of the rack ears.

                              - P

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Pleasant
                                In the "distance" jpg it looks like he has removed one of the rack ears.

                                - P


                                Yes, but will the cover go back on nicely with the rack ears removed? Reason I ask is I'm lookin' to make this unit a little more portable, ie, something I can toss in a bag with my laptop.

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