Mackie is a leading company when it comes to consumer and pro-audio gear, with their products running the entire gamut up to devices that sit comfortably in music studios around the world. With the Mackie OnyxGO clip-on mic, they’ve aimed squarely at the user who simply wants a lightweight, easy-to-use solution for capturing audio in a way far superior to the internal microphones on their mobile device, especially when at a distance. Does the small package deliver big performance?

Mackie OnyxGO specifications

  • Completely contained microphone solution
  • Weight: 30g
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Size: 48mm x 28mm x 16mm
  • Built-in omnidirectional microphone
  • USB-C charging port
  • Battery: 130mAh, 5 – 6 hours of use (2 hours to charge)
  • Headphone output (earbuds with pushbutton control included)
  • Clip for attaching to mobile device/subject for recording
  • OnxyGO Companion App features (iOS/Android) include audio/song mixing, signal strength, etc.

Unboxing the Mackie OnyxGO

Inside the small cardboard box is the tiny OnxyGO mic itself. Barely as tall as a 9V battery, less than half the height, and weighing in at a measly 30g, it feels at first implausible that such small a device could live up to its promises of clear audio recordings. The side has a large, easy-to-spot red button used for both powering on and Bluetooth connectivity, and the top includes the grill for the omnidirectional mic and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Included in the box is a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, a set of in-ear wired TRRS headphones with a pushbutton control, and furry windscreen that, with a bit of struggle, can be fitted over the top of the unit while still allowing the clip freedom of movement.

Setting up the Mackie OnyxGO clip-on mic

One might assume that into that jack you could plug in a lavalier mic, or perhaps a set of headphones that themselves had microphones embedded on the cable, but for audio recording you’re restricted to the OnyxGO itself. It’s probably best to think of this device as its own wireless, omni lapel mic, one you clip on the top of a shirt, or strap of a bag, and have proximity audio captured even when a distance away from your phone. You could even, if you wish, clip it to your phone’s case, and for many uses that will be superior than using the built-in microphones on your iOS or Android device.

Essentially, this is a wireless Bluetooth mic in a lavalier-like form factor, using conventional Bluetooth connectivity to provide slightly superior audio to what’s already in your phone or tablet. The real benefits come in when used with the OnyxGO Companion app from Mackie. Both Android and iOS users can dial in many functions using the app. You can, for example, use it to record phone calls easily, ideal for interviews or podcast situations. There’s built-in noise reduction to help focus strictly on the frequencies of the human voice, meaning that even in less than ideal environments you’re able to record what’s required.

The app allows a few fun broadcast or podcast features, including being able to mix in on-phone audio with your recording in real time. You even have the choice of a number of “voice-enhancing” tweaks to make you sound like a robot, or a cat, or any other of silly, yet perhaps, satisfying audio augmentations.

The software automatically ensures that when recording video your audio stays in sync, preventing you having to shift things to line up in post. And of course, thanks to the headphone port you can monitor what you’re recording, completely with selected effects, EQ settings, etc., even at a distance from your phone.

Recording with the Mackie OnyxGO clip-on mic

While it’s perhaps unfair to contrast to more robust, prosumer-level versions of wireless microphones, it’s fair to say that the OnyGO does a reasonable, if not remarkable job, of recording voice. The internal microphone’s sound signature is a bit brittle, and the lack of being able to plug in another microphone into the headphone jack seems a missed opportunity, as there’s already a digital-to-analog converter that’ll be nestled in there somewhere.

Still, the sound is considerably better when recording even a few inches away from your mobile device, and certainly the sound is no worse than even when in close proximity. At its best, the Mackie OnyxGO makes it so that you are able to have the lens of your phone’s camera at an appropriate distance for framing, or perhaps in a gimbal or selfie stick, and still have the audio being recorded in a clean and clear fashion.

The ability to monitor is a welcome one, and the pushbutton on the included headphones allows you to play and pause selected music that gets mixed in while recording if you wish. The additional app features are also very well laid out, and it’s here that the more pro-oriented aspects of the brand properly trickle down to this particular model, as they’re attractive, easy to use, and ran without issue on a number of devices.

Because it’s recording using Bluetooth you’re limited to a certain distance to your mobile phone before things break up, but as long as you’re within several meters this shouldn’t be an issue. Pairing is quite painless on both major types of phone, and because it’s treated just like any other Bluetooth audio device you can readily use sound from the Mackie OnyGO with just about any application independent of what functions the existing app provides.

With hours of recording time, your mobile device is likely to need a recharge before the mic does during a long video session, and it cannot be emphasized enough just how tiny the mic feels in the hand, practically disappearing when tucked in on a subject. While the orange power/Bluetooth button may be a bit distracting on camera, it’s still a welcome element to make the device easy to spot and get up and running even in dark environments.

Final thoughts on the Mackie OnyGO clip-on mic

The Mackie OnyxGO mic is meant to serve a specific use case, and it does so fairly well. It is not a replacement for more robust mic systems that allow far more distance, more powerful features such as external mic inputs, etc. It’s best to think of the OnyxGO as a superior option to the built-in microphone on your mobile phone, tablet, or even PC. It’s a model that is fitting a very particular, niche set of requirements, creating an extremely cost effective, small form factor audio device that aides in getting your sounds to your audience in a way that’s better than stock, but without the need for added complexity or cost.

While the Mackie OnyxGO wireless clip-on microphone may not be for everyone, for those that just need to up their audio game just a bit, and perhaps are interested in some of the additional features that the app provides for realtime tweaking of that sound, this may well be the perfect match for your needs.

Jason Gorber
Jason Gorber, M.A., is a film, technology, and media journalist and member of the Toronto Film Critics Association. He is the managing editor and chief film critic at That Shelf and a regular contributor to POV Magazine, SlashFilm, and CBC Radio. Jason has been a Tomatometer-approved critic for over 20 years, is an avid collector of music, movies, LEGO and many other aesthetic and technical treats.

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