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Mackie Onyx Satellite FireWire Audio Interface


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ONYX SATELLITE: PROLOGUE

 

One thing about Pro Reviews is once a company tries one, they want to do it again. That’s a good sign, and this one is particularly interesting because Mackie holds the record for the most number of posts ever in the Pro Review for their Onyx 400F (which still, almost a year after its start, is still getting posts).

 

There were a few reasons why this so: First of all, it's a good piece of gear that potentially fit a lot of users needs, so they wanted to find out more about it. Second, there were a lot of interesting "sidebars" about audio quality, conversion, phase linearity, and the like. Third, although the majority of users reported no problems, a small group experienced weird FireWire "whines" and some other issues that stubbornly resisted solutions. Oddly, this seemed to be pretty much a Mac-only phenomenon, and only certain Mac models at that.

 

So when I had the chance to review the PreSonus Inspire 1394 FireWire interface, I (of course!) had to try it with the Mac, which I didn't have the option to do with the 400F. Sure enough, the Inspire worked fine with Windows, but had a “whine” and some noise with my dual G5. PreSonus sent me a new model, just in case it was a manufacturing problem; that didn’t solve it. Fortunately, they were very cool about having this particular "dirty laundry" aired in public, as they wanted to get to the bottom of things too.

 

To make a long story short, what made it so difficult to solve the problem was that there were actually two problems. Sound on Sound’s Paul "extremely cool guy editor" White found the solution to one: Disable processor cycling. That didn’t solve my problem, though. It turned out that what I experienced was graphics-related, because when I minimized the applet, all problems disappeared as if by magic.

 

My point? The number of permutations and combinations of computers, processors, operating systems, graphics cards, and so on is staggering, so it's not surprising some problems crop up now and again. But in the case of the Inspire 1394, persistence paid off -- and in almost all cases, it is possible to find a solution eventually.

 

So now we have a new Mackie FireWire audio interface product, and of course, the foremost question in my mind is "Will it work with my Mac?" – so that’s what I’ll be trying first. If it does, great! If it doesn’t, we’ll get to the bottom of it, just as we did with the Inspire 1394. I’ll also try it with Windows, although if my experience with the 400F is any indication, it should work perfectly and consistently.

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The Onxy Satellite takes an approach I haven’t seen before with an interface: It’s both a mobile recording solution and a “base station” for your desktop. Say what? Yup. The way it does this is by separating the interface into two components, a portable “satellite” device and a “dock” base. Put them together, and you have your desktop interface. Separate them, and you can take the satellite with you for mobile applications.

 

Click on the attachment to see what’s in the package. The dock is in the upper right, and the satellite just below it. Other elements are:

 

* An AC adapter for the system (although the Onyx Satellite is bus-powered, the adapter is required if you’re using the interface with a 4-pin FireWire connector, which unlike a 6-pin FireWire connector, doesn’t supply power)

* 6-pin to 6-pin FireWire cable

* 6-pin to 4-pin adapter so you can use the supplied cable with a 4-pin connection (as found on most Windows laptops).

* CD-ROM with software drivers for Windows

* The ubiquitous Mackie “extra value freebie,” Tracktion 2. (And yes, you do want to install it; even if you decide to stick with your host software, check out Tracktion 2 as it’s a pretty cool piece of code.)

* Owner’s manual

* Product registration card (you can also register online). You don’t have to register to take advantage of the one-year warranty, but it’s probably a good idea to have a record of your purchase on file with Mackie.

 

The Onyx Satellite system is cross-platform. It requires Windows XP SP2 or Mac OS X 10.3.9, 256MB of RAM, your basic Windows processor (P4, Celeron, Athlon XP), and for the Mac, a G4 or better. I don’t have an Intel-based Mac for testing, but from what I can tell, the Onyx Satellite is PPC only at present. Hopefully someone from Mackie is monitoring this and can indicate what the deal is for those using Intel-based Macs.

 

For specs and info, click here to check out Mackie's "landing page" for the Onyx Satellite.

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The Onyx Satellite is a 2 in x 6 out interface, regardless of whether you’re using the dock/satellite combination or just the satellite. (Note that while the satellite can function by itself, the dock requires the satellite in order to work -- the dock is just about additional I/O connectors and switching.) Let’s take a look at the dock in detail; click on the attachment to see the dock rear panel.

 

Starting from the right, you’ll see Input 1’s connections:

 

* XLR connector feeding the Onyx preamp

* Line 1 balanced TRS phone input

* Line 2 balanced TRS phone input

* Unbalanced hi-Z instrument input

* Insert jack with unbalanced in and unbalanced out on stereo phone connector

 

You choose which connector is active based on front panel buttons, which we’ll get into soon. Input 2 has the same complement of connectors.

 

Before going any further, it’s worth pointing out this “built-in patch bay” is one of the Satellite’s selling points: While at home, you can have a couple of mics plugged in and ready to go, along with a couple of keyboards, a drum machine, guitar, bass, and one other line-level device. Furthermore, you can have a compressor or two plugged into the inserts if that’s your thing. When you need to go mobile, you take out the satellite, but you can leave everything else plugged in so it’s ready to go when you return.

 

Okay, on to the outs. Left of the ins, there’s a group of four balanced/unbalanced line level jacks labeled 3, 4, 5, and 6. These correspond to your host’s similarly numbered ASIO or Core Audio outputs. As one example of how to use these, while you’re mixing down with the dock and don’t need the inputs for tracking instruments any more, these outs can come from aux buses feeding effects like reverb, vocoder, etc., with the effect outputs going into the line inputs.

 

The final group of outs is fed by an identical pair of stereo signals, which would typically be your main stereo outs. A front panel switch, which we’ll cover later when we talk about the control room section, chooses which of these jack pairs will receive the stereo output. With the satellite inserted, this same main stereo signal feeds the dual headphone outs.

 

Toward the extreme left side, you'll see the FireWire connector, the jack for the AC adapter, and a security slot that's compatible with Kensington security locks if you want to secure the dock to your work area.

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At this point, I figured I knew enough about what was happening to plug it in and give it a spin. So, time to boot up the Mac and get started.

 

I decided that to simulate the worst-case possible conditions to promote whine, I’d bus power the box rather than use the AC adapter. Mackie makes no mention about whether it’s okay to hot plug or not, but the dock has an on-off switch, so I figured I’d play it safe and hook things up with the switch off, and then power up.

 

By the way, the dock has a substantial feel and is reasonably heavy; it’s not going to slide around much on your workspace (if at all). Both the satellite and dock are solidly-built, with all-metal construction. They don’t feel flimsy at all.

 

Okay, plug in, turn on…the power light illuminated, and so did the FireWire activity light. So far so good. However, I heard a faint but annoying high-frequency sound coming from the Mac. I was disappointed but not surprised, because it seems plugging anything FireWire-related into this particular Mac causes the same problem. Damn.

 

I tried plugging into the FireWire port on the back of the computer as well as the front panel one; no difference. But when I plugged into the FireWire port on my Windows desktop machine, there was no high frequency sound at all. Clearly, this was something Mac-related. Questions immediately arose: Do Intel-based Macs have the same issue? Is it just my G5? Does it relate to bus power?

 

So I took the Onxy Satellite over to an older silver G4 (running system 10.4.6) and plugged in. There was no whine whatsoever.

 

Going back to the dual G5, I thought I’d try the AC adapter. But try as I could, there was no way I could get the plug to fit into the jack! I tried angling it, prodding it, even forcing it; it just refused to insert into the power jack, either on the dock or the satellite. I was afraid that if I forced it any more, I’d break the jack and I didn’t want to do that. (Note to Mackie: Check that your suppliers are actually providing the AC adapter you specified. I just may cut off the tip and solder in one that's the right size...)

 

I tried different video settings; same whine. Finally in furstration I opened up the AudioMIDISetup window just in case there was a "Check this box to remove annoying whine" option, then noticed something even stranger: the whine got louder whenever I resized the window. Help!!

 

At this point I remembered Paul White’s comments about processor cycling with respect to the Inspire 1394. Per his recommendation I had downloaded the CHUD utility from the Apple web site, which adds a processor option to the System Preferences menu under "Hardware." I opened it up, unchecked "Allow Nap," and…and…and…

 

The whine disappeared. Totally. 100% non-existent.

 

Click on the attachment to see the magic processor settings that solved all my whine problems – and not just with the Onyx Satellite, but with some other devices as well.

 

Now, I don’t want to get into a Mac vs. PC thing, but clearly, in this instance the Mac isn’t anywhere near as fool-proof as it’s advertised to be: You have to know about the CHUD utility in Apple’s developer tools, and download it from the Apple site, and then know enough to uncheck “Allow Nap.”

 

Bottom line: In this whine situation, the Onyx Satellite was blameless; it was definitely a Mac thing. But fortunately, there’s an easy fix for the Mac.

 

As Bill and Ted would say, killing the whine was most triumphant -- so on with the review.

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After savoring the victory over whine, it was time to get down to serious business so I figured I’d better set up the audio. Click on the attachment to see the Audio MIDI Setup window.

 

As you can see, there isn’t a whole lot to adjust; latency is dealt with from within in the application, although you can set the sample rate to 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96kHz. The bit resolution setting is fictional, because it’s always at 24 bits.

 

Also note that all of the volume controls and mute settings are grayed out, because you adjust these either manually at the Onyx Satellite, or within your software host. But also note the “6ch – 24bit” setting for the output. Yup, it really does do six channels, and as we’ll find out during the course of this review, it even has a cute feature if you’re working with surround.

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Dock input switching is handled on the dock’s top panel, which has eight switches (one for each connector for the two inputs). Click on the attachment to see the input switching section.

 

To my surprise, these aren’t radio buttons – you can enable multiple input connectors at once and mix them together. That’s the good news; the bad news is that this is of limited usefulness, because there are no provisions to balance out the levels, and the inputs can interact.

 

For example, I plugged in a mic, turned up the gain, and it sounded great. But when I tried to enable an instrument input so I could play guitar along with the vocals, it basically killed the mic level. Another oddity is that at first, I couldn’t seem to get the instrument input working properly. It turns out that you need to press the instrument input button in on both the satellite and the dock for this to work. No big deal, but it’s worth noting.

 

However, the “additive input” feature can be very useful is if you have a situation involving something like two layered keyboards. You can plug them both into the line ins for one input, adjust levels on the keyboard themselves, and go ahead and record them.

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It’s been a while since I returned the Onyx 400F, and had kind of forgotten just how good the Onyx mic pres sound – especially in light of the price ($519.99 list for the Satellite system, with street price hovering around $400). These are clean, wonderful sounding suckers, whether with mic signals, instruments, or line levels. There is a definite transparency (yeah, it’s an overused word; but if the shoe fits, wear it), and their “character” is more like a lack of character, other than just shuttling the electrons as efficiently and gently as possible from your signal source to the Mackie. Very good stuff.

 

Note that there is a phantom power switch that delivers +48V, but this is a global switch that applies power to both mic inputs. There's no way to apply phantom power to one mic input but not the other.

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Let’s zoom out and look at the dock’s top panel. You can see the input switching toward the left that we covered two posts ago, and the talkback and control room sections toward the right. At the very right is the on-off switch. Click on the attachment to see a photo of the top panel. The big hole in the middle is, as you'd expect, where the satellite "pod" inserts. It reminds me of those old modems where you stuck a telephone handset into a rubber-lined cavity.

 

Next, let’s look at the talkback and control room sections in detail.

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This is cool and unexpected. Click on the attachment to see the talkbox section in detail. Those three little holes above the talkback level knob have a mic below it, and the mic feeds into a built-in compressor so you don’t have to speak into the box to get your point across. The “To Phones” and “To DAW” buttons are momentary, as talkback buttons should be. “To DAW” lets you slate at the beginning of a track (or whenever you want to add some kind of comment), but one thing that’s not mentioned in the manual is that your talkback also appears in the phones when you press on the “To DAW” button. So, you don’t need to press both buttons at once if you want your talkback to appear over the phones and in your DAW.

 

You do want to be careful not to see the levels too high if there’s leakage in your phones and you’re close to the Satellite, as the compressor is quite effective and you could end up with feedback.

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The Control Room section is pretty standard, but with a major exception. Click on the attachment to see a closeup of the Control Room section. First off, there’s a button to choose whether you’re going to be monitoring the input signals, or the signal coming back from the DAW. This provides a “zero monitoring” option if latency is a problem, or if you’re doing something like recording guitar through plug-ins, you can monitor through the DAW while recording.

 

As mentioned earlier, there are two control room outputs (A and B), and a switch determines whether the output signal is going to one or the other. An obvious application is to choose between sending a signal to a speaker system or headphone amp, but those who like to A-B between two sets of speakers (e.g., the “main” speakers and a set of “real world” speakers) can use this to do quick reality checks between the two sets. Another application is to simply not use one set of outs so when the phone rings, you can hit the switch to mute the speakers instantly.

 

The 1-2 / 1-6 is something altogether different. In the 1-2 position, the Control Room level affects the A and B outputs on the back, and the remaining outputs (3-6) have a fixed level. In the 1-6 position, the Control Room acts as a master volume control for all six outputs. If the light bulb is going on over your head and you’re thinking “surround mixing,” yes, that’s what it’s all about.

 

Of course, to do this you would need to set up the busing in your host program to accommodate surround. But with today’s hosts, that’s not really an issue as most of them are designed to do surround busing. You’d also need to set up a suitable surround system to be fed from the Onyx Satellite, but Mackie give a suggested hookup diagram in the manual.

 

Granted, surround never did set the world on fire. But it hasn’t gone away, either, and I’m always surprised at just how many people I run into who are working on surround project of one kind or another. Even if you don’t end up doing surround projects, at least you know you have the capability to not only do the busing and routing, but also can turn all channels up and down together.

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And that's pretty much it for the dock, so it's time to move on to the satellite section (or as Mackie likes to call it, the "pod"). But as I've put about four hours into this today, the satellite section is going to have to wait until tomorrow or the next day...I want to do some more on the X2 Pro Review later anyway.

 

Giving a little break will also give y'all a chance to ask questions you might have, and perhaps for someone from Mackie to fill us in on the situation with Intel-based Macs.

 

But before signing off for now, I should probably mention that I've tested the interface with Digital Performer 5.01 and Cubase LE on the Mac. Both programs had no problem recognizing and using the interface, and as I was recording primarily vocal parts, I got to hear the mic pres in action. I was very happy with both the ease of use and sound quality. Initially, I switched between monitoring the inputs on recording and the DAW outs on playback, but then eventually threw caution to the winds and set the buffer to 64 samples -- no problem, although admittedly, I didn't have the time to load up the DP project with a zillion virtual instruments and other hogs.

 

So far, it's thumbs up for the Onyx Satellite, aside from the puzzling AC adapter plug mismatch issue. It has been very stable -- no crashes, ticks, pop, audio problems, or any of that. I was really concerned about the "dreaded FireWire whine" problem when it first appeared, but it was very gratifying to be able to get rid of it. So far, I'm quite impressed. Let's see how the rest of the review unfolds.

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Hi Craig - this is Woody from over at Mackie HQ. I am the guy behind the design of the Satellite system and I will be available during this review process to offer comments, advice and respond to any questions that the readers may have.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to address your concerns regarding the Intel Mac compatibility - the system uses the Mac class compliant driver built into OSX and therefore is fully compatible with the latest Intel based Macs and we include the new machines in our testing.

 

I will also be sending you the correct power supply - the only explanation that I can find that would give you the wrong supply is due to the fact that the unit we sent you was one my team have been using in the office and they must have placed the wrong supply back in the box when it was sent to you - we have lots of samples of different supplies here in product development. Obviously I will find the person responsible and make sure they are shot at dawn for such a grave error....... ;-)

 

I am looking forward to the remainder of the review and I truly appreciate the feedback that you and the readers provide.

 

All the best,

 

Woody.

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To be honest, no.... Dan Steinberg has been able to reproduce the whine only on his Mac laptop and it has been bugging him for ages! He was going to try the fix last night to see if it cures his laptop and let us know.

 

We will be posting the same information through our forums - big thanks to Paul White for the cool tip. I will get in touch with him to get more detail on the causes of the problem so we can understand it better.

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Well it turns out that the AC adapter sent with the original Satellite I received was the wrong one. The unit was not a stock unit, but an interface they'd been using at Mackie.

 

Today UPS showed up with an actual from stock Satellite to replace the one they sent, and its AC adapter works fine :) However, there are two differences compared to the one in the photo:

 

* It's a wall wart type, not a "line lump"

* There's no filter on the hot line

* It's somewhat smaller

 

So no worries about the AC adapter if you get a unit off the shelf.

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A Satellite just appeared here today. I was imprssed with the heft. It really feels nice.

 

I don't have a lot of patience with these things so I did the lazy thing - I had the CEntrance universal driver installed on the computer that I use with an Onyx mixer, so rather than loading up the official Mackie driver, I added it to the CEntrance driver and it took off and played.

 

It's a bit inconsistent working together with the Onyx mixer, though CEntrance has experienced problems getting that mixer to play nicely with others (though not sure if they mean another Onyx mixer or another device - I asked 'em).

 

I was pleased to find that once I beat it into submission (which involved a couple of reboots) I was able to track a multitrack project through the mixer and play back tracks through the Satellite. Since it has six outputs, this gave me the ability to run six channels out the Satellite and back into the mixer's analog inputs so I could mix using the channel EQ and faders. Just like a real studio. ;)

 

I was really bummed, though. Mine doesn't whine. I was hoping to hear what a few folks on the Mackie forum were complaining about. Well, it does, a little, when docked, and with the headphone volume turned all the way up. It's lower than -90 dBu coming out of the headphone jack - that's the limit to my analyzer. And if it's recorded, it's well below -90 dBFS, which is about the quiescent noise level with the mic gain all the way up and a 150 ohm resistor between pins 2-3. (a very insensitve mic) No whine when switching on phantom power as some have reported.

 

With the Satellite free of the dock (but powered with the AC power supply) there's no trace of whine. I wish they used a silent talkback switch, though. The "clank" when switching it on is pretty scary. I suspect that like the Big Knob, there's a pretty heavy compressor on the talkback mic. (oh, yeah, he says after reading the manua - it say so in the manual) The level stays about the same over a pretty good range of distance, but if you get too far back, it sounds . . well, like yo're too far back form the mic.

 

I'm a bit surprised that there isn't a way to mix the input with the playback from the DAW - sort of like having the INPUT/DAW monitor source switch both up and down at the same time. Or better yet, a pot that allows you to balance the intput source and playback level in the headphones. I haven't given too much thought to why they might not have done this, but it would have been a nice addition.

 

Oh, and the 48V (it must be - it says so right on the button) phantom power is only about 37.5V. That will power most microphones OK, some microphones OK but without their full headroom, and a few microphones poorly.

 

I may drop some tidbits in here now and then, but every time I mess with something "computer" it takes so much time, I have to restrain myself.

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Originally posted by Anderton

at first, I couldn’t seem to get the instrument input working properly. It turns out that you need to press the instrument input button in on both the satellite
and
the dock for this to work. No big deal, but it’s worth noting.

And in fact, this IS noted in the manual.

 

RTFM!!!

 

There are a number of things about this device that we're just not used to seeing.

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I suppose I should say, if you haven't figured it out yet, that I'm running this on a Windows PC, and with the external power supply. This isn't the same computer I hooked it to yesterday, using the CEntrance driver, I installed the official Onyx Satellite driver.

 

I'm using a PCMCIA Firewire adapter (even my new laptopl doesn't have a built-in Firewire port) and the adapter, while it has a 6-pin connector, doesn't provide power unless you plug an external power supply into IT'S power connector. At least I don't have to use the supplied 6-to-4 pin adapter. I don't trust something that long and that stiff to not either pull out or break off at an inopportune moment. (Reading that back, I hope it doesn't get censored!) If I had a 4-pin Firewire connector on my computer, I'd spring for a cable with the appropriate connectors at each end. And if Mackie had a conscience and was willing to give up a buck of profit, they could put one in the box.

 

Here are some measurements that I made on the bench that might help you understand how levels are related on the Satellite. These were all made in the purest way possible, on just the pod, without the dock:

 

Maximum mic preamp gain: 60 dB measured from mic input to CR output with both the mic input gain and and CR output level set to maximum.

 

Quiescent noise with the input terminated with a 150 ohm resistor (settings as above): -68 dBu. This would be the noise floor with a typical mic connected. It's pretty good white noise, with the highest level (-75 dBu) at 20 kHz, and sloping down at 3 dB per octave from there. There were no peaks in the middle, supporting my observation that I didn't hear a whine.

 

Mackie must have been listening when 400F users said that they couldn't get a hot enough recording from the line inputs. These have reasonable sensitivity. At maximum input gain, you reach clipping at an input level of -22 dBu. You get a reasonably comfortable 16 dB of headroom from a nominal +4 dBu source with the input gain set to 20 dB. The U (unity gain) setting gives a record level of -15 dBFS for +4 dBu in. That should be enough gain for anybody.

 

Input level is indicated by four LEDs: -40, -20, -10, and OL. The preamp clips about 1.5 dB above where the OL light comes on, so you really don't want to hit it. But with the next lower LED being 10 dB below clipping, you really don't have very good resolution in the top 10 dB range.

 

Going over to the digital side of the Firewire connector, the lower LEDs give you a pretty good indication of dBFS, but things get a little hairy at the top. Most A/D converters are calibrated so that they reach full scale a bit higher than the level at which whatever's feeding them clips. But not the Satellite. The A/D output is -1.9 dBFS at the preamp's clipping level. This suggests two things that you should watch:

 

    I like the idea of having a small box for remote recording, but I don't like recording when I can't hear what's going in to the mic inputs, or as I discovered later, hearing what's going in, but 100 ms late.

     

    Finally, when playing back a full scale recording, the output stage will clip if you don't back the CR/Phones level down from maximum. The maximum level seems to be a couple of dB shy of the +18 dBu claimed in the manual, but headphone volume is ear-splitting at that level, and +16 dBu should drive any power amplifier or powered speakers to toodamnloud, so it's not a problem.

     

    I have a couple of Onyx mixers and an 800R preamp here, and I concur with Craig's assessment that the mic inputs sound excellent. The only quibble there is the low phantom voltage that I mentioned in a previous post. I didn't try it with all of mics, and the few that I tried it with didn't see to have any problem running on 38V, but one of these days it might bite me, or you.

     

    Enough fooling around for one day.

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Originally posted by MikeRivers


The setup for simple stereo recording on Page 15 of the manual shows a pair of headphones pluggd into the pod, and a Firewire cable going to the computer. However, once the Firewire port becomes active (like when you connect it to the computer), tthe analog outputs (both the front panel headphone jacks and the rear panel CR jacks) go away. So while you can monitor with headphones while you're setting up (it's always a good idea to listen to what your mics are picking up before you press RECORD) you're deaf once you connect the pod to the computer.

 

Huh? How would that even work? What about doing overdubs? Or am I missing something here?

 

Anyhow that's great info Mike, thanks for posting it!

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Originally posted by Lee Flier



Huh? How would that even work? What about doing overdubs? Or am I missing something here?


Anyhow that's great info Mike, thanks for posting it!

 

Craig:
Initially, I switched between monitoring the inputs on recording
and the DAW outs on playback

 

???

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Hi there everyone, Dan Steinberg from Mackie here. I'll be posting from time to time along with Woody. Feel free to think of us as the "Martin and Lewis" of Pro Audio (hmm, maybe 32 years old is too young for such a reference).

 

Anyway, here's some comments on the posts so far:

 

Mike Rivers mentioned "However, once the Firewire port becomes active (like when you connect it to the computer), tthe analog outputs (both the front panel headphone jacks and the rear panel CR jacks) go away. So while you can monitor with headphones while you're setting up (it's always a good idea to listen to what your mics are picking up before you press RECORD) you're deaf once you connect the pod to the computer. "

 

Not true, I promise. All outputs absolutely, positively stay active when the unit is connected through Firewire, all phones jacks, all control room and line level outs. So, I am not sure why Mike is having trouble, but I can safely say that it is not from a design decision, and we have never experienced this issue here, we all are doing overdubs all day long with both the pod by itself, and the pod + dock combo.

 

Wall Wart adapter: We had originally specced a lump in the line cord as we know they are more user friendly, but were having some sourcing problems and did not want to make people wait for the product too long. We will be attempting to have future runs of the product use lump in the line. Same goes for, at some point, including a longer Firewire cable as we do with our other products.

 

Input source button: Craig mentioned that "First off, there’s a button to choose whether you’re going to be monitoring the input signals, or the signal coming back from the DAW."

 

Along with the other useful functions Craig mentioned, one great use for this button is to monitor connected sources, without the hassle of firing up DAW software just to monitor through it. Let's say you have a synth or a guitar pod connected to a line input and just want to noodle. You just press the button to monitor the input source, not the DAW, and you can now monitor the input (and use the control room volume knob)on a spur of the moment basis, kind of like having a mixer lying around. Also useful if you have a docked ipod connected, and just want to listen to some tunes real quick. Great for dorm rooms or small apartments where your pro audio rig is also your "stereo system"

 

Lastly, Mike brings up a good point that PCMCIA Firewire cards, even ones with 6 pin connectors, do not spit power out of those 6 pin ports like the built in ones on Macs or PC desktops do. I learned this the hard way myself. So please keep this in mind, I'd hate for anyone to buy a PCMCIA Firewire card and think they can then run the system without a power cord.

 

Thanks!

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The whine is gone!

 

I downloaded the "CHUD" utility from Apple and unchecked "processor nap" like Craig suggested, and bam, no more whine. In fact, I can "toggle" the whine on and off with that checkbox. I think I'll choose....no whine.

 

Craig, you are officially my hero. I will be sending a copy of this file to the tech support folks, and having them post this solution on our forum, as well as using it to help out anyone who calls up.

 

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?

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Originally posted by Lee Flier

Huh? How would that even work? What about doing overdubs? Or am I missing something here?

Substantially edited - if you read this before, read it again

Turns out that I was the ignoramus here, or rather I didn't know how to work the program I was using with it. However, the only way to monitor the input without docking the Satellite is through the computer, with its associated delays.

 

And if you doubt that combining a delayed signal with the undelayed signal makes you hear funny, here's a 20 Hz - 20 kHz sweep with Channel 1 monitored through Sound Forge in this case mixed with the original signal. Notice the 20 dB dips in the frequency response.

 

Sweep_512_sample_latency.jpg

 

Not my best technical photography, but you get the idea.

 

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Originally posted by the stranger



quote:Craig:


Initially, I switched between monitoring the inputs on recording and the DAW outs on playback


???

It's not that simple. First off, I was talking about using the pod without the docking station, but that button is on the docking station. Second, when monitoring from the DAW, in order to hear yourself, you have to set up the DAW for input monitoring. Either that doesn't work or I'm not smart enough to know how to do it.

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