CM AUTOMATION MOTOR MIX
Faders and knobs were designed to be manipulated with fingers, not with computer mice. So a good hardware control surface is worth plenty to someone who spends a lot of time with a computer-based DAW or sound-design workstation. Cakewalk Pro Audio users can use the Cakewalk/Peavey SmartMix (which we considered seriously for this award), and Pro Tools users have had Digidesign's ProControl and Mackie's HUI for a while now. Of course, you can always use a MIDI fader box or Keyfax PhatBoy (a winner last year).
But until CM Automation introduced the Motor Mix, you were out of luck if you wanted a solid, automated hardware control device with motorized faders that worked equally well with a wide variety of software packages. The Motor Mix won't devastate your bank account either, which is a huge plus.
This compact, automated MIDI control surface features a comprehensive LCD that handles all channel information, I/O assignments, effects parameters, and more, freeing up your computer monitor to show other data. Its eight 100 mm motorized faders are smooth, and its eight rotary knobs can handle panning, aux-send levels, EQ, dynamics, and more. You also get tactile switches with color-coded LEDs to control muting and soloing, record ready, automation enable, and effects in/out. You can control as many channels as you want by grouping them using the Group and Banks switches on the top panel.
As for compatibility, if your system doesn't work with the Motor Mix now, it probably will soon; we saw these boxes being used in more booths than we could count at the 1999 AES convention in New York. CM Automation has presented us with a much-needed product, and it has done it right.