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Home Recording Roundup: Digital Audio Workstations from Mackie and Tapco

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Tapco Link.USB Audio Interface
Mackie FireWire I/O Card
Tracktion 2 Software
Mackie Onyx 1640 Analog Mixer

Personal computers have become nearly as common as cars, and in the past decade the number of home-recording manufacturers has grown exponentially. The resulting increase in competition has spurred the development of higher-quality equipment sold at jaw-droppingly low prices. As a result, many people today own high-tech processors that rival the power of most 1980s-era professional recording studios.

In the early 1990s, digital audio workstations (DAWs)-what computers are called once they magically transform into recorders-were found only in the priciest professional recording studios. Home computers were inefficient and slow, and were plagued with compatibility problems, poor sound and low quality audio interfaces. There was simply no affordable way to turn your PC into a high-quality-recording device. A decade ago, if you had a recording studio in your home, it most likely consisted of a Tascam four-track recorder, blank cassettes and one too many delusions of grandeur.

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