AES: M-Audio's New Controller and IO Announced

US FireWire console, control and mixer      11/10/05

AES: M-Audio's New Controller and IO Announced
ProjectMix I/O

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So far, from the Digidesign acquisition of M-Audio we've seen some M-Audio hardware pollination in the form of M-Powered M-Audio interfaces gaining access to the ProTools LE softwere - and that's all well and good. With the announcement of the new ProjectMix I/O it looks like we'll get some new two-way traffic. The new ProjectMix I/O having more than a passing resemblance to DIGI's own 002. Billed as a combination control surface, audio interface and mic preamp, ProjectMix I/O connects via a single FireWire connection integrating tactile control, 18 x 14 audio I/O and professional preamps to all of the industry's major software applications. The unit boots into dedicated modes for Pro Tools, Ableton Live 5^, Logic*, Digital Performer*^, Cubase* and SONAR*^. In addition to supporting the aforementioned DAWs, ProjectMix I/O is the only universal integrated control surface that allows users to record directly into industry-standard Pro Tools sessions in Pro Tools M-Powered. Each of ProjectMix I/O's eight channel strips and master strip feature a moving fader for hands-on mixing and seamless automation. The moving faders are touch-sensitive to galvanic skin current, providing for fluid operation and the elimination of motor burnout prevalent in older technologies. ProjectMix I/O's faders also have true 10-bit resolution for smoother control compared to 7-bit components on other similarly priced systems that can cause zipper noises and sloppy automation. ProjectMix I/O's eight channel strips can map to all the channels in a larger project by simply pressing the bank +/- and channel +/- controls. In addition to a touch-sensitive motorized fader, each channel strip features buttons for mic/line, record enable, mute, solo, and select. Each strip has an endless rotary encoder knob, the function of which is assigned by one of 15 dedicated buttons for EQ, aux send and more. Related information is displayed in the digital scribble strip display directly above each encoder. The encoders and scribble strip display double to control assigned plug-in parameters as well. Dedicated transport controls also makes doing sessions with ProjectMix I/O a breeze. Users get illuminated controls for record, play, stop, fast forward, and rewind, plus a jog/shuttle wheel and locate buttons for easy project navigation. There are also sets of keys for in/out points, zoom, region nudge, looping and more designed to optimize session efficiency. ProjectMix I/O integrates just about every kind of I/O that might be needed for a session-and at the same price as many control surfaces lacking audio altogether. Eight analog input channels all feature high-quality preamps with individual mic/line switches and π" TRS balanced and XLR inputs. Phantom power is provided for up to eight condenser mics. Input 1 also features a front-panel instrument input for easy direct connection of a guitar or bass during a session. ADAT Lightpipe I/O brings the simultaneous input total to 16, allowing users to expand their system with devices like M-Audio's award-winning Octane eight-channel preamp. S/PDIF accommodates other standard digital connectivity, and word clock synchronizes ProjectMix with other digital devices. ProjectMix I/O also serves as a 1 x 1 MIDI interface, allowing the connected computer to communicate with MIDI hardware. Monitoring options include twoheadphone outputs with separate volume controls for working with a partner, as well as two stereo output pairs for routing to monitors, processors and mixdown devices. There's also an A/B headphone source-monitoring switch for DJ-style cueing. ProjectMix I/O is compatible with Mac and PC computers. In addition to supporting Mackie Control, Logic Control and HUI protocols, the unit is compatible with WDM, ASIO 2, Core Audio and GSIF 2. "An increasing number of music projects today are produced in personal and project studios-and that means users are demanding more professional standards from their gear," says Adam Castillo, marketing director at M-Audio. "Today's software DAWs are capable of doing just about anything-except being hardware. The ProjectMix I/O brings computer-based studios the simplicity and reliability of a dedicated studio-in-a-box while remaining expandable, updatable and filled with creative options." ProjectMix I/O is expected to ship in mid-October.
$1249.95 list (Protools M-Powered not included) * DAW software version must support Mackie Control, Logic Control or HUI protocol.
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