Mackie has been a staple company in professional and home audio for a long time. Their famed ‘Big Knob’ series of monitor controllers are used in studios all around the world. Their live consoles mix bands every single day, and their budget studio monitors are a common choice for budding producers and educational institutions. Enter the Onyx Producer 2•2, a USB 2.0 interface with two combo jack inputs, MIDI I/O and a DAW/input mix knob for zero latency recording.
The Producer 2•2 is the big brother of the Artist 1•2, a small interface without the combo input jacks. This unit would be right at home as an additional piece of gear for a professional rig, as a band’s live interface or for use when travelling and recording on the road. The interface itself is sturdy, well constructed and sleek. The Onyx Producer features Onyx preamps that are perfect for a bedroom producer or professional travel rig.
‘Plug and play’ is something that a lot of companies claim, but it’s usually not as simple as advertised. The Producer 2•2, however, bucks that trend. Plugging this interface into my MacBook Pro via the included USB cable, it was instantly recognised as an in/out by the Mac and within my DAW (ProTools) itself. The back panel features 1/4” jack connectors for monitors, a Kaspersky lock, and MIDI in/out with USB and MIDI connection indicator lights. In a word, the Producer 2•2 is practical. It’s everything you need and nothing you don’t. You’d struggle to find a more streamlined piece of gear for travelling, monitoring samples and backing tracks live, or recording and demoing on the road. Two inputs make it ideal for a stereo synth or drum machine for pop and electronic music producers, or for demoing scratch tracks for rock and metal bands. The front panel features a very handy input/DAW mix knob which, when dialled all the way to ‘input’, allows for zero latency monitoring while recording – a handy addition that can be endlessly useful when using the dual Onyx pres.
Mackie’s Onyx preamps are exactly what you’d want them to be. They’re clear and transparent, ready for any colour of preamp or instrument you want to throw before them. Both inputs feature an independent signal/overload indicator and a Hi-Z switch for recording direct from something such as a guitar. The only downfall is that the Producer 2•2 has just one global 48V switch for both inputs, so be mindful when recording two signals at once that you’re not frying a microphone. In addition to the rugged metal chassis that houses the Producer 2•2, the pots and buttons on the front panel feel solid, which seems to be a common cost saver for other budget interface manufacturers. Sturdy input gain pots make for more precise gain staging, which I love. Unfortunately, the Producer 2•2 doesn’t feature any line outs specifically for outboard gear, unless you want to get creative with the monitor outs.
The Onyx Producer 2•2 is a great choice as an artist and/or producer’s main interface or as an addition to a flight/travel rig. For whatever purpose you need, the Producer 2•2 is your go-to. It’s literally plug and play, sturdy, well-built and practical, while still being sleek and inconspicuous. Mackie has nailed the design and given the market exactly what it needs in a little box, with zero latency monitoring if and when required. Signal/overload indicators are a welcome addition, allowing you to quickly identify breaks in a signal path or a hot, clipping input. It includes a handy headphone out, MIDI in/out and monitor outs. Besides only featuring one global phantom power switch, this little unit is a real winner.
Hits and Misses
Practical, no nonsense
Zero latency recording
One 48V/phantom power switch for two inputs