Onyx Mic Preamps: Studio Preamp Performance in a Compact Mixer.

Developing our flagship Onyx mic preamps presented a unique challenge. On one hand, we wanted to deliver traits more commonly associated with boutique studio mic preamps: a tight, focused high end, superior ambience retrieval, detailed lower bass octaves, and highly textural midrange—no matter what type of microphone was plugged in. On the other hand, we knew Onyx mic preamps would have to function in the real world of mixers, which often includes high levels of radio frequency and microwave energy, long cable runs and the occasional “hot patched” cable.

Solving this paradox, the Onyx mic preamp builds upon our already very impressive XDR mic preamp design (found in our VLZ PRO mixers) and adds custom high-performance IC chips developed specifically for low-noise, high-headroom audio. The end result is a level of accuracy and transparency unsurpassed even in expensive esoteric standalone models—as well as gobs of dynamic range (yes, that’s the technical term).

Specifically, the Onyx mic preamp delivers outstanding, verifiable specs like 123dB total dynamic range, –129.5 dBm Equivalent Input Noise, and 0.0007% Total Harmonic Distortion. Onyx mic preamps also address things like input impedance and linearity, maximum input level handling at low gain settings, shielding and grounding effectiveness, overload recovery, and radio frequency interference better than any preamp in Mackie history. And because Onyx mic preamps are designed for use at “real world” gain settings, they’ll easily handle anything from +22 dB line level down to microvolt-level signals from a ribbon mic, without adding noise.

But commonly published specifications and technical talk tell only part of the Onyx preamp story. The real test comes when you plug a really good studio condenser mic into an Onyx mixer. Listen to the depth, headroom and immense detail. Then plug that same mic into any other small-format mixer, or even much more expensive stand-alone mic preamps. We think you’ll agree the Onyx preamp gives you transparency and fidelity on par with any preamp on the market.