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M-Audio ProjectMix I/O Control Surface

If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to sit in the control room during a live radio broadcast, you’d know how audio engineers are the magicians behind the scenes. Perched behind monstrous audio interfaces and mixers covered with knobs and buttons, these surgeons of sound move almost instinctually-flicking a switch here, raising a fader there. It’s a physical, intuitive process that requires a skillful touch.

Nowadays, digital home recording, while requiring the same level of creativity and technical prowess, bares little resemblance to the art practiced by those audio technicians of the analog era. Once upon a time, if you wanted to boost a level, you found the appropriate fader and you cranked it up. It was intuitive. It was simple. It felt good. Today, the same process entails numerous clicks, a bunch of drop-down menus and more than a few expletives. Simply put, there just aren’t any knobs to twist anymore. It’s true that digital equipment has made home recording more affordable and accessible. Unfortunately, its perceived complexity has also alienated and intimidated many would-be composers and producers along the way.

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