No announcement yet.


  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #91
    Originally posted by James Woodburn
    Hi Craig - I have a quick update regarding the buffer settings... we are actaully in testing with a new high performance driver for Satellite that allows ultra low buffer settings including 64 samples and possibly even lower. Depending on how the extensive testing goes, we aim to have the new driver available for release in the coming weeks.

    P.S. It was great to meet you at AES - I hope you had fun for the rest of the show.


    I think that's fabulous that you guys are working on a new high performance driver for the Satellite.

    I also think it's fabulous that you are willing to share that info here on Harmony Central.

    I'm not sure if you're aware, but there are customers on the Mackie board wondering about drivers for the 400f.

    Not high performance ones. Just normal ones that work properly.


    • #92
      Well, so as to not have it influence me in any way, I'm not going to read the rest of the thread right away, and just post my impressions as I go along. So please excuse any duplication or redundancy. After I get a few posts up on the Satellite, then I'll go back and read the thread and comment on anything I might have missed that feel I can add to the discussion on.

      My wife is a really good singer with a lot of live and studio experience (she got signed to RCA when she was 17... for the sake of my physical well-being, I'm not going to mention what year that was ), and also pretty decent piano player, but she's not the most technically savvy person, and is still fairly new to computers. But she wanted to be able to do some songwriting demos at home, and eventually I'm going to need a mobile system occasionally, so enter the Satellite...

      I opened the Onyx box, and was first surprised by the main docking station's size and heft. It's bigger than I thought it would be from the pictures I had seen, and there's a lot more I/O on the main unit than I was expecting. I think that's going to come in handy, because I've got a Kurzweil SP88x, a Alesis SR-16, a Roland JV-30, powered monitors and a mic to hook up for my wife's mini-studio...

      Installation went very smoothly once I got the PC situation in order.
      I'm installing this on my wife's computer - an Athlon XP 2600 based PC running Windows XP SP2 - but it lacked a firewire interface, so I had to run to the store and get her a PCI firewire card. Since it was all they had, I got a Belkin with a TI (Texas Instruments) chipset. I don't know how widely Mackie have tested their interfaces with various firewire chipsets, but I have had problems in the past with other interfaces from other companies if the chipsets were not just so, so I add that in the interests of reporting on compatability - the TI chipset firewire card seems to be working fine with the Onyx Satellite.

      Installing the software was easy. The only thing that you need to remember is to not connect the interface to your computer via the firewire cable until told to do so by the onscreen prompts. After you get the drivers installed, you can install the Mackie Tracktion 2 DAW software, which also went smoothly. I had a brief moment of panic wondering where the heck the serial numer for the software was until I noticed it on the back of the CD sleeve. When you get the software installed, it asks you if you want to boot the program... hit "yes", and it opens up, but in demo mode. A prompt asks you if you wish to register or continue in demo mode. If you select the "register" option, a screen opens up and asks for your email address, a password and your Tracktion serial number. You enter all that in and hit okay, and it automatically (and invisibally) goes to Mackie's site, creates an account, registers you and unlocks the software. It was seriously about as easy and hassle free of a registration as I've ever seen.

      I'll get into sonic impressions, features and other things in my next posts, but a few more comments to finish up this first post...

      The manual is excellent, and in traditional Mackie fashon, is full of lots of useful little extra details, tips and odd bits of Mackiod humor. It's been a while since I've had to dig into a Mackie manual, and I had forgotten just how good they are at doing them... but they really deserve props for their well written and smartly organized (and quite funny) manuals. Some manuals out there are horrible, but Mackie gets a gold star to take home to Mom for theirs. Kudos folks.

      My initial looks at the Tracktion software are pretty favorable too. Since my wife is new to self-recording, I wanted something that would be as easy as possible for her to use. Sure, I could just have her come to our full blown studio and track things there, but we wanted something she could use on her own... and with her limited computer and (self) recording experience, she's either going to need a lot of "hand holding" from me, and / or really easy to use software. The Tracktion software has pop up help "bubbles" (which you can disable easily after you get up to speed), and they are some of the better ones I've seen... they clearly describe what all the on-screen elements do in a very easily understood manner - all you have to do is hover the mouse cursor over an on-screen icon or button and up pops a bubble with a description of what it is and how to use it. Again, I think that's going to come in really handy for Sandy (my wife).

      So far, so good. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some more playing do do... I'll be back with more later.

      "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."
      - George Carlin

      "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."
      - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

      "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."
      - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter


      • #93
        Greetings fellow forumites! I just returned from a two-week business trip traveling across Northeastern Canada where I performed several network/computer upgrades for a client of mine. I was more than happy to see that my demo Mackie Onyx Satellite recording interface was waiting for me upon my arrival! Now that I’m back I am planning on putting the Onyx through some testing with my new HP/Compaq nc6400 Intel Centrino Duo notebook and a Mac Mini Intel Core 2 Duo desktop.

        For those of you that know me you might be surprised to hear that I am using a Mac Mini, as I am a die-hard PC user. The reason for choosing the Mac Mini was simple. First, the new Intel Mac’s allow the use of Windows XP using Apple’s Boot Camp. I have a substantial investment in Windows applications including Sonar, Vegas, ACID, and Sound Forge, and the last thing I want to do is have to shell out money on a new platform. The second factor is that I recently downsized my rig in order to accommodate for a move into a small condo where space is now a factor.

        The Mac Mini has a built-in Firewire port where the HP notebook does not. Therefore, a PCMCIA Firework adapter is going to be required to get the Mackie up and running on the laptop. Using the supplied driver and application CD I was able to get the Onyx up and running in less than five minutes under Windows XP on the Mini. Like most Mackie documentation, the driver install was written with some humor and with crystal clear instructions. What a concept!

        The Onxy control panel is simple and is used for setting the sample rate and latency. I decided to set this to 128 buffers and 44.1k. Next, I fired up Vegas 6 and armed a few tracks, plugged in my stereo guitar preamp, and enabled on input monitoring on two mono tracks. The audio recorded perfectly with no glitches, hiccups, or whining exhibited. The latency was barely noticeable and comparable to other audio interfaces that I’ve used with the same buffer size.

        I plan on importing some old projects into Vegas over the next few days to test the Onyx with a high track count. Also, I’ll be picking up the PCMCIA Firework adapter to use with my notebook at my band’s rehearsal this weekend. So far I’m impressed with the audio quality, ease of operation, and performance of the Onxy. Stay tuned!


        • #94
          Originally posted by Anderton
          There's no question in my mind that 128 samples of latency is simply not an issue for playing amp sims. It felt like real time.

          128 Samples at 44.1 kHz equates to roughly 3 ms... which in turn equates to the time it takes sound to travel about 3 ft thru air. So if you're wearing headphones, it's like you're standing with your ear 3 ft from your (virtual) amp.

          (I just got my Satellite from Mackie a couple days ago but haven't had a chance to open it yet.)

          Andy Hong (Tape Op Gear Geek), visiting from a Tape Op Satellite thread. (Hi Craig!!!)


          • #95
            Andy!! Great to see you here!!

            (Hey, as an aside, I just finished editing an interview with Larry Crane that will be posted as part of our AES coverage. If you're not careful, I just may corner you at NAMM for something similar...resistance is futile...)

            Reading the Tape Op forum thread, I got the sense that a lot of people thought "solution in search of a problem." That's true if you don't have the problem it solves But for those who "cross over" between home and remote recording, the Satellit is indeed a solution. Although it's a temptation to relegate the Satellite to "beginners who need two interfaces but can only afford one," the mic pres are up there with things like the E-mu XXXXm series devices, and put the Satellite into the "serious" realm.

            Anyway, I'm rambling...but great to see you here. Don't be a stranger!
            CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

            Subscribe, like, and share the links!


            • #96
              ok... so if i'm using cubase sx3

              So the only way i can have real-time direct monitoring is by enabling monitoring in which for me sound like a doubled delay

              Why can't we just hear have a third option on the source switch.. both...

              so the vocalist can hear what their singing and hear the playback mix as well????


              • #97
                What would solve that is a small mixer applet so you could monitor both the DAW output and the inputs by turning up the appropriate faders.
                CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                Subscribe, like, and share the links!


                • #98
                  Originally posted by Anderton
                  What would solve that is a small mixer applet so you could monitor both the DAW output and the inputs by turning up the appropriate faders.

                  is that something that would be available? or would this be something i would dream of in a perfect world???


                  • #99
                    <<is that something that would be available? or would this be something i would dream of in a perfect world???>>

                    Well, lots of other products have similar applets, so it's obviously not impossible. I guess it's just a matter of whether a) enough people request it, and b) Mackie thinks it's worth doing.
                    CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                    Subscribe, like, and share the links!


                    • so the real question is.. should i take it back... since i am still within 30 days... and get something else...

                      i hate the fact that "The cables need to cross" line input 1 on channels 1 and 2, just to get stereo... but maybe i am used to dealing with a plugging into "11/12" = one slider on my old mixer.. which is essentially the same thing...

                      The no midi i can live without since i have a old skool midiman that will get the job

                      but then again i dunno... it is what it is...


                      • To Dan, CHUD stands for Computer Hardware Understanding Development (at least, that's what it says on the website).

                        To Anderton, I have a dual G5 and experienced the same whine with my FireBox, and like you, came across the CHUD tools which solved the problem. But, I also discovered an Applescript which can be downloaded and dropped into your Startup Items folder which will automatically uncheck the "Allow Nap" option to prevent the second CPU from idling:


                        (I came across this link on a Digidesign forum during my search for a cure).

                        Originally posted by Anderton
                        One caution is that when you uncheck "Allow Nap," it doesn't appear to "stick" -- you need to uncheck it every time you fire up your Mac.

                        Originally posted by Dan Steinberg
                        Now then, since some of you guys must have grown up along with me in the eighties and it's great B movies, who can be the first to tell us what C.H.U.D. really stands for?


                        • Update:

                          I recently added a PCMCIA Firewire card to my HP Centrino Duo laptop so I could test the Onyx in a mobile environment. The HP card is using a generic VIA OHCI Firewire chipset, which I have good success with in the past when using a Yamaha mLAN interface. The driver for this is built-in to Windows and is not available as a separate download. I checked my system resources and the FW card is sharing an IRQ with the USB and Media Card controllers. I decided to keep everything enabled just to see if these devices would play nicely together.

                          The Onyx driver installed without a hitch just like my desktop system. Next, I installed Traction and fired up the sample song. The ASIO buffer was set to the maximum size by default, and yet, the song played back with some crackles, pops, and skipping. I remembered reading about a Microsoft Hotfix for Firewire devices when used with Service Pack 2, so I jumped on the Microsoft Support where I found the KB article that describes this. The link for this hotfix is: I installed the patch, rebooted, and viola! The song now played back without any problems. Needless to say, if you run XP with Service Pack 2 you will definitely want to have this hotfix installed.

                          Next, I setup a fresh install of Vegas Video 6.0d on the laptop and loaded up some projects that I have previously made. I then set the ASIO buffer size down to 128 samples for the lowest latency possible. To my surprise, the song played back without a hitch! Normally I wouldn’t set my buffers so low unless I was recording with software input monitoring enabled, but I wanted to see how well the system could handle this setting. Keep in mind that this laptop is not setup with all of the normal tweaks that I would apply to my production workstations. In fact, I am only using the internal 5400 RPM hard drive at the moment.

                          I wanted to add some new guitar parts to one of these songs, so I pulled out my trusty Fender Telecaster and plugged into one of the instrument preamps. I’m not usually a big fan of the sound of recording guitars direct. I find the sound to be dull, flat, lifeless, and one-dimensional. The instrument preamps of the Onyx, however, sounded fantastic with my Tele! Mackie is known for their microphone preamps, so it should be no surprise that they can design a nice instrument preamp as well. The sound still had ‘direct’ qualities to it, but after adding a small amount of EQ, compression and reverb I was completely satisfied with the sound.

                          Next, I’ll be testing the instrument preamp out with my other guitars and bass…..


                          • Wow, this is great: A useful Apple fix and a useful Windows fix within two posts of each other! Thanks very much guys.

                            BTW an observation about Teles and recording direct: Using a Tele is what got me turned on to use direct inputs. The Tele pickups, being single coil, are more affected by lower input impedances than humbuckers. The first time I heard my Tele recording direct through a quality pre with a high input impedance was a revelation.
                            CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                            Subscribe, like, and share the links!


                            • is it me or have anyone noticed if... you have your speakers/monitors plugged in but turned off and your headphones plugged in...then you are only getting a mono signal in the headphones until you cut your monitors on????


                              • Originally posted by parkleyroy
                                is it me or have anyone noticed if... you have your speakers/monitors plugged in but turned off and your headphones plugged in...then you are only getting a mono signal in the headphones until you cut your monitors on????

                                it wasn't the monitors.. it was the send & return if you have a something plugged into the send & return.. it has to have a signal in order for the input channel to be active...

                                hmm i guess it isn't so bad after