howto fix mackie onyx firewire under osx 10.5.5

After upgrading Waynemanor Studio’s Intel-based Mac to OSX 10.5 (10.5.5), I was unable to get the Mackie Onyx 1640 FireWire interface to stream audio successfully to/from the Mac. When playing audio from the Mac to the Onyx (just from the System Preferences Sound panel, selecting the Onyx FireWire 0838 output for system sounds and clicking the Purr sound – no DAW software), I’d get the spinning beachball for ~10s, then stuttering, clicking, popping sound would come out. Actually running my DAW made things worse; the application would hang, and Force Quit didn’t help. (Power cycling the Onyx allowed the Force Quit to work.)

Mackie lists this audio driver rollback (PDF) on their website, but the first try at it didn’t work. Here’s how I managed to finally get everything working correctly under Apple OSX 10.5.5:

  1. Sign up for an Apple Developer Connection account. It’s free, and required to download the software you need.
  2. Download both the FireWire SDK 26 for Mac OSX and the FireWire SDK 24 for Mac OSX.
  3. Mount both image files and install the package files from both (FireWireSDK26.pkg and the confusingly-named FireWireSDK23.pkg). This will create directories under /Developer on your system drive.
  4. From /Developer/FireWireSDK26/FireWireComponents, install the Leopard Final drivers. Reboot.
  5. From /Developer/FireWireSDK26/FireWireComponents, install the FireWireAudio 2.4 drivers. Reboot.
  6. Select Software > Extensions on the left-hand browser. Look for AppleFWAudio, and make sure it is version 2.4.0.
  7. From /Developer/FireWireSDK24/FireWireComponents, install the FireWireAudio 2.0.1 drivers. Reboot
  8. From the Apple menu, select About this Mac, then click the More Info button to start System Profiler.
  9. Select Software > Extensions on the left-hand browser. Look for AppleFWAudio, and make sure it is version 2.0.1.
  10. Go to the System Preferences > Sound panel and try sound output to the Onyx Firewire 0838. It should sound clear as a bell.

I don’t know why installing the latest SDK FW base drivers and the FireWireAudio 2.4 drivers first was required before the 2.0.1 drivers would correctly fire up, but it was. One warning: do not install the Leopard FireWire (not FireWireAudio) drivers from the 24 SDK. This caused my machine not to boot correctly, and I had to repair it using another machine.

Here’s hoping this helps someone out in the wild. I’d post it to the Mackie forum, but the moderators there have yet to enable my posting rights. :(

16 thoughts on “howto fix mackie onyx firewire under osx 10.5.5

  1. Thanks for posting this Joan. I’m going to give it another shot tonight when I get home and see if I can get it to work. Were you getting audio crackle issues with stuff you recorded or just on playback of pre-existing tracks? I’m having the first problem … just wondering if this solved that issue for you.

  2. Daniel I had problems again tonight and went through the procedure again. It seems that to get the device to even start passing audio, I need to boot the Mac, wait until it comes up, bring up Audio Midi, turn on the Mackie, wait for it to be recognized, then toggle the sample rate a couple of times. (This is mentioned as an issue in the 2.3 SDK, though it claims it’s only experienced with FW800 ports. Rubbish!)

    It then passes audio just fine. I don’t really understand why it’s so fussy though – I never had this problem before upgrading.

  3. Hello, I thank you for posting this. I can not find the SDK 24 though, could you possibly send it to me. also, I installed the sdk 26 and can’t even find the AppleFWAudio in the System Profiler. Any helpw ould be much appreciated

  4. hey just read this ideal, sounds like what i need to do, but the apple website says file firewiresdk24 is not avalible, there is firewiresdk25 and 26 also not avalible! and its been like that for days!

    Dones anyone have firewiresdk24.dmg saved they can email or send some how .,.. ? pretty please ! thanks

  5. I have a mackie d2 dj mixer fire wire and am getting problems with the driver since upgrading to 10.5.6 should i follow the instructions given for this mixer
    any help would be much appreciated

  6. I was searching around casually to see if daisy chaining two Onyx Firewire devices is supported, and I came across this and now I’m scared.

    I just bought a unibody 15″ MBP to use it with my Mackie 1640. OS is now 10.5.7. Anybody tried that yet? I am getting my mixer back on friday and I have a recording on that same day, so I can’t test first. Should I run out and get back my PowerBook G4 for the gig?


  7. Thanks for the post Joan.

    Has anyone got the sdk24 package ? Like many others I am unable to find it and thus unable to get my satellite up and working again.


  8. Does anyone know where I can download the SDK 24 package, I can’t find it anywhere?

  9. Joan, thanks for posting this. I’ve just bought the 1620i (which is spec’d to work with OS X up to 10.6.0) but was worried that there might be similar problems when I upgrade to 10.6.1. Your advice here has given me the start point for resolving this, driver rollback, etc if I need it. In the meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed! Thanks, again! JonO

  10. You still using mackie?
    i’ve got the 1640 with firewire card and macbook with osx 10.5.8 and it happens nothing.
    I haven’t got any f*** idee what’s wrong there.

  11. Mac OSX 10.6.2 : also problems with onyx, was working perfect on leopard, but a lot of problems with snow leopard. always losing the signal. maybe downgrade better?

  12. I have just bought a second hand nice clean Mackie Onyx 1640 with the FW card installed.

    My Mac Book pro is OSX 10.5.8 and I am having great difficulty locating the FW update I need.. I have followed the instructions as recommended above but come unstuck when I see that Apple only has FireWire SDK 26 (Disk Image) 29 MB posted 28 Jan 2009..

    Does anyone have the SDK24 they could email me, please or any advice at all.. I NEED TO RECORD.. Ta Stevo

  13. OK, ta I have just followed your kind link and followed the rest of the above instructions, Extensions is now showing appleFWAudio 2.0.1 but my system preferences does not come up with any ONYX connection what so ever.. help?

    What else do I need to do..

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