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Microphone Month 2

M-Audio Omni Review

I must say this is not the beginner interface it may appear to be.

Anyone with a small home DAW has had the pleasure of re-patching their components. Switch the outputs of a keyboard sub mixer with a pair of preamps and then re-patch to monitor audio recording and then once again for MIDI sequencing. While there are many ways to solve these problems, from routable mixers to patch bays, if you are on a budget and have a modest rig, there is a new option: the M-Audio Omni I/O!

[b]I/O & Control[/b]
This card and breakout box not only delver lots of I/O, but it also has a great set of controls! These controls start with a virtual mixer program (that comes free with the hardware) which allows you route any input to any output and regulate a monitor section. If virtual control is not fast enough for you there is a convenient set of controls right on the front of the Omni breakout box. There are two preamp gain controls, 4 line level inputs, 2 headphone jacks and a Master monitor out.

The layout of the Omni make it great for someone who wants to mic two guitarists and give each a headphone mix. If you only have a couple of keyboards you can have both permanently patched into the back along with a couple of processors through the two insert points. Any of these devices can quickly be virtually rewired to the record bus or out to the monitors. The PCI card also has digital S/PDIF in and out.

This may not be the right piece for someone with a huge rack of equipment but the sound quality is definitely good enough for any high-end user. This box fits right into a generic half-rack adapter and would make a great pair with another half-rack spaced module or instrument.

[b]Solid Drivers[/b]
I was also able to test the drivers with several software packages: Sonar, Recycle, Traktor and even Winamp worked fine. There is no MIDI interface but I got an adapter for my old sound card and everything seemed to work together perfectly. I must say this is not the beginner interface it may appear to be. If you want to put together a compact and powerful audio workstation, the Omni I/O is absolutely worth a look.

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