Well if you listened to Podcast Studio Show #2, you might have noticed the poor audio quality. Chris takes some credit with the phone he was using, but a lot of it was due to the setup we had with the Yamaha Mixer and Sound Blaster Input Device. First, for a sub-$100 mixer, the Yahama is great for only studio recording. So if you want to start podcasting, or need a small mixer to travel with to events, this is a good choice. On the other hand, the Sound Blaster Extigy we were using said it was 24bit, but was recalled (send you a rebate) because it wasn't. It was a $150 external sound card with nothing else. What a rip off.
Well those days are gone! John and I traveled up north to the Musicians Friends Warehouse and picked up a Mackie Onyx 1620 and the Mackie Onyx FireWire Card. This setup is amazing. Even though we aren't using nearly the amount of inputs possible, the features are incredible. The Mic Preamps are top notch and I can't say enough about having a mute button for our mics. During an interview, with condenser microphones, everything is picked up. Moving a chair, simple giggles that you dont want recorded, or a random sneeze. Now I can mute our channels and you will just get the caller.
Having the integrated input card is the smartest idea Mackie had for this Onyx series. Most of the time, you have to run cables to a device and then it supplies the FireWire. Well that is an extra device you have to have room for as well as a potential for noise from the cables. With our original setup, we had to run RCA out through the mixer and then use a splitter to go from RCA to regular stereo input (like a small headphone jack). We had lots of noise just from that connection. After that, we had to register the Sound Blaster as our primary sound device, and on a laptop, that isn't fun. Now, we just plug in the firewire, launch Trackton (the Mackie recording software) and we are done. Auto registers and doesn't need control of the laptops sound.
One of the main downfalls of the device is the independent channels being pre-EQ and pre-Fader. With the device, you have to option of recording an independent file for each channel, so each microphone would have a separate WAV file as well as the caller too. This is great for editing each channel separately so if John sneezes because he is allergic to my cats, I could edit that with effecting what the caller said because it wouldn't be compressed into one channel. The problem with pre-EQ and pre-Fader is you don't have the option to manipulate sound via the mixer, it all has to be done in software, and for live stuff, its not fun to click keys while recording. So, we just set ours up the record the total mix from the mixer and will use the EQ and Mute functionality of the device.
Well now that I have bored you to death with audio talk, here are the pictures: