The cutest audio interface on the market?
Mackie's Onyx Blackjack might just be the cutest audio interface around. So why would you want something just because it's cute?
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Here at Audio Masterclass we like equipment that does the job efficiently with excellent sound quality.
But as you have probably realized by now, equipment that does the job efficiently with excellent sound quality sometimes just isn't enough. It doesn't always satisfy.
Every now and then a piece of equipment comes along that you just have to see once, just a momentary glance, and you know that you want one.
And the Mackie Onyx Blackjack does just that.
There it was in a full-page magazine advertisement sitting on top of a much larger, rack-mounting, interface from the Mackie range.
And it had a look that just pulls you in, wanting to find out what it is.
If a piece of equipment can generate interest before you even know what it's for, then someone has certainly done their job right.
The Mackie Onyx Blackjack is actually just a pretty normal two-channel USB interface. It has mic inputs, line inputs, instrument inputs, phantom power, zero-latency monitoring, monitor outputs and headphone outputs.
And that's pretty much it.
Clearly we know from experience that Mackie as a company has produced some very useable and fine-sounding equipment, and there is every reason to expect that the Onyx Blackjack will be an excellent performer. The spec is excellent.
But it just looks cute and sweet and it would go nicely on anyone's DAW desk.
Actually, Mackie has a video showing that it's not so sweet after all. It's made of metal and they show one of the team beating up another manufacturer's interface with it!
So what is it that caught our eye?
I think it's the design, just the design. The controls are angled, which makes it practical to use. There is a nice design feature with what looks like a grille on the top. Perhaps those converters get hot; there are certainly no vacuum tubes inside. I doubt it though - it's there just to look good.
So in summary, while you can get the job done with efficient, great sounding equipment, there's no harm in enjoying the tools of your trade too!
By David Mellor, Wednesday January 05, 2011