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Mackie Onyx Satellite FireWire Audio Interface


Anderton
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Yes, it is. The Satellite base station has a Source switch that selects between DAW and inputs. The latter position will allow you to hear your input signals directly through hardware, as well as the return from your computer. I use that option routinely to play back other audio equipment (cassette player, MP3s on my work laptop etc) through the Satellite, as my speakers are hooked up to it.

Note that you might have to apply the latest firmware update (1.05.0100 as of the writing of this), as before that the inputs position only allowed input signals to come through. You can get the update here:
http://www.mackie.com/products/satellite/update.html

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You're welcome.

On a related note, it seems that when the Satellite isn't connected to a computer, input signals are sent directly to the output, regardless of the position of the Source switch. This is with the latest firmware update; I can't say if it was the case before that. Either way, neat.

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Hey guys,

This interface looks pretty good, i just have a quick question about it.

I have been looking to upgrade my current firewire audio interface in my home studio, and i am looking at the Onyx 'satellite' as the two piece setup is great for someone mobile like myself.

My question is about the headphone signal. When using this live i will be sending my main signal from my laptop running ableton live to the house pa, and i would like to use the headphone output to send a metronome to a live drummer. In ableton like i have the choice to send the metronome and main mix to seperate outputs. Is this possible with the satellite pod? Even if i only use one output out the back for the pa??

Thanks

Tim

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I've got the satellite recently and have recorded some musical scetches with the included tracktion software.

I find the docking station to be terribly noisy, whiny, hummy.. so i don't use it anymore.. I feel that recording and monitoring via the pod gives me noiseless pristine quality. Great preamps! Too bad the docking station isn't up to par.

I haven't tried the insert points yet because i don't have any good quality insert cables. But i hope i can get the excellent quality preamped signal out of the onyx satellite and route it to a line input of another interface or mixer.

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OK. I spent some time with the good folks at The Apple Store - Stonestown Mall, San Francisco, CA. I brought along both the Onyx Satellite (dock and pod) and the Presonus FireBox.


We tested several machines and the results are as follows:


1) None of the new MacBook Pro (Core 2 Duo) machines would power the complete Onyx rig (pod+dock) or the Presonus FireBox.


2) The new MacBooks (Core 2 Duo) were able to power the Onyx rig and the FireBox with no problem.


3) The "older" MacBook Pros were able to power the Onyx rig and the FireBox with no problem.


So, it was with a disappointed sigh on both sides that they helped me return my new MacBook Pro.


The guys at The Apple Store are going to escalate this through their management channels and I have shared this forum/thread with Willis at The Apple Store to make sure Apple has the opportunity to post an official response if they so choose.


Best regards,


MHD




because this post is so high on google for onyx satellite review macbook pro, I'd like to add an update:

as of today june 30th, 2008 the 17" 2.6 penryn macbook pro and the latest rev of the mackie onyx satellite (unsure where to get the rev number) work together fine. I am able to run the entire rig on firewire using battery power from the mbp under OS X version 10.5.3 with no major issues.

so either apple or mackie made some changes to their power requirements for the fw port/satellite or both did. The laptop was purchased a week ago and the mackie today directly from the warehouse.

best regards
bradley newton haug

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Hey guys,


This interface looks pretty good, i just have a quick question about it.


I have been looking to upgrade my current firewire audio interface in my home studio, and i am looking at the Onyx 'satellite' as the two piece setup is great for someone mobile like myself.


My question is about the headphone signal. When using this live i will be sending my main signal from my laptop running ableton live to the house pa, and i would like to use the headphone output to send a metronome to a live drummer. In ableton like i have the choice to send the metronome and main mix to seperate outputs. Is this possible with the satellite pod? Even if i only use one output out the back for the pa??


Thanks


Tim



Yes but not through the headphone out. You aassign the metronome to an output from within Ableton to one of the 6 (3 stereo pairs) outputs on the back of the Satellite. Then that would have to go to some sort of headphone amp. ART makes a nice small one that would work well. I'm pretty sure the headphone outs on the Satellite give all outputs summed together.

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Hi
Does anyone happen to know if Mackie includes some sort of unique digital signature in the satellite? I am installing a few of these in school, but it seems that only the unit that has been installed on a particular (windows) PC will work on that PC. If I connect a different unit, it is seen as new hardware by windows.
Perhaps this is standard procedure, but I just wondered if anyone had any comment.

thanks in advance
PS

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Thanks for commenting. I understand the point about wedding to ports, particularly USB, but there is only one firewire port on each PC. The problem arises when a satellite that is different to the the one initially installed is subsequently plugged in to a PC (ie 15 PCs, 15 satellites - if the sats are unplugged and jumbled up to different pcs, they won't work)

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Thanks for commenting. I understand the point about wedding to ports, particularly USB, but there is only one firewire port on each PC. The problem arises when a satellite that is different to the the one initially installed is subsequently plugged in to a PC (ie 15 PCs, 15 satellites - if the sats are unplugged and jumbled up to different pcs, they won't work)



Does it not work after you let it do it's "new hardware" thing? It's possible that there's an electronic serial number that gets associated with the driver so that if you have two Satellites installed on the same computer, it can tell them apart. I know this is the case with the Onyx mixer Firewire card, though that's a totally different design than the Satellite.

If this is a problem for you, it might be worth asking Mackie Tech Support directly. I have only one Satellite (as probably do most users here) so I can't share in your pain.

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Yes, i love the Satellite, but i have just recently upgraded to vista(again) and there are no driver yet available for vista. How ever, i can get it to record with almighty tracktion and playback on there as well. When ever i try to playback on windows media player or iTunes even, the progress bar of the media being played doesn't move at all, and when i manually move it nothing happens. So im thinking the Windows XP drivers are not very compatible with Windows Vista.

On that note, i was just wondering (more like preying) if you guys are going to put out a Windows Vista Compatible driver any time soon or even at all in that case. Im sure it wouldn't take you geniuses that long to compile a suitable driver for this wonder full Firewire Interface.

Also, i would just like to say that in the time ive owned this hardware, i have made some outstanding recordings that sound so superb next to the past (Analog) hardware put out there. Hook a UB802 up to this beasy and prepare to be in "shock" and "ah". For a little taste of what this edvice can do, visit my sound.com page at

 and just let us all know what you think about the sound quality!

Keep up the SO FAR good work Mackie!
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Mike or Anderton. Could one of you guys bottom line this forum for me.

 

I have been reading your review. Good stuff although after three years or so there seems to be a lot more info then I need so I am wondering if you could bottom line it for me. I am trying to decided if I should buy the Satellite for $150 new or a Lexicon Lambda for $115. In terms of what they do (or suppose to do) they seem very comparable. In terms of sound, construction and use which unit do you think is better? Which one is more stable? Thanks for any info.

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I am currently using this unit with a brand-spanking new Apple iMac (20" 2.4 Ghz processor, 2 GBs RAM). I have also used it with a 1.5 Ghz processor, 1 GB RAM Powerbook from 2005. I have never had a problem with the Powerbook. I have been able to use the actual "satellite" portion of the device with the iMac no problem. There was the high pitched whine mentioned by other reviewers. I'm trying the "turn of hard disk sleep" option mentioned by said reviewers. However, I've had no luck with the base station portion of the Mackie. The input lights for channels 1 and 2 light up (all of channel 2 and the top half of channel 1) and stay illuminated and I get no sound. Not sure what's up with that. Someone previously mentioned it might be something with the Firewire drivers needing to be downgraded. I hope that's not the case. That would be excessively lame!!!
So, yeah, if you're wondering if it works with newer Macs, the answer is yes. Just not quite ideally yet.

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I find the docking station to be terribly noisy, whiny, hummy.. so i don't use it anymore.. I feel that recording and monitoring via the pod gives me noiseless pristine quality. Great preamps! Too bad the docking station isn't up to par.



Do you have the docking station plugged in to mains power (via the wallwart) and connected to the computer with a 6-pin FireWire cable at the same time? If so, there's your problem – a ground loop. Disconnect the mains power as the Satellite will draw it's power from the 6-pin FireWire cable.

And yes, I found this out the hard way...

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I'm having the same issue alluded to above.

 

When I turn on the satellite (whether the pod or in the base) I get the 'power' light on as well as all the lights in channel 2 and half the lights in channel 1. It does not show up as 'connected' to the pc.

 

Has anyone else experienced this?

 

I'm still waiting on mackie to approve my forum registration so I can post there but I can't find any solid info on what's happening. I keep finding scattered reports across the internet but no one has really addressed it.

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Hello!

I've been using the Mackie Satellite for quite some time, but I haven't made any vocal recordings on it because of the left/right monitoring issue (while direct monitoring a mono signal you can hear it only on one channel - left or right). Has anyone found a solution to this problem? If firmware didn't solve it maybe a hard mod should. Does anyone have the knowledge how to do it?
I'm in the market for a new interface because of this. I wouldn't look elsewhere if it wasn't for this issue. I love the quality, mobility and features of the Satellite but...
I wish there was a solution.
Thanks

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I haven't made any vocal recordings on it because of the left/right monitoring issue (while direct monitoring a mono signal you can hear it only on one channel - left or right). Has anyone found a solution to this problem?


Sure. Send the input to both channels (but you only need to record one channel). You can do this right on the Satellite when it's in the dock by patching the Insert Send of the channel with the mic plugged in to the Insert Return of the other channel.

To do it right, make or modify a 1/4" TRS (balanced) cable. On one end, solder a jumper between the tip and ring terminals of the plug. Label this end SEND. On the other end, disconnect or cut the wire going to the tip terminal of the plug. Label this end RETURN. Plug the SEND end into the channel with the mic and the RETURN end into the other channel.

What you have here is a plug (SEND) that picks up the signal out of the preamp at the Insert jack but since you have a jumper between the tip and ring, you can insert the plug fully into the Channel 1 Insert jack and maintain the signal flow from the preamp to the A/D converter. On the other end (RETURN), when the plug is fully inserted, the signal connects through the ring to the Channel 2 insert Return (only) and the Channel 2 mic preamp is disconnected so its noise won't contribute to what you're hearing in the headphones.

Since the signal comes out of Channel 1 after the Gain control, and goes into Channel 2 after the gain control, the Channel 1 and Channel 2 signals will be equal, and that will center your mic in the monitor.

You can fool around with this using an ordinary (unbalanced) 1/4" cable and put it halfway - to the "first click" - into the two Insert jacks, but that's not a good permanent solution for two reasons. First, that "first click" isn't very positive with the jacks that the Satellite uses, so you have to find the right spot between where the plug tip is making contact and it's not opening up the normalling contacts on the jacks. Second, because you aren't opening the normalled connection on the Channel 2 Insert jack, you're putting the load of the Channel 2 mic preamp on the output of the Channel 1 preamp, which can reduce its headroom a bit, and also introduce the noise from the Channel 2 preamp into your headphones. But feel free to give it a try before making a custom cable just to see if it works for you.

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Sure. Send the input to both channels (but you only need to record one channel). You can do this right on the Satellite when it's in the dock by patching the Insert Send of the channel with the mic plugged in to the Insert Return of the other channel.


To do it right, make or modify a 1/4" TRS (balanced) cable. On one end, solder a jumper between the tip and ring terminals of the plug. Label this end SEND. On the other end, disconnect or cut the wire going to the tip terminal of the plug. Label this end RETURN. Plug the SEND end into the channel with the mic and the RETURN end into the other channel.


What you have here is a plug (SEND) that picks up the signal out of the preamp at the Insert jack but since you have a jumper between the tip and ring, you can insert the plug fully into the Channel 1 Insert jack and maintain the signal flow from the preamp to the A/D converter. On the other end (RETURN), when the plug is fully inserted, the signal connects through the ring to the Channel 2 insert Return (only) and the Channel 2 mic preamp is disconnected so its noise won't contribute to what you're hearing in the headphones.


Since the signal comes out of Channel 1 after the Gain control, and goes into Channel 2 after the gain control, the Channel 1 and Channel 2 signals will be equal, and that will center your mic in the monitor.


You can fool around with this using an ordinary (unbalanced) 1/4" cable and put it halfway - to the "first click" - into the two Insert jacks, but that's not a good permanent solution for two reasons. First, that "first click" isn't very positive with the jacks that the Satellite uses, so you have to find the right spot between where the plug tip is making contact and it's not opening up the normalling contacts on the jacks. Second, because you aren't opening the normalled connection on the Channel 2 Insert jack, you're putting the load of the Channel 2 mic preamp on the output of the Channel 1 preamp, which can reduce its headroom a bit, and also introduce the noise from the Channel 2 preamp into your headphones. But feel free to give it a try before making a custom cable just to see if it works for you.



I got to say I have never had an issue with my mackie it ticks all the boxes for my needs, but this post just put the icing on the cake. Cheers mate excellent post. :thu:

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maybe the answer has already been posted but here it is again.

This high pitched noise i found was from having an unregulated power supply on my laptop.
Short fix though for the laptop users is to run on batteries.
Bought a regulation power supp and bobs your uncle. No more whine!!! Crystal clear. You can hear all my bad notes perfect!

On 64 samples barely any latency. Love it with the pre's around 4 oclock.

great piece of gear imo. Well done mackie.

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