Mackie Onyx 32.4 analog direct outs

Hey guys not sure if this is possible or if anyone has tried this but my church has a Mackie Onyx 32.4 mixer board with three db25 connectors as the direct outs. Each connector has 8 channels and wanted to know if I bought a DB to USB connector for let’s say my laptop can this connect to Ardour and get signal to it?

no it’s the onyx 32.4


Not that I disagree with any of this, but I am curious why you felt it needed to be explained to me? (/me is wondering if he mistyped something or left something ambiguous).

For the record, yes 8 channels on DB25 are very common in this section of audio world, and I believe, IIRC, that is also what the Mackie does, is 8 channels of balanced audio. I also wouldn’t recommend unbalancing them, I would suggest getting an interface that handles balanced audio.

However USB to DB25 connectors that I have seen are almost always for converting old DB25 style parallel port connections that were used for old printers particularly, not suitable for audio.


@GMaq the larger format Onyx mixers do not have the firewire options. The largest FW capable mixer from Mackie is the 16 Channel Onyx to my memory.


So there is absolutely no way to connect the mixing console to a DAW without an interface? If I get lets say a 3 8 channel digital interfaces like a presonus how would I connect it then? From each channel’s out’s?

@seablade: When I first read your original comment I thought there was something odd about:

In fact that is likely only a parallel port to USB connector, something very rarely used these days.

Which seemed like a completely different (non-audio) kind of PC interface altogether, so my reply was intended to clarify the way in which I would normally expect DB25 connections to be used for digital / analogue I/O - which should have been a more general comment rather than directed to you specifically.


Has all the necessary information - or as much if not more than has already been mentioned so far, specifically, the Hook-Up Diagram shows how to connect the direct outs to a suitable multi-channel interface, and the Owners Manual has the information about the DB25 pin-out, and lots of good stuff about balancing and un-balancing (which may or may not be necessary depending upon your choice of I/O interface)

How many channels from the Mackie you want / need to feed into your DAW, will dictate which interface is best, you might want to look at pro interfaces such as those from RME.

I’d caution against trying to use multiple sound cards to increase the channel count as unless they are specifically designed to operate this way (e.g. M-audio delta etc) you will have all kinds of sync / latency problems between cards.

@dsreyes: and just to clarify one basic point: an audio interface is precisely the device you use to bring audio from any source (a console, a guitar, a microphone, etc) into a computer. There is no circuitry on any CPU that can deal with audio signals (analog or digital), so no matter where the data comes from, it has to first enter the computer through something that can. This can include: an external box that then delivers data via a USB cable, an external box that delivers data via firewire, an external box that delivers via some random cable that ends at a PCI(or PCIe or PCIx or smart card) device which then delivers data directly to the CPU, or via (typically) analog jacks attached to the motherboard which deliver the data to a chipset on the motherboard than then delivers data directly to the CPU.

There is no “serial protocol” for audio that you can give directly to any connector on a modern computer, especially not for analog audio.

Wow lots of good info and sorry for being a noob. I should have known better than to ask these kind of questions. I clearly see it now thanks to Paul, LinuxDSP, and all the others. I actually was looking at getting the RME PCIe card.

It is important to note that most audio interfaces don’t handle 32 input channels on their own. So no matter what you do you can end up with a complicated setup.

In your case I would say your best option if you want all the channels might be three of Echo Audiofire 12s. However while I have heard that three of these daisy chained will work fine in Linux, I have never tested it so take that with a large grain of salt.

With an RME card for 32 input channels you would have to look at something like their MADI interface with an external Analog to MADI convertor, and expenses will start adding up fairly wuick, but that will be true of about any manufacturer. At least RME is good quality and has been fairly open to Linux development in the past(Not sure about currently).


I would probably really only need at the max is the 24 channels no more than that. So I think the RME might enough. Another question though so don’t bare with me lol…do they have a laptop version of the RME HDSPE?

Nevermind I just found the express card version. lol

DB to USB no. In fact that is likely only a parallel port to USB connector, something very rarely used these days.

However you can get audio interfaces that you can plug the wires of the DB25 into (And there are breakout cables available online to take that DB25 to multiple 1/4" or XLR for this purpose). Obviously you would need as many inputs on the interface as you want to record channels from the Onyx.


Oh ok gotcha. I might just need to use my Mbox2 and the Main Outs to record.

@seablade: DB25 connectors are sometimes used both for analogue or digital audio, and are surprisingly high quality - especially in permanent installations - I’ve seen them used on some pro consoles / interfaces. Typically they are balanced connections, (AES / EBU digital interfaces are normally balanced too e.g. 110R twisted pair, with each pair carrying a balanced signal containing the digital data for two channels). My guess would be that a DB25 would have ‘hot’ ‘cold’ and ‘screen’ for each channel so 8 channels would be 24 connections and there might be a chassis / ground.

Either way, the analogue or digital signals would need to be split out from the DB25 and perhaps unbalanced before being fed to the inputs of a suitable multi-channel sound card / digital interface.


Hi does the ONYX have the FireWire option? Depending on the age and model ONYX mixers are well supported by the FFADO FireWire drivers. I have an older one (1640) that works great on Linux.