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polishdog90 08/08/2011

M-Audio ProjectMix I/O : polishdog90's user review

« Decent control surface for beginners »
3

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Compatible with Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, and many other DAWS
10-bit touch-sensitive motorized faders
built-in 18 x 14 FireWire audio interface
8 phantom-powered mic/line preamps
assignable rotary encoders
LCD display
dedicated transport controls and jog/scrub wheel
ADAT Lightpipe, S/PDIF and word clock I/O

UTILIZATION

This control surface is a sort of all in one plug and record product. Once you install the drivers and plug in the firewire, it's ready to record. The synchronization between the faders and your DAW is awesome. When I first saw the faders moving on the projectmix while I was adjusting them on the computer I felt like I was in a sci-fi flick. It has phantom power, but it sends it to all the channels so you can't plug in a ribbon mic and a condenser at the same time. The midi input is nice because you can track virtual instruments and live instruments at the same time. Also, the two headphone outputs work really well. Most low end control surfaces have only one headphone output. It has enough inputs to track a drum kit, bass, guitar, keys, and vox. It's a spiffy beginners way to record a full band.

SOUNDS

The sound is where this interface lacks in my opinion. It doesn't sound terrible but it also doesn't sound great. It's nice for home recordings and demos but I wouldn't release anything too close to your heart recorded on this machine. Firstly, the preamps are pretty bad. They don't have enough headroom to record really loud drums. With the gain rolled all of the way off on a dynamic mic, the signal can still clip. Not all of the time but every once in a while you'll hear a slight distortion. Also, on some of my condenser mics I would have to crank the gain all of the way up to record my sound source. When the preamps are cranked they get really noisy. This really affected me on vocals. I would have to sing uncomfortably loud because if I turned up the gain more it would give an unsettling hiss. Also, one of the preamps fried so my interface is now a 7 track/1track horrible hiss recorder.

OVERALL OPINION

This mixer helped me get a lot of experience recording. It was easy enough to just plug in and record whatever I wanted and it was also pretty portable. I wasn't super concerned with sound quality when I bought it and I got what I paid for. I don't regret buying it because I learned A LOT with this control surface. It made me a much better engineer and I produced a lot of home recording projects. Now that I have access to a more professional studio I don't use it as often but I still use it for some simple tracking. If I were to buy another product like this, I would go with the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40. It's cheaper, and it sounds better. The motorized faders and word-clock are cool on the projectmix, but I'd rather have a reliable, great sounding interface.