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M-Audio Project Mix I/O Reviews
Bought this item about 2 months ago now and haven\'t regretted it for one moment. I havent had a single problem with it. Set up was very simple and it was only about 30 mins from opening the box to the desk being fully functional. Faders are very smooth (they are slightly noisy but thats to be expected) and had no experiences of the faders going crazy like i\'ve had on other systems! My only critisicm is that it only has 4 outputs. If they had just added two more then 5.1 would be possible. However this aside it is a great system. Just the fact it is fully functional with cubase and protools is amazing. And the LED display is an absolute godsend when your working with like 40 channels. Takes away the frustration of browsing through banks trying to work out which channel is controlling which! Genious.
After a lot of research (it\'s a big purchase) I bought the Project Mix I/O for my home studio. It is a combined Firewire audio interface and control surface. The package I bought bundled Pro Tools M-Audio 7.4 (which, after registering on M-Audio\'s website qualified for a free Pro Tools 8 upgrade).
In the box were disks containing hardware drivers, PT 7.4 with reg card, bundled plug-ins, a copy of Live Lite, a PSU (with every possible plug adaptor), a pre-auth\'d iLok device, a 6-pin / 6-pin f/w cable, a 6-pin / 4-pin f/w cable and two manuals.
I run Vista (SP1) on a 2.2GHz Intel Dual Core laptop with 3Gb of RAM. Note a Vista install is not as smooth as I had hoped but support offered by M-Audio is great. First, nip over to M-Audio\'s site and download and install the latest appropriate drivers. Vista 32 bit SP1 is supported. Shut-down the computer, plug in the firewire cable turn on the Project Mix and boot up your OS. Once boot-up is complete there is an extra step to complete installation in Vista. Instructions for this are only on M-Audio\'s site and caused some initial head-scratching. There is a squeaky bum moment whilst the firmware updates! Once I had the surface installed I checked the audio interface was working by sending some music to it from media player to my monitor speakers via balanced TRS jacks. I then installed PT 7.4 (but I guess you could register before installing PT 7.4 and go straight to PT8). I had some issues with PT after install which I thought was due to a duff iLok. A quick search on Digidesign\'s website prompted me to uninstall IEv8 which cured the issue. I then registered (once happy all was working) and created an iLok account. I then received an e-mail containing PT8 download instructions. Note you need an iLok account to do this as a new key is deposited to you. Download (>3Gb) took an hour with my connection but I can see it being a problem for some users. PT8 install was smooth and it has a much improved interface over PT7.4. Once installed, turn off your computer, plug in and turn on the Project Mix, boot-up your computer, launch PT 8, set-up your hardware and you are ready to make some music!
Ins and outs are as specified on the product page. You can configure in the control panel and it is self explanatory. There is an A/B switch â€“ great for switching between sets of monitors when mixing. There is 6.35mm input on the front of the unit â€“ very handy for guitarists and two independent headphone outputs. You can use the desk as an audio interface in Vista which is good for listening to tunes whilst not working. Sound quality is great with no hisses or pops although I havenâ€™t pushed it hard yet.
The Project Mix has many modes covering all of the bases. M-Audio seems committed to service and the firmware is updateable. Modes are selected by holding down an Aux key when powering on. Mine defaulted to Cubase mode on power-up but this is easily changed. M-Audio recommend only changing modes when all elements of you set-up are powered off including your computer.
In PT mode track names are displayed above each channel, and the workflow is intuitive, a mini-studio in your house / at the gig. Motorized faders rock! You will use the surface instead of you mouse whilst recording which speeds everthing up.
I have my musical equipment wired into the inputs. (elec. guitar, bass, keys, floor pod, synth and keys). Instead of un-plugging equipment you can just move the channel strip along so that the track matches the input which is handy!
The LCD screen makes recording simple and the faders come into their own when mixing. Impress your friend with automation when paying back your session! Comparable products are more Â£Â£Â£ and donâ€™t come with PT! Recommended purchase if you want a solid control surface and a high-spec digital audio interface. Make sure you have the room for it though!