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In this mode, the input signal is heard during recording and when the transport is stopped, but is muted during playback, so that you can hear previously recorded audio on the track in question.

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This has obvious uses when you want to drop into a previously recorded take. However, if the input signal is being independently routed to the outputs, as it is when you employ the Profire 's cue mixer, neither of these monitoring modes is any help. What you want then is for the input signal within Pro Tools to be permanently muted, but playback of previously recorded material on a track to function as in Auto Input mode. This wasn't possible when the Digidesign M Box was launched in , and it still isn't possible eight years later; you have to manually mute tracks for recording and then unmute them when you want to hear what you've recorded, and there's no neat way to drop in on an existing track when monitoring via the 's cue mixer.

M-Audio Audio Driver

Some control panel functions, such as the ability to change buffer sizes, are disabled while Pro Tools is running. Mostly this isn't a problem, but it's a little annoying that although you can make changes to the cue mixer and save its configuration, you can't load stored mixer settings without quitting Pro Tools. In the review system, this exhibited a really odd bug, which I hadn't experienced in previous versions.

While recording some guitar overdubs to previously recorded drums, I occasionally heard snatches of what sounded like the wrong audio parts appearing in the playback. This didn't happen very often, nor for more than half a second or so at once, but it was disconcerting โ€” not least because it sometimes seemed to be playing back audio parts that I hadn't yet recorded!

Assuming Digidesign haven't discovered the key to time travel, it's possible that Pro Tools was somehow dropping in fragments of audio from different Sessions. It wasn't usually repeatable, but I did end up with one Session where a 'foreign' snippet of vocal was clearly audible in a recorded guitar track, even though it didn't show up in the waveform display, and I hadn't actually recorded any vocals in that Session. Not fatal, but bloody weird.


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M-Audio have a lot of experience behind them when it comes to designing audio interfaces, and it shows in the Profire Installation and getting started are straightforward, and the drivers threw up no nasty surprises or quirks in any of the recording applications I tried. The control panel software is an improvement over previous M-Audio efforts, somehow being clearer and easier to use despite also offering more functionality.

Cue mixes and routings are dead easy to set up, even if the labelling could perhaps be more generous, and I experienced no problems doing anything I needed. My only real reservation is that it's a shame the cue mixer can't access all of the Profire's inputs simultaneously. Apart from the instrument and headphone jacks, all the Profire's socketry is on the back panel, which would be a pain if it was in a rack and you often needed to change connections, but it has to go somewhere! One area where the Profire's front panel looks a little bare compared with higher-end products such as MOTU's Mk3 is in hardware metering.

For computer recording, I'm perfectly happy to depend on level metering in software, which is more precise than a typical LED ladder display anyway, but this might be an issue for buyers who expect to use the Profire as a stand-alone preamp and converter. The much-vaunted preamps are said to provide "a 75dB gain range"; how much of that range is positive is not stated, but there is clearly more headroom here than on many of the Profire's rivals.

It's not until the last few degrees of the gain knob's travel that noise suddenly creeps in.

I was able to get a clean recording of strummed acoustic guitar from an SM57 positioned about 18 inches away, and likewise from a low-output Electro-Harmonix ribbon mic โ€” a badged version of the Oktava ML52 โ€” but this was about the limit of what was possible. Condenser mics all functioned perfectly and, as importantly, sounded fine, as did electric instruments DI'd via the front-panel instrument jacks.

I think anyone who's used to previous-generation products like the Digi will notice some improvement, and it's extremely unlikely that the Profire 's preamps or converters will be the weak link in any project studio's signal chain. Overall, I like the Profire a lot.

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It does exactly what I want an audio interface to do: it captures input signals cleanly and accurately with no fuss, it offers plenty of inputs, plus sufficient routing and cue-mixing flexibility that many users won't need to pair it with a mixer or other outboard gear, and it has dependable and mature drivers that won't let you down in the heat of a session.

And it offers all this functionality at a keenly competitive price. Most of the flies in the ointment, as far as I'm concerned, are to do with the current version of Pro Tools M-Powered see box , and if there's a feeling that Digidesign's support for the Profire is a teeny bit grudging, that's understandable.

GUITAR RIG 5: Setting Up Your Audio Interface [VIDEO]

After all, this is a product that could seriously dent sales of the range If you want to use Pro Tools, the most obvious alternative is Digidesign's Rack. Outside the Pro Tools world, there are more contenders. The Presonus Firestudio matches the Profire's feature set almost exactly, and looks to have a slightly more comprehensive cue mixer and routing matrix, though it is a little more costly. It has its mic preamps on the front rather than the back, which will be more convenient for some.


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The Profire packs a lot of functionality into a 1U rack unit, without ever making it over-complex or difficult to use, and will fulfil many project studios' requirements admirably. In order to provide you with this free service, Licensor is unable to offer or provide any warranty or make any representation about any benefit or opportunity which you may obtain from Software or Documentation. Should the Software not perform in accordance with any expectation you may have, your exclusive remedy, and Licensor's sole obligation under this warranty shall be, at Licensor's sole discretion, correction of the defect or, in the case of purchase of the product with which Software is operated, refund of the purchase price paid for such product.

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OSX Profire supported support/driver?

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